Poet’s Notebook: My poem, “Here and There” followed by a brief reflection

Here and there
We worship the moon here;
we sing her songs.
She charms us,
she heals us.
There they bow deep to the sun.
Here we plant our dreams
and harvest visions.
There they plant periods,
and harvest silence.
Here we intuit.
There they know.
Here we weave stories out of dreams and grief.
There they weave cities of blood and sand.
Here the tide ebbs
and rises and when it rises
the barnacles open and wave little ferns.
There the coral reefs are dying;
the bottle with their message
never reaches shore.
Here we call out names
in celebration of the family of life.
Here a name holds power.
There a name is lost and found,
cemented to a building
printed on the sky.
Here a fish leaps and the river sings.
There a river
is a million drinks of water,
a million sad stories of once upon a time.
Here the land is alive,
and the wind
and the stones are alive.
There the land is thirsty
and confused.
The wind is hungry,
the stones, asleep.
If you disturb them
they will begin to whisper
to the minerals in your bones
and they will gently ask you to return
the diamonds in your necklace.
This poem is not just about living in a dualistic universe, even though, who would deny that this election was like being stuck in a on / off, black / white, insider / outsider, man / woman, Republican / Democrat, binary program. That was two days ago and this poem sprouted like a flower out of the rubble of that contentious year of intense polarization, that, once any chance of a third party viewpoint was eliminated, reduced us to choosing sides or choosing our poison. Now, if we’re not happy, or even if we’re really scared or pissed, we are all complicit, because we are all in the system. We’re all Americans, right? We’re looking around the way one might when a polluted fog lifts, trying to salvage some sanity, trying to get our bearings. My son, Evan Lindorff-Ellery posted a very timely little commentary on Facebook after the election that reminded us that we aren’t just political creatures, we are cultural, emotional and spiritual beings. But even as I reflect on that and own the truth of that, I find myself contemplating how profound the divide is between people and people. I know that it is American and politically correct to try our best to come together after an election, or at least act like we are and I, personally, am willing to get behind Trump as our president-elect . . . In truth, right now I don’t see Trump as the problem. Politicians aren’t our spiritual leaders or our cultural or emotional guides and teachers. They are just public servants. They are as powerful and influential as we allow them to be. We are responsible for what happens to our political, cultural, emotional and spiritual environment. So, we have a lot to figure out, and now that the damn election is over, we best get to it. There is a lot at stake.


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