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Passions in Poetry

Is This Our Heritage?

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OwlSA
Member Rara Avis
since 11-07-2005
Posts 8424
Durban, South Africa


0 posted 08-02-2006 04:27 PM       View Profile for OwlSA   Email OwlSA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions  View IP for OwlSA


IS THIS OUR HERITAGE?
21 September 1999

What do I know of your plight?
Seven point something on the Richter scale;
your breath is suctioned instantaneously;
your innards, your family and the floor beneath your feet
wrenched from you without warning
and thrown around you
in explosive blasts of rupturing torture;
then hours trapped and pinned in pain and burning anguish;
horror, screams, falling rubble;
“Come Death come!” you cry. “I can’t, just can’t take any more!”
or “Life don’t leave me!  Please, please, please help me!”
And joy came for an instant -
a rescue worker -
but he caused you even more pain extricating you;
and as if you hadn’t endured enough,
because your limbs could move,
he merely guided you to a high, unstable, open ladder
and left you to confront descent
alone
- the only route to comparable safety,
while he forgot about you in his desire to help the next victim
and the next,
and the next;
then the waiting,
the not knowing,
the not knowing what to know,
with your mind blown away
and worst of all
later, when you need the most help
anonymity will swallow you and what might have been
into a swirling vortex with thousands of compatriots
and lacerated bits of minds and body parts
who are living the death of all the others
and I don’t even know your name.

That is all I understand,
how can I know beyond that, what really happened to you.

And you,
in a warm comfortable home - mine, no less,
when I said during the TV news,
“Twelve thousand people destroyed in one earthquake!”
- for we hadn’t heard the full toll then,
you said,
in yet another sweeping, arrogant, dim-witted proclamation,
“It’s no big deal.  They would all have died at some stage anyway!”

Is this what civilisation and warmth and prosperity have brought us?

But there is more.
That is not the worst of our heritage.

The worst is my controlled reaction -
instead of throwing you out immediately
or at least expressing my contempt of you -
to your sick, asinine remark, all I said,
in an apologetic tone, was,
“Well, it’s still a horrible way to die!”

- Owl
© Copyright 2006 Diana van den Berg - All Rights Reserved
The Lady
Member Rara Avis
since 12-26-2005
Posts 7633
The Southwest


1 posted 08-03-2006 04:15 AM       View Profile for The Lady   Email The Lady   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for The Lady



Stunning, Diana.
What I thought was to be
pain caused by a hurricane
was indeed pain caused by
apathy...

well told
Honeybunch
Member Ascendant
since 12-29-2001
Posts 6868
South Africa


2 posted 08-03-2006 07:54 AM       View Profile for Honeybunch   Email Honeybunch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Honeybunch's Home Page   View IP for Honeybunch

Good write, Owl!  The difficult thing with life is that we are all on different levels of evolution and we're all thrown together to make the best of it.  He still has to get to the stage of your love and compassion and these things take time so, under the circumstances, your controlled reaction was perhaps best.  Hope you're well.

Helen
Sunshine
Administrator
Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
Posts 67715
Listening to every heart


3 posted 08-03-2006 09:02 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

At times like that, in times like these...
for some to have no compassion
whatsoever...

is many things.

Sick...comes to mind.  Sick at heart, sick of knowing there are only our helpless hands..

But asinine, indeed, to make remarks such as that....



Thank you for your large heart, Diana.
passing shadows
Member Empyrean
since 08-26-99
Posts 46297
displaced


4 posted 08-03-2006 09:04 AM       View Profile for passing shadows   Email passing shadows   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for passing shadows

dang what a write!
Earth Angel
Member Empyrean
since 08-27-2002
Posts 40647
Realms of Light


5 posted 08-03-2006 10:38 AM       View Profile for Earth Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Earth Angel's Home Page   View IP for Earth Angel

Owl, well it certainly was not with apathy that you expressed your disdain for apathy! Well stated!

Sending you a loving hug,
Linda
the quell
Member
since 07-19-2006
Posts 144
Liverpool, UK


6 posted 08-03-2006 12:29 PM       View Profile for the quell   Email the quell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for the quell

Owl, this was truly thought-provoking. You display a truly deep-seated intelligence and passion for the subject; I'm still reeling.

They aren't flaps; they're my face!
                           - The Mighty Boosh

Martie
Moderator
Member Empyrean
since 09-21-1999
Posts 28608
California


7 posted 08-03-2006 02:02 PM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

I think some people close their hearts to avoid seeing the way you do....not knowing that such empathy, though it hurts, heals.  
OwlSA
Member Rara Avis
since 11-07-2005
Posts 8424
Durban, South Africa


8 posted 08-05-2006 01:16 AM       View Profile for OwlSA   Email OwlSA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for OwlSA

Thank you, Kate.  As always, you are spot on!

Thank you Helen.  You were right about most of it.  However, the part about him evolving further - it is very unlikely that he will grow much (if any) more.  There was a time when I thought he had, but it was only a show.  I have known him for too many years to think otherwise.  He really has had his last chance with me (he has had several "last" chances, but I simply find him boring now).  Yes, thanks, Helen.  I hope you are fine too and not freezing too much in JHB.  

Yes, Karilea, many things.  Pitiable, comes to mind when I feel kindly (or anything at all) towards him.  Asinine yes - except that I adore donkeys and hate the way I used the term.

Thanks for the dang, Dixie!  

Thanks, Linda.  Although Helen is right about my response to him having been the best under the circumstances, you are right too about the poem not being apathetic.  (Another poem - My Parting Gift - I wrote him and posted quite a while ago, was most certainly not apathetic either!  I could still kick myself for having been so polite in my response.  I must admit, I had it out with him some years later, in one of his further chances!

Thank you, the quell.  Sometimes I think my passion for life gets me into too much trouble!  Other times I kick myself for not invoking it (passion, not life)!

Martie, you are very wise.  Sometimes I, also, close my heart to avoid seeing things when they are too big to digest, but you are so right, empathy is very healing.  Perhaps that is one of the keys to my extraordinary health, that I do nothing consciously or intentionally to attain, but is just there.  

- Owl
Artic Wind
Member Rara Avis
since 09-16-2007
Posts 8075
Realm of Supernatural


9 posted 09-22-2007 11:25 AM       View Profile for Artic Wind   Email Artic Wind   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Artic Wind

Nice poem

i love it

i have just joined and i wanted to look back at the old poems posted

ARCTIC WIND
OwlSA
Member Rara Avis
since 11-07-2005
Posts 8424
Durban, South Africa


10 posted 09-22-2007 11:56 AM       View Profile for OwlSA   Email OwlSA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for OwlSA

Thank you, Artic Wind.  Glad you enjoyed it.

I saw your name in Open 41, but as it is nearly dark (if you look at my "The Fear of Not Fearing" or something similar - I'm not sure if I got my title right! - you will understand my current history) I was only reading poets I know.  I will try to read one of yours soon.  

- Owl
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