“Rise Up After the Fall” – Poem by Leonard Dabydeen


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No to War - Afghan Peace Volunteers

Afghan Peace Volunteers at Borderfree Nonviolence Community Center
Photo Credit: TruthOut (Dr. Hakim)

My Poetry Corner October 2015 features the poem “Rise Up After the Fall” by Guyanese-Canadian poet Leonard Dabydeen. Before migrating to Canada where he is a licensed paralegal, he was a former headmaster and later lecturer at the Guyana Teachers’ Training College. Following his 2012 debut collection, Watching You: A Collection of Tetractys Poems, Dabydeen’s latest collection, Searching for You: A Collection of Tetractys & Fibonacci Poems, was published in September 2015.

The featured poem and the following excerpts are from Dabydeen’s e-book collection, 419 Poems, published in October 2014. While his poetry is mainly free verse, he also works with the modern mathematical poetic forms, tetractys and Fibonacci. Whatever the style, Dabydeen’s poetry lays bare our soul with its longings and broken dreams; its darkness and love’s light.

Written in the first person, “Age” speaks of youth’s disregard for the aged: in tattered clothes / and hobbled knees / and my thinning gray hair / and my frail bone-in body. Perhaps, younger generations should consider:

that your time will come
like ocean waves washing
towards the shore
and leaving a crustacean memory
for those who are yet to come.

For those of us trapped in life’s stampede…in the gathering of things, he reminds us in “Here Today…Gone Tomorrow”:

if mobility means to peddle oneself
in ascent or descent in going places
this we know with certainty
you are here today
and you will be gone tomorrow
as long as memory does not
suffer senility syndrome.

In “Misunderstandings,” the poet exposes the ordeals of being a parent:

What misunderstandings reek the mind
when parents are unable to decipher
how their son or daughter is growing up
how he or she makes decisions that
rupture their sentiments
like a cesarean wound?…

Calling attention to the “Civil Crisis” of the Syrian people, the poet uses the Fibonacci poetic form which hammers home the escalating crisis and demonstrates humanity’s descent into depravity.

to kill
in the district
Syrians must die
no hope for survival
civil outcry they fear not
they will never tolerate this
bombings continue to destroy them
human rights no longer exist for us.

Dabydeen asks in “How Much More…”

Oh! what has man done to man
to emboss him with so much hate and anger?
You ask me as much
as I ask you with a blush of hope
how much more
and for what price?

The featured poem “Rise Up After the Fall” delves into our corrupt minds and souls, affecting all levels of our society. Corruption blinds us to our guilt; leaves us with no shame no shame.

sometimes we become witness
to this blind man in each of us
or innocent if we do not know
how we do what we do when we do

Dabydeen is optimistic that in working together we can rise up after the fall. We have to…for our children’s sake.

To read the complete poem and learn more about Leonard Dabydeen’s work, go to my Poetry Corner October 2015.

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week


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Global Women's Climate Justice Day of Action - 29 September 2015

Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network, International

Women at the Forefront of Climate Change Action

“As innovators, organizers, leaders, educators and caregivers, women are uniquely positioned to help curb the harmful consequences of a changing climate. Incorporating a gender perspective into climate change policies, projects and funds is crucial in ensuring that women contribute to and benefit from equitable climate solutions.”
~ Report by the United Nations Population Fund and Women’s Environmental & Development Organization

Pope Francis: For the Common Good


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Pope Francis addresses United States Congress - Washington DC - 24 September 2015

Pope Francis addresses U.S. Congress – Washington DC – September 24, 2015
Photo Credit: Catholic News Agency (L’Osservatore Romano)

Pope Francis, leader of the Roman Catholic Church headquartered in Vatican City, is the latest celebrity to hit the shores of America. When he arrived at Joint Base Andrews on September 22, President Obama received him with the honors due a Head of State. After his reception at the White House in Washington D.C. and engagements in New York City, the pope headed for Philadelphia on Saturday morning and will fly out on Sunday evening for Rome. For his seventy-eight years, he sure has a lot of stamina.

The Church’s first Latin American pope has brought much needed fresh air to an institution beset by internal political strife, sex abuse scandal, and rising secularism. Since taking over the leadership position, Pope Francis has called on all Catholics to focus on Jesus’ message of love, forgiveness, and care of the most vulnerable among us. In setting the example with a simple lifestyle and his concern for the poor of our world, the Holy Father has won many admirers inside and outside of the Catholic Church. Continue reading

Climate Disruption


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Time is Running Out

Time is running out to transition to renewable energy, yet the most “relevant” people in power aren’t aware of the situation’s gravity. “Even people who go around saying, ‘We have a planet in peril,’ don’t get it. Until we’re aware of our future, we can’t deal with it.”
~ Dr. James Hansen, former NASA head climate scientist, now Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, at Grandparents Climate Action Day, Washington D.C., September 9, 2015.
~ Read complete article, “Climate Expert James Hansen: “We’ve Got an Emergency” by Anne Meador and John Zangas, TruthOut, September 16, 2015.

Looks Can Be Deceiving


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Rosaliene and Sons - Brazil

Rosaliene and Sons – Brazil

Over a year had passed since my estranged husband returned to Guyana, leaving our two sons and me behind in Brazil, when my three friends decided that it was time for me to have a night out. They invited me to join them and their husbands for a show and dance at a popular night club. Djavan, one of my favorite Brazilian singers, was coming to Fortaleza for a one-night presentation.

Fatima, the oldest among us, had it all arranged. She would buy the admission tickets and I could reimburse her on payday. Since we lived about a ten-minute-drive away from her house, my sons would stay with her two kids and live-in maid. At the end of our evening together, her husband would take us home.

Not since my days in Guyana had I gone dancing at a night club. To accept their invitation would bring back too many memories of good times gone sour. But when your friends care about you, how can you say no? Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week


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Hawaii Governor David Ige signs energy bill - 8 June 2015

Hawaii Governor David Ige signs Renewable Energy Bill – June 8, 2015
Photo Credit: Governor of the State of Hawaii Photo Album

Hawaii Leads the Way to 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Governor David Ige today [June 8, 2015] signed into law four energy bills, including one that strengthens Hawaii’s commitment to clean energy by directing the state’s utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2045.
~ Press Release, Governor of the State of Hawaii, June 8, 2015

Guyana: “Essequibo Is We Own”


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Map of Guyana - Disputed Area being claimed by Venezuela

Map of Guyana: “Disputed Territory” (salmon-pink) claimed by Venezuela
Source: Caracas Chronicles

Guyana struck black gold in May 2015! American oil giant ExxonMobil estimates that their find amounts to at least 700 million barrels of crude oil, valued at US$40 billion, over ten times Guyana’s entire economy (GDP). The elation of Guyana’s newly-elected government was short-lived. Within weeks, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro issued a decree claiming sovereignty over the ExxonMobil’s drill site along with the rest of Guyana’s territorial waters off the Essequibo region. [That Guyana should keep it in the ground is another story.]

Venezuela persists in a belief that the entire region west of the Essequibo River, including the islands in the river, is rightfully theirs. With over 50,000 square miles of savanna and forest cover, the Essequibo Region makes up about two-thirds of Guyana’s total territory. Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week


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350.org - Plan for The Road Through Paris

350.org Global Climate Plan for Paris 2015

Add Your Voice to “The Road Through Paris”

2015 is on track to be the hottest year in recorded history, and this December hundreds of world governments will meet in Paris to try to strike a global climate agreement. It will be the biggest gathering of its kind since 2009…
Learn more about 350.org’s plan “The Road Through Paris.”

“What My Father Believed” – Poem by John Guzlowski


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Syrian Refugees at Railway Station in Budapest - Hungary - September 2015

Syrian Refugees at Railway Station in Budapest – Hungary – September 2015
Photo Credit: Daily Mail UK / Reuters

My Poetry Corner September 2015 features the poem “What My Father Believed” by Polish-American poet John Guzlowski. Born in a refugee camp in Germany after World War II, he was three years old when he came with his parents and five-year-old sister to the United States in 1951 as Displaced Persons (DPs).

In his poem, “I Dream of My Father as He Was When He First Came Here Looking for Work,” Guzlowski writes:

I woke up at the Greyhound Station
in Chicago, and my father stands there,
strong and brave, the young man of my poems,
a man who can eat bark and take a blow
to the head and ask you if you have more.
Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week


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Climate Leaders Don’t Drill The Arctic

Climate Leaders Don’t Drill the Arctic. Talking about the urgency of climate change while allowing massive fossil fuel extraction isn’t leadership, it’s hypocrisy. Science says we must not burn 80% of known fossil fuel reserves, including all Arctic oil. President Obama, to lead on climate, you must Keep It In The Ground.
~ CREDO Action Petition

Thanks to blogger JoAnn at Aware & Fair for sharing this video.


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