A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics
post Orlando, 2016
[a small boy, a young woman, forty-nine people]
In our new world only certain words
shall be allowed.
We will still say ahimsa (Sanskrit)
meaning non-harm, love.
If we need to stroke the spirit
we shall say apapachar (Nahuatl).
If we need to remember the hidden
vulnerability of others, we shall say socha (English, new coinage).
[a boy wading, a young woman singing, people dancing]
In our new world we shall offer each other jeong
(Korean) deep affection, and we will still say ahimsa,
(Sanskrit) meaning non-harm, meaning love.
We shall think about dusa (Russian) our
inner hearts and souls, think about kokoro (Japanese)
our hearts and minds combined; we will still
say ahimsa (Sanskrit) meaning non-harm, love,
we shall remember melmastia (Arabic) the obligation
to offer sanctuary and respect, remember
our orenda (Huron) the power to change the world
in the face of the terrible; we will remember to muraqaba (Arabic)
watch over, take care of each boy, each young woman, each person,
we shall samar (Arabic) sit together in conversation at sunset,
at evening, in the ukiyo (Japanese) in the the floating
world in the transient moments of fleeting beauty
over and over we will say ahimsa, (Sanskrit)
meaning non-harm, meaning love.
[a boy drowned, a singer silenced, 49 dancers stilled]
In our new world we shall gather the beloveds,
their bodies give a cacharpaya (Spanish) a send off
for someone going away, a parea (Greek) a party
a revelry, give each of the lost Geborgenheit (German)
a feeling of safety and protection, find each
a cwtch (Welsh), a welcoming place.
And over and over we shall say pole (Swahili)
meaning “I’m sorry for your misfortune”
each to each other, pole, pole, pole
Copyright 2016 Diane Kerr.
This poem is adapted from Positive Lexicography by Tim Lomas, a London psychologist. Dr. Lomas’ glossary is a list of 450 untranslatable words from 62 languages, all having do with well-being.
The hand with a wheel on the palm symbolises the Jain Vow of Ahimsa. The word in the middle is “Ahimsa”. The wheel represents the dharmacakra which stands for the resolve to halt the cycle of reincarnation through relentless pursuit of truth and non-violence.