Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
For Molly Moore Rush
Pacifism is dangerous.
Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk
who rose above his Seven-Storey Mountain
to the Buddhist peaks of Nepal,
was electrocuted by a faulty fan
while visiting the Dalai Lama.
In his first and last filmed talk, he said:
Now I will disappear for a while,
and we can all go get a Coke or something.
And he did—yet reappears
when anyone relives his revelation
at Louisville’s 4th and Walnut:
I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts…
If only we could see each other that way
all the time. There would be no more war…
Beauty the secret missed by surveillance,
blacked out like lines in a classified file.
Unseen in those opposed to the U.S. war in Iraq
left-wing…advocating…many political causes
appear[ing] to be of Middle Eastern descent.
The war against terrorism makes the world blind
to Merton’s radical belief that if we truly saw
we might fall down and worship each other.
Now freedom will disappear for a while,
and we can all go get a Coke or something
From Arab on Radar (Six Gallery Press). Copyright 2008 Angele Ellis.