Sanctuary

Mark A. Murphy

 

Every night you open in me a fountain

of forbidden words,

words like love and sadness and freedom

and though none or few

(too few to make a difference)

shall listen to those troubled words,

the words must be written

lest the present should ever be forgotten.

 

While the generals celebrate

and the rulings of state empower the rich,

we are never far from the troubled lives of the poor,

or the boys in uniform, the uneasy killers –

who write their final letters home.

It is not possible to say when the war will end,

or count the dead in such a way

as to bring any comfort to the living.

 

You say, ‘get up, do not be afraid,

write your poems, my love.’

And there it is again, the struggle

to be one’s self, the customary carnage,

the struggle to speak the truth.

What man will raise his arms in defiance –

raise his head above the hole

he has spent years digging for himself?

 

Every night you free me

from the disapproval of my fellow poets

whose ancient belief in the natural order of things

condones the ‘war of all against all.’

And so we return once more to forbidden words,

words like peace and justice and brotherhood –

even these words must be written

albeit against the stream.

 

 

please see Author, Mark A. Murphy’s bio in his additional works for CWPJ and on the Author’s page.

 

The Life of Poetry

David Kherdian

 

Any biography must be divided into two parts; the years prior to 16, which are unconscious, or consciousness opening, and the years after 16, which are invented. We believe what we say, especially when we write what we claim is the truth. Aside from writing, what I have done since that age of 16 is irrelevant, no matter how damaging it may have been, and supposedly real on that account. It is my early  life that concerns me, but it is very nearly impossible to talk about this life except perhaps as art, because that is the dimension it most nearly approximates. What we know as growing children is instinctive and inseparable from our ecology, because we are controlled then by sun and tides, and our moods are more animal than human. The delicate thread then was not the dichotomy between fantasy and reality, family and solitary wandering, but my own unknowable relation to the sun and plants, and the mysterious upstream movement of fish (that I followed with such rapture and attention as to become fish myself), that determined the flow and current of my own life. This is the world we forfeit when we acquire adulthood, and this is the world of the unconscious that only children and artists know about. And it is as an artist that I am returning to what was once mine by birthright.Therefore, I have no biography worth telling as exterior event, and I will not tell that biography until it becomes the equivalent of and moves parallel to my own created life, which is poetry. I find in my writing that I gain the future by reclaiming and making whole the past. Only poetry can do this for me, because only through poetry can I achieve a working relationship with my unconscious, which gives shapes and forms to periods lived in chaos and ignorance. It takes years to understand an experience and a lifetime to know who we are. Therefore, in this true sense, all of  my writing is autobiographical because my own story, when truly told, becomes everyone’s.

 

 

David Kherdian is the author of 69 books: poetry, novels, biographies, memoirs, anthologies, bibliographies, retellings, translations, and children’s books (many illustrated by his Caldecott award winning wife, Nonny Hogrogian), which include a narrative biography of the Buddha, a retelling of the Asian classic Monkey,10 poetry anthologies, including his major groundbreaking anthology: Settling America: Fourteen Ethnic American Poets; Forgotten Bread: Armenian American Writers of the First Generation. His biography of his mother’s childhood and survival of the Armenian genocide, The Road From Home, was a Newbery Honor book, among other awards and prizes, and was nominated for the American Book Award. Kherdian’s forthcoming book is titled, Gatherings: From the Selected Writings of David Kherdian.

 

 

 

SPEAK

Faiz Ahmed Faiz with Translation by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

 

Speak out
for your lips are not slaves
Speak out
for your tongue is yours yet
And body strong yet
Speak out
     Your life
        is still yours

At the blacksmith’s
How swift the flame
          how red the iron
Locks are slackening their jaws
Fetters are dropping to the ground
Speak out
This meager time is enough
Before death snatches your body
                                              your tongue
 

Speak
For truth is alive yet
Speak
        Speak your heart out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAIZ AHMED FAIZ

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was one of the greatest of Pakistani poets in the 20th century. He spent his life as a writer working for the good of Pakistan and its people, often being so critical of the  prevailing governments that he was imprisoned for many years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shadab Zeest Hashmi’s poetry has appeared in various publications including Poetry International, Hubbub, New Millenuem Writings, Nimrod and  The Bitter Oleander. Her work has also been published online in The Courtland Review as well as other places. She is the author of the newly released book of poems The Baker of Tarifa.