Posted by: Viola | December 3, 2014

Words for the future

Long after wars are gone, what remains? There is the trauma. The memory of war. There are the tangible legacies, for sure. The destruction. The reconstruction. The new borders. The new names for places and people. The new languages, of the tongue and of the heart. The sense of a before and an after. And then there are the lasting words and their journey into the future. The words used to talk about things. To document and name things. The words used to tell stories. And long after many legacies of war have faded into the distant past, those words and stories remain. The words might change, might harden or soften, but they remain. Words die hard or never die. It’s true. Or at least, I believe it is. That words are lasting things. I’ve used many words. And I remember my words. I forget some, but I remember quite a few. I know my words of anger. Words of sorrow. I know my words of war. And then I know my words of joy and peace and love. I know my words of hope and healing. Sometimes, when I see the news, I have to force myself to say opposite words. Instead of death, I try to say peace. I try to say compassion and reason and peace. I try to imagine that for every act of cruelty, for every sort of brutal terrorism, there is an act of peace and an act of forgiveness. I tell myself that for every person forced to take up a gun and kill, for every person who is not forced to but chooses to kill, there is a person who chooses to take up a pen and write a poem. That for every act of violence, there is an act of artistic and uplifting and healing creativity. Perhaps more. If I am right, then there are just as many warriors for love and peace across the globe as we might need to make the world a better place.

“We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped.”   ~ Harriet Tubman


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