On Understanding

Paul Nash culture24.org.uk

Paul Nash     culture24.org.uk

The child in Istanbul
falls asleep to sounds
of gunfire in the streets
without understanding
the politics of power
the concepts of coup

Outside Damascus
an old man has tea
amid shattered rubble
a garden once flowers
turned back to dust
sons gone off to war

Out on the open sea
women and children
crammed like sardines
into an old fishing boat
sail in slow darkness
to barb`wired shores

   The world is no friend of grace
   Peace is woven out of suffering

“We shouldn’t read to understand history or politics or culture,
but to understand the human condition.” ~ Harold Bloom


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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5 Responses to On Understanding

  1. another day for tearful reflections – I think Bloom had you in mind


  2. Cheryl Ruffing says:

    I don’t know what distresses me more: these horror-filled situations themselves or the good intentions/evil designs/exploitation/lack of understanding/assumptions/misplaced trust that perpetuate them. Your words are wonderfully humanizing, though, and I certainly appreciate that. Oh, and Harold Bloom: of course.


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