Monday, November 5, 2007

An Ode to America: The World Will Dare to Love You

By: Fatemeh Keshavarz

Fatemeh Keshavarz is Professor and Chair of the Washinton University Department of Asian & Near Eastern Languages & Literatures. She is the author of Jasmine and Stars: Reading more than Lolita in Tehran, and writes a regular email newsletter, Windows on Iran. She read this poem at the No War, No Warming rally in downtown St. Louis on October 20, 2007.

Your tall buildings, the night’s reachable stars
Your vast supermarkets, neat flower shops
Your brightly colored fast cars on gliding highways
Your big guns
They all work

And yet, you must understand the beauty in simple things
That’s how you started
And you must understand that
It has come, once more, to simple things
Bread and soup will save swollen bellied kids from vultures
And shoes will help boys and girls caught in permanent wars
To hold onto their dream of walking to safety
For bare feet, no one can go far

Why scratch the face of the earth? (your own face)
Why be mighty?
When you can be married to amazement
Inviting, intriguing, the world’s light in so many ways

The war is over
It has to be
For soon there will be no peace left for anyone,
Or anyone left to look for peace

The world dares to love you
When you come with your feet humble
And your hands bare, not rifled

The world remembers how to speak
When you turn off the roaring guns
The world, with the people in it walking tall, olive-skinned, and able
Dancing in the vastness of daylight
To the rhythm of flowers bursting open – not bombs
Flowers, giddy with their own scent
The world dancing to the drumbeat of small unknown hearts

Everyone, is always a bit like you…and all the while like themselves

See them!See the suns that rise in their wake
Shedding warmth onto your long winters, the earth’s winters

Let the birds of words – loud and surprising
Take off in large numbers from your fields
As if wild lupines were growing in the palm of your hands

Not words that poison the joy of the unknown
But words that gush forth from lips and cool down
The silent wounds of anger -- like rivers in seasons of drought

Face the eastern horizon sometimes and listen
For the music of a distinct laughter

Do not steel your glance
If you come with your feet humble
And your hands bare, not rifled

The world will dare to love you.

1 comment:

Julia said...

I really like this poem, I think it's so beautiful and the imagery uses gives it a powerful message without being too political in language.