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Voices Communique: War & the Environment   :)


War and the Environment   :)

April 22 marked Earth Day, and all over the world people have commemorated the day with celebrations caring for the earth.  In fact, in many places, the entire month of April has come to be a time when concerned individuals show their gratitude for nature and the splendors of the earth.  In many parts of the world, caring for the earth is troublesome and tedious because of the ravages of war.  Ever since the Romans salted the fields of Carthage to impede the growth of crops contemporary armies have brought forth much more havoc and long-lasting devastation to the earth as a result of modern warfare. 

The devastation of infrastructures have weakened and destroyed water supplies and even contaminated valuable drinking water. In some areas ground water has become contaminated. Landmines alone have forced immeasurable amounts of acreage unusable for agriculture, economic and recreation. This fact overridden by the horrendous loss of life and limbs for hundreds of thousands of victims. Today, as in the case of Iraq, people have been forced to cut down excessive numbers of trees to replace much needed fuel due to the destruction of public service utilities.

While treaties are signed and the armistice celebrated, the dead buried and survivors wait for their nightmares to end, the earth continues to cry for decades as it struggles to heal its wounds of war. The poems that follow offer a reflection to extend our perspective of the earth as a victim of war.

After the Wars
The soldiers have gone, the villagers return
The snows have ceased, the flowers are opening up
Last year's yellowed grass still stands
Smoke puffs again from the little hamlets
Tired rats squeak among the empty walls
Starving crows peck in the barren fields
I seem to hear people muttering:
'The taxman's coming round again'.

(Xin Yuan, Chinese poet, 13th century, translated by John Scott.)

Excerpt from Nikolai Kluyev's "There Is No Land Left"
The news was black:
that there was no home land left,
as if there were no cherries in October,
when the darkness outside
decides the heart is an axe
that will heat the shivering house,
but the logs don't obey the axe
and howl at the moon.
It's painful when the heart sinks,
but your grey-haired mother is a friend.
How terrifying, to crucify a poem!
The news burned into our souls,
there is no home land left,
the rippling waves of the Aral sea in dead ooze,
Gritsko is silent in the Ukraine,
and the North, that frozen swan,
has flowed out onto the shelterless waves,
notifying the ships
that there is no home land left.

Read the full poem, and more, on our blog.

Call for Submissions: Waging Peace
Voices will be producing an on-line booklet, Waging Peace, to celebrate the International Day of Peace in September. We are asking for contributions from our members of poems, narratives, quotes, photographs and pictures. Please join My Voice to submit your entries:

1. Go to My Voice.

2. Click the Sign Up link in the upper right and create an account for yourself. It's free and should take 30 seconds.

3. Once you're in, go ahead and join one of the groups we've created (Veterans, Artists, etc.). You can get to them from the Community menu along the top.

4. Add your poem, essay, etc. Under the Media menu along the top, choose Blogs. On the page that loads, you should see a button that looks like a green plus sign next to Add a Blog Post. Click it and you're good to go: add your submission to the editor and click the Publish button in the bottom right corner of the page once you're done.

Here is a submission from one of our members, Judyth Hill.

Wage Peace

Wage peace with your breath.

Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists
and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.

Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.

Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.

Play music, memorize the words for thank you in three languages.

Learn to knit, and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief
as the out breath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.

Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious:

Have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Celebrate today.

Judyth Hill is a stand-up poet, teacher of poetry, and author, who lives outside San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

This message was sent from Voices Education Project.  It was sent from: Voices in Wartime Education Project, 4509 Interlake Ave. N. #263, Seattle, WA 98103

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