If peace means a willingness to be exploited economically, dominated politically, humiliated and segregated, I don’t want peace. If peace means being complacently adjusted to a deadening status quo, I don’t want peace. If peace means keeping my mouth shut in the midst of injustice and evil, I don’t want it. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but the existence of justice for all people. —Martin Luther King, Jr., Three Major Evils
I’m back with a poem in my pocket!
What am I carrying? “The Sacred” by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Stephen Dunn. The poem speaks plainly and authentically about an everyday occurrence in which we (can) find a small, sacred moment of freedom.
After the teacher asked if anyone had
a sacred place
and the students fidgeted and shrank
in their chairs, the most serious of them all
said it was his car,
being in it alone, his tape deck playing
things he’d chosen, and others knew the truth
had been spoken
and began speaking about their rooms,
their hiding places, but the car kept coming up,
the car in motion,
music filling it, and sometimes one other person
who understood the bright altar of the dashboard
and how far away
a car could take him from the need
to speak, or to answer, the key
in having a key
and putting it in, and going.
Life gets so busy, so complicated, so crazy at times that I look forward to those small moments in the car alone with my thoughts, my music, my podcasts. One of my colleagues gets in her car and drives to a parking lot to get work done. I get it. That cramped space with windows “uncurtained” is the perfect hiding place from the world.
Did you share a poem on your blog today? Be sure to drop your link in the “Comments” section below.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement, and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long overdue. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities, and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society. –from Juneteeth.com
Check out these resources for more information on Juneteenth:
- The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth | National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Google Arts and Culture | Pictorial | The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth by the National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Freedom Songs | YouTube Playlist
- Five Pieces of Juneteenth Art We Adore
- 19 Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth as a Family [written by a former student] 🙂
Have a safe and happy weekend…
To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power; it is glory on earth and it is yours for the taking. –Agnes De Mille
My friend Cy sent this amazing postcard a few weeks ago. She found this beauty in Madrid during her travels there. I fell in love with it. The lone woman dancing reminded me of my favorite part of Louis Delsarte’s mural “Spirit of Harlem.”
I’m intrigued by these women who sway their hips without apology and dance solo in spaces obviously peopled by many. It seems the musicians—equally surrendered to their muses—play only for each woman.
I don’t have their gift. As part of the “rhythmless nation,” I’m not sure I will ever dance in public.
I have been reaching for a metaphorical moment like this—of pure freedom—of yielding completely to the rhythms of life without fretting over consequences–“what ifs” or “therefores.”
I’m tuning in and working on my sway.
“The Sonnet-Ballad” by Gwendolyn Brooks
Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?
They took my lover’s tallness off to war,
Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess
What I can use an empty heart-cup for.
He won’t be coming back here any more.
Some day the war will end, but, oh, I knew
When he went walking grandly out that door
That my sweet love would have to be untrue.
Would have to be untrue. Would have to court
Coquettish death, whose impudent and strange
Possessive arms and beauty (of a sort)
Can make a hard man hesitate—and change.
And he will be the one to stammer, “Yes.”
Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?
I cannot let the day end without paying tribute to America’s veterans. The images below are from Huntsville-Madison County’s Veterans Memorial Park. The memorial, dedicated on November 11, 2011, “holds before present and future generations the principle that freedom is not free and that a free people must always be prepared to defend that freedom at whatever cost.”
On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free. –Dan Lipinski
The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. –Douglas MacArthur
America’s Veterans have served their country with the belief that democracy and freedom are ideals to be upheld around the world. –John Doolittle
It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America. Freedom is never free.” –President Barack Obama