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A Prayer for Children


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By Alfred G Buselt

The Genesis of Mother’s Day

The O’Leary: “Beautiful”


The genesis of Mother’s Day in the U.S.A. began when Anna Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker, organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community.

Fifteen years later, Julia Ward Howe, a Boston poet, pacifist, suffragist, and author of the lyrics to the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” organized a day encouraging mothers to rally for peace.

As mothers bear the loss of human life more acutely than anyone else, in 1870, Julia Ward Howe wrote the first Mother’s Day Proclamation, from which I excerpt:

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor; nor violence indicate possession. At the summons of war let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace;
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar;
But of God.

Caesar today can be understood as the Government Industrial Military Security/Surveillance Complex, which would collapse in support of Peace and Nonviolence.
In the 21st century, patriarchal ‘civilization’ persists in the insanity of violence for violence and we in the USA are responsible for most all of the world’s manufacturing, use of, and exporting of weapons of all degrees of destruction, which terrorize every innocent caught in the crossfire.

In 1999, the UN dedicated the first decade of the 21st century to Create a Culture of Nonviolence for All Children of The World.

America abstained from voting on the initiative and is on the record in the UN as stating: “We cannot support this initiative as it will make it harder for us to wage war.”
The hearts and minds that require the most transformation are the ones that hold the most power; but power never gives any away without a fierce battle.
Gandhi spoke about how personal nonviolence is not much use to society until one weds society to political action. It is not enough to speak TRUTH to power because power doesn’t care; but history proves that the most hopeless situations all of a sudden just changed for the best because forces for justice had persisted and had truth on their side….

Peace must begin in an individuals heart, for Peace is who you are and what you do:

Arise then, from the voice of a devastated Earth,
With a voice in solidarity that demands Disarm! Disarm!
For the sword of murder is not the balance of justice.
And blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
let all people of good will and of conscience bewail and commemorate the dead,
And may the great human family in nonviolent solidarity live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress,
NOT of Caesar; But of God,
And Know This:

Over 1,360,000 Iraqis will never see their mothers again due to the U.S. invasion upon them.

Military personnel who were sent to Iraq and whose mothers will never see them again has been officially acknowledged at over 4,700. And over 1,740, have also been slaughtered in Afghanistan.

American Tax Payers have paid over $990 TRILLION to make War in Iraq & Afghanistan and we the people have provided The Costs to American Taxpayers to sustain the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict tops $3 Trillion.
eileen fleming, author, founder and producer “30 Minutes with Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu”


The Poem


Evasive Action  

by Charlie Smith
…the clipped possessive moment, the barber on his porch
cutting his son’s hair, who looks for a second straight into the sun
and then back at his son’s head now a golden, nodulous remnant,
a flower if he likes or Lenin’s bumpy skull, he puts his scissors down
and goes inside and apologizes to his wife, who doesn’t understand,
but who accepts his words like a private harvest she’s storing up,
and then the son, who’s going into the army, comes in, half cut,
and sees them and thinks he understands years of bickering,
but doesn’t, and goes on to the battlefield where he writes his sister
saying we are not far from the truth of things, watching beyond his hand
two scorpions pick at each other, and thinks of days by the river, of his
father recovering from cancer, singing a song his grandmother memorized in…..Vienna
and his father, who hated his own mother, cursing her, revoking the song,
and the next moment he’s blown apart and then sent home in a metal coffin
and the parents and the sister get up early on the day of his funeral
and eat breakfast silently on the porch, and this is going on barber after barber.


I Come With Three Wounds.

Las tres heridas, a poem by Miguel Hernández, sung by Joan Baez

From the album “Gracias a la vida” 1974


Britain’s Got Talent 2009, The Final


Susan Boyle on Britain Got Talent


In her own words:

“I was born with a disability and that made me a target for bullies. I was called names because of my fuzzy hair and because I struggled in class. I told the teachers, but because it was more verbal than physical I could never prove anything. But words often hurt more than cuts and bruises and the scars are still there. I still see the kids I went to school with because we all live in the same area. They’re all grown up with children of their own. But look at me now – I’ve got the last laugh…Mum loved the show and used to tell me I should put my name down and that I’d win it if I did. But I never thought I was good enough. It was only after she died that I plucked up the courage to enter. It was a very dark time and I suffered depression and anxiety. But out of the darkness came light. I realised I wanted to make her proud of me and the only way to do that was to take the risk and enter the show.”

I love to see us common folk seize the moment!



I Met the Walrus

“I Met the Walrus” was nominated for Best Animated Short at the 2008 Oscars. Loren Lankford of Paste Magazine writes: “In 1969, 14-year-old Beatles fan Jerry Levitan tracked his idol, John Lennon, from a Toronto airport to his room at the King Edward Hotel. Inside, he convinced Lennon to do an impromptu interview. Thirty-eight years later, Levitan teamed with director Josh Raskin to create and edit a five-minute short film entitled ‘I Met the Walrus’ based on the interview.


The Tractor Driver or the Pothead?

By RHODA JANZEN, NYT Magazine, September 13, 2009


Cosmic forces have a way of turning up the heat to make us change. Nothing gets your attention, for example, like being ditched by your husband for a guy he met on, or having your car totaled by an inebriated youth six days later. Had I done anything to deserve these things? Nothing. I ran six miles a day and made my own yogurt! But when your husband is out canoodling with a dude, the thing to do is pack your bags and head home for a while, even if home is a Mennonite community 3,000 miles away in California and at 43 you’re no longer a practicing Mennonite.

Mennonites, by the way, are not the Amish, although both espouse simplicity, nonviolence and cabbage. And unlike the Amish, most Mennonites drive cars. Which is how my mom and I got to Circuit City one afternoon a few days after my arrival in late 2006.

We were in the customer-service line. Weary consumers clutched their disappointments, but my mother was in her usual cheerful spirits. The presence of strangers eight inches away notwithstanding, she suddenly said, “If there aren’t any single men where you are, I know someone for you.”


“Your cousin Mark — he’s a professor in Nova Scotia,” she said earnestly. “And he has a beach house.”

According to Mom, Mark (his middle name) and I had something in common: I teach college, too. And we had something else in common: grandparents. “Mark is my first cousin,” I said. “That’s both incestuous and weird.”

My Mennonite mother considered this. “Well,” she said, “I think it should be fine if you don’t have kids. You can adopt. Mark would make a terrific father. You should see him with his nephews.”

I had no idea how to reply. Maybe now was a good time to mention that, with my husband gone three months, I had already been out on a couple of dates. This new guy wasn’t the love of my life, but I had lowered the bar, see. He wasn’t Mr. Right, but he was Mr. Straight.

Mom was disappointed, but she took it in stride. “What’s your fellow like?”

I was too emotionally battered to utter polite fibs. “He’s a slacker, really. A relaxed pothead. He wears pajamas to Target.”

“Oh.” She nodded supportively. “A relaxed pothead sounds nice.”

It made sense, I suppose, that a woman who would promote endogamous marriage would not blink at a pothead. “Maybe my cousin smokes a little weed,” I said speculatively (although I’d bet my few remaining assets that he does not).

“No,” Mom said. “Mark would never do weed! He drives a tractor! In his spare time!”

“How does driving a tractor prevent you from smoking weed?”

By now several people in line were eavesdropping.

“If you drive a tractor in your spare time,” my mother said firmly, “it means that you have a strong work ethic, which is probably why Mark has had the gumption to earn himself a nice beach house.”

“Surely he doesn’t drive his tractor on the beach?”

“No! He drives it at his parents’, of course! He gives the nephews rides.”

“Oh! I thought that he was working on the tractor!”

“Mark works very hard,” Mom said. “You know perfectly well that a tractor can be hard work and fun too. Like marriage.”

One of the best things about Mom is that she will follow you anywhere, conversationally speaking. “Mom,” I said, “would you rather marry a pleasant pothead or your first cousin on a tractor? Both are associate professors.”

“You marry your pothead if you like,” she said, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

“Hey!” I said, indignant. “How do you know the pothead doesn’t serve the Lord?”

“I think that the Lord appreciates a man on a tractor more than a man smoking marijuana in his pajamas,” Mom said earnestly. “I know I do.”

“O.K., O.K.,” I said, as we neared the counter. “I give up. I will marry Cousin Mark. Just as soon as he asks me. You’ll be our first guest at the beach house in Nova Scotia. But I’m warning you now, there’s gonna be a little weed on your pillow. Instead of a mint.”

She chuckled comfortably. “That’s O.K. I don’t like mints.”

Rhoda Janzen is the author of the memoir, “Mennonite in a Little Black Dress,” which is being published next month. This essay is adapted from the book.

“In a sense America is dying from within, because they forgot the instructions on how to live on earth.”
– Floyd (Red Crow) Westerman (August 17, 1936 December 13, 2007), Dakota musician, activist and actor


Seamus Heaney Reflects On His Life In Verse

Huffington Post

This past week, Seamus Heaney was awarded the prestigious David Cohen prize for his life’s work in poetry. It gave Heaney (who turns 70 next month) the chance to reflect on his career, and gives us the chance to as well. The ceremony, interestingly, called for Heaney to select two poems that sum up his work. He was upfront about the difficulty of this: ” I have a slight problem in knowing how to represent a lifetime of poems by reading only a couple of them.”

It was no doubt a tough task for the Nobel Laureate. Born to farmers in rural County Derry in Northern Ireland, Heaney’s life changed dramatically at the age of 12 when he earned a scholarship to a local Catholic boarding school, an opportunity he would later describe as moving from “the earth of farm labour to the heaven of education.” His poetry is often occupied with the gap–and the bridge–between such an earth and heaven, and I was a little surprised that he didn’t choose a poem addressing that theme, such as the well-known “Digging,” wherein he compares his father’s labor (”by God, the old man could handle a spade. /Just like his old man”) to the work he does with his pen.

Instead, Heaney chose two poems which speak to the poetic process: the short lyric poem “Underground” and the sonnet “A Drink of Water.” “Underground” recounts a moment when Heaney and his new bride ran to catch a concert at Royal Albert Hall. He conflates the memory with a series of mythological allusions:

There we were in the vaulted tunnel running,
You in your going-away coat speeding ahead
And me, me then like a fleet god gaining
Upon you before you turned to a reed

Or some new white flower japped with crimson
As the coat flapped wild and button after button
Sprang off and fell in a trail
Between the Underground and the Albert Hall.

Honeymooning, moonlighting, late for the Proms,
Our echoes die in that corridor and now
I come as Hansel came on the moonlit stones
Retracing the path back, lifting the buttons

To end up in a draughty lamplit station
After the trains have gone, the wet track
Bared and tensed as I am, all attention
For your step following and damned if I look back.

Heaney chose “Underground”, in part, “in gratitude for all that London and the people I have known in London have given by way of literary inspiration and confirmation.” Given the circumstances, one can also read it as a comment on nostalgia. Perhaps Heaney, retracing his career, is returning more solemnly to scenes of passion, in which case the phrase “damned if I look back,” a nod to the myth of Orpheus, takes on a very different meaning. But I like best how the poem speaks to the poetic process. Specifically, how the poet revisits the vivid scene portrayed in the first two stanzas in the relative tranquility of the last two: “lifting the buttons…After the trains have gone, the wet track/ Bared and tensed as I am, all attention”. The poem enacts the Wordsworthian idea of poetry as emotion recollected in tranquility.

Heaney’s second choice, “A Drink of Water,” also speaks to the poetic process. In this case, it’s the act of finding inspiration from an unlikely muse:

She came every morning to draw water
Like an old bat staggering up the field:
The pump’s whooping cough, the bucket’s clatter
And slow diminuendo as it filled,
Announced her. I recall
Her gray apron, the pocked white enamel
Of the brimming bucket, and the treble
Creak of her voice like the pump’s handle.
Nights when a full moon lifted past her gable
It fell back through her window and would lie
Into the water set out on the table.
Where I have dipped to drink again, to be
Faithful to the admonishment on her cup,
Remember the Giver fading off the lip.

Heaney told his audience that “A Drink of Water” is in some ways about “receiving a gift and being enjoined to ‘remember the giver’,” but that he also intended for water to symbolize poetic inspiration:

“The old lady in the poem was a neighbour, a crone, as she might have been described, who lived on her own, down the fields from us,” he said. “To us kids she had a certain witch-like aura, but in the poem she becomes more like a muse offering the cup of poetry to the child incertus.”

Incertus, a Latin word that roughly translates to uncertain, is also the pseudonym under which Heaney published his first poems. The Nobel Prize winning poet should, by now, at least, be sure of the success of his life’s work.


A Celebration of the Life of Rusty Gates



Poem from the Rooftops of Iran

Friday Evening, June 19, Tehran

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