Here is the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group:
No One Knows
1880s, western Sweden, province of Värmland.
A farm with a very long name— Buvassrönningen–
a very long name, but not enough hectares of land for
four sons and four daughters.
Buvattnet— the name of the resolute lake on the next-over property–
unassuming, quiet, Swedish, knowing where it comes from,
knowing all the way to a chance present moment,
the witness of crossings and the biddings of forever farewell.
A mother not ready to see them gone—three of her eight children,
three sons, poor and yearning.
1883, New York, poet Emma Lazarus says yes
writes a sonnet for Lady-Liberty-in-the-making,
finds a voice that welcomes the immigrant, the stranger
who does not yet know the word hope to say it
but arrives here living it loud.
1883, Buvattnet, a mother, not ready to see them gone, rows a boat–
rows her three sons across that witnessing Swedish lake, risking them over
to a new life in Minnesota that begins on the other side of that lake.
After ocean-going weeks, Farfar and two brothers–tired, poor and yearning—
press New York Harbor, all of it, against their new eyes.
Will we find our way? Will we be welcome? Will we find land to farm
in Minnesota? Will we make good lives? Will we find good wives
and have strong children? Will we ever see our home and family in Sweden again?
When will we feel like Americans who belong here?
~ ~ ~ ~
You have a right to own a gun?
I have a right to not get shot
walking on the sidewalk
driving down the street
seeing a film in a movie theater
grooving on an outdoor concert
sitting in a classroom
attending a rally
browsing in a store
going to church
flying on a plane
sipping an espresso at a cafe
waiting for a bus
holding a sign at a peaceful protest
standing in line at the P.O.
jogging through the park
hiking a mountain trail
You have the same right?
Do you want me to care that you have that right?
I do care.
Do I want you to care that I have that right?
So you and I agree here? OK. A door opens a crack,
a conversation could start
“Hello . . . how’s it going? How’s it going for you?”
I might put down that AR-15 long enough to answer that question . . .
~ ~ ~ ~ ~