Pearl Buck circa 1972 courtesy of Dutch National Archives, The Hague under CC BY-SA 3.0 nl license
I give you the books I’ve made,
Body and soul, bled and flayed.
Yet the essence they contain
In one poem is made plain,
In one poem is made clear:
On this earth, through far or near,
Without love there’s only fear.
Essence by Pearl Buck
Yesterday was the anniversary of Pearl Buck’s birth. She was the founder ofWelcome House for the adoption of mixed-race children, thought in her day to be unadoptable. I consider her my spiritual mother.
“. . . the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.” Pearl Buck (1892-1973).
Pearl Buck was an American novelist, writer, poet, activist, and humanitarian and the first woman to be awarded the Noble Prize in Literature (1938). She grew up in China and spent most of her life there until 1934. She had a deep affection for and knowledge of the countries of the East, not just China. She suffered through the Nanking Incident when the National Revolutionary Army captured Nanking (now Nanjing) in 1927. Many Westerners were killed, their homes destroyed, and their property stolen. Her only biological child, Carol, had phenylketonuria (PKU), which causes mental retardation and seizures.
A lone child climbing the Mexico–United States barrier fence in Brownsville, Texas courtesy of Nofx221984 and generously released into Public Domain
Pearl Buck adopted seven mixed-race children. At a time when mixed-race children were considered unadoptable, she founded Welcome House, Inc., the first international, interracial adoption agency. Welcome House placed over 7,000 children.
It’s not hard to guess at just what white-hot outrage and disappointment this patron-saint of throw-away children would have knowing about the child detention centers on the U.S. Southern border, about presidential candidates using visits there as photo opportunities, and about the separation of refugee children from their parents. She would be profounly disappointed with the election of an oligarch who lives in ignorance and obscene self-indulgence while others sleep on the street and go hungry. One can guess at her anger and sadness over the children in South and Cenral America, Africa, and the Middle East running to escape violent environments, or the use of children to serve as soldiers in the Middle East and Africa, or about the numbers of children in third-world countries who die of hunger before the age of five for the wide-world’s greed and lack of care and will.