THE RETURN OF PRIMORDIAL NIGHT
the ghosts of our parents search vainly
for wildflowers near the beach at Big Sur
they were deaf to the threat in thunder,
but we were struck by lightning,
heaved in the rain and waves and
the overflow from the melting ice
the computers went down
their screens black as the wicked water,
in whirling chaos they morphed into drums
every fetus turned in the womb,
the men went to the mountain tops
and the women sheltered in caves
the souls of saints and sinners
were run through a cosmic wash cycle
after the spin dry, a new wisdom
but the shades of our parents remain,
they’re waiting for us at Big Sur,
waiting by the Santa Lucia Mountains
- Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day)
My idea of Environmental Justice is consideration for generations coming up behind us. Hence this poem. I chose to write it as a Science Fiction, a genre often remarkably prescient. J.D.
© 2012, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Painting ~ La Nuit by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 - 1905) in the public domain.
This week, as The Bardo Group Beguines prepare for 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC), we are doing a little something different for you. Here is a writing prompt from Priscilla Galasso and Steve Wiencek, the leads on the September issue of The BeZine, which is themed in line with our 100TPC event.
The BeZine is currently open for submissions for the September 15 issue (September 10, submission deadline) that will focus on Environmental Justice, which is also the theme of our 100 Thousand Poets (and friends*) for Change virtual event on September 24. In order to propel the discussion into deeper focus from the outset, we invite and encourage contributing authors to ponder a few things about their perspective and their voice on this topic.
When we talk about Justice, it is sometimes assumed that people will agree on what is 'the right thing to do'. However, as with anything else, our decision-making about Justice is influenced by our values, by the things that we deem 'special', 'important', or 'sacred'. I propose that there are (at least) three categories of valued environments, or 'Holy Ground': Nature, Place and Community. Think about these three different arenas and how you see Justice being applied to them.
For example, if Community is your value, you may feel that Environmental Justice has to do with how people are impacted and how human activity creates change. If Place is your value, then questions about Justice probably will involve a particular area with borders of a physical or conceptual nature. It may be that feelings of injustice are felt in terms of 'This, not That' or 'Us, not Them' or in a desire to see a Place resist change. If Nature is your value, then you may see Justice in more fluid terms as the balance of resources between producers/consumers and prey/predator is in a state of constant flux with perhaps no ultimate goal.
So, as you sit down to write about Environmental Justice in your unique voice, identify your values. Perhaps use the lenses of Nature, Place and Community to focus. What is important to you? Why? How does it affect your decision-making? What factors impact this 'sacred' ground? How do different cultural models or systems impact your cherished home? What feelings arise in you - what empathy for Living Things or Living Habitats? What fears?
Thank you for spending time with these concepts and these questions. Your presence, your life energy, and your embodiment of love is a gift that we are privileged and honored to receive. Please, share your thoughts, your words and pictures with us!
- What started as a poets’ event in 2011 now includes artists, photographers, musicians, drummers, mimes, dancers, arts lovers and other peacemakers. Neither the September issue of The BeZine nor the 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) virtual event to be held here on September 24 are restricted to poetry.
- Send Zine submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than September 10. For the 100TPC event, work can be shared in the comments section and via Mister Linkey. Michael Dickel, 100TPC Master of Ceremonies, will provide direction for sharing in his blog post on the 24th. All work will be archived on the site and at Standford University.
- Feel free also to post comments, work in progress and questions in the comments section here today.
-- Priscilla Galasso and Steve Wiencek, The BeZine, contributing editors
© 2016, prompt text and photograph, Priscilla Galasso and Steve Wiencek, All rights reserved.
- Invitation . . . and reminder
- If We Were Rioting in 120 Countries, You'd See Us on the 6 p.m. News; We're not, so here's everything you need to know about 100,000 Poets (and Friends) for Change
- The BeZine 100TPC Commemorative Collection, 2014
- The BeZine 100TPC Commemorative Collection, 2015
- Michael Dickel's report back from the Salerno Conference