The Lent of the Everyday – Dunya Mikhail

Posted: April 5, 2022 in Uncategorized

Sometimes a poem is crafted in such a way that it speaks to all times as well as particular times. Such is the case with Tablets VI written by the Iraqi-American poet Dunya Mikhail. This is universal verse accomplishes much at the same time, such as telling the story of violence in Ukraine as well as stating reoccurring themes familiar to us in the Christian season of Lent. These excerpts point to all these and more.

When the sun is absent

the flower misses her

and when the absence grows long

the flower looks inside herself

for another light.

I am the plural

who walks to you

as a singular one.

Before you shoot someone

remember their mother’s eyes

will follow you wherever you go

until she drowns you in her tears.

They didn’t like his idea

so they shot him in the head.

From the hole the bullet caused

his idea will reach the world

and unfurl like a climbing plant.

Only one heart resides

in each person

but each is a train full of people

who die

when you kill

what you think is one.

The trees, like us,

resort to their roots

in times of danger.

During the pandemic

we are a forest – trees

standing alone together.

What if the guns

turn into pencils

in the hands of the soldiers

and they underline

the places on the map

as sites they must see

before they die?

  1. Paul Hartman says:

    Thank you, Tim. After hearing Uktaie’s president speak to the UN, one can scarcely imagine the how many mothers’ eyes are trained on Putin. pwh

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