Sunday, June 15, 2014

Repost: Mimesis

Here is a poem that I featured on Poetry Sunday not quite a year ago - in July of last year. I found it particularly meaningful then. In the light of current news, it may be even more meaningful today. So, while I am on the road, here it is again. I hope you find it meaningful, also.

*~*~*~*

On July 9, the local Houston Chronicle featured a story about a local poet, Fady Joudah. Joudah is a Palestinian-American, a physician, husband and father, and all of these roles inform his poetry. He has a new volume of poetry, Alight, out this year.

I admit I had not heard of Joudah before, but I was touched by some of the examples of his poetry that were included in the story and, in particular, this one:

Mimesis
by Fady Joudah


My daughter
            wouldn't hurt a spider
That has nested
Between her bicycle handles
For two weeks
She waited
Until it left of its own accord

If you tear down the web I said
It will simply know
This isn't a place to call home
And you'd get to go biking

She said that's how others
Become refugees isn't it? 

This poem is powerful for me first because I have two daughters who would do that. And secondly because of the girl's reasoning and her understanding of the situation as expressed in that final question, "She said that's how others become refugees isn't it?"

In those few words, she identifies one of the major tragedies of the human race - our tendency to disregard the rights of others when they conflict with what we see as our own. And so we push them out, make them refugees, condemn them to lives with no place they can call home. What we fail to realize is that when someone more powerful comes along, they will evict us. We will become the "others" who are "refugees." And so the sad cycle continues. 

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