Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Nancy Henry: new book of poems

We are told that poets can't change the world - just words on a page with no power in the real world, but poems do change the world, every day, some for the better, some for the worse, but language is moving through us, all of the time.
One beautiful proof of this is Nancy Henry's new book Who You Are. She shows us that wisdom, compassion, love and a sense of justice and yes, finding just the right word, can reach into someone's soul, change the way that they see the world, the way that they act in the world, make the world a little bit better place not just for humans, but for all living creatures.
Nancy has been to places of pain, places of loss, suffering and despair, has lived through them, uses poetry as a way to look at those experiences, to talk about them, to get them outside of the body into air, light, and language, to make that language into a chant of healing, to help others confront their "moments of doubt and pain", to help us find strength, courage, creativity and heart, to live our lives in a more loving, compassionate, honest way.
These are not facile poems of shallow experience, no cute little stories with happy endings. These are poems from the hard world, poems from the heart, the soul, the deep interior, passing through a poet of wise intelligence, empathy and love.
"If she writes this poem
something might happen
that she can't control."

There is no better language than the language that heals, and these poems work in that way. Read these poems, and feel your heart change.
Gary Lawless

The book is:
Who You Are - Poems by Nancy A Henry
Sheltering Pines Press


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2:04 PM  
Blogger Montenegro said...


I leave in your hands the camel
and its load for you
to do whatever you wish

After the collapse of the towers
after the collapse of the Pentagon
all these false masks fell away
and your wrongs were exposed

The whole world
has a headache
from your hypocrisy

I repeat for the thousandth time
I don’t want an attorney
to represent me
not a military one
not a civilian volunteer
not one I could hire

British detainees
once segregated here
in the same pre-trial
prison camp
have long ago
gone home
never tried–
at the insistence
of their government

The only war crime
that I committed
for which I am being tried today,
and to which I confess
is my nationality

I am a citizen
of one of the Third World Countries
as you classify it

My crime is that I
am a Sudanese citizen

One day we will all stand together
in front of the divine court
where Allah will judge
the only just one

I will boycott
the procedures of this court

I will leave the field to you

–Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi

A courtroom illustration shows Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi of Sudan appearing before an earlier, since aborted military commission Aug. 27, 2004 in Guantanamo, Cuba. Ground rules for access to the 2004 trial required that the sketch artist not fill in his facial details. By his April 2008 arraignment, on new charges, his beard had gone white. There was no artist in the court yesterday, however, to capture the change. In his 2004 appearance, he was accused of being an al Qaeda accountant, managing the orginization’s payroll. In 2008, he was accused of being a bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Ladan.

–Miami Press Herald

It was on this day in 1945 that American troops entered the Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany (home of Goethe, KR). There had been reports of concentration camps from the field, but no American soldiers had seen the camps. Many people assumed that the reports had been anti-Nazi propaganda. But then, on this day, the American soldiers saw a concentration camp for themselves, and they became the first Allied observers of one of the worst atrocities in human history.

–Garrison Keillor
April 11, 2008

11:58 AM  

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