Thursday, May 5, 2016

Poetry Friday - More POV

            Wonders of poetry can be found at all the links this first May Poetry Friday, hosted today by Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children.

            My mind fills with the different points of view that I observed this past week in the latest election frenzy. The message from some appears to be that different groups of people will not be welcome here in the U.S. I hope that those who disagree will work hard to let others know that not everyone feels that way, no, not at all. Yet, I see that others do have strong points of view, and I am trying to understand why although I disagree.
             My mind works to find the words to combat the rhetoric. Sometimes I feel a bit helpless. This time, it seems that we need action, stepping up before we vote to show we want our country to include everyone. Using fear, anger and prejudice is not the path I want our country to follow. I've long committed to reading and sharing diverse literature, in my past classrooms, and now with my grandchildren. And as I was raised, I continue to be kind and welcoming to everyone, to be sure that no one feels excluded or disrespected. 

     I've used this poem several times through the years for discussions with students. It is startling in its brevity, can be examined in several ways See what you think.  You can read more about Mitsuye Yamada here at the Poetry Foundation. She and her family were interned at a relocation camp during World War II, and she has written about this experience in both her first book of poetry, Camp Notes and Other Poems,  and her more recent one, Desert Run: Poems and Stories, including poems with feminist leanings, too.  

The poem:

Looking Out
          Mitsuye Yamada

It must be odd
to be a minority
he was saying.


         the  entire poem is here.


35 comments:

  1. In these politically charged times I long to buy some property and build a cabin in the middle of some great woods. No TV, no internet - just books of poems and stories, good food and a sharp pencil. Thank you for your thoughts and for the poem. xo

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    1. Your idea sounds quite wonderful, Irene. I'm trying hard to "be" in the woods some of the time. But then, I know I can't ignore and just be hopeful. Thanks.

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    2. Oh, Irene, I like that cabin in the woods, but it does need internet. Where would we be without this community of friends?

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  2. You and Tabatha are on the same wave length this week. We're all trying to understand the philosophy of exclusion that's taken such a strong hold this election season. What a thought provoking poem, which, as you said, can be taken in different ways. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome, Jama, understanding would be helpful.

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  3. Linda, my friend and I have a rule when we are in social gatherings - no politics. I live in a house divided. My husband who has a financial background likes Trump for his business sense. Need I say more. Thanks for the poem. I am confounded by man's inhumanity for man.

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    1. As I wrote, Carol, always trying to understand others.

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  4. Linda, thanks for sharing that poem. I love a sharp, packed, little firecracker of a poem!

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  5. Succinct and wise, unlike a certain someone running for President. I've stopped watching the news for now - it's too depressing and frustrating.

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    1. It is hard to watch, but I want to understand why this election year has been such a surprise too.

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  6. Interesting poem. Interesting comments. I am glad we don't all have to think alike yet.

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    1. I hope we never all have to think alike, Donna, just to be able to listen to others, and respect the differences.

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    2. Exactly! We don't see much of that now. Sad.

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    3. I know. It's not going to be an easy election to watch.

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  7. Linda,
    Thank you for bring political issues to poetry. I enjoyed the reading of this poem. Great for discussion and very thought provoking. I hope that others will agree that the internment camps were not our finest moment as a nation. So many people got rich off the suffering (loss of land, income, freedom) of a people who had worked to make our nation strong.
    And I do agree with you, I prefer inclusion to exclusion--everyone should be welcome. Diversity (of races, and opinions) is what makes us strong and compassionate.
    Thank you for letting me know about a poet I wasn't familiar with.

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    1. You're welcome, Joy. I have enjoyed sharing this poem over the years, and today, too. If only we could step into others' shoes sometime to try to understand their POV.

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  8. This poem is poignant and relevant today, and as you said, "startling in its brevity" - so true. Thanks for sharing, Linda! =)

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    1. You're welcome, Bridget. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  9. Thanks for sharing and finding comfort in a poem to help us muddle through some very uncertain turns of events.

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    1. You're welcome, Mandy, seeing the other sides is important so we can make good decisions, too.

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  10. Linda, these are difficult times. I like your thinking that perhaps it's important for us to speak up now. How do we foster an attitude of kindness in our current political climate? So much seems to have gone awry. Thanks for your thoughts and the poem.

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    1. Thanks, Ramona. I am hoping for improved interactions between people, and will help where I can find places to help.

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  11. Here in Canada we are dealing with a raging fire one province over. Fort MacMurray, a city of 80,000 had to evacuate almost at a moment's notice. Needless to say, people are in shock. Where the evacuees end up, many pitch in to help. One of the most touching stories of wanting to help was from the Syrian refugees, newly arrived in Canada. The Syrian community in Calgary have so little but are raising money and doing all they can because they relate to losing everything and because they welcome a chance to pay back the generosity they've received.

    I admit I've had mixed feelings about our new prime minister's refugee policy. But hearing about this response from them gives me a better perspective of what happens when you risk on the side of kindness and generosity.

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    1. I've been watching news about the fire, so terrible. We've had our own huge ones here in Colorado, but never like this one. I am sorry for that terrible loss that continues. Thanks for sharing your story, Violet. I know that we never know what others will contribute unless we let them try.

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  12. Thanks for joining our Poetry Friday gathering and for sharing this thought-provoking and timely poem.

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    1. You're welcome, Sylvia. It's a poem to consider for sure.

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  13. The poem is very poignant. POV, indeed.

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  14. Every day I send a little prayer to the heavens that we, as a country, will not go there. It's a frightening prospect that people can simply get used to the hatred, like they get used to the violence– that people can warp reality, POV as it were, to see what they want to see. And IMHO, this is where the media drops the ball big time, by validating this sort of behavior. Ah well. I hope you enjoy your Mother's Day, Linda. No politics today. :)

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    1. I just read a piece about the media not covering the most important things, too, Michelle. Thanks for the wishes!

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  15. I do wish the parties would put aside the rhetoric of fear and division and remember that we are all human with unique voices and something to offer. Great poem from a difficult chapter when fear and division were commonplace.

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    1. I'm wishing that, too, Brenda. Thanks for your comment.

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  16. Hi there Linda, I've been following the US elections quite closely too seeing that we have family there. But the Philippine elections really did take out a piece of my soul, I thought. While I am at peace now with the results, I still am grieving.

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    1. I've read of some of those elections because you've shared on FB, Myra. Our election times are alarming, too.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!