Poetry Thursday

Happy Poetry Thursday!

I wanted to write something new for today, but alas, it was not meant to be. Instead, I give you this poem from Thomas Lux, which has stayed with me ever since I heard him read it as part of the Poetry Foundation's podcast series. It sums up how I've been feeling lately, especially the line "We do this, they do that," on the futility of war.

Looking forward to reading your words this week.

The People of the Other Village

hate the people of this village
and would nail our hats
to our heads for refusing in their presence to remove them
or staple our hands to our foreheads
for refusing to salute them
if we did not hurt them first: mail them packages of rats,
mix their flour at night with broken glass.
We do this, they do that.
They peel the larynx from one of our brothers’ throats.
We devein one of their sisters.
The quicksand pits they built were good.
Our amputation teams were better.
We trained some birds to steal their wheat.
They sent to us exploding ambassadors of peace.
They do this, we do that.
We canceled our sheep imports.
They no longer bought our blankets.
We mocked their greatest poet
and when that had no effect
we parodied the way they dance
which did cause pain, so they, in turn, said our God
was leprous, hairless.
We do this, they do that.
Ten thousand (10,000) years, ten thousand
(10,000) brutal, beautiful years.

~Thomas Lux


...deb said…
Beautifully said, so sad. I am most glad you posted it.

(I'm caught in the PT posting filter today.)
paris parfait said…
A very powerful and heartbreaking poem. Thanks for sharing it here.
As I have not read him, I am very glad you introduced him to me.

This hits hard...
So true, so sad. CHristopher Fry said in A Sleep Of Prisoners: "Behind us lie the thousand, and the thousand, and the thousand years, vexed and terrible. And still we use the cures which never cure. Oh God, the fabulous wings unused, folded in the heart."
wendy said…
I watched the constant gardener last night for the first time...so this poem ring very clearly with me this morning.

such a treasure trove of info you are, my dear!!!
thanks for posting this It's one of my favorites.

tumblewords said…
Thank you for posting this - seems particularly apropos at (once again) this time. Isn't it strange how small differences are much more noticeable than large samenesses?
LJCohen said…
Thank you for posting this, January. I had heard of Lux, but have never read this powerful piece.

Should be required reading for every politician.

Tammy said…
Powerful and a truth that needs repeating so it will stop. Thank you!
January said…
Tammy, I believe that the Lux poem is an older one that has recently become popular again.

Yes, it's definitely a truth that needs repeating.
January said…
Pepek, I don't know that poet buy I'll have to find the rest of the poem. Thanks for posting that excerpt.
Michelle said…
Wow -- so true and fundamentally a comment on the human condition. If only we could change . . .
Beaman said…
Interesting poem indeed, thank you for sharing.
Catherine said…
This poem is in a book of his poems I picked up on a remainder table, and you're right, it's a very powerful poem. (I love pepek's quote, too)
Rob Kistner said…
Poignant January, and regrettably -- too familiar
Clare said…
This poem touched, moved, shook me up and woke me up. Thank you so much. I plan to read more of Thomas Lux's poetry and share it with others, too. Thanks again.

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