by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
March 22, 2007
THE SPRING OF WAR
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- In the quiet, white unfolding of the Bradford pear trees; in the golden grace of the nodding daffodils; in the symbolic sacredness of the dogwood trees, comes then the season known as Spring to renew our Winter spirits and remind us of eternal birthings.
Why, then, the bombs? Why the dead babies lying in
their own blood in the war-splattered streets? Why, in
Spring's promise, do we live under the grey umbrella
of death, destruction, and the non-united way?
Those of you who read One Woman's World on a regular basis know that I despise war. It matters not how war is cloaked, how it is uniformed in self-righteous indignation; how it is camouflaged in the mildewed spines of ancient books. War is a hellish assault on the human spirit, and even though many of you would, no doubt, prefer that I moan about the price of gasoline at your pump-of-choice, I am adamantly persuaded that all things, all people and all situations, including the price of gas, are inter-connected.
And so it behooves me this morning to mix prose with politics, pear-tree blossoms with pseudo-praying, and the connection between the silence of my world-sisters and the savagery of war.
Whether it is the dirt - the blood-stained dirt - of our American backyards on which so proudly we stand, or the blood-soaked soil of Israel and points Palestinian, my poetic tendencies tangle this morning with trying to reconcile the natural splendor of the Earth with the unholy mess we humans have made of the world and world family-hood: Inventiveness misused, spirituality distorted, and human life sacrificed on the altars of self-serving individuals and nations.
Wait a minute, you say. Back up, Elizabeth, to that bit about the dirt in our blood-stained back yards. I own my property and I didn't kill anybody to get it.
Sorry, but unless you are a Native American the odds are about 99 to 1 some of your white American kinfolks did murder a Native American so you could delight in your family back-yard barbecue on Sunday. Don't take my word for it. While the charcoal is heating up, take your laptop PC out to your redwood picnic table and ask one of your children to research the "abstract" of the property you call yours.
Native Americans once worked, played, hunted, dreamed and treated with great respect most of the dirt you and I stand on today. And the hour grows late for us to ask: Whose blood is that deep in the dirt, there in the corner of the yard, where our treasured peace rose grows?
In the dark nights of the soul, should we not tremble and ask ourselves if Israelis are - by world demand - packing up their bedclothes and candles and surrendering conquered soil to Palestinians, are we next? If the world is bent on playing musical chairs with conquered real estate, we Americans better start looking for a place to hide because if "the way it has always been done" doesn't do an abrupt shift in spiritual consciousness we, like the Israelis and the Iraqis, are going to be living in hourly fear of mall bombings…and back-yard barbecues that end in blood, spilled beer and the bodies of bombed babies.
I am aging. I am tired of poetry-less politics, weary of war-wrangling, deeply disappointed that most of the women of the world do not seem to care that one day the songs of the birds will be silenced, daffodils will be a distant dream, and everywhere the soil will speak of old and new wars, and the stench of brother-blood will linger in the ashen nuclear air.
More poetry and less politics? More sonnets instead of the singe of burned flesh? More of the singing rhythm of "How do I love thee ..." to replace the cocky cry from the bushy baritone of "Fear not, world. God has sent me to save you and I'm willing to murder many of you to prove it!"
I wish for just one morning I could get up to the call of the mockingbird, the rite of Spring's splendor - get up knowing no child on Earth is hungry, no town is trembling with terrorism, no politician is plotting power parties, no brother building a bigger bomb.
But while my sisters sleep, the madmen of the warring world are inventing new ways to justify the taking of human life, and insane, self-appointed god-messengers are dusting off the ancient pages of stale instructions to go forth and annihilate any brother with a different book, a different look and a different excuse for murder.
Perhaps all that is left to those of us who weep for what is - and what could be - is to imprint the sight of the white pear blossoms, the delight of the daffodil and the haunting refrain of the mockingbird on our war-weary souls.
I suspect we are going to need such memories during the long dark night ahead unless we can - very, very soon - find a better way to live together on the once-majestic planet we call Earth.
Elizabeth T. Andrews is a former columnist for the Orlando Sentinel now living in Cartersville, Ga., where she writes poetry. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.