Poetry, Power and Suheir Hammad’s talisman

There is a child’s nursery rhyme that is often quoted: sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.  But, there is another version of that rhyme that says: sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will kill my soul.  … naming is powerful. Words are powerful. Poetry is powerful.

Thomas Merton wrote, “art [poetry] enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” When I read poetry, when I hear it, when I feel its resonance in my heart, in the depth of my being it touches, it changes, it evokes the best in me. Poetry embodies the alchemy of transmogrification to ways of being that celebrate human dignity, that create social structures that embody justice. 

Suheir Hammad writes poems of war, peace, women, power – she claims human dignity and a just world. Her writing is a talisman for me. She wrote a poem that titled talisman … feel its power …

it is written
the act of writing is
holy words are
sacred and your breath
brings out the
god in them
i write these words
quickly repeat them
softly to myself
this talisman for you
fold this prayer
around your neck fortify
your back with these
may you walk ever
loved and in love
know the sun
for warmth the moon
for direction
may these words always
remind you your breath
is sacred words
bring out the god
in you

Give a listen to her TED Talk. (If you have not explored the TED web page, really go surf over there. TED: Technology, Entertainment, Design – ideas worth spreading. And it really is a great collection of ideas worth exploring). So, here is the link to Suheir Hammad reading a couple of her poems http://www.ted.com/talks/suheir_hammad_poems_of_war_peace_women_power.html

may you walk ever loved and in love!

may we all know days of warmth

and peace

and love

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