this diary is dedicated to all who suffer because of war and other disasters
we honor courage in all its forms
cross-posted at DailyKos, Booman Tribune, European Tribune, and My Left Wing.
image and poem below the fold
Relatives grieve for victims outside Kindi hospital following two explosions in central Baghdad, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2006. Two bombs exploded minutes apart near a central Baghdad square Tuesday, killing at least seven people and wounding about 20 more, police and hospital officials said.
(AP Photo/Samir Mizban)
Apple Garcia, wife of Filipino-American U.S. army chief warrant officer Ruel Garcia, hugs a U.S. flag during a burial ceremony for her husband at a cemetery in his hometown in Obando, Bulacan province, north of Manila February 7, 2006. Garcia, 34, a pilot, died along with his co-pilot in a crash after their Apache helicopter was shot down by a surface-to-air missile on the morning of January 16 in Taji, Iraq.
The Song of Despair
by Pablo Neruda
translated by W. S. Merwin
The memory of you emerges from the night around me.
The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.
Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!
Cold flower heads are raining over my heart.
Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked.
In you the wars and the flights accumulated.
From you the wings of the song birds rose.
You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!
It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.
The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.
Pilot’s dread, fury of a blind diver,
turbulent drunkenness of love, in you everything sank!
In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.
Lost discoverer, in you everything sank!
You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,
sadness stunned you, in you everything sank!
I made the wall of shadow draw back,
beyond desire and act, I walked on.
Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,
I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.
Like a jar you housed the infinite tenderness,
and the infinite oblivion shattered you like a jar.
There was the black solitude of the islands,
and there, woman of love, your arms took me in.
There were thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit.
There were grief and the ruins, and you were the miracle.
Ah woman, I do not know how you could contain me
in the earth of your soul, in the cross of your arms!
How terrible and brief was my desire of you!
How difficult and drunken, how tensed and avid.
Cemetery of kisses, there is still fire in your tombs,
still the fruited boughs burn, pecked at by birds.
Oh the bitten mouth, oh the kissed limbs,
oh the hungering teeth, oh the entwined bodies.
Oh the mad coupling of hope and force
in which we merged and despaired.
And the tenderness, light as water and as flour.
And the word scarcely begun on the lips.
This was my destiny and in it was the voyage of my longing,
and in it my longing fell, in you everything sank!
Oh pit of debris, everything fell into you,
what sorrow did you not express, in what sorrow are you not drowned!
From billow to billow you still called and sang.
Standing like a sailor in the prow of a vessel.
You still flowered in songs, you still broke in currents.
Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well.
Pale blind diver, luckless slinger,
lost discoverer, in you everything sank!
It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour
which the night fastens to all the timetables.
The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore.
Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate.
Deserted like the wharves at dawn.
Only the tremulous shadow twists in my hands.
Oh farther than everything. Oh farther than everything.
It is the hour of departure. Oh abandoned one.
– – –
put a meaningful magnet on your car or metal filing cabinet
read Ilona’s important diary at MLW – Returning Vet PTSD – One Soldier’s Story as well her comprehensive series on PTSD and Iraq War vets.
view the pbs newshour silent honor roll (with thanks to jimstaro at booman.)
take a private moment to light one candle among many (with thanks to TXSharon)
support Veterans for Peace
support the Iraqi people
support the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC)
support the victims of torture
remember the fallen
support Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors – TAPS
support Gold Star Families for Peace
support the fallen
support the troops
support Iraq Veterans Against the War
support Military families Speak Out
support the troops and the Iraqi people
read This is what John Kerry did today, the diary by lawnorder that prompted this series
read Riverbend’s Bagdhad Burning
read Dahr Jamail’s Iraq Dispatches
read Today in Iraq
witness every day