“[I]n times of crisis it’s interesting that people don’t turn to the novel or say, ‘We should all go out to a movie,’ or ‘Ballet would help us.’ It’s always poetry. What we want to hear is a human voice speaking directly in our ear.”

Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2003) speaking to the New York Times, as quoted in The Dead Beat by Marilyn Johnson

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.

april is national poetry month

images and poem below the fold

A boy looks at US President George W. Bush as he greets audience members after speaking at a town hall meeting, at the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling, West Virginia. The White House downplayed Bush’s suggestion that US troops would still be in Iraq when his term ends in January 2009.
(AFP/Mandel Ngan)

An Iraqi boy lies in hospital after insurgents opened fire on Shi’ite pilgrims in Baghdad March 22, 2006.
(Namir Noor-Eldeen/Reuters)

Ali holds a picture of his brother Hussein Fadhil 13 during a memorial service for the boy Monday March 27, 2006 in Basrah. Hussein Fadhil was killed Sunday by a roadside bomb as he entered the front gate of his school.
(AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)

ATTENTION EDITORS – VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH OR INJURY Shad Mohammed, 6, is comforted by a neighbour after being wounded in an attack by insurgents which doctors said also killed both of her parents, in Baghdad March 27, 2006. A surge in violence in Iraq has claimed the lives of over 50 people in the past two days, including at least 30 army recruits at a base near the northern town of Mosul.
REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

A child said, What is the grass?
by Walt Whitman

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it
        is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful
        green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we
        may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . .the produced babe
        of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the
same, I receive them the same.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them;
It may be you are from old people and from women, and
        from offspring taken soon out of their mother’s laps,
And here you are the mother’s laps.

This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old
Darker than the colorless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.

O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues!
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths
        for nothing.

I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men
        and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring
        taken soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
What do you think has become of the women and

They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprouts show there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait
        at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.

All goes onward and outward. . . .and nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and

– – –
put a meaningful magnet on your car or metal filing cabinet

read Ilona’s important new blog – PTSD Combat

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 CARE
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

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