Mercy

 Maundy Thursday, 2017

Mercy

 

a poem by Tyehimba  Jess, American poet, born 1966, author of Leadbelly, 2005 and Olio, 2016.  This poem, 2014, is from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: a social justice database

 

 

DSC00257

 Head of a crozier belonging to Jacques de Vitry, elephant ivory and bone, 1216 – before 1240.  Musee des Arts Anciens du Namurois, Namur, Belgium on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in the autumn of 2016 in an exhibition about the claim of peoples of several faiths on Jerusalem

 

the war speaks at night
with its lips of shredded children,
with its brow of plastique
and its fighter jet breath,
and then it speaks at daybreak
with the soft slur of money
unfolding leaf upon leaf.
it speaks between the news
programs in the music
of commercials, then sings
in the voices of a national anthem.
it has a dirty coin jingle in its step,
it has a hand of many lost hands,
a palm of missing fingers,
the stump of an arm that it lost
reaching up to heaven, a foot
that digs a trench for its dead.
the war staggers forward,
compelled, inexorable, ticking.
it looks to me
with its one eye of napalm
and one eye of ice,
with its hair of fire
and its nuclear heart,
and yes, it is so human
and so pitiful as it stands there,
waiting for my hand.
it wants to know my answer.
it wants to know how i intend
to show it out of its misery,
and i only want it
to teach me how to kill.

 

DSC00033

The Western, Christian Civilization, 1965, plaster, wood, oil.  Leon Ferrari, 1920-2013, Argentinian.  Loaned to an exhibition about International Pop at the Philadelphia Art Museum in the spring of 2016

 

 

The artist was commenting on the use of ideology, of no matter what kind and no matter the culture or civilization or time period, to kill people.   

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s