Good Friday, 2021
a poem by Tyehimba Jess, American born 1966,
This poem, 2014, is from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: a social justice database
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.
The Western, Christian Civilization, 1965, plaster, wood, oil.
Leon Ferrari, 1920-2013, Argentinian. Loaned to the Philadelphia Art Museum in the spring of 2016
4 thoughts on “Mercy”
One can picture you, Dear Blogger, as the angel of American art galleries, always around and treasuring heart-warmers that will be stimuli, hubs and trail-blazers of future stories. Patiently, your stories are woven – complete and moving. Beautiful eloquence! Thanks!
Especially for the new ways you make available to human communication!
Thank you for your kind comment, Ioanna! I do believe that artists – some of them – have things to say to us which are difficult to say in words and that they can give us advice, example, comfort, encouragement in all times. I know that my life would have been more difficult if I had not become acquainted when young with the work of these incredibly gifted artists! Sarah
‘liked’ seems the totally wrong response to this, Sarah. Instead, an sad acknowledgment of the truth of Mercy.
Thank you for your comment, Tish. It just amazes me that we have passed our whole lives in the midst of deaths which are so cruel. I have to add the progress of Covid-19 to this number: so many have become ill, some seriously, and so many – an unaccountable number – have died because of wanton misgovernance! Sarah
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