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No to War - Afghan Peace Volunteers

Afghan Peace Volunteers at Borderfree Nonviolence Community Center
Photo Credit: TruthOut (Dr. Hakim)

My Poetry Corner October 2015 features the poem “Rise Up After the Fall” by Guyanese-Canadian poet Leonard Dabydeen. Before migrating to Canada where he is a licensed paralegal, he was a former headmaster and later lecturer at the Guyana Teachers’ Training College. Following his 2012 debut collection, Watching You: A Collection of Tetractys Poems, Dabydeen’s latest collection, Searching for You: A Collection of Tetractys & Fibonacci Poems, was published in September 2015.

The featured poem and the following excerpts are from Dabydeen’s e-book collection, 419 Poems, published in October 2014. While his poetry is mainly free verse, he also works with the modern mathematical poetic forms, tetractys and Fibonacci. Whatever the style, Dabydeen’s poetry lays bare our soul with its longings and broken dreams; its darkness and love’s light.

Written in the first person, “Age” speaks of youth’s disregard for the aged: in tattered clothes / and hobbled knees / and my thinning gray hair / and my frail bone-in body. Perhaps, younger generations should consider:

that your time will come
like ocean waves washing
towards the shore
and leaving a crustacean memory
for those who are yet to come.

For those of us trapped in life’s stampede…in the gathering of things, he reminds us in “Here Today…Gone Tomorrow”:

if mobility means to peddle oneself
in ascent or descent in going places
this we know with certainty
you are here today
and you will be gone tomorrow
as long as memory does not
suffer senility syndrome.

In “Misunderstandings,” the poet exposes the ordeals of being a parent:

What misunderstandings reek the mind
when parents are unable to decipher
how their son or daughter is growing up
how he or she makes decisions that
rupture their sentiments
like a cesarean wound?…

Calling attention to the “Civil Crisis” of the Syrian people, the poet uses the Fibonacci poetic form which hammers home the escalating crisis and demonstrates humanity’s descent into depravity.

to kill
in the district
Syrians must die
no hope for survival
civil outcry they fear not
they will never tolerate this
bombings continue to destroy them
human rights no longer exist for us.

Dabydeen asks in “How Much More…”

Oh! what has man done to man
to emboss him with so much hate and anger?
You ask me as much
as I ask you with a blush of hope
how much more
and for what price?

The featured poem “Rise Up After the Fall” delves into our corrupt minds and souls, affecting all levels of our society. Corruption blinds us to our guilt; leaves us with no shame no shame.

sometimes we become witness
to this blind man in each of us
or innocent if we do not know
how we do what we do when we do

Dabydeen is optimistic that in working together we can rise up after the fall. We have to…for our children’s sake.

To read the complete poem and learn more about Leonard Dabydeen’s work, go to my Poetry Corner October 2015.