Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Words on a Wednesday

Many bridges to cross
Somehow the violent events of the past few months have made me feel very contemplative. I wrote a few words down about my own life and read them over the phone to my wonderful 90 year-old mother. She said, "Oh Robin, you should put that on the computer." I told her I would post it here and maybe a put a link on Facebook.

This is what I read to her:

...I was born
brown in a white country
jewish in a christian country
atheist among believers
socialist among capitalists
dreamer among consumers
poet among hunters
pacifist among warriors
idealist among pragmatists
earth-lover among plunderers

and still I wake up every morning excited to see the sunrise...

Then, for some reason it made me think of the lyrics “And when I die” by Laura Nyro (that I slightly edited!).

"…And when I die and when I'm dead, dead and gone
There'll just be one child less
In our world to carry on, to carry on…"


  1. Splendid thoughts - now if we could only explain all that to the gun-lovers, race-haters, money-grabbers.......

  2. Beautiful! You claim your space boldly in a society that marginalizes you. They lose track of you and think you're gone; They don't realize that you are right at the core of what gives life.

    I'll dedicate a little Richard Thompson to you:

  3. Wonderful! I can totally identify with those beautiful words.

    I do understand the reasoning behind changing the lyric and the understanding it adds your poem. But I must admit to preferring the original lyric, "one child born in this world to carry on." It gives me hope. And because it's a song that I've been singing around the house for many a year. Much to my husband's chagrin.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. We forget - I forget - that it's our varied strengths and weaknesses that make us more reliant and stronger in the end.

  5. Wonderfully stated robin. Wow. You truly represent the best of us. We need more of you.

  6. You truly make me happy to know you. Thank you for sharing your point of view with all of us my friend. xoxo Kate

  7. Susannah-- Thank you.

    John-- I wish I could talk sense to them, but it ain't gonna happen. Sigh.

    CCorax-- I wish we could change the world. I have this vision of how it could be, but with 7 billion of us on the planet it's not likely. Thank you so much for the music.

    NCmountainwoman-- When I remembered the song, I actually remembered it incorrectly. So, I googled the lyrics and found what they really are. Yes, the lyrics do have hope.

    Harold-- It is the diversity of the human spirit. I just wish we had a little more peace and idealism in the world.

    Kim-- Thank you!

    Miz S-- Thank you!

    Arkansas Patti-- I always try to imagine what the world would be like if the best of us were in charge.

    Kate-- Awww, thank you much for your kind words.

  8. Now troubles are many, they're as deep as a well
    I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell
    Swear there ain't no heaven and I pray there ain't no hell
    But I'll never know by living, only my dying will tell
    Yes, only my dying will tell, yeah, only my dying will tell

  9. You are a poet a, I think, one of the too few soul mates of mine on this planet, Robin.

  10. Tara-- I don't know why that song came into my head, but it did. It seems to fit the moment.

    John-- Thank you so much for that. Simpatico.

  11. I love this. Ain't nothing stopping golly! You made your life be a gift to us all. That's what poets do and I thank you.

  12. jsk-- Thank you for such kind words.

  13. Your poem and the images of those bridges to cross made all the difference to me today. Sweet how those songs from our youth moved us then and come to us in new form during these strange days. Thank you so much.

  14. I grew up not recognizing ethnic differences. The fact that they matter has been something I had to get educated to by hearing others say what they saw. I would not see you as brown nor me as white. I wonder what makes it so we do see those differences. Culturally I now see the differences but not based on features or skin color. It's all behavior still for me.

  15. am-- So glad to know the poem and image helped your day. It's good to contextualize our experiences and remember the bridges we have crossed.

    Rain-- When I was young, up until the age of 8, we lived in a very urban multi-ethnic large city. But even then people asked me where I came from, or if I was Indian. Then we moved to the suburbs, and I remember looking very different from everyone in my class. In mono-cultural environments, the one who looks different sticks out. I will always remember my MIL's last words to me from her literal death bed. She looked at me and said, "Indian Indian."

    1. How bizarre on your MIL. I won't say I never saw features that differed but never tried to figure out the reason. My one-time sister-in-law, who recently died was exotic looking and I remember thinking when we met that maybe she was Hawaiian but it was irrelevant other than she was beautiful. Later I learned she was Native American. It has never mattered to me. When I first saw you and Roger's photos I thought exotic. I guess that's all I think. I have those who have said I am exotic looking also because I am different in not being English looking and darker skinned by being French, which makes some think the Trueaxes are Native American. I just don't see it mattering but behavior does and I don't care what the person looks like, it's how they act and I find some behavior unacceptable-- white or whatever. Where I differ with some is that I don't find it excusable to be rude no matter what the provocation. We are living in a very rude time though. makes it tough on old ladies like me raised with a different set of behavior rules.

    2. I should add I went to school all white, country, small town. But when I went to college, it was an urban college and many nationalities. I now live near a university town with a large corporation-- again all ethnicities come together and mostly without conflict... so far.

  16. Rain-- I actually loved it when my MIL said, "Indian, Indian." It was like the final chapter was written, and the book was closed. I was glad she said the words out loud. Humans can't seem to figure out that despite how different we look outside, we are simply one beautiful species. I love diversity, and could never ascribe value or meaning to something as superficial as the color of our skin. If I'm going to judge anyone it's on the content of their character and their actions.

    1. Wow, to me, that seems incredibly sad that it would be among her last thoughts. :(. I think our parents' generation had more problems with racial differences... or rather I used to think that but now not so sure... My son is dark skinned with black hair and always gets the extra exam when he flies since they assume he's Middle Eastern, I guess.. not sure what they think. He's also very tall and big structured; so he might seem intimidating.

    2. i should have said darker skin, just tanned.