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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism

Hanh, Thich Nhat
Part III: poems of war and revolution: [our green garden],   pp. 351-[355] PDF (4.1 MB)

Page 354

Where are you going this evening, dear brother, in what direction?
The rattle of gun-fire is close at hand.
In her breast, the heart of our mother shrivels and fades like a dying flower.
She bows her head, the smooth black hair now threaded with white.
How many nights, night after night, has she crouched, wide awake.
alone with her lantern, praying for the storm to end?
Dearest brother, I know it is you who will shoot me tonight,
piercing our mother's heart with a wound that can never heal.
o terrible winds that blow from the ends of the earth
to hurl down our houses and blast our fertile fields!
I say farewell to the blazing, blackening place where I was born.
Here is my breast! Aim your gun at it, brother, s,>o.'L
I offer my body, the body our mother bore and nurtured.
Destroy it if you will,
destroy it in the name of your dream,
that dream in whose name you kill.
Can you hear me invoke the darkness:
"When will these sufferings end,
O darkness, in whose name you destroy?"
Come back, dear brother, and kneel at our mother's knee.
Don't make a sacrifice of our dear green garden
to the ragged flames that are carried into the dooryard
by wild winds from far away.
Here is my breast. Aim your gun at it, brother, shoot!
Destroy me if you will
and build from my carrion whatever it is that you are dreaming of.
Who will be left to celebrate a victory made of blood and fire?
reprinted with permission from THE CRY OF VIETNAM, Unicorn Press, 1968, copyright:
Thich Nhat Hanh

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