Voices

There’s a certain softness to her gait. Each breathe a measured smile.
She makes soft yellow rose petals jealous, filled with envy all the while.
Cocksure, certain no hint of mistake. Her life bounds up and on, no need to brake.
But late at night with dreams still far away, to herself alone she dreads the morn’s day.

What to do where and why, what to share with who and when
it was so much easier way back then.
That first kiss that first race of heart
the first distance at times apart.

I’m your guardian, that inner voice, together we started this trip by and by
That voice inside your mind’s eye, the stuffed animal that never asks why.
But with each step I slow, while your travel speeds
Soon I’ll disappear for you and you alone to find your needs.

I saw that first time you raced and fell, nicked your knee
I was there when your parents bid you off to go with me.
That first clumsy step in heels high
That first frightened touch- dazed no need to wonder why
Soon my dear we shall say goodbye.

She makes soft yellow rose petals jealous.

———–Stanley Cohen 7th June 2015

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Take your pick.

Long ago Fredrick Douglass a runaway “slave. wrote . . . “power concedes nothing without struggle. The struggle may be moral or it may be physical or it may be moral and physical but struggle it must be. Power concedes nothing without struggle, it never has and it never will.”

As a young man I looked at death square in the face more than once and laughed, indeed scoffed- it held no sway over my sight or soul. Issues of truth and justice have a way of separating the talkers from those who march, perhaps in “silence,” but march nonetheless.

Recently I wrote there is no greater crime than to steal the smile from a child’s face- that is unless you are the accomplice who sits back and watches in silence as her joy is overcome with despair and unforgivable loss and does nothing about it.

It is simply not enough to see evil and hatred and argue over its shape. It exists. It occupies the seats of power and halls of “justice.” It is also no stranger to those that claim the inheritance of freedom but commit mayhem in their empty pursuit of it. It is the well defined battle of our time. Who can say today with honesty “I did not know?”

For the passive among us that think that its enough to identify those people, places and things that would steal our breathe and wish it away, I wish you luck. For those among us that find romance in the grand empty wander in search of a dream to dream while engulfed all the while by a deadly nightmare I wish you well. Life is all too short. There are those who take and those who give- its that simple. Take your pick.

Ode to Said

STANLEY L COHEN on 5/6/2015 3:35:42 PM wrote


An Ode to Said:

I love Said. He’s everything that’s good and decent and kind-and so much more. he’s the laughter of a toddler who’s just learned to run; the panic of young lovers who race to remake the bed as parents return home early; the broad grin that intoxicates us when the rare and sweet aroma of justice fills the room and gives us hope.

Said is all things to all good people– those that are and those that aspire to be. He’s been with us since the beginning of time and will smile down on us long after the last meteor shower has found its mark and we are gone.

Palestinian by birth, humane by trade, and free by choice Said is a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew and none of the above. While many march in lockstep to the beat of the safe, quick and easy, Said has journeyed long and hard to rear his beloved family, to raise our voice and to lift our spirits. Even now in his final days with us Said speaks with determination and no regrets; sorry only that when a free independent Palestine, a State for the stateless, arrives, he will not be here to rejoice in person.

For Said, resistance is much more than a mere chant and BDS not a choice. They are sacred covenants which speak for eleven million of his Nation and the many who came before.

Said’s journey will end far too soon where it all began, where its always been- with Palestine. Like all Palestinians, young and old, those past and yet to come, he was at Deir Yassin when genocide rained down as the world slept and the trail of tears began. He’s walked the blood stained roads of Jenin and Tulkarim and those of a hundred other Palestinian villages brutalized or laid to waste for no reason but their existence. He has known the hardscrabble streets of refugee camps that stretch from the destruction of Yarmouk to the time-tested despair of Sabra-Shatilla. To Said, the coastline of Gaza offers little safety but in its resistance comes boundless pride and dignity. Said has wept at the side of age-old olive trees ravaged by the same evil that has demolished the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib time and time again. In Quds, he is every young boy, stone in hand, who by his resistance honors the key still worn around his great grandmother’s neck. He is the detained uncharged hunger striker who will not eat so long as his Nation is starved day after day after day.

Yes, Said is Palestine- proud, resilient and eternal. It was, it is and it will always be.

I have been truly blessed to know many great women and men- a first among equals, Said is one of them. His has been a life of warmth, wonder and wisdom and I will miss him sorely.

If compassion is to be our currency, Said is richest of all;
If humanity is to be our light then he is the sun that shines through the darkest of all nights to lead us to safety;
If greatness is to be measured by the size of one’s heart, Said is truly among our giants.

To be blue is all too easy at this time, but it can steal our breath and leave us speechless. So smile, shout out and give thanks for Said- that rare man, that wondrous gift. Have no fear, he lives on wherever women and men of conscience and principle fight for truth and justice.

My brother, thank you for your friendship, your inspiration, your unwavering support and strength.

I have no idea where you’re going Said, but if I am very, very fortunate one day I will go there too. Until we meet again . .. .

Up the Rebels.