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Poetry and Politics

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

It's pretty well known that wherever there is an emotion that bleeds, there is poetry. Politics bleeds poetry. There are so many mixed opinions, ideals, moral differences, wars, poverty, hunger, abuse, etc.. all centered around politics. Maya Angelou, Osip Mandelstam, Edith Sodergran, Safiya Sinclair, M. NourbeSe Philip, the list goes on and on, they've all written about politics at one point or another. It's universal that we've all had political thoughts that we may or may not have shared with others.

One of my favorites, with a concept that is universally recognizable is this work by Edith Sodergran from Ecco Anthology. Keep in mind this poem is over a hundred years old.


When the battle was over,

and the fighter was dead, a man came toward him and said to him: "Do not die; I love you so!" But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

And two came near, and told him again and again: "Do not leave us! Courage! Return to life!" But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

Twenty arrived, a hundred, a thousand, five hundred thousand, shouting: "So much love, and it can do nothing against death!" But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying.

Millions of persons stood around him, all speaking the same thing: "Stay here, brother!" But the corpse, it was sad! went on dying. Then all the men on the earth

stood around him; the corpse looked at them sadly, deeply moved;

he sat up slowly,

put his arms around the first man; started to walk ...

Translated from the Spanish by Robert Ely We can all relate to the theme of death and potentially even losing someone close to us due to war, and what's a bit mind boggling is that these poems have been written for centuries, sometimes longer, and yet we keep creating these situations. What I enjoy about this poem in particular is that it reminds me of kindergarten when we were taught to get along with others and hold each other up. The peace at the end of Sodergran's poem isn't achievable without all of the people coming together to save another from war. The work gives the idea of each person needing to care for each other person individually to offset lives lost to war. So often politics is seen as dividing people, but here we have poetry bringing people together. Some other great political works I recommend: "Boy Breaking Glass" by Gwendolyn Brooks "A Refusal to Mourn the Deaths, By Gunfire, of Three Men in Brooklyn" by John Murillo Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip This is the theme I'm going for in regards to the poems I write this upcoming week. I'll be honest, I chose this topic today because Nancy Pelosi flew over to Taiwan the other day and now my VPN is under attack. I'm struggling to connect to anything at the moment and yet still, with everything happening in America at the moment, China still feels like a better choice. Crazy how politics affects the masses more than it ever affects the leaders...

What I've accomplished this week:

I got back the beta readers thoughts on my novel! Woo! She left some scene suggestions and in-line edits, so I'm going to fix a few things and then fix a few more things... No big deal though, it feels a bit more encouraging now to have read a completely neutral party's thoughts.

This month is a killer in terms of actual paid work load, so I'm trying to get together five polished poems for submission and send out my poetry manuscript to a few more places this week but these will fall after the novel edits. Until next time!

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