Directions: How Not to Have a Revolution

How Not to Have a Revolution

The elephant went rogue in the forest,
stepping on the ant hills,
destroying everything for the sheer pleasure of destruction.

The ants began to mobilize.
They organized a thousand little Armies of Resistance,
each with powerful leaders and Solid Plans.

Here is a Truth:
There were enough ants in the forest
to carry that old elephant away.
All their united strength and energy
could have saved the forest.

Instead, things went south
pretty much from the beginning.
The ants could not check their tribalism.
They were suspicious of all outsiders,
even (particularly) among their own kind.

On the ruined mounds of their separate anthills
they began to call, not for the removal of the elephant,
but for the annihilation of enemy tribes.
Only when enemy tribes were dealt with
would it be possible to remove the elephant, they said.

By the time the ants had dealt with their own internal battles,
the elephant had won the day,
and the forest was utterly destroyed.

(Today’s Prompt from Poetic Asides was to write a Directions Poem.)

Suggested Readings


In the wake of the political conventions, I’ve been looking at what has been happening inside myself.

Because of the sense of doom that I feel about Donald Trump as a political candidate, I have allowed myself to fall again into snarky and mean talk about the candidate.  It’s so easy, right?  And somehow it begins to feel that if I say it all loud enough and long enough, the people who are supporting him will listen up.  But that’s how he himself maneuvers his own agenda onto the landscape–repeat, loud and long, and repeat again.  We aren’t going to bring about a revolution of respect and justice and simple goodness by standing around blustering and yelling, no matter how cathartic it feels.  This article by Omid Safi (click here) on the On Being blog spoke to me about keeping the discourse on a high level.  As Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high.”

Also, because I have been a supporter of Bernie Sanders, I have been feeling a struggle within as I watched the DNC.  On one hand, I relate powerfully to those angry, grieving Sanders supporters who wouldn’t settle down and get on with business.  On the other, I was annoyed at how the booing and the grutzing came across on the national screen as belligerent and fractious–there has to be a better way to carry the revolution into the next stage than through petty disruptions.  I also noticed within myself a real turning toward Hillary Clinton, a sudden eagerness to throw in my towel with her camp, an excited delight to finally vote for a woman for president.  Still, it was extremely helpful to me to have a thoughtful conservative friend question me very politely about how wary of her I have been in the past because of her connections to mega-corporations and her support of Monsanto and big ag.  This morning I got around to reading this really insightful article from my friend Jonathan Matthew Smucker (click here) about how the political polarization these days tends to be along populist/establishment lines rather than simply along conservative/liberal lines.  I will vote for Hillary in November, but I will not do so with a sense of having sold out my progressive values or embraced politics-as-usual.  I will vote for her because a Democratic landscape will offer a more open field for progressive ideas to flourish and grow than the fascist landscape offered by her opponent.  (And I will smile as I do it, because I finally get to vote for a woman, and that, too, is revolutionary.)

Gratitude List:
1. That vaseful of peacock feathers we came home to.  Someone left them on the table in the garage.  If it was you, thank you!
2. Playing up at Sam Lewis State Park with the family, climbing rocks, launching the flying toys we bought at NASA, playing Sharks and Humans on the jungle gym (the sharks always win).
3. This beautiful place where we live, how rolling hill leads to valley and hollow, which leads to rolling hill and rolling hill, off into the distance, with skuthers of mist and fog caught between.  The River.  The broad valley across the way.
4. Re-interpretation.  Finding new and satisfying ways to say old things.
5. That Rose of Sharon bush out there, white and pink and violet flowers shining out all over.

May we walk in Beauty!