For a Friday: poem by Jennifer

Power, an oft-grievous foe,
can scorch the path
of the mightiest man–
even when righteousness 
steels his soul
and strength is his only sin.
Fear not the altered road
or the uncertain horizon.
We know true power
lies in the man’s mirror–
framed by freedom and faith,
family and friendship.
Unfettered, he can move forward,
unburned, with love as his salve.

Some thoughts for a Thursday (Liner notes from a Stevie Wonder album)

From Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants 

“Each life has its own beat,
moving through space
at its own pace,
standing still for no one,
and yet you,
as if not caring,
though knowing how precious
it was to you,
gave to me selflessly,
life’s most priceless possession,
your time. 
It is only my wish
that you feel your time
not to have been given 
in vain. 
For waiting is not
what I meant for you –
but to share with me
the images of life
that God has sent me through –
and if this life affords me 
the chance to share with you
the new 
and hidden knowledge,
through song,
I will move as swiftly
as life demands –
but never so fast
as not to give you

my very best.”  
                               –Stevland Morris 

Stickball – Chuck Sullivan (A Summertime Poem)

In the middle
of the concrete heat
boys manning our
sneakered positions tarred
in the block’s summer field
We hustled out
fates into shape
on the city’s sweating face
in the lean, bouncing grace
of our broomstick, rubber ball game
bound by the sewers and parked cars
of our Outlaw Little League
While on the sidelines
dreaming in our cheers
the old men watched
bleachered on brownstone stoops
and iron fire escapes
making small book on the shadowy
skills of stickball stars
lost in the late-inning sun
of the stadiumed street’s
priceless, makeshift diamond

Pashto Landay

ُExamples of Pashto landay.

پاس په كمر ولاړه ګله!
 نصيب دچايي اوبه زه درخيژومه
O Flower that you grow on the mountain side;
The duty to water you belongs to me, but to whom would you belong?

زړه مي هلك دي راته ژاړي
چه رانه غواړي دپردي باغچوګلونه
My heart is like a child; it cries,
and demands flowers from a stranger’s garden.

ستا به د ګلو دوران تير شۍ
زما به پاته شۍ دزړه سوۍ داغونه
The blooming season of your beauty will pass;
But the scorched patches on my heart will always remain fresh.

په ګل ګلاب دي و ويشتمه
تر لاس دي جارشم دښمنانو وليدمه
You have thrown a rose at me;
blessed be thy hands, but malevolent eyes have noticed.

مخ دي ګلاب سترګي دي شمعي
نه پري پوهيږم چه بورا كه بتنګه شمه
Your face is a rose and your eyes are candles;
Faith! I am lost, should i become a butterfly or a moth?

زه دپسرلۍ تر ګل تازه وم
ستا په بيلتون كښي لكه پاڼه زيړه شوم
I used to be more fresh than spring blossoms, O Beloved!
But your separation has turned me yellow like an autumn leaf.

ستا په يوه تومت رنګ زيړشو
زه دتومت جامي په غاړه ګرزومه
Your cheeks have been paled with only one slander;
while I am clothed from head to foot with calumnies.

Some poetry by Fred Douglass on July 4, 1852

The words of Frederick Douglass’ speech of July 4, 1852 resonate with us today, and with today’s American slaves and trafficked human beings:

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”

Here’s a link to the whole speech, performed by Danny Glover.  Priceless!