Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All At Once

by Miki Kashtan

On my post this past week I wrote about my desire "to enjoy in full and mindfully the good times, and to accept and savor the bad times." I was delighted to see that in his comment a reader, Ron Greenstein, included the lyrics to a song he had composed, "For Each Hill", about accepting the good times and bad times, the sane times and mad times. In response I want to offer this poem of mine, which I have never before shared publicly.

All At Once


Across centuries and continents
the web of life is holding us
unknown to each and all.
We are never all asleep
or all awake.
Someone is always carving a face
in a stone, from the Earth.
Someone is always selling a face
to another.
Someone is always smiling
someone is crying.
Endless rows of cars flow incessantly
while a million nimble hands are
creating toys
caring for those who cannot.
All at once.
Bombs fall and
babies are born
birds and animals wither away
covered with spilled oil
never able to know why
and some awaken to life
and understand for the first time.
All at once.
One kills
and one tends to the wounds.
All at once.
The ocean rises up and 10000 are wiped out
and grace visits others.
All at once.
All at once.
The scream in me
explodes and reverberates
echoes from mountain tops
descends into the rivers
floats into the ocean
which still cannot quiet it down.
So loud that
the music of the gods
comes in barely audible.
I cannot remember the time
before the scream but
I know the smell
of the freedom beyond it.

Miki Kashtan, Oakland, July 27, 1996