the pledge of happiness

painting inspired by a visit in the refugee camp where my daughter teaches german

painting inspired by a visit in the refugee camp where my daughter teaches german

.
a stream of blood runs through the middle part,

her eyes// dark earth
&deep wet ponds
where you can only guess the sky’s light silhouette

“cup of coffee?” she points with a slight shift of her head
in the direction of the barrack that contains the kitchen

i run fingers ‘cross the table’s wooden face
“bondage means the black bar of our flag”

she takes her hand
&puts it to the heart, hums
“The quarters of Levant are towers in height—-
A land resplendent with brilliant suns”

the cup she hands me is black burnt air
yet as i sip, sweet
like a dance upon my lips
&hot
like the spit of firearms

“I’ve lost everything”
her gaze a single billiard ball across a played down field
“&my city— finished

the third stanza is about the people–”

“ours about unity, justice and freedom/flourishing– big words”
i take off one of a hundred shirts, wrap my arms twice
round the earth that in the spinning tears&scratches
&breaks me//open

“how is it that we can’t hold anything?”

“what is the last stripe of your flag?”
“the gold– stands for light &liberty”

we see the world as through a looking glass
an ant
throws bombs over a dried out landscape
“so we walked–”
a silent
suffering wanderer

ties clouds to certain places in the sky
“can you free them for me?” he asks

and i take
a last deep gulp,
place the cup close to the planet’s lofty waist

&bow

to take my shoes off

.

at dVerse we write national anthem poetry today.. mine contains snippets of the syrian and german national anthem

28 responses to “the pledge of happiness

  1. This is stupendous Claudia. The combination of words here is so powerful with the connection of the human spirit. This really touched my heart. Love your painting too. I can see why/how you were so inspired. How wonderful that your daughter has such a giving heart to make communication easier for those who must feel so unheard.

  2. That painting is phenomenal. And I think that’s the shortest poem-title I’ve ever seen you write.🙂

    I love these lines:

    “her eyes// dark earth
    &deep wet ponds”

    “she takes her hand
    &puts it to the heart, hums” (I love “heart-hum” as a noun.)

    “the cup she hands me is black burnt air
    yet as i sip, sweet
    like a dance upon my lips”

    “her gaze a single billiard ball”

    I’m nuts over this:
    “i take off one of a hundred shirts, wrap my arms twice
    round the earth that in the spinning tears&scratches
    &breaks me//open”

    Toward the end, I keep misreading a few lines as this, and absolutely love it: “so we walked a silent, suffering wander” (instead of “wanderer”; I don’t know why, but that makes my ears so happy.)

    And really, what else are we — as humans, as countries, as lovers — doing, if not “walking a silent, suffering wander”?

  3. Nice picture choice to go with this one . Love the sacredness in that last part. It is an interesting inter play between the two nations in this as well. What and interesting turn as well in you answering bondage. My favorite part though is the symbolism of taking off the one of a hundred shirts

  4. Perhaps world leaders should give a careful listen to the anthem of their country…and then take the words to heart when dealing with others in the world…a brilliant poem.

  5. The is incredible. The last words….sacred, honoring our, all of us, our home. I think the people of the camp truly know about the love of their country. they may not have the soil under their feet, but they have the love in their hearts. For truly, a nation is the people and their survival against all odds. This one will be re-read several times.

  6. Grandiose intentions always launch democracies, republics, even kingdoms, but hey, as the centuries peel back like layers on an onion, too often the smell brings you to tears. I, too, adored the lines /yet as I sip,sweet like a dance upon my lips/&hot/like the spit of firearms/.

  7. I love how you incorporated the snippets….so very poetic. And what great prompt you gave us today. It took me on a long, nostalgic walk for which I am truly grateful🙂

  8. I like the title, painting & incorporation of the lines with the meaning of the symbols ~ There’s a story waiting to be told & ties wanting to be free ~

  9. the inspiration behind the painting is very telling of your daughter’s big heart.

    Your pieces are like poetic conversations carried by lungs bathed in paint.
    Truly vivid and this metaphor struck me, “her gaze a single billiard ball across a played down field”

  10. Oh my–this is wonderful. If you had only written these lines,

    “ours about unity, justice and freedom/flourishing– big words”
    i take off one of a hundred shirts, wrap my arms twice
    round the earth that in the spinning tears&scratches
    &breaks me//open

    I would still be taking a deep breath.

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  12. this is a heartfelt write Claudia…her love, devotion, and yearning for her country melted into the anthem which she softly hummed, giving her strength in the adverse situation…beautifully captivated…

  13. True Freedom.. feat happiness..
    often coming first in bare feet..
    then bare feat again..
    beat of
    feet
    moves
    on.. ’round
    conNecting creatiVe
    campFires LiGhting
    heArts.. SpiRitSandinG
    hUman soUls aGaiNGaia..:)

  14. What a beautiful painting, Claudia; and what a wonderful experience your daughter is having! Ah, gold standing for life and liberty…. lovely thought. I take ‘so we walked’ to reference the very tragic situation with the people of Syria fleeing from Isis! Quite an evocative poem here!

  15. It is so true that the anthem is what we go back to, what we look to, that song of who we are that we cling to when all else starts to break down to the point where one must flee. Writing about the refugee brings that to light in such a necessary way, these songs are not just lofty patriotic words, they are promises we made to ourselves, our children, our past and our future that we sing and commit to memory. To have nothing, but to be able to recall the verses full of meaning, only to have them come up empty must be devastating. Thank you for your prompt and this poem, Claudia.

  16. What a lot you’ve packed into this amazing poem, so economically yet richly.
    (Couldn’t get linky right; mine is here: ttp://passionatecrone.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/who-come-waltzing-matilda-with-me.html)

  17. Freedom to each person means many different things and each one a depth of meaning with too many layers to fully know. You have touched on the complexity of this and have done it well.

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