I am a poet...
I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce, and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry, and Porcelaine.
John Adams in a Letter to Abigail Adams, May 12, 1780
My grandfathers were both veterans of WWII. My father was a doctor.
I am a poet.
The problem with being a poet is I do not have bodily knowledge of the horror of war, so it is easy for me to lose the urgency that drove young men to fly into battle when the life expectancy of an RAF pilot during the Battle of Britain was four weeks. It is difficult for me to understand the courage of women who lived though years trying to feed their children when rations cards couldn't buy flour, eggs, milk, or Cheerios--Honey Nut or otherwise.
The problem with being a poet is that I have been told all of my life I can be anything I want to be. My parents did, indeed, study "Mathematics and Philosophy" so that I could become who I am.
I am a poet.
I am a poet, and like all the other poets before me, my mandate is to honor the courage of my grandfather and my father before me by refusing to see myself as a single point in time. I, and the world in which I live, am a product of everything that has come before. I will study "Politicks" and I will study "Mathematics and Philosophy," so I can honor my place in this chain. I will learn the the history of my place and culture and seek to understand how to move toward peace and justice in this world.
I am a poet so that my children may become peacemakers.
Poem for the Future
If there could be justice,
If there could be hope,
If my eyes could behold beauty just once more,
Could I find the courage to fly?
If you could find me,
If I could find wholeness,
If you could forgive me,
Could we find the courage to care?
If the world could learn to sing,
Maybe just a broken hum,
If the antecedent of our prayers,
Could be named mystery,
Could hope blossom?