“Writing Our Future”
by Esther Bradley-DeTally
December 13, 2016
Tattered nerves on a planet gone flat
as in air out of bicycle tire, or thin
conversations conveying empty space.
Ain’t it awful? It’s been done before.
Nasty Nero and his violin and Caligula,
that besotted fool committed
unspeakable acts of horror, all the while
a small band of ruffians called Christians,
whom Marcus Aurelius called riffraff,
unfolded the latest message of the next plan of action.
The Hopis tell us “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
I knew it, I knew it, I knew it
I used to be afraid of nuclear winter and living a life without a sweater,
but this is not a fleeting imaginative plot
What if the frog had wings and flew across the road?
No splat or splot in front of a semi truck.
What if we stand on the threshold of an age whose
convulsions proclaim, death of an old order and birth of a new?
Isn’t that what the Christians did?
Are we the foot soldiers of this new day?
How do we become “a balm to the suffering,
a tower of strength for the fugitive, a shining light
in the firmament of our generation”?
A twofold process occurs, one integrating,
the other disruptive.
Our strangely disordered world’s
titanic spiritual struggle, between
the forces of light and darkness
as we lurch towards oneness,
our muted steps toward fulfillment of the promises from all the world’s great scriptures
and native prophecies: of a great age ahead of us, the coming together of all peoples,
the oneness of humanity.
So how about it, boys and girl on the planet?
Now is the time to be “generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.” “A dew to the soil of the human heart.” Let us try to become shining lights in the firmament of our generation. Isn’t that what this night is all about?
Phrases excerpted from the Baha’i Writings.
I teach four six-week classes on writing. My background training is from Oakley Hall, who was majestic novelist and teacher and co-director of Squaw Valley Workshop, and also from Jack Grapes, whose name is whistled in freeway corridors like a slick wind, a pied piper of a writing teacher. Both of these men earn my verbal praise every day. I have traveled from Moscow to Siberia, and to Ukraine, and then returned with my husband to live in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, and Minsk, Belarus. I studied writing methods at UCIrvine, and also took several courses under a superb journalist, Joe Bell.
I teach a class on Tuesdays at The Women’s Room, a place that leaps with great words and giant hearts. The women are either volunteers, homeless or in transition, and it is a great place of support.
On Monday nights, I teach in the basement of Ten Thousand Villages, near California and Lake, from 4:30-6 p.m., for donation. That, plus a few on-line gigs and tutoring gig, plus Baha’i activities and commitment to racial justice, keeps me busy. I have a novel in the second draft process.
Esther has written two books, Without a Net: A Sojourn in Russia and You Carry the Heavy Stuff. Her blog can be found at SorryGnat.wordpress.com.
Other poems and writing by Esther:
“Read and Sung”
“On Becoming a Widow”
Esther’s book Without a Net, reviewed by Petrea Burchard
“The Sun Also Rises”
“We All Fall Down”
“I Have My Reasons”
“Fullness of Days”
“Dancing the Tunes“
“Life’s Own Dark Colors”
Photo, flat earth sourced from “A Map of the Flat Earth” at RelativelyInteresting.com.
Other photos, free for commercial use from Pixabay.com.