Have you heard of the term “Bystander efffect”. This came about after a 28 year old woman, Kitty, was raped, stabbed and murdered outside her apartment while 38 people looked on and did nothing.
This led to a research carried out in 1969, five years after Kitty’s murder, which was termed Bystander Apathy (effect). Basically, it proved that the more people there are available in an emergency situation, the less likelihood there is for someone to intervene.
Today’s poem reminds me of this story and forgive me for starting this post with a downer. But, I thought to share it because I believe we all need a reminder that as heavy as our words, our silence is also heavy too.
Town watches them take Alfonso by Ilya Kaminsky
Now each of us is
a witness stand:
Vasenka watches us watch four soldiers throw Alfonso Barabinski on the sidewalk.
We let them take him, all of us cowards.
What we don’t say
we carry in our suitcases, coat pockets, our nostrils.
Across the street they wash him with fire hoses. First he screams,
then he stops.
So much sunlight—
a t-shirt falls off a clothes line and an old man stops, picks it up, presses it to his face.
Neighbors line up to watch him thrown on a sidewalk like a vaudeville act: Ta Da.
In so much sunlight—
how each of us
is a witness stand:
They take Alfonso
And no one stands up. Our silence stands up for us.
Welcome to another Writer’s Poem Wednesday! This blog is still here because of every single one of you who reads it.
Last year, we got over 30,000 views and over 17,000 visitors! Thank you so much. I have been a lazy writer and recently and Unfortunately, it may last till the end of January. I do apologise for it, the muse is there, the words are in my head, but for some reason, I just dont want to sit and write or read. Has anyone gone through it too?
Today’s poem is by a poet, whose writing reminds me of Nikki Giovanni. The poem talks about dealing with our fellow human beings with “kindness” in a subtle manner. She reflects, how wonderful this world would be if everyone treated the other as a father treats his child- with sensitivity. She is Naomi shihab Nye and I hope you enjoy the poem
Shoulders by Naomi Shihab Nye
A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.
No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.
This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.
His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
deep inside him.
We’re not going to be able
to live in this world
if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
with one another.
The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.
It is we who buy the guns and we who pull the trigger.
It is we who make the bombs, and we who set its timer.
It is we who pay the price, carve the knife, pierce it into another.
It is we who take the drink, drive the car, crash our brothers.
The gun has no brain and neither the bomb,
The drink has no restraint, neither a knife.
It is we who make the choice, choosing evil over the better,
It is we who wreck humans and wonder where humanity’s gone?
Facebook page: words of a random
the above image was gotten from PInterest
We live in a world where-
misery is loved,
Hope is foreign,
Faith- turned scarce.
Living is dreary,
Dying is norms.
Tears have dried up,
The soil is bloodied.
Wealth is secluded,
Walls are put up,
Humans are shut out,
Colour is a measure,
Of worth of living.
And the life, many are living.
the beautiful image I used above is courtesy of The dream store
A little boy- as he roams the street,
Bare feet- scorching heat underneath;
He runs without shoes;
He don’t care,
about the 40 degrees radiating on them.
The teenagers, bathing in the stream-
Green with algae visible undersea;
Half naked, with bruises on their skin
Each scar, a story-
But they don’t care
Just glad to have a place to bath in.
The young mother- baby in her arm
Clothed in black, covered with a scarf
Hands protruded in search of alms
Heedful of pity looks, towards her child-
But she don’t care,
Will take it in;
As long as the baby gets money for milk.
These I saw on my way to school;
Riding a bus, overwhelmed with guilt
And compassion towards humanity;
A pair of slippers, a few pounds
Even a faint smile-
The difference it could bring about.
In the strides of his feet,
The protraction of her hands,
The ripples of the water,
As the teenagers splashed about;
I found something I wasn’t searching for-
I found humanity… or rather,
Humanity found me.