Four Poems Shared as a Reflection by Carolfrances

Four Poems by Carolfrances Likins 
Reflection • June 20th, 2014
watching the wall
walls built by them
through the middle of us
are not built to protect us from us,
but to protect them
from our coming to realize that
walls between enemies might be shields
but walls
between people and their land,
between people and their water,
between people and their neighbors,
between people and the sunset,
are not meant to be shields
walls make poor shields
if they create more
walls meant to divide must
unite us:
this wall
I wrote “Watching the Wall” in 2004 after my first trip to Palestine, in the West Bank. Actually, I the poem started forming itself in my mind while I was there, watching the wall being built by the Israelis in the middle of a boulevard in a Palestinian town. Years later, back at home:
Forbidden Anguish
January 2009 
So what am I supposed to do with this?
These tears?
These fears?
This rage?
So how am I supposed to not feel for her
being torn from her childhood,
then sealed into this tomb
and now at this very moment
– while a bird sings outside my window –
she’s being pounded
her grandchildren ripped from her arms
slaughtered from the sky
while I
– I’m told –
must just buy
this cotton candy kingdom
that’s supposed to be my life.
– I’m told –
should swallow the excuses
shoved into my face to soften their disgrace.
I’m warned not to offend
not to hint at the end of the dream built upon
the nightmare of her life.
But no –
I will let it out
I’m going to shout her name:
A half year later, I went to Gaza on a delegation. As we were crossing through the Rafa gate, we saw a crowd of Palestinians waiting who, when they saw our bus, held up their passports, letting us know that though we had finally been allowed to cross, they were not being allowed to return to their homes and families.
Travel Notes
July 2009
Do you think you could do that?
Could you pass through these gates
that slice up families
seeing this in the eyes of these people
waiting… ?
Could you come in here and hear
these three little girls
speak of their parents
and their sisters
and their brothers
and their cousins
for being Palestinians?
Could you sit among these women
carrying photos of sons imprisoned
perhaps forever
whom they can’t visit
knowing their 11,000 add up
on the world’s scale
to less than the one
taken and held
on the other side?
Could you look at this man
with the nice smile
but with no legs
that the forces that blew them off
have sealed the border shut
against wheelchairs
coming in?
Could you view these bullet-blasted holes
in wall after wall
or these piles of rubble:
concrete chunks with steel lines
projecting out
like a piece of the abstract art
of a madman?
Could you come here to Gaza
holding your eyes open
letting your ears channel in
the reality
which your plush life at home
denies you?
Could you do this,
and then walk back into those halls
and vote for more death and anguish?
are you more human
than that?
And, no, he never responded.
I want to finish with a poem that I wrote for a friend of mine, but which I am reading for many friends: 
Of a Land with a People
It’s possible
it just occurred to me
that you already know.
Would they be, then
all my arguments,
all my pleas
all my rantings
all my reaching into that place which
when touched
turns pain into the pearl of knowledge?
Would they be superfluous
if you already know?
Perhaps you know
but that knowledge is of a people wronged
and a people being wronged
by a people you learned to call “we.”
it’s of the precious Dream being
just maybe
It is the Dream
of a magical place of healing
of a promised land of refuge
of a desert made to bloom by the sweat of your people.
(As if it had not been blooming for millennia.)
Perhaps this knowledge –
of children traumatized
of youth crushed
of parents anguished
of elders refusing to forget
– lurks within you
threatening to tear from you
your cherished bewilderment as to why
“those people” do
“those things.”
This knowledge might seed your action
in their defense.
But what value is there in knowledge if it’s enclosed
within a spiritual flesh
layer by layer
year after year
to smother it
each layer crying out in pain
at the tearing?
My friend
I have no answers for you.
I’m sorry.


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