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Report by Owen Sound Coordinator
and Words Aloud Poetry Coop rep
Daniel Kolos
Mother Nature intervened with our carefully planned Dialogue Poetry reading in Owen Sound, Ontario on the night of March 21st:  she dumped 20 cm of snow on us with high winds, squalls and whiteouts.  Many of the roads around Owen Sound were closed.  Did it stop us?  Not quite!  Penn Kemp, having lived in our area for many years, thought nothing of the storm and drove right through it. So did several hardy souls who wanted to hear poetry and didn't receive the cancellation notice either by e-mail or on the local radio station.  So we changed the venue at the last moment to Durham, Ontario, where Penn and I read our poetry to a very small audience.
I must tell you about the surprise Penn had for us:  she had her poem translated into a dozen languages and printed on high-quality posters.  We read every one of them:  English, French, German, Spanish, Portugese, Estonian, Hungarian, Sesotho and others.
We read our poetry as the storm raged around us.  We had to drive at 20-25 km/hr to our overnight accomodations, watching the ditch out of the side window in order not to drive into it - we could see nothing in front of us!  But we survived and, reproduced below, so did our poetry!
Glad to be a part of the world-wide effort!
Daniel Kolos
Words Aloud Poetry Coop coordinator
Poem for Peace in Two Voices
Calm came clear
of cloud
early one morning                       Calm come clear
before things started                           of cloud
Calm came at noon                       Calm come
A cardinal perched                                   clear
on black bough                   of cloud
in blazing sun.
Calm came at night                      Calm come clear
stretching as cats do,                           of cloud
constant stretch and change.
Forsythia brightened                    Calm come clear
as the house slept.                             of cloud
Now calm come                   Now calm come
in the face of                          clear of
brawl                                                   cloud

Translated from the Aether by Penn Kemp
Poème À Deux Voix Pour La Paix
Le calme clair
des couleurs
du matin
dans le recueillement                   Le calme clair
qui précède le jour
Le calme de midi                        Le calme clair
quand la coupe déborde
et que l'oiseau s'abrite
petit contre le chêne
Le calme de la nuit                     Le calme clair
Quand s'étirent les chats
Et s'étirent les choses
recommencées toujours
Les forsythias s'éveillent              Le calme clair
Alors que nous dormons
Et maintenant le calme                  Et maintenant
clair devant l'horreur                  le calme clair

Translated into French by Claude Gillard
Poemas Em Duas Vozes Para a Paz
Calma caminhou clara
de nuvens
uma manhãzinha                                  Calma caminhou clara
antes de as coisas começarem                            de nuvens
Calma caminhou ao meio-dia...          Calma caminhou
Um canário pousou                                                        clara
num ramo seco                                              de nuvens
sob um sol escaldante.
Calma caminhou à noite                     Calma caminhou clara
esticando-se como gatos,                                     de nuvens
constante esticar e mudar.
Uma flor se abria                                Calma caminhou clara
enquanto a casa dormia.                       de nuvens
Agora  caminham calmos                   Agora caminham calmos
como um                                                                        claros de
burburinho.                                            nuvens.

Translated into Portuguese by Miguel Nenevé Revised by Marilene
Thoko ea Khotso ka Mantsoe a Mabeli

Khutso e ile ea fihla ho se na
maru                                                    Khutso fihla ho se na
hoseng ho hong                                                     maru
pele lintho li qala
Khutso e ile ea fihla hare mpa ea mots'ehare        Khotso fihla
Nonyana e khubelu e lutse                                  ho se na
lekaleng le lets'o                                                 maru
hara mocheso oa letsatsi.
Khutso e ile ea fihla bosiu                  Khutso fihla ho se na
e ikotlolla joalo ka ha likatse li etsa,                    maru
ho ikotlolla le ho fetoha ho sa feleng
Palesa e ts'ehla e ile ea khanya           Khutso fihla ho se na
ntlo e robetse.                                                        maru
Joale khutso fihla                                Joale khutso fihla
ka hara sefahleho sa                                ho sena
Ntoa                                                                        maru
Translated into Sesotho by Suzan Sebolelo Ntepe
The following poems were also read for this occasion:
For a Thousand Years, We've Been Told Wrong

For a thousand years
We have been told who we are,
Yet, each one of us
Keeps searching for ourselves
Throughout our lives.

Since Childhood
I've been told who I am,
And since my teens,
I've known that they were wrong
And have never believed in them.

For a thousand years
We've been told what to think,
Yet, each one of us has wondered
About those other thoughts,
Are they real?

Since childhood
I've been told what to believe in,
And since my teens
I've been attracted to
all those other beliefs.

For a thousand years
We've been told only to love,
And since then each one of us
Has wondered,
How can we love so many others?

Since childhood
I've been taught to love my neighbor.
But, since my teens I've found that
I could love both them
And myself!

For a thousand years
We've been told whom to hate,
And yet, each one of us has wondered
"Where the boundary lies?"
And "Who draws them?"

Since childhood I've been told
"He who is not a friend, is an enemy!"
But since my teenage years
I've lost the ability to tell
Which is which and Who is who?

For a thousand years
We've been taught
That all people are born
either evil, or all good
And only boundaries separate them.

Since Childhood I've been told
That I'm a sinner,
But since my teenage years
I've noticed the dark side
Balanced by the good

For a thousand years
Our world has been shrinking
And each one of us
Has asked ourselves,
"How small can it get?"

Since childhood I've been told
To keep to my own kind.
But since my teenage years
I've found all humanity
To be my kind.

by Daniel Kolos

Priceville, March, 2002


Air and Water, Life and Death


I breathe the sweet air that flows
As mild wind or as storm that blows;

I drink the water from the spring
From the stream that rain and snow bring;

I kiss the tears from your eyes,
Hold you close and feel your sighs;

We cry for the lives that are lost,
For the hate and the pain it cost.

by Daniel Kolos

Priceville, March, 2002


And finally:

Unconditional Love - in whose world?

A prose-poem by Daniel Kolos

I have espoused unconditional Love in a world where the movement of goods and people and money is less and less restricted. But I find I have no idea how to practice that kind of love. I don't like certain foods, I don't need most commercial products and I constantly meet people I really don't like.

I repeat the mantra daily that I love my neighbor as myself. Am I deluding myself? I know for a fact that my neighbor doesn't love me. It was I who told her that I loved her and wished to sleep with her and many times her eyes shone with fear and she would call her turbaned husband and he would yell unintelligible things at me. And now, when we meet, she always crosses to the other side of the street.

Once in frustration I yelled after her: "But he's got three more wives back home! Why can't you have two lovers here?" But she blushed and fled.

Another time, when Jehovah's Witnesses called at my door, I invited another neighbor to join me. I was amazed how both accepted Jehovah as real, perhaps even a person, but my neighbor insisted that saying that name is an insult to his religion and the very label by which these Witnesses operated was anathema to him. Neither of them heard a word the other one said.

Wither unconditional love? The only thing I can conclude is that I have to love my illusions unconditionally, because they are all that I have. So I went to my doctor and told him I was depressed. Instead of asking me what my problem was, he prescribed me Prozac and instructed me to take them three times a day. I asked him, "Will these take my troubles away?" And he flashed me a smile and assured me that they will. But I asked, what about the Saint John's Wort that I picked in my own back yard, and let it sit in virgin olive oil for a year? Will it do the same job as Prozac, but without any side effects? The Doctor waved his hands and pointed his finger and clucked his tongue and said, "If you take Saint John's Wort, then nobody makes any money, and your money must continue to circulate." In a flash of illumination I saw the Doctor looking after the health of our economy, the circulation of the money and the color of his portfolio, to the well-being of which he swore his Hippocratic oath.

I began to see Jehovah as a concept greater than I. His nerves were the telephone lines, his blood flowed thick with money, except in those capillaries where the telephone lines were few. His cells were the billions of people who populated this earth, and Jehovah regenerated himself completely at least once every hundred years.

Have I given my unconditional love to the economy? I must have because wherever I go, I have unlimited credit! But when I shut the computer off at night, disconnect the telephone and close the lights, there is no economy, no money, no portfolio, no credit agency, no bank manager, not even a salesperson to return my unconditional love. My mind wonders to my neighbor's wife.

Priceville, March, 2002

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