we must begin to listen

graphic from Piercy poem

Once again, I need to lift Parker Palmer’s Facebook post and plant it here. Not only does he state beautifully what I might try to re-state less deftly. He uses one of my all-time favorite poems by Marge Piercy to illustrate his point. In the interest of sharing the already-invented and of honoring my “Con Fem Friday” post theme, here is an excerpt from Parker; and the full text of Marge’s poem.

He says: “If we value things like friendship, family, community, education, workplaces that work, and democracy, there’s a minimum requirement. We must learn to talk with each other, even when we disagree. Not ‘at’ each other, or even ‘to’ each other; but WITH each other!”

Parker goes on – but I want to share lines from Marge’s poem that speak strongly to me – and hopefully to you, as well:

We must sit down …

Perhaps we should sit in the dark.
In the dark . . .
only the words
would say what they say…

into the dark, perhaps we could begin
to begin to listen…

The men must bother to listen.
The women must learn to say, I think this is so.
The men must learn to stop dancing solos on the ceiling…

Read the entire poem here:  COUNCILS – Marge Piercy

And thank you for listening!

7 thoughts on “we must begin to listen

  1. Wow Sarah–that is a great post and the poem–gives me goosebumps!! I clicked to read the entire poem because I loved that excerpt so much. After all the nonsense that has been going on with the government and the us v. them; this is extremely refreshing, and I think it is perfect advice–speaking in the dark, in touch with the earth–maybe we would finally listen and come to an accord. Thank you so much for sharing this, it really touched my heart and made me smile (a nice warm happy smile…:-)

    • Thanks, Sara. I know what you mean about the poem; it’s so obvious when you think about it. And it’s the way things used to be – not only listening to one another but considering the impact of any decision on the following seven generations. Can you just imagine how things might be today if we had listened to Original Americans instead of . . . everything but.

  2. This is lovely. My son always spills the big stuff in the dark – when we’re watching a baseball game on the sofa. I think it gives him a sense of protection. I can’t react to emotion on his face, or anticipate when I can jump into conversation. I can only focus on his words. Here’s to finding the light within the dark.

    • So well put, Jeannine! They always suggest having difficult conversations with kids over an activity – must be similar reasoning. If you’re both focused on a third thing, you avoid eye contact and all the body-language reading we mothers are so good at!!! I just love the direct, strong way Marge Piercy poems – on lots of tough feminist issues, really – head on. Even as she recognizes the need in life to approach them slant.

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