at the crossroads


‘Hecate’ by Claudia Olivos,

For the past six weeks, I participated in an on-line course with Mary Pierce Brosmer about making meaning of our post-election world. Accordingly, I suspended my plan for a multi-part ‘divided we fall’ series here. Instead, I have spent the intervening weeks reading a wide range of texts including but not limited to John McCain’s February 17th remarks at the Munich Security Conference; selections from Leonard Cruz and Steven Buser’s A Clear and Present Danger, Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark, and Ken Wilber’s Trump and a Post-Truth World, among others.

We spent six weeks reading, sharing remarkably relevant poems written long since, writing and sharing our words, discussing, questioning, opening our hearts to difference and our minds to ‘what next.’ During this same six weeks, I traveled twice to southwestern PA to be with my sister in her final days; welcomed my third grandchild into a family filled with February birthdays; and sat with several of ‘my’ prison writers through unimaginable trauma and personal tragedy.

Clearly, this has been a time rich with change on so many levels, transformations both anticipated and not. Above all, it has been a time to open up, expand information sources, broaden opinions and challenge my role in the larger world. While a continuing work in progress, I did not want to remain silent any longer on this page. As a result, I share here my final writing for that life-questioning course of words and ideas – and intentions for going forward. Next time I will return to ‘divided we fall – 2.’

Thank you for reading. And as always, I welcome – no, encourage! – your thoughtful responses to what you read here.

That November crossroads stemmed from the tangle of tarnished truths
but I was slow to go there, lost as I was in the thicket of win-lose
when the multi-faceted is what I believe. Now we are offered
loyalty or disdain, history or ignorance, hope or despair.

How can this be our only choice? We have arrived at a crossroads
of morality. And though multiply manifest, it is the voice
of truth that must prevail, the voice of compassion
for us all – earth, sea, sky, collective spirit and soul.

I knew the night birth and death converged that we are in
for deep transformation, needing not to ‘get over’ or past
but to spell truth – yours, mine, ours. A time to speak out
past the divide and into the void, to speak without ceasing.

Thus am I pulled to provide all that I can – insight
and light to help guide the lost from personal hells,
reunite torn-apart mothers with daughters, guarding
ground and reason until mutual respect shall

in deed reign, parting the darkness of derision and disgust.
We must persevere until light seeps through every crack,
shattering false divisions to reveal the common bedrock
of our shared humanity.
swb (c) 2017

12 thoughts on “at the crossroads

  1. So happy I came upon this post on your Facebook wall. I, too, have been struggling with “divided we fall.” In the midst of so much loss I find myself revisiting Kubler Ross and trying to be kind to MYSELF in the midst of so much angst and uncertainty. Your words gave me much peace tonight as did the comments that followed. I’ll take these words into the night: “… it is the voice
    of truth that must prevail, the voice of compassion for us all – earth, sea, sky, collective spirit and soul.” Thank you. xxoo

    • Thanks so much, SueAnn, for your visit and your comments! It does seem that self-compassion must prevail if we are to have anything left to work with. Every time I try to return to my intended multi-part series (note it was ‘Divided We Fall – 1’ !!!) I just cannot do it. So much divisiveness out there already. I just want to put compassion and kindness out into the world. Hope to see you here again soon.

  2. The impulse to take the reins of your own life, and actively engage, transforming the initial energy of despair and outrage seems very widespread. Every American friend I have has gone through a step change in this direction. Perhaps this is the Trump card; perhaps this is his ‘value’?

    Only in conditions of extremis do people strike out, because in extremis there is nothing to lose in walking over the coals towards a different deliverance. I cannot help feeling that he is a symptom of a much wider struggle, against degeneration, shallowness, vulgarity. Rather like the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein, the toppling of Trump will not be with a single rope, but millions of raised eyebrows, and shrugging shoulders.and an urgent impulse to do something better. The voice of truth, individual truth, into spontaneous chorus?

    Good to read you back!

    • Good to ‘see’ you hear, Philippa. I’m struck by several things in your comment. First – “Only in conditions of extremis do people strike out …” And I’m struck by the urgency with which T seems compelled to strike out – randomly, without basis and apparently without awareness of the broader impact – and I think (though this is the other side of your intended meaning) this offers an understanding of both the outrageousness of his claims (Obama is not American; Obama wiretapped Trump Tower; millions of illegals voted; there is widespread voter fraud in the US; immigrants commit crimes; the crime rate has risen; the county is in shambles… and on) as well as (and more importantly) the shield of deflection these claims provide. Redirecting attention via pure fabrication.

      Second – wider struggle, absolutely. And I fervently send out vibes to that effect each and every day. Hoping we can focus on the issues rather than the man. He is but the messenger. And so good at creating chaos and controversy. ‘Degeneration’ does capture quite a bit of it – well chosen word!

      LOVE the image of millions of raised eyebrows forming ropes… and the spontaneous chorus for better. THANK YOU for your thoughtful words. Very inspiring!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing, Sara.
    “in deed reign, parting the darkness of derision and disgust.
    We must persevere until light seeps through every crack,
    shattering false divisions to reveal the common bedrock
    of our shared humanity.”

    • Thank you Mary! You encourage me in my fledgling efforts to speak my mind alongside seeking to hear others speak theirs … A necessary challenge we must walk into headlong. I appreciate your stopping by and your read back lines.

  4. Hi Sarah, thank you so much for sharing this. I would have loved to taken that class. It has been a long session of grieving and disbelief. I am called to activism and to kindness. Your last stanza says it all for me. And I keep hoping and reaching out for common ground. Love to you ❤

    • Oh, Sara – how lovely to hear from you. Yes, you might well have enjoyed it. If there’s a follow-up I’ll be sure to let you know about it. Meanwhile I do so resonate with your words ‘I am called to activism and to kindness.’ The very things I am trying to put out there in the world. At the minimum let us keep on reaching out to one another. Perhaps among like-minded folks we can spread that common ground further and further afield. My hope, at any rate. Take good care!

your turn!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s