Poems That Make Grown Men Cry by Anthony Holden – Susan’s Newsletter March 2015

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 Susan’s Thursday Morning Note written March 19, 2015
“Liberty” Poem by Paul Eluard – poem spread over occupied France during WW2

Good morning! Coffee is taking it’s time reaching the system that it’s responsibility is to kick start. My angel of dawn has arrived at my door. Arrived in stillness. No winds. Love those two words put together. Little birds all sleeping in this morning. Still recovering from their day of being blown across the state. Today. Grateful for this beautiful gift kindly and gently handed to me.

This last month I checked out at the library Poems that Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words that Move Them. So many poems in this treasure have taken residence in my mind, but one especially stays in the foreground. Liberty by Paul Eluard. The British Royal Air Force dropped thousands copies by parachute of this poem in 1942 over occupied France to give hope to those privileged to find the papers. An audio link to this poem being read by the poet himself and the beautiful printing of this in the French language was posted after the Paris shooting this past January at http://pgoh13.com/liberte_translation.php.

“Liberty” by Paul Eluard (1942)

On my notebooks from school
On my desk and the trees
On the sand on the snow
I write your name

On every page read
On all the white sheets
Stone blood paper or ash
I write your name

On the golden images
On the soldier’s weapons
On the crowns of kings
I write your name

On the jungle the desert
The nests and the bushes
On the echo of childhood
I write your name

On the wonder of nights
On the white bread of days
On the seasons engaged
I write your name

On all my blue rags
On the pond mildewed sun
On the lake living moon
I write your name

On the fields the horizon
The wings of the birds
On the windmill of shadows
I write your name

On the foam of the clouds
On the sweat of the storm
On dark insipid rain
I write your name

On the glittering forms
On the bells of colour
On physical truth
I write your name

On the wakened paths
On the opened ways
On the scattered places
I write your name

On the lamp that gives light
On the lamp that is drowned
On my house reunited
I write your name

On the bisected fruit
Of my mirror and room
On my bed’s empty shell
I write your name

On my dog greedy tender
On his listening ears
On his awkward paws
I write your name

On the sill of my door
On familiar things
On the fire’s sacred stream
I write your name

On all flesh that’s in tune
On the brows of my friends
On each hand that extends
I write your name

On the glass of surprises
On lips that attend
High over the silence
I write your name

On my ravaged refuges
On my fallen lighthouses
On the walls of my boredom
I write your name

On passionless absence
On naked solitude
On the marches of death
I write your name

On health that’s regained
On danger that’s past
On hope without memories
I write your name

By the power of the word
I regain my life
I was born to know you
And to name you
LIBERTY

“Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” Napleon Bonaparte

What light is to the eyes – what air is to the lungs – what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man.” Robert G. Ingersoll

The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” James Madison

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” Benjamin Franklin

Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.Aristotle speaks plainly to this purpose, saying, ‘that the institution of youth should be accommodated to that form of government under which they live; forasmuch as it makes exceedingly for the preservation of the present government, whatsoever it be.” John Adams

“You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.” Winston S. Churchill

I have never thought, for my part, that man’s freedom consists in his being able to do whatever he wills, but that he should not, by any human power, be forced to do what is against his will.” Jean-Jacques Rosseau

“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of those who threaten it.” U.S. Department of the Navy

Life. Our angel has again handed us this gift along with freedom where we live. Precious gift of liberty to make decisions today, regardless of the difficulty of decisions. Ability to make the decision to study, to read, to think, to absorb, to have silence, to sit. Decisions. Love that quote on the difficulty being a luxury given to those with the gift of liberty. Today. Stillness. Beautiful curly haired fireman sliding down curtain rod in the closet. My gift of the moment. My gift of today. Tonight we will all have the chance to write in stone the moments we use today on our epitaph. Will we have moments that we stopped in time and cherished? Moments worthy of inscription in our stone? Time….the winds constantly blowing time. Will we consciously stop a few grains as they travel through our sand timers? Will we stop a few moments in our mind? Notice the beauty of the gift our angel is just now handing us? Thank you for letting me enter your world again this Thursday. Thank you for coming over to our store for your books, for your gifts, for your toys, and for your friendship. How I love seeing you walk in and enter this haven and see your eyes shine when you leave. Let’s go take on this day. This gift. This beautiful gift. Susan

Latin for this week:
Libertas inaestimabilis res est – Liberty is a thing beyond all price.
Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem. – “I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.” (Thomas Jefferson)
in libris libertas – in books [there is] freedom

Works Cited:
Holden, Anthony and Ben, Editors. Poems that Make Grown Men Cry. New York. Simon and Schuster. 2014.
Liberty Poem translated by A.S. Kline