Yesterday was a beautiful sunny Saturday and what did I do? I went to see A Film Unfinished about the Warsaw Ghetto. It was so awful. I am having so much difficulty with the loss of one man I don't know how people cope with the loss of their whole families. The thing I did in my life that I am most proud of was a conference called Resilience of the Human Spirit. Some of the panelists (all poets) included a Holocaust survivor, a Hiroshima survivor, a Rwandan genocide survivor, a man who escaped China, a Vietnamese man, a Palestinian woman, and women from Iraq and Kurdistan. There was a man from Iran who fought against the cruelty of the Shah and then when Khomeini came into power his wife and brother were executed. To listen to these people who had suffered so much read their poetry and share their stories was something any words would fail to describe properly. It inspired a documentary that is not yet finished but has a website - poetryofresilience.com.
Kimenyi - a very sweet man - who survived the genocide in Rwanda - died recently - a relatively young man - so now his wife in addition to losing so many family members has lost her husband too. Sometimes when I am wallowing in pity for myself I think of these men and women who grieve and yet continue to build lives and write beautiful poetry. How do I find my own resilience? Sometimes lying in bed crying; sometimes writing; sometimes going to the gym; often with the support of friends and strangers. Other times I seem to have no resilience at all and the simplest movement seems impossible.
I hope anyone reading this had fun yesterday!! Although, bearing witness for me is important too. The one thing we can do for those who have died - our own special loves - and those who are unknown to us - is remember them and make sure their stories continue to be told.
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