05 March 2015

In the Poppies

Toril "Run With Me" 18"x24" at Imaginaray Gardens with Real Toads

California pop-
pies remember us playing
once upon a time.

They told our mother
they would hold and keep us young
and they kept their word.

Today, I went to 
the field and listened to them 
rustle around us.

Written for Artistic Interpretations with Margaret "-- " Art with Toril at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

White Blindness

The role of white blindness—different than snow
blindness, more akin to visual glare*--
defended as innocent by-standing
(as in I-wasn’t-standing-by, I-did-
not-know)—is still accessory to crime.

The toll of white blindness is guilt, sure, but
more so a hollowness of spirit that
only open eyes can begin to fill.
Shocking images coming to light act
to penetrate the darkness and begin.

If cure stops at guilt, whites incarcerate
themselves uselessly instead of healing—
and extend our unfortunate penal
code when restoration would prove better.
But OK, wallow awhile in garbage.

The pool of trash accumulated by
hidden racism awaits cleanup crews.
We start now, still white blind but ready
with scrub brush in one hand and open-ness
in the other, feeling our way to sight.

What a muddy mess is needed to hide
the fullness of color!  What a sight for
sore eyes and thirsty spirit lies beneath
discarded chances and alternatives.
This is the cure.  After we work, we may drink. 

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

04 March 2015



Astonishing to learn PING PING shocking
about Slavery by Another Name
and finally get that Great Migrations
have causes, are caused by injustice piled
on oppression that looks like total hate.

But my head’s been under a barrel as
if need-to-know applied and race matters
did not, as if I needed protection
from truthful pain and I am bewildered
PING PING shocked that white could wash such abuse—

Whitewash economic profit based on
imprisoned labor, prison sentences
for walking talking relaxing and then
disappearance into iron mines, road
grading and cotton fields PING PING shocking.

How could states gain such power over black
American lives?  How could whites turn blind
and obscure the truth in darkness and in
early graves?  Forced labor concentration
camps were Nazi Germany—never ours.

PING PING shocked, enough!  enough? enough, now.
If not for The New Jim Crow, if not for
the murder of Michael Brown (rest his soul),
if not for Hands Up! Don’t Shoot! and Black Lives
Matter, would I know these atrocities?

Add ignorance to the long list of white
privilege hanging on the wall—one-half
to give up, one-half to share—and stare down
white supremacy once and for all, PING
PING shocked,  try not to hate, try to forgive.

Front Cover

A Milestone Poem for Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides

 Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 300

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

The Lady of Swarthmoor Hall (1614 – 23 April 1702)

Gratitude, dear God, for taking me out 
of the shadow into the Light glowing 
from you to me and out.  For should 
I hide my Light under a bushel's weight?
I am ready to hear your voice in here; 
Ready to speak the truth out there.
My house is your house, forever
and no power can remove you 
and no power can  silence me.

Margaret Fell
Detail from etching by Robert Spence

Margaret Fell, mothering Quakerism—
the Religious Society of Friends—
read in the scriptures that God, Jesus and
angels gave women the word to carry
and so she did, in and out of prison.

Margaret Fell met George Fox’s ministry
with a woman’s equality and strength
and one hundred years before Mary’s Rights
of Women justified women’s speaking
in the Light of the Gospels and Jesus.

Religious descent and persecution
were not her aim, but became her Cross
to bear for freedom of conscience in faith
versus the Church of England, for heavenly
kingdoms on earth devoid of violence.

Margaret Fell mothered nine children without
faltering and when she felt the Light cried
out "We are all thieves; we are all thieves; we
have taken the scriptures in words, and know
nothing of them in ourselves."  She learned true

Lightnot the word given by priests and books,
but what she spoke as a prophet herself
following Christ from then on, speaking truth
to power, writing from this heart we have,
all of us, deep inside, convinced but still.

Afraid, we are weakened by freedom to
speak without prison and deprivation.
Afraid or unthinking, we live fat and sleek
despite God’s calling and nature’s crying.
Afraid, we turn from Light and deny truth.

But visit the Lady of Swarthmoor Hall
and see that first-hand knowledge trumps
other ways of life, that ecstasy and
Light are worth danger, that friends of Jesus
are equal to the challenge of the cross.

Listen to a beautiful musical setting of Margaret Fell's words 

This is a rough start of  an epic poem for my prompt

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

03 March 2015

Lenten Illusion

We forget sometimes
that accepting the
task and way of faith
may lead to the cross.

Yes, that one, that then
was corporal pun-
ishment and now seems
random but is not.

Would I die for peace?
Yes, I say, but I
haven’t accepted
danger for decades.

And the war rages—
that of lambs and that
of lions, a March
reflection on Mars.

Just when it seems that
Gods have abandoned
us, the message will
come and make us choose.

And it will seem a group
choice, but in the end
we each die alone
faithful and scared too.

But only the next
step, I remind us—
we don’t know the way
until the door opens.

We may be righting
a wrong or writing
a book or walking
along this long road

and the crown of thorns
lights on our un-sus-
pecting brow when we
can no longer choose.

I hope to howl my
forgiveness outloud;
I hope to see God’s
Light in front of me.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast


AFP for DNA India:"Bangladeshis gathered on Sunday to pay tribute to an American blogger and critic of religious extremism who was hacked to death in Dhaka, in the latest of a series of attacks on writers in the predominantly Muslim nation. Avijit Roy, an engineer of Bangladeshi origin, was killed by machete-wielding assailants on Thursday while returning from a book fair."

In the beginning
was the strangest choice
and shortly after
was 55 words.

That’s all they said be-
fore dropping the bombs—
or was it 50-
5 seconds?  In state-
sponsored terror there
is warning, alarm. 

Not so for radi-
cals leaving bookstores
foot sore, who only
know breathing is dang-
erous but approach
the knife anyway.

at dVerse Poets Pub and for Kerry's FLASH 55 PLUS
at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast