24 November 2015

Survival Count

The Bobo Doll Experiment


Every day I am a survivor.

I know before reading the news
by counting throbbing eardrum beat,
touching shoulders and feeling feet
as soles reach for partner soul’s warmth.

Human desires exceed our grasp, the dead
remind us by daily absence
and by the count out from silence
of daily lists of casualties.

Why do we not count down the survivors?
World meters dot info turn-churn
10 more births per second over
seven point three million living—

But they do not subtract the toll
of daily suicide bombers,
inescapable drones, numbers
of children drowned, sacrifices.

They don't record fatalities hidden
in homes or enforced legally
so women pay unequally
with rape, battery, slavery.

Not numb yet, I visualize cartoon
pop-up character Road Runner
and Wily Coyote’s ever-
more complex killing schematics.

The weak outwits the strong but never ends
its life.  No.  Bozo, he waits, he
bounces back, like fall-winter nee
the spring-summer, he cycles on.

Wake up slowly, no numb-er than before,
number ourselves among the in-
evitable ever living
spirit striving on despite all.

We let our reach exceed our grasp as much
as possible—much more as led—
beyond our own living and dead
to where we wake a difference
every day we are survivors.





Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast



36 comments:

Mary said...

So true, Susan. Every day we are survivors. I have been doing a lot of thinking about that. Often the casualties are listed, and sometimes I wonder why them....and not me? We really need to celebrate each day of life, I think. Each day of surviving among all of the tragedy of today's world. If only life were as simple as it was in those old Road Runner cartoons. If only those suicide bombers blew up only themselves. If only........

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

A hard thing – and yet a triumph too.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Yes, each one a survivor, though in our countries, we are definitely among the more fortunate on the planet. Still, there is much to survive, and a valiant effort is involved. Smiles. I resonate rather too well with Bobo doll....especially that ever-present gritted-teeth smile, LOL. I love "spirit striving on despite all." Yes.

Sreeja said...

Yes, so true..."what's the remedy ?" this rings in mind sometimes...we all are lucky in a way...

We let our reach exceed our grasp as much
as possible—much more as led—
beyond our own living and dead
to where we wake a difference
every day we are survivors.

Nice ending!!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

To be able to survive the horror which we see and hear everyday on the news..experience its result on our world.. takes up most of our soul and its energy.. how wise of you to say that every day we are survivors! Beautifully executed.


Lots of love,
Sanaa

Jae Rose said...

Thank you for reminding me of the Bobo doll experiment! Yes everyday we survive...in so many ways..no wonder we sometimes need to gently hit something from time to time

Gail said...

We are all survivors. In every country there are the unseen who do not. It is not blasted on tv because there are not enough numbers to make it sensational.

We need to open our heart and look close to home. Begin help and true understanding there and it will grow.

Very thought provoking.

Gillena Cox said...

I luv your opening Line, every woman should chant this as a mantra

thanks for an awesome prompt, didnt think i could write the poem i wrote today in the mood it was written. you prompted i responded.

much love...

Purba chakraborty said...

So true. A very thought provoking poem on survival.

tonispencer said...

If only the terrorists and suicide bombers only killed themselves....and we truly are survivors. Eight years ago, celebrated Thanksgiving at home after being hospitalized and surgery done for cancer. I survived! Excellent prompt with all the nuances of survival. Thank you.

tonispencer said...

I hit publish too soon - the opening line is incredible. We are a most fortunate country and yet, we have to learn to survive from violence being done, injustice in the job market, rape, prejudice. We all survive but we have to learn to live rather than just survive. A very thought provoking poem.

annell4 said...

Yes, we are, in one way or another....sometimes to survive the sorrow of our own lives, no more no less than another...it can be generated by so many things....some will be strong survive and some will not, no one for long.....we won't survive the end.

Old Egg said...

Survivors we may be but now our hearts are filled with sadness. We may have become the most advanced creatures on this earth but for all that we have learned so little about love and survival.

Truedessa said...

Surviving can be difficult as it takes strength in times of chaos no matter what the situation. Your poem makes the reader pause to contemplate the greater meaning of survival.

kaykuala said...

among the inevitable ever living
spirit striving on despite all

The desire to survive will make one strive on despite the obstacles and difficulties along the way. Great lines Susan!

Hank

Susan said...

What a moving comment, Mary! Exactly. Thank you.

Susan said...

It was important for me to remember that this week especially. Thank you for your comment, Rosemary.

Susan said...

I never had a Bozo the Clown Bobo until my first counselor. Very therapeutic to hit back in abstentia.

Susan said...

I feel this so powerfully. Thank you for your comment.

Susan said...

Yes,as you say, it takes so much spirit. Certainly not as bad as being there though. Thank you, Sanaa.

Susan said...

I'm not sure I'd hit it so gently! It's so rare that a woman gets to hit back at her oppressor. Thank you, Jae Rose.

Susan said...

"We need to open ..." You have left me a poem, Gail. And wisdom. Thank you.

moondustwriter said...

I have worked with and met some amazing survivors - men and women put in foreign prison, gulags, living on the streets. Children who have grown up in bars (or worse.) The amazing things is we bounce back and we even reach down and pull a fellow survivor up.

Susan said...

I will chant, my friend. Thank you for your comment and for your poem.

Susan said...

If only! I am so happy that you are a survivor, Toni. Your writing is a gift!

Susan said...

Living beyond survival. I have a feeling you have learned this.

Susan said...

Yes, dear Annell, you are right. But until then, will we ever learn to live?

Susan said...

You speak truth. Perhaps there is still time to learn.

Susan said...

Thank you, Truedessa. I think there is a greater meaning and hoope to live into understanding what it is!

Susan said...

Desire and will. Yes, Kaykuala, circumstances allowing. For this I pray for everyone.

Unknown said...

Indeed, we are survivors everyday. I see the news, read the newspaper and shudder, pinch myself to know I'm still alive. I consider myself as a fortunate one and I pray this fortune for all of us..

Great lines, Susan... :-)

Grace said...

I like this very much Susan: every day we are survivors.

Hope you are well ~

rallentanda said...

Bring back throwing rotten cabbages I say:)

Anonymous said...

I may have read this in a specific light considering how well I know the Bobo doll study. Very powerful, anyhow. Thanks for the read!

Susmit said...

Your lines help us to pause and check what true survival means...and, when the chips are down or going gets touch, this very fact w'll help us stay buoyant - we have survived, we are survivors, every day - every moment...Awesome write!

Intelliblog said...

We live in an ever-riskier world where our lives and sanity are constantly under attack. To be a survivor in such times is no mean feat. A thought provoking and poignant poem, Susan...