Courage to Speak, Humility to Listen

gty_hillary_clinton_donald_trump_split_jt_150912_16x9_992

No valuing of humility in evidence in the September 26 debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  I think of Mohandas Gandhi  and Desmond Tutu, and  I weep.

 

Here’s a passage from the writings of Parker Palmer, and a poem by Marge Piercy. These appeared on the podcast “On Being.”

“If we value things like friendship, family, community, education, workplaces that work, and democracy, there’s a minimum requirement. We must learn to talk with each other, even when we disagree. Not “at” each other, or even “to” each other, but “with” each other!

So, how’s that going for us? The answer varies from one person to another, from one setting to the next. But when it comes to American democracy, it’s not going very well.

The problem goes much deeper than the infamous dysfunction in Washington, D.C. The problem goes all the way down to us, to “We the People.”

We could have an impact on how they talk with each other, if we would learn to talk with each other across our lines of difference. For real. In a democracy, that’s how “We the People” address urgent issues, form a rough consensus on the common good, and hold our leaders accountable to our will. When we can’t do any of that, we have no leverage on our government.

Here’s a poem about talking with each other by one of my favorite poets, Marge Piercy. It’s not only wise but full of practical advice.

I love the idea of talking in the dark so we couldn’t see who’s speaking and would have to focus on what’s being said! I love the idea that some of us must “dare to speak” while others must “bother to listen.” I love the idea that some of us “must learn to stop dancing solos on the ceiling”! And I love the last few lines. They remind us how impermanent we are, thus encouraging the humility required for good things to happen between and among us.”     Parker J. Palmer

“Councils”
by Marge Piercy

We must sit down
and reason together.
We must sit down.
Men standing want to hold forth.
They rain down upon faces lifted.

We must sit down on the floor
on the earth
on stones and mats and blankets.
There must be no front to the speaking
no platform, no rostrum,
no stage or table.
We will not crane
to see who is speaking.

Perhaps we should sit in the dark.
In the dark we could utter our feelings.
In the dark we could propose
and describe and suggest.

In the dark we could not see who speaks
and only the words
would say what they say.

Thus saying what we feel and what we want,
what we fear for ourselves and each other
into the dark, perhaps we could begin
to begin to listen.

Perhaps we should talk in groups
small enough for everyone to speak.

Perhaps we should start by speaking softly.
The women must learn to dare to speak.

The men must bother to listen.

The women must learn to say, I think this is so.

The men must learn to stop dancing solos on
the ceiling.
After each speaks, she or he
will repeat a ritual phrase:

It is not I who speaks but the wind.
Wind blows through me.
Long after me, is the wind.

 

 

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/disagree/”>Disagree</a&gt;

Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

The religious imagineer

Where the fire and the rose are one

Gaudium et Spes 22

by Dr. Larry Chapp

Tikorangi The Jury Garden

Mark and Abbie Jury

I Love To Go A Gardening

Growing Our Life in Northern Michigan

Wonders in the Dark

Cinema, music, opera, books, television, theater

Mason Street

The literary magazine of Newark Public Library

Morse, Lewis and Endeavour

Welcome to the Morse Universe

Shades of My Garden

a window into a life, a conversation with a soul, a gateway to a heart

Slouching Towards Senescence

Aging woman reads, steeps tea, feeds cats and is ridiculous.....

Gather Victoria

ANCESTRAL FOOD. HERBAL WISDOM. MAGICAL COOKERY. SEASONAL CELEBRATION.

Kate Macdonald

about writing, reading and publishing

The Lore of the Garden

Myths, legends, folklore, fairytales about flora, fauna and sacred landscapes

OPreach

Dominican Preaching through Word and Image

My little corner of the world.

Faith, love, and listening to the language of the world.

chestercountyramblings

meandering through, writing about whatever strikes my fancy

maegregale.wordpress.com/

“But I ask myself, What must I do to make my life a true story?”

Jeffrey Levine

poetry, publishing, and mentoring

Creative Spiritual Directions

... reflections to inspire creative spiritual directions ... ... . . . .

%d bloggers like this: