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"The City of the Earth"

 
 CITY OF THE EARTH
 
 
 
THE DREAM:

I dream’d in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks
      of the whole of the rest of the earth,
I dream’d that was the new City of Friends,
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love – 
      it led the rest,
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
and in all their looks and words.

 
THE AWAKENING:

I waked from my dream, and beheld a city vulnerable to the attacks
      of the whole of the rest of the earth,
I beheld that as the City of Dust,
      enwrapped in clouds of dust,
      the dust of fear,
      the dust of heavy sorrow,
      engulfed in the dust of its own might.
Nothing was greater there than the quality of heart-rent vengeance,
      a mighty growl that begins in the bowels of dust,
      a growl floating on dust, against the invisible enemy of the world.
I beheld the City of Dust struggling to its feet,
      while the dogs of cowardly fear tear at it,
      from without and within.

 
THE VISION:

I see, and in that seeing I have seen a city at peace 
     with the whole of the rest of the earth,
I see that as the City of True Humanity
      revealed in light,
      reveling in Light,
      knowing its Shadow,
      Being at One – the City of the Earth.
I see that city everywhere on earth, 
     everywhere and with all children, 
     in their freedom from want and need.

 
 
Walt Whitman (1887) and Sharif Abdullah (2001)
  Notes:

I’m not one to write poetry.  I’ve probably written 10 poems in my whole life, all of them for private consumption.  However, as I continue to contemplate the magnitude of the September 11th attacks, I was moved to write this (with a little help from a friend and neighbor):

Walt Whitman and I lived about five blocks apart.  Five blocks – and 70 years.  In Camden, NJ, one of the two bridges to Philadelphia is named after him.  The house he lived in is an historical monument.  The houses I lived in have burned down or been bulldozed – all of them.

A few days after the “911” incident, my mind traveled to Whitman’s words about the “city invincible”.   Whitman was talking about his beloved New York City, seeing it as the “new City of Friends” , his new Philadelphia. 

The towers of our might have been replaced by a tower of smoke and dust, an unending plume that may circle the Earth.  I was listening to the “Living on Earth” radio program talking about how microbes in dust from Africa leads to increased asthma attacks on the East Coast of the US.  What will our Tower of Dust, our City of Dust, lead us to?

I think there is only one way out of our crisis.  Instead of trying to make ourselves invincible, we must make ourselves at peace, at one.  Instead of protecting against invisible enemies, we must live our lives in such a way that we have no enemies.  Power or harmony – the choice is ours.

Impossible?  If I said 50 years ago that one day German airplanes would be flying above our major cities defending us, people would say “impossible!”  The only limit to what’s possible is our imaginations.  It is now time to imagine the City of the Earth.
 

Peace,

Sharif
 

 

 
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