Sunday, June 8, 2008

It is not a game, it was never a game.

It was a girl's arm, the right one
that held a pencil.
She liked her arm.

It was a small stone house
with an iron terrace,
a flower pot beside the

People passing,
loaves of bread,
little plans
the size of a thought,
dropping off something you borrowed,
buying a small sack of zaater,
it was a hand with fingers
dipping the scoop into the barrel.

I will not live this way,
said a woman with a baby on her hip
but she was where she was.

These men do not represent me,
said the teacher with her students
in pressed blue smocks.

The had sharpened their pencils.
Desks lined in a simple room.
It was school,
numbers on a page.
a radiant sky with clouds.
In the old days you felt happy to see it.
No one wanted anything
to drop out of it
except rain. Where was rain?

It was not a game, it was
unbelievable sorrow
and fear.

A hand that a mother held.
A pocket. A glass.
It was not war.
It was people.

We had gone nowhere
in a million years.

-Naomi Shihab Nye
from You and Yours

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