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The Right Word, Cornish Lane and A Cat

As we listen to the news around the world of wars and oppression, a poem I read once by Imtiaz Dharker came to mind, “The Right Word” and I thought again as I have before of how important the ‘right word’ is.  The women fighting for the vote a hundred years ago, including my Great Granny, were sometimes described as terrorists. Imtiaz Dharker puts her finger on it perfectly here as she so often does and makes me think of the children who are sometimes used in wars.

                The Right Word

Outside the door,
lurking in the shadows,
is a terrorist.

Is that the wrong description?
Outside that door,
taking shelter in the shadows,
is a freedom fighter.

I haven’t got this right .
Outside, waiting in the shadows,
is a hostile militant.

Are words no more
than waving, wavering flags?
Outside your door,
watchful in the shadows,
is a guerrilla warrior.

God help me.
Outside, defying every shadow,
stands a martyr.
I saw his face.

No words can help me now.
Just outside the door,
lost in shadows,
is a child who looks like mine.

One word for you.
Outside my door,
his hand too steady,
his eyes too hard
is a boy who looks like your son, too.

I open the door.
Come in, I say.
Come in and eat with us.

The child steps in
and carefully, at my door,
takes off his shoes.

I love the dappled sunlight that scatters its glow around our Cornish lanes.

Cornish lane

Walking back from our rehearsal at St Euny Church tonight, we were accompanied by this pretty cat who wouldn’t keep still for a photo!

The cat who followed us almost home

 

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