Poem that makes me think – The End and the Beginning, Wisława Szymborska

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.
Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
can pass.
Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.
Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall.
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.
Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.
We’ll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.
Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls the way it was.
Someone else listens
and nods with unsevered head.
But already there are those nearby
starting to mill about
who will find it dull.
From out of the bushes
sometimes someone still unearths
rusted-out arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.
Those who knew
what was going on here
must make way for
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.
In the grass that has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out
blade of grass in his mouth
gazing at the clouds.
(translated by Joanna Trzeciak)
This world at the moment. What are we doing to ourselves? Why are we fighting, what are we fighting for, why are we hating difference instead of embracing it? Why is there an exception to every rule, and a Me First attitude, a NIMBYISM for every nuance of our lives? The news is nothing but bad, sad, crazy and tortured. Every time we go online, be it Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, someone is hating something or on the receiving end of judgement or prejudice. We live in a society where we are offended by everything; where do we justify what counts as a good enough reason to be offended? We also live in a society where supporters, say, of human rights, racial equality, in fact, any kind of equality, are often shouted down for giving that support in the first place, excluded from not being part of the ‘club’ of those who are suffering. Should we be offended by that?
We don’t seem able to learn our lessons. Our history should shape and mould our lives in a positive, progressive route forward; yet all we seem to remember most is how to hate – even to hate those who are trying to do good.
There will always be a new war. There will always be a new fight. But will there ever be a day when we say enough’s enough, and that we are, truly, able to all be equal?

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