Mercy me.

Mercy me.

This week’s poem is by Tyehimba Jess. I chose it because I’ve been thinking about mercy as a practice; I’ve been thinking about the ways we can show ourselves and others more mercy. I love the way this poet personifies war and, in doing so, elicits a feeling of empathy for the thing, terrible as it is. It begs the question, what change is possible when we meet the horrors of our with that empathy?

What change is possible when you practice mercy?

Mercy

Tyehimba Jess

the war speaks at night
with its lips of shredded children,
with its brow of plastique
and its fighter jet breath,
and then it speaks at daybreak
with the soft slur of money
unfolding leaf upon leaf.
it speaks between the news
programs in the music
of commercials, then sings
in the voices of a national anthem.
it has a dirty coin jingle in its step,
it has a hand of many lost hands,
a palm of missing fingers,
the stump of an arm that it lost
reaching up to heaven, a foot
that digs a trench for its dead.
the war staggers forward,
compelled, inexorable, ticking.
it looks to me
with its one eye of napalm
and one eye of ice,
with its hair of fire
and its nuclear heart,
and yes, it is so human
and so pitiful as it stands there,
waiting for my hand.
it wants to know my answer.
it wants to know how i intend
to show it out of its misery,
and i only want it
to teach me how to kill.

All luck.

All luck.

Sleep prep.

Sleep prep.