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A brave and startling truth

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet 
Traveling through casual space 
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns 
To a destination where all signs tell us 
It is possible and imperative that we learn 
A brave and startling truth 

And when we come to it 
To the day of peacemaking 
When we release our fingers 
From fists of hostility 
And allow the pure air to cool our palms 

When we come to it 
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate 
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean 
When battlefields and coliseum 
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters 
Up with the bruised and bloody grass 
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil 

When the rapacious storming of the churches 
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased 
When the pennants are waving gaily 
When the banners of the world tremble 
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze 

When we come to it 
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders 
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce 
When land mines of death have been removed 
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace 
When religious ritual is not perfumed 
By the incense of burning flesh 
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake 
By nightmares of abuse 

When we come to it 
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids 
With their stones set in mysterious perfection 
Nor the Gardens of Babylon 
Hanging as eternal beauty 
In our collective memory 
Not the Grand Canyon 
Kindled into delicious color 
By Western sunsets 

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe 
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji 
Stretching to the Rising Sun 
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor, 
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores 
These are not the only wonders of the world 

When we come to it 
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe 
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger 
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace 
We, this people on this mote of matter 
In whose mouths abide cankerous words 
Which challenge our very existence 
Yet out of those same mouths 
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness 
That the heart falters in its labor 
And the body is quieted into awe 

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet 
Whose hands can strike with such abandon 
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living 
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness 
That the haughty neck is happy to bow 
And the proud back is glad to bend 
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction 
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines 

When we come to it 
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body 
Created on this earth, of this earth 
Have the power to fashion for this earth 
A climate where every man and every woman 
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety 
Without crippling fear 

When we come to it 
We must confess that we are the possible 
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world 
That is when, and only when 
We come to it. 

Maya Angelou
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'Fame will go by and, so long, I've had you, fame. If it goes by, I've always known it was fickle. So at least it's something I experienced, but that's not where I live.''

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962), U.S. screen actor. Life (New York, Aug. 3, 1962). Conclusion of taped conversation published the day that Monroe died....

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''Man 

You beheld the saddest and dreariest of all the flowers of the earth 

And as with other flowers you gave it a name 

You called it Thought.''

Jacques Prévert (1900-1977), French poet. Flowers and Wreaths, Paroles (1946), trans. by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1958). Opening lines of poem.

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Psalm 12

 

Against a deceitful world.

For the choirmaster For the octochord Psalm of David.

 

Save us, Yahweh! There are no devout men left,

fidelity has vanished from mankind.

All they do is lie to one another,

flattering lips, talk from a double heart.

 

May Yahweh slice off every flattering lip,

each tongue so glib with boasts,

those who say, "in our tongue lies our strength,

our lips have the advantage; who can master us?"

 

"For the plundered poor, for the needy who groan,

now will I act," says Yahweh.

" I will grant them the safety they sigh for."

 

The words of Yahweh are without alloy,

nature's silver coming from the earth seven times refined.

And you, Yahweh, hold us in your keeping,

against the breed protect us always.

The wicked prowl on every side,

baseness stands high among the sons of men.

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Psalm 12

 

Against a deceitful world.

For the choirmaster For the octochord Psalm of David.

 

Save us, Yahweh! There are no devout men left,

fidelity has vanished from mankind.

All they do is lie to one another,

flattering lips, talk from a double heart.

 

May Yahweh slice off every flattering lip,

each tongue so glib with boasts,

those who say, "in our tongue lies our strength,

our lips have the advantage; who can master us?"

 

"For the plundered poor, for the needy who groan,

now will I act," says Yahweh.

" I will grant them the safety they sigh for."

 

The words of Yahweh are without alloy,

nature's silver coming from the earth seven times refined.

And you, Yahweh, hold us in your keeping,

against the breed protect us always.

The wicked prowl on every side,

baseness stands high among the sons of men.

:)

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