August 14, 2014 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION


Two Poems from Susan Chast 


CO:GAZA 2014


Susan Chast



The conscientious object

and more.  They sit in prison

and let their free consciousness

roam. Despite brutality,

they testify endlessly

by being free to say NO,

a freedom that is rarely

understood for what it is—

not freedom from reprisal

but courage of conviction

worth dying for and living

with—Not protection from Hell

here or elsewhere, but a no

that cannot be muffled.



Here is theory in practice,

here sits Thoreau overnight

for refusal to pay war

taxes. Here sits Dr. King

in the Birmingham jail cell.

Here sits the young Israeli

soldier refusing to fight

the same old battle as Dad.

Add named and nameless women

who, knocked down, stand up again

to march against oppression

without ceasing and to knock

on world doors from confinement

in gendered prisons.  Freedom.








Susan Chast



Gazing before destruction, Salaam

Five times a day I will pray, Shalom

Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu

Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu


Though I can’t eat at your table, Shalom

And can’t break the bread of peace with you

I can offer a hand shake to you

I can offer a hand shake to you



I don’t want to defeat you, Salaam

I don’t want you to defeat me, Shalom

Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu

Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu


I won’t push you into the sea, Salaam

And you don’t break my sand castle

Let us write a new story, Salaam

Let us write a new story, Shalom





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