One Manís Work Is Anotherís Pain

After loafing here for two hours,
I think, ďI could have made some beans.Ē
Such is art. And such is stupidity,
To while away a precious morning
And call it work, when all Iíve done is sit.

If he were alive, my father would have
None of it, and his father would surely scoff.
Pick up a hammer, man, a pair of shears,
A shovel, or a saw. Drive a truck. Build a wall.
Make a better home. Have you no pride?
Good! Then put away your books.

The songs my grandfather used to sing
Were written by poets and troubadours.
They were penned by chanting monks.
They contain ancient folk lyrics
Collected and transcribed by musicians
Who wandered the countryside
From village to village.

On the twenty-fourth day of April in 1915,
Among the first Armenians rounded up
To be tortured and killed by the Turks
Were the poets. Thus the Genocide began.
Smother the conscience. Silence the voice.
Kill the robin singing in his tree,
Then watch him bleed, and bleed, and bleed.

But even blood can sing, and trees remember.
And the man who kills a poet builds the walls
Of his own prison. The poetís words are nails
Through his palms. They turn his bread to stone,
Then drag him down the bloody well to drown.

So it is, and so it shall remain. One manís work
Is anotherís pain. But a poetís song is for everyone to sing.

March 10, 2006

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