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What To Do?
By Natalie Schleisman

They follow me, flinging
their limbs violently
I cannot help but cry for thee
My fellow human sufferers

Urgently I see
With their torn, worn out beings
Crying in desperation and struggle
To simply be seen

Begging from the bottom of their souls
They ask for what we all want
Food, help and recognition
And still in my stubbornness
I simply pass them by

I avert my eyes
Oh the eyes
Such windows letting nothing pass you by
Focused on unseeing,
Staring blankly, directly ahead,
In the midst of all the shouting and cries

If I looked, surely I couldn’t pass them by
But helplessly staring, dumbly searching
In emptiness I wonder, what in the world
Can be done?

If I give them one by one, my 10 ruppees
What drop in the ocean that would be.
What domino affect, spiraling wildly
out of control
And the expectation which would never cease

How could I open that bottomless
can of worms
When seemingly I have much
But in my heart I know there is not
A bountiful endless supply of touch
And warmth, shelter and comfort
To let all beings not suffer

You people who come to me,
Committed and in earnest
Day to day, tomorrow and tomorrow
Will never rest, because this is your test
Of human survival

What an ice blockade
What spiraling madness
What confusion
Circles this pain like a hawk
Who circles its prey
Waiting day to day
Not so patiently
Scratching the edges of the un-knowable
It is clear to me the answers are simple
And more complex, day to day

But the care is what’s there and not there
This is the stare that we aim but miss there
In the heart of those fellow creatures
Who wander and beg
Asking only,
And never giving up.

Abominable is Dangerous
A.W. Wells - 2005

Dharamshala - It may sound like where the world ends - But is used as a base by volunteer friends

Who - at this time of general festivities -
Work in support of Tibetan refugees
In ways in which their community depends.

Relatively few people do anything
To bring some relief where there is suffering

Or to help those who are seriously deprived - And have needed aid to ensure they survived - In one word - the efforts made are all sterling!

Now is the time for senses to be heightened - And the chilly mood made ghostly - not lightened.

By sight of a coat covered in confetti -
In fact - it’s "snow" refugee - but a yeti -
I fear it’s time everybody was frightened!

(The above poem was inspired by volunteer workers in the area)

How to Build Global Community

Think of no one as "them"
Don’t confuse your comfort with your safety. Talk to strangers
Imagine other cultures through their poetry and novels
Listen to music you don’t understand. Dance to it
Act locally. Notice the workings of power and privilege in your culture
Question consumption
Know how our lettuce and coffee are grown: wake up and smell the exploitation
Look for fair trade and union labels. Help build economies from the bottom up
Acquire few needs. Learn a second (or third) language.
Visit people, places, cultures. Watch films with subtitles.
Know your heritage. Honour everyone’s holidays.
Look at the moon and imagine someone else, somewhere else, looking at it too.
Read the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Understand the global economy in terms of people, land and water.
Know where your bank banks
Never believe you have the rights to someone else’s resources.
Refuse to wear corporate logos: defy corporate domination.
Question military/corporate connections.
Don’t confuse money with wealth, or time with money.
Have a pen/email pal. Honour indigenous cultures.
Judge governance by how well it meets people’s needs.
Be skeptical about what you read.
Eat adventurously.
Enjoy vegetables, beans and grains in your diet.
Choose curiosity over certainty.
Know where your water comes from and where your wastes go.
Pledge allegiance to the earth: question nationalism.
Think planet: it’s many beings.
Assume that many others share your dreams.
Know that no one is silent though many are not heard - Work to change this.


Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me

By Mary Oliver

Last night the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,
what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again
in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,
smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches
and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing
under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,
and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain -
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.


Tibetanness

By Tenzin Tsundue

Thirty-nine years in exile.
Yet no nation supports us.
Not a single bloody nation!

We are refugees here.
People of a lost country.
Citizen to no nation.

Tibetans: the world's sympathy stock.
Serene monks and bubbly traditionalists;
one lakh and several thousand odd,
nicely mixed, steeped
in various assimilating cultural hegemonies.
At every check-post and office,
I am an "Indian-Tibetan".
My Registration Certificate,
I renew every year, with a salaam.
A foreigner born in India.

I am more of an Indian.
Except for my Chinky Tibetan face.
"Nepali?" "Thai?" "Japanese?"
"Chinese?" "Naga?" "Manipuri?"
but never the question - "Tibetan?"

I am Tibetan.
But I am not from Tibet.
Never been there.
Yet I dream
of dying there.


The Buddha's Last Instruction
By Mary Oliver

"Make of yourself a light"
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal-a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
even green.
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire-
clearly I'm not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.