it’s our choice

the same ingredients,
the same tools,
24 hours every day
are open to us all.
the same air surrounds us,
the same sunsets
paint our western skies.

yet our response is up to us.
what words will we choose,
which symbols use?
the alphabet invites us
all to select letters which
evoke a blessing or spew forth a curse,
to express love or loathing.

even young children
distinguish the difference, learning to
connect words and action,
words and approach,
words and attitudes
of the heart that beats
within every human breast.

so, take a simple combination
of letters from wide array of
possibilities. let’s take
e – i – l – v.
four letters with which to play
pray, shape realities,
retreat or retrench.

the four letters can create




which will it be?
it’s our choice.
will we create surroundings
unlivable and inhumane?
pass along malevolence
to our fellow human traveler?
or will we choose to create

spaces for us all to
live — to breathe,
laugh, run and play,
recreate and pray,
dancing heart-to-heart as we pay
our blessing forward?
it’s our choice.

what erupted at our
southern border today
(and for many days
over many months)
has yet again displayed only
2 of the options:

this shall not become
simply another news report,
another noise, offensive smell, gruesome picture
which quickly fades as we jostle
through overcrowded shopping malls
which feed our greed
at the expense of their need.

for when i do
my heart’s rebirth
contributes to the dignity of
every other member of the human race
longing to live in love.


This poem comes in response to US Border Patrol agents firing tear gas at a group of people seeking asylum in the United States today, November 25, 2018. 

© Julia Penner-Zook, 2018
Photo Credit: Newsmax
Twitter: @J_Pennz
Instagram: @j_penner_zook 


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