A Moment of Calm

It is time to take stock – to note what is truly important to each of us. Let’s take a deep breath together.

Former Aotearoa, NZ poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh interviewed Joy Hiljo, US poet Laureate during Readers and Writers Week. This was an absolute highlight for me. As I stood in line to go, I began talking with the woman next in line with me. She was a community activist from Detroit.

She gave me a copy of this poem by Lynn Ungar:


How can I breathe at a time like this,
When the air is full of smoke
Of burning tires, burning lives.
Just breathe, the wind insisted.

Easy for you to say, if the weight of injustice
Is not wrapped around your throat,
Cutting off all air.

I need you to breathe
I need you to breathe

Don’t tell me to be calm
When there are so many  reasons
To be angry, so much cause for despair!

I didn’t say to be calm, said the wind,
I said to breathe.
We’re going to need a lot of air
To make this hurricane together.

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