Sunday, May 30, 2010

Poets for Living Waters: Responding to the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf

Poets Amy King and Heidi Staples have been engaging in a poetic response to the BP oil spill, called Poets for Living Waters. Check it out. I have three poems up right now. Here's my statement, revised from one that was included in my "Ode to Oil" sequence from Artful Dodge (2008):


“Don’t piss in your mother’s eye,” an old Russian saying goes—meaning, keep the waters clean. Many indigenous peoples conceive of our planet as Turtle Island. In one creation story, this land beneath us is a living, breathing entity that once offered itself to save a woman falling from the sky. There’s a hadith from the Qu’ran that says the mountain (Uhud) love us, and we love it. There is something in us that wants to return that love. But our love is complicated.

Oil is in some ways like money; we know that it’s necessary, but our relationship to its physicality is often repressed. When it appears—as a stain on pavement where we park, spreading wider as our cars age—we lament the sight of it, a visible sign of mechanical failure. But when an offshore drilling rig explodes—as it has now in April 2010—and millions of gallons of oil begins seeping into the ocean, strangling the living waters, it’s hard to ignore. Relentlessly dematerialized, oil is both a magical and crude substance that has greased the wheels of modernity. In the United States, the discovery and harvesting of oil at the end of the 19th century began as people searched for a replacement for whale oil to light lamps—for all the evening activities of the leisure class from reading literature to dinner parties. Moby Dick, in some sense, embodies Walter Benjamin’s “There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.” We had to slay the whale to feed our longing to read deep into the night. Arguably every major war in the twentieth century has had oil as either one of its goals or became a pivotal resource in determining who emerged victorious. The lust for oil has led to C.I.A. overthrows of governments (Mexico in 1911, Mossadegh in Iraq in the 1950s, among others); state assassinations of protestors (Ken Saro-Wiwa in Nigeria); threats to indigenous peoples, such as the U’wa in Colombia, who famously threatened to commit mass suicide in the mid-1990s if Occidental drilled on their native lands; and ecological disasters from oil spills and water contamination.

“Ode to Oil,” a series of poems I’ve been writing, whose first version was published in 2008 in Artful Dodge, thus attempts to sing into being that complex relationship we have to the bubbling crude, that organic silt of centuries, that organic soup of past plants and animals which feeds our world. Each poem is a little song, part of the fizz of centuries effervescing; for a love poem to goo, I could not help but find in an old wineskin, the sonnet (in Italian, sonnetto is “little song”), a temporary container for its fugitive amorphousness. My hope is that, in the hardened shell of the sonnet, oil is not made into a liquid praline, nor is the sonnet reduced to a barrel.

May 2010.

Congratulations to Michel Moushabeck!

Congratulations to Michel Moushabeck, publisher of Interlink Publishing, whose motto, "Changing the Way People Think about the World," is precisely what he's been doing. Interlink is perhaps the single most important American press representing the literature and culture of the Arab world to English speakers. A well-deserved honor. Go out and check out Interlink's unparalleled selection, particularly of Palestinian and Israeli literature, on their website.

Washington, DC | May 29, 2010 | | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is proud to announce that the 2010 Annual Alex Odeh Memorial Award will be presented to Mr. Michel Moushabeck. The award is presented annually to an individual who demonstrates exceptional leadership, public service, and commitment to ADC and the Arab American community. ADC is recognizing Mr. Moushabeck for his unwavering dedication in empowering Arab-Americans, and his commitment to education through artistic expression.

The Award will be presented to Mr. Moushabeck at the Saturday Evening Gala Banquet, on June 5, between 7PM-10PM, during the 30th Anniversary National Convention. This historic Convention will be held from June 4 - 6, 2010, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Road, NW, Washington, DC.

You can register for the Convention by clicking here. Tickets to the Saturday evening Gala can be purchased by clicking here. A full schedule of events is available by clicking here.


Mr. Michel Moushabeck is a writer, editor, publisher and musician. Mr. Moushabeck is a versatile percussionist with over 35 years experience in tala, riqq, and daff performance. In addition to classical Arabic, he is comfortable playing a variety of musical styles from jazz to flamenco to Afro-Cuban rhythms. Mr. Moushabeck came to the U.S. in 1979, attended New York University, and has since performed at notable concert halls worldwide. He is a founding member and lead percussionist of the Boston-based Layaali Arabic Music Ensemble. He serves on the Board of Media Education Foundation and he lectures frequently on Arabic music and literature-in-translation.

Mr. Moushabeck is also the founder of Interlink-Publishing, a 24-year old Massachusetts-based independent publishing house, which publishes socially and politically engaged nonfiction that enhances and broadens people's understanding of the Arab world, often on topics underrepresented or ignored by the Western media. Interlink also publishes many award-winning Arab American authors including works by the late Edward W. Said, the late Hisham Sharabi, Jack G. Shaheen, Nathalie Handal, Gregory Orfalea, among many other distinguished writers. Mr. Moushabeck is also the author of five books including, most recently, Kilimanjaro: A Photographic Journey to the Roof of Africa. His two forthcoming books include: Andalucia: A Photographic Journey through Moorish Spain (Charleston Travel, London, 2011) and A Brief Introduction to Arabic Music (Saqi Books, London, 2011).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Adrienne Rich, on poetry as "Social Practice"

Mark Nowak is now going digital, archiving online selections from fifteen years of his journal, XCP, Cross-Cultural Poetics. Here's an entry from Adrienne Rich, whose poetics situate me exactly where I am: riding the hyphen between poetry's utility and its utter uselessness, between its dialogic possibities with social movements and the culture at large and its self-declaration of independence.

Social Practice

Poetry is neither an end in itself, nor a means to some external end. It’s a human activity enmeshed with human existence; as James Scully names it, a social practice. Written where, when, how, by, for and to whomever, poetry dwells in a web of other social practices historically weighted with enormous imbalances of social power. To say this is not to deny the necessity for poetry as an art whose tangible medium is language.

It’s a commonplace to say that in a society fraught with official lying, hyperbolic urgings to consume, contrived obsolescence of words (along with things and the people who produce them) poets must “recover” or “subvert” or “re-invent” language. Poetic language may thus get implicitly defined as autonomous terrain apart from the ripped-off or colonized languages of daily life.

Yet the imagination—the capacity to feel, see, what we aren’t supposed to feel and see, find expressive forms where we’re supposed to shut up–has meant survival and resistance, for poets and numberless others: incarcerated, under military or colonial occupation, in concentration camps, at grinding labor, suffering bleak and traumatic circumstances of many kinds. We may view the imagination as a kind of gated, landscaped neighborhood–or as a river, sometimes clogged and polluted, carrying many kinds of traffic including pollen and contraband, but in movement: the always-regenerating impulse toward an always-beginning future.

Adrienne Rich, originally published in XCP 15/16 (2005)

Remica Bingham's "Final Exam Administration"

Remica Bingham's

"Final Exam Administration"

I enter to find all the students in uniform
occupying a small room.

I hand out pencils and registration forms.
Some begin without orders.

I remind them to remain anonymous
no names, just ID numbers should appear

on the waiting pages, white and clean
as unwritten letters or discharges.

Just a number the private
in BCGs and fatigues mumbles

from the back that’s all
we are. A number

and a gun.
His comrades laugh,
erasing what might have been.

Do your best I say,
and they settle, salute.

-Remica L. Bingham

Used by permission.

Remica L. Bingham is currently the Competency Coordinator at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA. She earned an MFA from Bennington College and is a Cave Canem fellow. Among other journals, her work has been published in New Letters, Callaloo, and Gulf Coast. Her first book,Conversion, won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award and was published by Lotus Press. A book of her selected poems, The Seams of Memory, will be translated into Arabic and published in 2010 in conjunction with the Kalima Project.

Bingham appeared on the panel Reclamation, Celebration, Renewal, and Resistance: Black Poets Writing on the Natural World during Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Get Your Yeats On! "Open Mind Firmament" is a CPT Production of W.B. Yeats' Life and Work

Local poet Ray McNiece is among the actors for this rendering of the great Irish poet's work and vision, the rather GBV-ish title of "Open Mind Firmament."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Middle East Peace Series in Shaker Hts. Starts June 1

Middle East Peace Series in Shaker Hts. Starts June 1
Grassroots for Peace in a Land of Conflict - Doug and Maryanne Kerr

Seeking Middle East Peace, a three-part series, begins Tuesday, June 1st at Shaker Heights Public Library 6500 Van Aken Boulevard, Shaker Heights, OH 44120 (entrance on Lee Road, between Van Aken and Chagrin). Sponsored by Cleveland Peace Action Education Fund - details

Spread the word - Download event flyer All programs free and open to the public. Refreshments served.

Program #1: Tuesday, June 1, 7-9 pm. Presentation & Discussion: "Grassroots for Peace in a Land of Conflict," with Doug and Mary Ann Kerr, Interfaith Peace Builders. A concise history of the region and encounters with courageous peacemakers will be presented.

Program #2: Wednesday, June 30, 7-9 pm. Film & Discussion: "Searching for Peace in the Middle East," a 35-minute film from the Middle East Foundation. Discussion facilitated by Alan Federman, Psychotherapist, and Ramez Islambouli, Faculty, Case Western Reserve University.

Program #3: Thursday, July 15, 7-9 pm. Moderated Panel Discussion: "The Israeli-Palestinian Impasse: What is the US Role?" A panel discussion from various viewpoints about the U.S. role in seeking a just and viable solution.

Check our website for the latest news you won't find in the mainstream media, local events, current legislation, media contact information.

Join Cleveland Peace Action or renew your membership by using our secure online donation form - click here. Online donors will make a tax-deductible donation to the Cleveland Peace Action Education Fund.

Contact Information
phone: 216-231-4245

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Peace Show 2010: An Evening of Poetry and Stories with Phil Metres and Robin Pease-Kerr

In the last few years, I've been participating in and enjoying the fruits of a rather unique and festive gathering called The Peace Show on Labor Day downtown at the Free Stamp (Willard Park). The Peace Show has been a Cleveland event since 2002, and began as a response to the Air Show, which is pretty awe-inspiring but also uncritically celebrates militarism.

The idea of the Peace Show was to move beyond the negativism of protest (however necessary) to a "pro-attestation" (Allen Ginsberg's coinage)--i.e., it is a celebration, a festival of what we believe--that there are ways to make peace, to make justice, and to create a better world without war. It is truly an event for the whole family, with lots of kid-centered activities (face-painting, paper crane making, etc.), local food booths, homemade lemonade, tables of information and stuff from local progressive groups, a main stage of musicians and speakers.

This evening on Saturday, May 22nd is a little warm-up, a chance to hear some stories and poems and gnosh a little, to get jazzed up about one of the really cool progressive events that happens because of the work of a small group of dedicated peacemakers. Come on in. If you have a poem or words to share, please bring it along. In making your voice heard, you may help this event reach a wider audience!

Support the Cleveland Peace Show - May 22 Fundraiser
Phil Metres and Robin Pease-Kerr - poetry, stories and discussion

Join Phil Metres and Robin Pease-Kerr for an evening of poetry, stories and discussion Saturday, May 22nd at 7:30 pm.

This Cleveland Peace Show Fundraiser will be held at John Carroll University, in University Heights, Meeting Room A in Rodman Hall. Free Will Donations.

For more information, call 216/932-8546 216/932-8546 . Email: Visit:

Lee Sharkey's "Eye"

Poet Lee Sharkey meditates, through a series of questions, on the eye, on witnessing through another's suffering and loss of vision, on the blindnesses that we carry and are carried over.

Lee Sharkey

A rubber-coated metal bullet struck Ziad’s eye during clashes in Bethlehem. . . . His eyeball fell in the palm of his hand and . . . he kept holding it till he reached the hospital. He thought they could put it back in.
—Muna Hamzeh, Refugees in Our Own Land

What do you do with an eye in the cup of your hand?

What do you see that you didn’t?

What do you make of a sphere of jelly with fins of torn muscle?

What do your fingers impress on the rind?

Do you rush it to hospital, where a surgeon waits to fuse sight to vision?

Does the eye have a nationality? a history?

Does the eye have a user name?

Its own rubber bullet?

Where is the eye transcribed?

A little globe there and you are the keeper

Of the watery anteroom, the drink of clear glass

Dear eye

Once it lay snug in fat in its orbit

Once it saw as a child

Through humor a peppering of stars

-Lee Sharkey

From A Darker, Sweeter String, Off the Grid Press (;, 2008. Used by permission.

Lee Sharkey is the author most recently of A Darker Sweeter String (Off the Grid Press), of which Maine's Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl says, "If our dreams could edit the news (and sometimes our nightmares) these poems are how they'd wake us up to the urgency of our times." She is also the author of the book-length poem farmwife and To A Vanished World (both Puckerbrush Press), a poem sequence in response to Roman Vishniac's photographs of Eastern European Jewry in the years just preceding the Nazi Holocaust. She lives in rural Maine, teaches a writing workshop for adults with mental illness, and stands in a weekly peace vigil with Women in Black. She is the co-editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal (;, which published a chapbook of the work of Split This Rock poets for the first Split This Rock festival.

Sharkey appeared on the panel What Makes Effective Political Poetry? Editors’ Perspectives during Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day: A Day Against War

From Wiki: "The "Mother's Day Proclamation" by Julia Ward Howe was one of the early calls to celebrate Mother's Day in the United States. Written in 1870, Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. The Proclamation was tied to Howe's feminist belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Joseph Ross' "If You Leave Your Shoes"

This is a poem from Joseph Ross, whose work I first discovered as a result of his edited mini-anthology, Cut Loose the Body: An Anthology of Poems on Torture and Fernando Botero’s Abu Ghraib (2008), and later his own poetry, one poem of which we included in Come Together: Imagine Peace. One of my small disappointments about Split This Rock 2010, which was a great festival and gathering, was that I tended to flow to all the same panels with all the same people--the war/anti-war poets--and that I somehow missed spending time with people like Joseph Ross, who was active in one of the parallel streams of progressive liberationist politics and poetics at Split This Rock, dealing with gay and lesbian poetry. When I mentioned this to poet Sean Thomas Dougherty, he remarked that it was indicative of the fragmentation of the Left--each of us with our affiliative communities. In this poem by Ross, "If You Leave Your Shoes," we see the power of cross-identification, between people who have known what it means to be considered illegal, unworthy of speech and rights.

Joseph Ross's "If You Leave Your Shoes"
A response to Arizona’s law SB 1070

If you leave your shoes
on the front porch
when you run

to the city pool
for swimming lessons,
you might end up

walking across the sand
of the desert in
scorched feet,

bare, like the prophets,
who knew what it was
to burn.

If you leave your lover
to run to the market
for bread and pears

you might return
to find your lover
gone and the bed

covered with knives,
hot and gleaming from
a morning in the sun.

If you leave your country
in the wrong hands,
you might return to

see it drowning in blood,
able to spit
but not to speak.

-Joseph Ross


Used by permission.

Joseph Ross is a poet, working in Washington, D.C., whose poems have been published in many journals and anthologies including Poetic Voices Without Borders 1 and 2, Poet Lore, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Full Moon on K Street. He co-edited Cut Loose the Body: An Anthology of Poems on Torture and Fernando Botero’s Abu Ghraib for D.C. Poets Against the War. He has given readings in Washington, D.C.’s Miller Cabin Poetry Series and in the Library of Congress’ Poetry-at-Noon Series. He teaches in the College Writing Program at American University in Washington, D.C.

Ross appeared on the panel Gay and Lesbian Poetry in the 40th Year Since Stonewall: History, Craft, Equality during Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem-of-the-Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

John Dear on Poet, Prophet and Priest Daniel Berrigan

These are excerpts from radical priest John Dear's introduction to another radical priest and poet Daniel Berrigan, about whose poems, writings, and activism I've written earlier in this blog. Berrigan was one of those lights flickering in dark times, whose work occasionally took on an outrageous and provocative prophetic witness.

One choice quote from Dear, which suggests the connections between resistance and spirituality (which you Marxists can take as you will): "To my mind, Dan's writings are best understood as the fruit of his nonviolent actions and resistance, and as such, they stand within the tradition of resistance literature. But more, they join a legacy of spiritual writing that stretches from the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of St. Paul through the poetry of St. Francis to the sermons of Archbishop Romero and Dr. King. Dan's writings fit in both categories: as resistance literature and spiritual writing. The genius of Daniel Berrigan is that for him, they are one and the same. All spiritual writing is political for it resists the culture of war and injustice by its very nature. All political writing for peace and justice is therefore quintessentially spiritual, for it points us toward the reign of God. This, I suggest, is the mark of a true spiritual master."

It goes without saying that I found him utterly terrifying and a strong tonic to my occasionally bourgeois sense of comfort and gentle dissent. Here's that piece, which appears in National Catholic Reporter....

Daniel Berrigan at 89
by John Dear SJ on May. 04, 2010 On the Road to Peace

I'm in New York City this week, attending some of the peace events around the opening of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty conference at the United Nations, and staying with Fr. Daniel Berrigan and the Jesuit Community. This past Good Friday, Dan was arrested at the U.S. Intrepid War Museum; he goes to court in June. May 9 is his 89th birthday.

To celebrate this friend and peacemaker, I offer this week excerpts from my long introduction to a great new anthology which I just published with Orbis Books, Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings. In honor of Dan, let's keep going, following the nonviolent Jesus, working for justice and disarmament, and trusting the God of peace.

* * * * * *

Daniel Berrigan exemplifies a Christianity that works for peace, speaks for peace, and welcomes Christ's resurrection gift of peace, first of all to the poor and the enemy. Through word and deed, he has spent his life shedding new light on the Gospel of Jesus, pointing us toward a new world of nonviolence, a new future of peace if we but welcome the gift. His life work, he would say, is modest, but the cumulative effect of his writings and actions, I suggest, show us what the church might look like, what a Christian looks like in such times, indeed, what a human response looks like in an inhuman world.

Dan knows by heart that God does not bless war, justify war, or create war. He points to a nonviolent Jesus who blesses peacemakers, not warmakers; who calls us to love enemies, not kill them; who commands us to take up the cross of nonviolent resistance to empire -- not put others on the cross …

To my mind, Dan's writings are best understood as the fruit of his nonviolent actions and resistance, and as such, they stand within the tradition of resistance literature. But more, they join a legacy of spiritual writing that stretches from the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of St. Paul through the poetry of St. Francis to the sermons of Archbishop Romero and Dr. King. Dan's writings fit in both categories: as resistance literature and spiritual writing. The genius of Daniel Berrigan is that for him, they are one and the same. All spiritual writing is political for it resists the culture of war and injustice by its very nature. All political writing for peace and justice is therefore quintessentially spiritual, for it points us toward the reign of God. This, I suggest, is the mark of a true spiritual master.

* * * * * *

Dan's contemplative rhythm of listening and going public puts him in the tradition of the towering prophets -- Isaiah, Daniel, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel -- who notwithstanding the vast distance in time, have become Dan's mentors and models. Like them, he denounces war, weapons, arms races, corrupt regimes, miscarriages of justice, assaults on human rights, and threats to widows and orphans, the unborn and prisoners. What makes Dan's critique so unique, according to one of his biographers, Francine du Plessix Gray, is his "startling" use of language. Even his opponents sit up and take note.

For Dan, the spiritual life demands our encounter with the world, and thus, nonviolent resistance to its violence, in the tradition of the peacemaking Jesus. His early poems were, in his words, "sacramental," but his later poems took on the world and its wars and suffering, he says, because he himself began to taste some of its suffering. And so, Dan teaches not a comfortable spirituality -- with its private relationship to God -- but an uncomfortable spirituality that finds God in the poor, in the marginalized, and in the enemy and evokes loving action on their behalf.

"Some people today argue that equanimity achieved through inner spiritual work is a necessary condition for sustaining one's ethical and political commitments," Dan writes. "But to the prophets of the Bible, this would have been an absolutely foreign language and a foreign view of the human. The notion that one has to achieve peace of mind before stretching out one's hand to one's neighbor is a distortion of our human experience, and ultimately a dodge of our responsibility. Life is a rollercoaster and one had better buckle one's belt and take the trip. This focus on equanimity is actually a narrow-minded, selfish approach to reality dressed up within the language of spirituality."

"I know that the prophetic vision is not popular today in some spiritual circles," he continues. "But our task is not to be popular or to be seen as having an impact, but to speak the deepest truths that we know. We need to live our lives in accord with the deepest truths we know, even if doing so does not produce immediate results in the world."

Dan finds the wherewithal to set his face against the tide of war in large part because of his daily Bible study. Indeed, like his brother Philip, Dan is a rare biblical person, one who wrestles with the Word of God day and night. "Open up the book of Jeremiah and you do not find a person looking for inner peace," Dan notes. Jeremiah cries out against injustice, then rejoices in the fulfillment of God's justice, he observes. "Jeremiah goes through mountains and valleys. That kind of richness I find very appealing, whereas the kind of spirituality that looks for a flat emotional landscape brought on by the endless search for inner peace and equanimity I find disturbing, a quest that goes nowhere."

"I draw from the prophets a very strong bias in favor of the victim and a very strong sense of judgment of evil structures and those who run them," Dan writes in his latest book, The Kings and Their Gods. The prophets and Christ, he writes, talk "about the God who stands at the bottom with the victims and with the ‘widows and orphans' and witnesses with them in the world, from that terrifying vantage point which is like the bottom of the dry well that Jeremiah was thrown in. That vantage point defines the crime and sin; that point of view of the victim indicts the unjust, the oppressor, the killer, the warmaker. And the message is very clear. It's a very clear indictment of every superpower from Babylon to Washington."

Dan reaches such unlikely conclusions because he is thoroughly immersed in the text. He dares think that God can be taken at God‘s Word, most notably, in the Gospel message of Jesus. "I've been maintaining a new discipline," he told me casually a few years ago, at the height of Bush's war on Iraq. "First, I get as little of the bad news as possible. I only look at The New York Times once a week, if that, and occasionally the BBC. Second, I spend more time than ever with the good news, reading and meditating on the Gospel every morning, to be with Jesus."

That, to my mind, is the job description of the modern day biblical prophet -- aware of the world, immersed in the Word of God, a kind of Barthian recipe for readying oneself to announce the Gospel in word and deed. Deed especially. It is Dan's nonviolent direct action which gives Dan's words such vigor and power. But it is his words that unpack his deeds and vision and inspire so many others.

"The Word of God is spoken for the sake of today," Dan writes, "for ourselves. If not, it lies dead on the page. Lift the Word from the page, then -- take it to heart. Make of it the very beat of the heart. Then the Word comes alive -- it speaks to commonality and praxis. Do it -- do the Word." This is the advice of a post-modern spiritual master. And it rings true because its ancient wisdom was first tested by the early saints and martyrs.

His message is a consistent Gospel word -- "Do not kill. Do not support the culture of killing. Do all you can to stop the killing." He put it succinctly in an influential open letter to the Weathermen: "The death of a single human being is too heavy a price to pay for the vindication of any principle, however sacred."

Over the decades, Dan has stayed faithful to the Gospel journey of peace. He keeps on walking the road to peace, one mindful step at a time, whether others do or not. "We walk our hope and that's the only way of keeping it going," he says. "We've got faith, we've got one another, we've got religious discipline and we've got some access that goes beyond the official wall."

"Peacemaking is tough, unfinished, blood-ridden," he told one interviewer. "Everything is worse now than when I started, but I'm at peace. I don't have to prove my life. I just have to live." The point for Dan is to be faithful to the God of peace and the Gospel of Jesus.

"Nobody can sustain him or herself in the struggle for a nonviolent world on the basis of the criterion of immediate success," Dan writes. "The Bible gives us a long view rather than the expectation of a quick fix. All of us are in grave danger of being infected by this American ethos that good work brings quick change, rather than the older spiritual notion that good work is its own justification and that the outcome is in other hands besides ours."

"The good is to be done because it is good, not because it goes somewhere," he says. "I believe if it is done in that spirit it will go somewhere, but I don't know where. I don't think the Bible grants us to know where goes, what direction. I have never been seriously interested in the outcome. I was interested in trying to do it humanly and carefully and nonviolently and let it go."

Daniel Berrigan remains faithful to his vocation and the vision of peace, calling us to do the same -- whether we're successful or not. The focus, he teaches, is on the God of peace, and so, "the outcome is in better hands than ours." With that, he insists, we can live in hope.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

To contribute to Catholic Relief Services' "Fr. John Dear Haiti Fund," go to: He will teach a course, "Gandhi, King, Day and Merton," Aug. 2-6, at Ghost Ranch Center, Abiquiu, N,M., see John's latest book, Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings (Orbis), along with other recent books, A Persistent Peace and Put Down Your Sword, as well as Patricia Normile's John Dear On Peace, are available from For further information, or to schedule a lecture, go to