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Calling All Grand Mothers

Alice Walker’s poetry collections have the best titles: “Hard Times Require Furious Dancing,” “Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful,” and “The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness Into Flowers.” In honor of National Poetry Month, I’m posting thirty poems in thirty days. Poem #12 was from Walker’s “Hard Times…” collection.

A few years ago, I was arrested in front of the White House as part of the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq. I spent most of that bitterly cold evening in D.C. standing next to a woman in her seventies whose love for Jesus had led to her get arrested numerous times in anti-war demonstrations. When the police came to bind our hands, I lifted mine up to make it easier. The old woman politely refused; she was going to make the police do all the work. I was reminded of that woman when, while driving to work last week, Kate and I came upon a rally at the state capitol in support of tighter gun control measures. I was amazed at how many old women had gathered there. As I watched them stream toward the capitol, I said to Kate, “If I’m ever not sure which way to come down on an issue, I’m going to see who’s attending the rallies. If it’s mostly old women, I’d better give it a closer look.” That’s what came to mind as I read Walker’s poem. It’s entitled “Calling All Grand Mothers.”

Calling All Grand Mothers

We have to live

or we
will die
in the same

old ways.

I call on all Grand Mothers
on the planet
to rise
and take your place
in the leadership
of the world

Come out
of the kitchen
out of the
out of the
beauty parlors
out of the

Step forward
& assume
the role
for which
you were
To lead humanity
to health, happiness
& sanity.

I call on
all the
Grand Mothers
of Earth
& every person
who possesses
the Grand Mother
of respect for
protection of
the young
to rise
& lead.
The life of
our species
on it.

& I call on all men
of Earth
to gracefully

stand aside
& let them
(let us)
do so.


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