Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rise Up Like Lions

[I found this phenomenal photo by Jose Co Photos, Visione Aerea in the Picasa web albums. It clicked with a recent  quote I came across by Shelley, "Rise Like Lions",  as explained below.]

Rise up like lions on the savannah,
who proclaim their hunger
with a roar that cannot
be silenced
or suppressed.

Rise up,
like the milky blue mountains,
sprinkled with popcorn clouds,
in numbers too great
to ever be 
fully conquered.

Rise up, like the morning sun
that says it is time
for a new day to dawn,
and the old order 
to simply fade away;
or like the midnight moon
who sheds light
on the lonely traveler,
so he may stay his course
through the darkest 
of brooding byways,
to arrive at his destination,
weary and in need of rest,
but safely, and unharmed.

Rise up like blades of grass
in the springtime,
healthy and full of life and hope,
with a clear vision 
for a better tomorrow
and, in the meantime,
do all you can to make today
the best it can be.
Hold your heart full of dreams
as tenderly as a babe,
water it with your tears
and nourish it with
every lesson you have learned
till it grows "as wise as serpents
and harmless as doves*."

Rise up, alone and together,
let your voice be heard,
let your prayers join the million others
seeking succor on this planet;
let your peaceful heart 
fly on the wings of your vision
towards a better life.

Let us all join hands
and roll this oppressive boulder 
of corporate greed
to the edge of the cliff,
and over,
so we can go back 
to living with integrity, 
compassion and honor,
to taking care of needs,
living sustainably,
balancing budgets,
and restoring faith
in the goodness 
of the American dream.

Rise up like lions,
that have been lying
in the glow of
an amber African sunset.
Walk the acres of
whatever land you love,
whatever river, or forest,
or long sandy beach,
and reclaim its beauty
for yourself
as your God-given right.
Then promise it your protection
and let your voice be heard
in the corridors of power.
Tell them you oppose
corporate might,
and the marginalization
and dispossession
of the earth's peoples.
Tell them,
life is not about greed, 
money and power
for the rich
and struggle for
everyone else.

It is about humanity,
quality of life,
and purpose,
and the betterment
of the human spirit.

Rise up like lions,
clear-eyed and strong
in the bright light of morning.
Let's make for our children
and our children's children
the world as it could be,
if we Made Peace
instead of War.

Yesterday a friend forwarded an on-line video to me called Rise Like Lions, a compilation of film footage shot on the ground during the Occupy Wall Street movement. Its preface is a quote by Percy Bysshe Shelley, from his lesser-known poem: The Masque of Anarchy, written on the occasion of the massacre at Manchester:

Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you
Ye are many - They are few.

I am moved by the film, people earnestly explaining their fed-up-ness with corporate greed and the resulting  increase in the  number of working and non-working poor. I was especially struck by the line "Rise like lions". 

Yesterday I also watched a documentary about the most enlightened town in America: Fairfields, Ohio, where nine thousand serene souls have come together with a vision of a highly enlightened, aware and advanced community. Not only do they live sustainably, with a gentle ecological footprint,  (wind turbines as an energy source, for example.) Inner health and well being is a part of daily life: twice a day people gather in two huge domes to meditate. Meditation and spirituality is a part of the school program, from kindergarten through high school.

Peoples' faces are all radiantly happy. The children are flourishing. And, in a center on-site, six hundred young devotees from India spend everyday in prayer and meditation for world peace.

A better world is possible. The shift is trying so hard to happen. With every ounce of my being, I embrace its transformation. I love this planet and its people. What a place it can be, when war is replaced by looking after its people.

Today I happened across the above photo, and the serpents and doves quote (*Matthew 10:16), and these  events jogged something in my brain. I envision my Muse's long froggy tongue darting out and slurping it up like a fly, as it flitted past her lily-pad.


  1. Powerful poem Sherry....loved the way you end the poem
    "Tell them,
    life is not about greed,
    money and power
    for the rich
    and struggle for
    everyone else."

    So very true....I have always felt this urge to tell this to the people in power..

  2. You wrote this poem with passion, Sherry. I could FEEL it! Well penned.

  3. too many prefer to lie down like lions in the midday heat...

  4. well, i want to thank you for gifting me this poem. i will read it again this evening as an extra treat. some works live with a little life energy from the artist, like this one.

    i saw the first of those rise up videos and it was very good. but i thought it was too dark to really go mainstream. your poem has the right brightness about what's possible, at least to me.

  5. Very beautiful and moving, Sherry. It's so hard to hold an optimistic view of the future in the face of some much greed and disdain for others. I don't know, maybe it's because we are in the throes of campaigns for President here in the US, but it seems that each day, I see a little more of the worst of us. It's very disheartening.

  6. The United States has a long and not very pretty history of Utopian communities.

    There is always a lioness prowling about, refusing to meditate. *grinz*

  7. Your writing reminds me of Hugo's poetry - and that's something because I read his poetry in French! Your passion amazes me.

    BTW Sherry, Stafford just lost his son. He is a strong man, but even strong men need hugs.

  8. http://staffordray.blogspot.com/2012/03/too-soon.html

  9. What a lovely prayer, mantra.
    Yes, there are people who are trying very hard to make the 'shift' in conscious thinking to a higher level. There is so much negativity around the world now, for many reasons, in many ways. We all can 'sense' this shift happening. Sense that time itself seems to be speeding up too.
    It's time we came awake before it's all too late. I read somewhere that work is a white mans way. It never was a part of Native American culture at all. To them life was about living. They hunted what they needed for food and clothing, never just for sport. They did what they needed to do through their days, and that was it. It was white men who came along with 'their' work and pay ethics which tried to change hundreds of years of ways of living.
    I am so with you on corporate greed. No-one in the world needs to be hungry and, they wouldn't be if it wasn't for the money men making yet more money on weapons and oil and asking more and more for food.
    Look at all the starving in parts of Africa and yet, their rulers are never poor or, hungry!
    Lovely post Sherry.

  10. DDT, I echo your sentiments re: indigenous peoples. The French who originally settled in Wisconsin intermarried and adopted most Native American traditions, including respect for the land and family dynamics.

    Sherry, this is a thoughtful, powerful indictment of corporate greed. You know I'm with you on this, and the US is making the rest of the world fall like dominoes. Me? I'm thinking of starting Mandarin Chinese classes, because now the top fat cats in China OWN us. This is NOT against the Chinese people in general - in fact, many of them, adults and children, are suffering mightily since Bush, in his infinite idiocy, signed CAFTA, which sailed through Congress because our officials are all in the pockets (DEEP pockets) of corporations...

    Blood pressure rising; time to hop off soap box. I note your mention of similarity to my poem at http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/03/27/what-we-need-3ww/

    We are sisters. Peace, Amy

  11. Wow... this is so powerful, written with such emotion. I wish everyone could read it.

  12. In practical terms, how is corporate greed controlled? How are the poor given a place of dignity and sufficiency in the land that invented the corporation in which there is only one goal, maximisation of profit.
    To do that, wages are minimised, prices maximised and government manipulated.
    Environmental degradation, wage justice, product safety are all secondary if they are considered at all.
    That brings me to the election and what we hear. Any idea such as universal health care, surely of great concern to the poor, is branded as communism and so rejected even by those who would benefit the most.
    I am glad you mention the cost of armaments because few Americans are aware, that of the total world 'defence' budget, the US is reported to spend 40%! Enough said.
    It's important to say the words, but they need to be translated into action. Of those, the thoughtfully directed vote is the most effective and peaceful manifestation.

  13. Of course Fireblossom was not using the 'failed utopia' argument to give us the impression that any state supported welfare should be rejected as an utopian dream, but many do.
    It is disingenuous to claim any welfare reform, or rules to control destructive unbridled greed is part of a failed utopian ideal. It is never all or nothing. And as any CEO will tell you, a business needs a business plan. Governments need a business plan too but are pilloried for it if it attempts to direct anything economic.
    Question: Why is any attempt to control those parts of the economy, like those that gave us the GFC and sub-prime mortgages such an anathema?
    Clue: Who is against taxing the very rich, and who has better access to corporate media?

  14. I love it...very moving and rising up with hope and promise despite the current state and despair of our world today. Thank you for sharing this ~

  15. We need you to read this and put it on Youtube! It is wonderful and so evokes the human condition of change and adapting. We so need to adapt and shift in a new way...I loved all that you shared! Amazing and filled with grace for trying to shift in the right direction! So well said~

  16. Beautiful words and hopes. As with all changes, we're waiting for the new philosophy. No change can happen without it. Once there, change is swift.

  17. Shape shifting and awakening - so many of us feel both are stirring within a universal conscience. The why and the what avoids exactness and definition, but it seems that we must move from the egocentric society we have become and learn to be a Nature-centric society! What a holistic world that would be!

  18. cool sentiments - hope and faith with a right minded heart and a strong back and mind

  19. This is a truly inspiring post, Sherry.

  20. Well Sherry - you are always a joy to read and an extremely talented poet ... Today (no sacrilegious pun intended) you have risen. The call to a higher consciousness is pitch perfect as is the timing of its release. Gorgeous writing and your exquisite essence flowing calling out to all....

  21. This poem is a song of hope -- or a call to hope. If only goodness and integrity was as automatic and regular as the pull of the sun and the moon!

  22. I found this to be quite uplifting and powerful. Wonderfully done!

  23. Your work never fails to move and inspire me--this in particular feels fresh and powerful--I will carry this one with me today

  24. You make a soaring and inspiring set of variations on this simple theme and it works very well. I especially like the verses where you combine the call to rise with natural imagery - the morning sun and the grass. A lovely poem.

  25. Sherry, we talk about corporate greed a lot via email and here on the blog. You are such a good activist by posting poems like this. Such a flow, an outpouring, almost a stream-of-consciousness (conscience?!) work. "Rise up like lions," certainly a call to action.

    Ironically, I saw Clint EAstwood's movie last night, "White Hunter, Black Heart," a semi-fictionalized account of how John Huston insisted "The African Queen" be shot on location in Africa so he could travel over a week ahead of time and "bag him an elephant." Once he's face to face with the creature, he's so awestruck he cannot shoot it. I wish I could believe he respected the animal, as we wish corps. could respect all the earth, but in the end, I think he was just a sad little man who was scared to death.

    How many "pale males" will we have to curtsey to before we rise up like lions ourselves? Time is coming, I think, here in the States. You ROCKED IT. Amy

  26. Wow Sherry! You definitely have risen like the the lions--this is incredibly inspiring as are the stories that followed. It is possible, we have to work and believe. Thank you for this, my heart is full :-)

  27. Brilliant ! another "If" poetress!

  28. Wonderful sentiments, Sherry, and I do think the shift is beginning to happen.

  29. yes,"It is about humanity".

    what a rousing post. people must be reminded that they can be part of the change.

  30. wow wow wow, fantastic. I adore the whole work bit especially the second stanza

  31. You describe a way of living, a kind of community that nurtures the essence of us. Utopian, to be sure.


  32. Powerful, great imagery and a positive message indeed, must be spring in the air ;-)

  33. always worth a look, great stuff Sherry!

  34. Hi, Sherry - I just love the first verse! Rise up like lions - and you sing the line all the way through. Thanks.

  35. Wow Sherry, may we rise up and make this a better world for coming generations. Love this beautiful, powerful poem!

  36. ah i am glad i did not miss this poem on this run of it...sopowerful...and encouraging...i want to rise up...tolift those dreams up....this was just what i needed today to break me out of a doldrum....

  37. There's definitely slurping going on. I like the image of the boulder and the cliff and your use of lions snake and dove as well as my favorite:
    "Walk the acres of
    whatever land you love . . . "
    Sustain and steward what has been entrusted to you, me, find a town that will sit together ... Thanks, dear poet.

  38. Sherry,

    I think that the Rise Up instinct is taking hold around the world. Countries and people fearing a future of despair and poverty...Hard to see positivity in present circumstances with the financial disasters etc...
    A great comment on the social state of our poor old world.
    Happy Sunday Greetings Sherry,

  39. Powerful, Sherry. Excellent stuff.

  40. ...a poem like this should change the world Sherry... your sage views & assessment were expressed with such dignity & clarity more than enough for one who have/will read/be reading this not to be awakened... the elemental feel were amalgamated wisely & well with the political commentaries... thank you for the chance of reading your poem & be moved in a variety of ways... thank you for inspiring many in the world... smiles...

  41. It has all been said, about this piece... very eloquently and deserving.

  42. Corporate success is a good thing - we all want jobs BUT greed is not OK. We are all to blame for that, I think and credit cards and living above our means is much our own fault. (EVERY level of earning does this, I'm afraid - including our government). Sigh - yes, a lovely poem, Sherry, and I applaud those communities that are creating a blue print for (I hope) others to follow.


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!