It is so easy to feel disappointed and powerless in today's world. We dream of being more than that...a lot more. By the way, the last line of this poem will stay with you for a long, long time.
is the author of nine books of poetry, nonfiction and creative writing pedagogy. Her work appears in many journals, is re-printed in over fifty anthologies, and has been translated widely. She has received numerous awards, such as a PEN Translation Award, the Robert Frost and Robinson Jeffers Awards, and was a Fulbright Scholar. Thiel has taught creative writing for over fifteen years and is a Professor at the University of New Mexico.
We like to think we would have been
Hans or Sophie Scholl, scattering
anti-Reich leaflets for our lives.
We like to think we would have given
our homes, our future children
for the safety of our neighbors.
We like to think we never could have owned slaves
or better still, that we were abolitionists.
We never would have paid a factory death wage.
We never would have sat at bulging tables
while the potato famine harvested the villages
or packed people into coffin ships.
We hear of every trail of tears:
The only good Indian is a dead Indian
How could the people come to that—solution?
And then we close our newspapers, somewhat
aware of what our investments might support,
disturbed to be reminded, in the news, or in a poem.
We might quietly recognize ourselves
when we hear that all it takes for evil
to triumph is for good people to do nothing
And yet go home to our lives and our Silence,
that true rough beast, hiding in the hole
of our full bellies
so easily convinced there is nothing
we can do. And each of us continues to dream
of having been willing to give anything
at that moment in history, of having been,
at the very least, an active resistor. We were all
the heroes in someone else’s war.
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