Forgetting 2019: A Poem

31 Dec

[Prefatory Note: At this age, having exhausted prose options, I indulge myself during holidays, by sharing poems that seek also your indulgence. I searched 2019 forsome glimmers of good news, and felt stymied. Of course, here, there, everywhere there were glorious private exceptions, yet hovering over the public marketplaces ofthe world I cringe beneath menacing storm clouds and below chaos and misery, and catastrophes waiting to happen. It is this spirit that I looked back on 2019, and yet reject despair, and pledge to fight for what I believe in 2020 with the conviction that it can happen, and of course should happen.]




Forgetting 2019


asphalt rain


darkens green fields




flares Amazon skies


fake leaders slithering


toward real dangers


hither and yon


seek safe havens


gated nations


hiding from truth


screaming ‘no’


migrants fleeing despair


pleading ‘please’


hiding from evils


Aung San Suu Kyi


defending genocide


this fallen Nobelist


broadcasting abroad


her deadly message


two centuries ago


Walt Whitman


arrived in our midst


singing aloud




of America’s future


later lost to predators


seizing their loot


robbing the land


turning dreams


to wilting flowers


our grief becomes


a betrayed destiny


tainted at birth


natives driven


off their sacred land


of holy innocence


the trusted voice


of Toni Morrison


is gone not lost


if we listen


if we listen


if we listen


all not yet all


lost futureless


nested eggs contain


our only hope


of what may yet come


of what to renounce


let’s start with gold


then learn not to hate


keep love joy truth


if we listen


if we listen


if we listen




Richard Falk

Santa Barbara, CA


December 31, 2019


13 Responses to “Forgetting 2019: A Poem”

  1. Björn Lindgren December 31, 2019 at 2:09 pm #

    Dear Richard,

    Yes, so it is . . .

    May in this world, illness, poverty,
    war, and evil intent be cut off from
    their roots, and cease for ever.
    May this black epoque disappear.

    – Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th
    Gyalwa Karmapa Rinpoche,

    And I add: May I make this possible!

    Warm regards,
    Björn Lindgren

  2. Bill Kreml December 31, 2019 at 2:51 pm #

    Well, another accomplishment from someone well accomplished in another work. If we didn’t know it we know it now, that all of your humane writings were grounded in a human caring. Happy New Year. Please don’t stop writing now. My best,

  3. David Hillstrom December 31, 2019 at 2:59 pm #

    Thank you for the poem, Richard. I didn’t realize you write poetry as well. A pleasant surprise.

    Happy New Year,



  4. dwlcx December 31, 2019 at 4:46 pm #

    Uh, actually, Uncle Walt arrived 2 centuries ago… never left

  5. Claudia Damon December 31, 2019 at 6:08 pm #

    I love this poem!

    • Richard Falk January 1, 2020 at 9:50 am #

      Hope you are fine, Claudia, and that those whom you love will flourish
      in 2020! Warmest greetings, Richard

  6. Kata Fisher December 31, 2019 at 11:39 pm #

    Dear Professor Falk,

    At least WWI victims have a monument and a prayer-remembrence place in Magdeburger cathedral – now days that depicted exhaustion of humanity is almost 100 times multiplied, not in wood – but in living humans. The cathedral seems to be to be a holy place. If only roaring of death could just stop.

    Azusa street abuse of Church Order – was a real bitch to the contemporarily Un-Church (and her sects and cults history, and now for a more then 100 years ).

    Evangelical sect and cults can not help themselves. I hope that Evangelical Church in Germany can give them some hope to help themeless. If that takes place – I can see better and real-transending (not fake) of future (for today) on global stage.

    As Dark as it is – its not as bad – only 1 half of the world population is not at war/mass shootings? It will be very bad when 1/4 and lover gets to be not at war/mass shootings?

    Let us believe that world-moranity – or as you say “fake leaders slithering” wake up rooted in hell, and fouling flesh. It happened to Nazis and all others for more ago then the 50 years now. Things that decay are not even worthwhile uprooting. School of Frankfurt had a pretty good idea about that.


  7. Schlüter January 1, 2020 at 4:28 am #

    Best wishes for 2020 and cordial regards
    “Season´s Greetings and a good 2020!”:

  8. maryryanblues January 1, 2020 at 4:56 am #

    Thanks for your wise words Richard and for all the wonderful work you do. ⭐️ Happy new year. Athbhliain faoi shéan is faoi mhaise (in Irish)

  9. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka January 1, 2020 at 12:20 pm #

    As always I admire Richard’s courage and honesty in telling it like it is, while the decade turns. I feel rather like he does, overall, but I still draw some comfort from the political outcomes in Argentina and Mexico, the demonstrations in Latin America, the voice of Pope Francis, and the emergence of the Progressive Democrats in the USA (with the possibility of an AOC candidacy in 2024 even if the religious-nationalist Right has a second term in 2020).

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