About the poet: When she moved to Oregon 40 years ago, Linda Knowlton Appel felt she had come home. Now a retired sci-tech librarian, she spends her free time contemplating, in constant amazement, the river, the mountain, and the world in which we live. Her poems have appeared inWillawawJournal, Voicecatcher, and elsewhere; and she has published two chapbooks.
Note: This beautiful poem was written prior to any controversy about the Wall of Mothers.
The Grandmothers Stand
by Linda Knowlton Appel
Behind their daughters’ yellow wall
the grandmothers are standing
in Portland streets, as once they stood
in Argentina, as they will stand again,
forever in the sadness of the wind.
You may not see the grandmothers,
but we stand behind the protesters,
as witnesses of truth.
You may not hear us shout, but
we lend our presence to the litany
of righteous anger.
We can no longer run and fight,
withstand the fog of tear gas;
but what we lack in youth and strength
we make up for in certitude,
the knowledge of what’s right and wrong,
and what it takes to save the world.
Outside the Justice Center
beneath gunmetal clouds,
before a phalanx dark we stand.
Some in spirit, some in body
we are present at this midnight rite
of pretense and provocation.
One by one, sad silent grandmothers gather
to stand, now and forever, in solidarity.
Our time is past and yet we continue
to stand and call, with urgent clarity,
Know justice; know peace