Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Poetry can be...

a wonderful thing. I am lucky enough to have a couple of friends that write poetry, both are published poets and I am in awe of their talents and efforts.

Some time ago I ran a cross a poem by a woman named Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850 – October 30, 1919) that I thought was (and still do) just great both because of the wording and the meaning of the poem. Here is a photo of her (from wikipedia).
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Perhaps her most famous phrase was: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone." This was taken from a poem called Solitude.

Her work called Voice of the Voiceless was the poem I encountered that struck me with its power and truth. The poem itself is fairly lengthy, I will reproduce a couple of the more telling passages here and you can follow the link to read the complete work.

The Voice of the Voiceless (partial)

I am the voice of the voiceless;
Through me the dumb shall speak;
Till the deaf world's ear be made to hear
The cry of the wordless weak.
From street, from cage, and from kennel,
From jungle and stall, the wail
Of my tortured kin proclaims the sin
Of the mighty against the frail.
The same Force formed the sparrow
That fashioned man, the king;
The God of the Whole gave a spark of soul
To furred and to feathered thing.
And I am my brother's keeper,
And I will fight his fight,
And speak the word for beast and bird,
Till the world shall set things right.
Oh, never a brute in the forest,
And never a snake in the fen,
Or ravening bird, starvation stirred,
Has hunted its prey like men.
For hunger, and fear, and passion
Alone drive beasts to slay,
But wonderful man, the crown of the plan,
Tortures, and kills, for play.

There is a website that is the home of the Ella Wheeler Wilcox society and there she is described as an "American Poet & Journalist & Free Thinker". Some years ago I noticed that many of the folks from the past that I admired were described as "free thinkers". I thought it was a hoot that she also had that label applied to her.

Interestingly, Voice of the Voiceless is the name that Peter Young has chosen to call his website where he reports on the activities, efforts and philosophy of the Animal Liberation Front.

If you are a friend of those with no human voice, you should be familiar with Ms. Wilcox and her poem....and you should also be living as an ethical vegan.

By the way...this month is an excellent time to make donations to your favorite organizations. Many of them have campaigns going where public donations are matched by private funds...hence your gift is effectively doubled. I know Vegan Outreach and Mercy For Animals and Farm Sanctuary have such campaigns going right now...

Please consider giving a donation in the name of some recipient to worthy animal rescue and sanctuary groups as a Holiday gift. Your money will be put to much better use than it would be if you purchased some 'stuff' that will soon be broken or forgotten. Alleviating suffering, saving lives, providing safety...these are gifts that are priceless.


Christina said...

Yes give and if you cant give money, then volunteer (or both)because time is so valuable to these lonely creatures.

Excellent poem.

Molly said...

Such a lovely poem, and I love the passages you chose from it!

joan.kyler said...

And if you can't give money or time, just tell everyone you meet about the routine and sanctioned suffering of animals in our society. Educate people

That's a beautiful poem. Thanks for sharing it.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting.

Christina: Yes, time is the most valuable thing of all. I was touching on the money thing because of gift giving...I didn't consider that you could give of your time as an "honor donation" in someones name.

Molly: Thanks, pretty potent stuff isn't it?

Joan: Giving information and education is an important thing...I agree. You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post.
I think of your "be an ethical vegan" words everyday. Slowly but surely!
Oh, and the banff swine seminar: Just lying to themselves and the rest of us as the trade in pig flesh. Caged pig flesh. Disgusting.

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting DEM. Awesome poem, easy to post about. :-)

Caging any sentient being not convicted of a crime (and maybe even then) is despicable.

Bea Elliott said...

I've only known but a few choice lines from this poem - And loved their message! Great to read the whole of it. And to know more of Ella Wheeler Wilcox and put a face to those beautiful prose. What a striking woman she was!

I imagine at the time it must have been very difficult for those who were aware to speak their outrage. Victorians (especially women) so seeped in what was "proper" and dignified. Questioning the role of humans in regards to the brutal treatment of others took a brave and independent mind! She is all the lovelier for it!

Wise choice Peter Young made in giving his Voice of the Voiceless site that name! Voiceless and invisible they are - Except for the courageous and kind who break from that ugly habit of turning away.

And of course it's true --- Who the heck needs more stuff??? There's plenty of places that could use the funds instead - No matter how small.

And for folks like me who are worth more dead than alive - There's the option of donating life insurance to charities too:

And people of any age ought to consider where the "wealth" of their worldly possessions should go through writing a will... I know the last place I'd want my material-good to go to is to a group or person(s) that support the whole system I'm spending my life trying to fight! NO!!!

I know VE that you didn't (or maybe you did) intend for this post to be about legacy... But really, what we leave behind is how we'll be remembered - Prose and poetry defending the voiceless... Or contributions to make it so - Our words and bones can shape the future. <3

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Bea.

You make an excellent point about legacy...I've been toying with writing about that for a while...

Lots of courageous women have braved many horrid circumstances in the past and are still doing's a sad commentary on our species that horrid circumstances for any beings continue to exist.

vegangsterARNP said...

So wonderful. Thank you so much for posting.

veganelder said...

Thank you for your comment vegangsterARNP...and you're welcome.