Is the sky guilty of hail?
The lion gazing at far mountains from its cage?
Is the city guilty of choking fields with concrete?
The nation of wars in the name of God?
Is the ocean guilty of tsunami waves?
And the earth of raging quakes?
Am I guilty of Mother choosing between food and pills?
Of forgetting how to plant or harvest with our hands?
Have I done enough to give my child eyes and heart in the right place?
Am I guilty of dreaming my son’s return from the war, alive, alive?
Is the river guilty of flashfloods, mercury fish?
And the mountain of landslides, shaved forests?
Is the student guilty of dreaming college for a smaller debt?
The homeless of their schemes for shelter?
Are the ghetto kids guilty of drugs, bullets, hunger, of their mothers working three jobs?
Or guilty of despair and hope behind bars?
Is the eagle guilty of longing for a sky without pesticide mist?
And the salmon’s urge to go home, even if it’s dammed, poisoned, extinct?
Is the child guilty of crying out in her prayer?
The mother wailing for her lost children, tattered arms thrust heavenwards?
Are we guilty of the atrocities to mountains and rivers, the genocides of living things?
And our impulse to love?The need to believe, to believe?
Is the lamb guilty of its silence?
Is the poem guilty of singing in darkness?
© Wang Ping 2013 Ten Thousand Waves (Under publication by Wings Press)
Wang Ping is the recipient of the Loft Literary Center 2009 McKnight Artist Fellowship Award for Writers and the 2008 Minnesota Book Awards and the 2007 Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. In 2011, she created Kinship of Rivers project with the help of many talented artists, organizers and students, to bring the Yangtze and Mississippi together as Sister Rivers, to form kinship between the river communities, and to raise awareness about our rivers. Wang Ping has been one of the most prestigious judges of The Griffin Poetry Prize 2013.