by Jacinda Ardern
Rest now, e Papatuanuku ( Mother Earth )
Breathe easy and settle
Right here where you are
We’ll not move upon you
We’ll stop, we’ll cease
We’ll slow down and stay home
Draw each other close and be kind
Kinder than we’ve ever been.
I wish we could say
we were doing it for you
as much as ourselves
But hei aha
We’re doing it anyway
It’s right. It’s time.
Time to return
Time to remember
Time to listen and forgive
Time to withhold judgment
Time to cry
Time to think
Remove our shoes
Press hands to soil
Sift grains between fingers
Time to plant
Time to wait
Time to notice
To whom we belong
For now it’s just you
And the wind
And the forests and the oceans
and the sky full of rain
Finally, it’s raining!
Ka turuturu te wai kamo o Rangi ki runga i a koe
( Maori phrase meaning – “tears from the eyes of Ranginui drip down on you”)
Ranginui is our sky father,
it is common to refer to rain as
the tears of Rangi for his beloved,
from whom he was separated
at the beginning of time
in order that there could be light in the world).
This sacrifice of solitude we have carved out for you
He iti noaiho – a small offering which is a treasure
People always said it wasn’t possible
To ground flights and stay home
and stop our habits of consumption
But it was
It always was.
We were just afraid of how much it was going to hurt
– and it IS hurting and it will hurt and continue to hurt
But not as much as you have been hurt.
So be still now
Wrap your hills around our absence
Loosen the concrete belt
cinched tight at your waist
And we will do the same.
Leadership and poetry. What a refreshing and remarkable achievement. Hat’s off to New Zealand and the wisdom of the electorate to make Jacinda Ardern their Prime Minister. I recently wrote about changing GDP to Good Devoted People. New Zealand is the one country on the planet that has attempted to replace solely monetary metrics as a measure of GDP with inclusion of five specific goals tied to well-being:
- Improving mental health
- Reducing child poverty
- Supporting indigenous peoples
- Moving to a low-carbon-emission economy
- Flourishing in a digital age.
To measure progress towards these goals, the New Zealand government uses 61 indicators tracking everything from loneliness, to water quality to trust in the government. In May of 2019 New Zealand released its first ever “well-being budget”, stating that the purpose of government spending is to ensure citizens’ health and life satisfaction, not just wealth and economic growth. Imagine, collectively forming a government to strive towards happiness as a shared purpose?
Wait…Doesn’t that sound familiar?
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….
Maybe its time to elect poets into positions of leadership again in America. Long before he was our first president, George Washington was a love-sick teenager, pining for his first crush – Frances Alexander. Several of his poems survived in his diary, including this one from 1749. It’s good to know that our first President was vulnerable enough to write poetry. Let’s hope our next President is as well.
From Your Bright Sparkling Eyes
by George Washington
From your bright sparkling Eyes, I was undone;
Rays, you have, more transparent than the sun,
Amidst its glory in the rising Day,
None can you equal in your bright array;
Constant in your calm and unspotted Mind;
Equal to all, but will to none Prove kind,
So knowing, seldom one so Young, you’ll Find
Ah! woe’s me that I should Love and conceal,
Long have I wish’d, but never dare reveal,
Even though severely Loves Pains I feel;
Xerxes that great, was’t free from Cupids Dart,
And all the greatest Heroes, felt the smart.