Rivers of Wisdom

If we wish to be thorouha

Then we should begin with Satyagraha

Sanskrit for Truth, or Satya

And firm politeness, or graha

If we wish to be thoreau

Then we should begin with Henry David Thoreau

Who obediently opened the river floodgates

By penning his essay on Civil Disobedience

Which Mahatma Gandhi thought a wonder and marvel

Since Thoreau’s essay applied to Indians in Transvaal

The Leesburg Stockade Girls, 1963, photo by Danny Lyon

Rivers of Wisdom

Can dissolve the most calcified

Pillars of Kingdom

If we wish to be thora

Then we should consider the Brahmaputra

Or, ponder upon those other rivers awhile

Such as the Ganges, the Tigris, the Euphrates

And the Nile

For all those rivers throughout thorough time

Meandered around and cut their way through

The towering pillars of oppression and cruelty

With a polite, disobedient firmness, or graha

With an eternal, indestructible Truth, or satya

The great rivers are still with us, still here, silently forever

While empires of tyrants and demagogues have all fallen

The noise of Genghis Khan is silenced by the Brahmaputra

The noise of the Pharaohs of Egypt is silenced by the Nile

The Leesburg Stockade Girls, 1963, photo by Danny Lyon

Left to right: Melinda Jones Williams (13), Laura Ruff Saunders (13), Mattie Crittenden Reese, Pearl Brown, Carol Barner Seay (12), Annie Ragin Laster (14), Willie Smith Davis (15), Shirley Green (14), and Billie Jo Thornton Allen (13). Sitting on floor: Verna Hollis (15).

If we wish to be thorough

Then we should begin tracing the meandering River of Wisdom

From an essay, by Henry David Thoreau, on Civil Disobedience

To the non-violent Satyagraha movement by Mahatma Gandhi

To the Civil Rights Movement by Martin Luther King Jr. who said:

“Satyagraha and the non-violent movement of Mahatma Gandhi

Was profoundly significant to the social reform I had been seeking.”

This was also true for Lech Walesa on frosty shipyards of Gdansk

Against pillars of Communism – as it was true for Nelson Mandela

Against pillars of Apartheid

The Leesburg Stockade Girls, 1963, photo by Danny Lyon

The truly thoughtful discern, through history, through time thorough

Rivers of Wisdom

Can dissolve the most calcified

Pillars of Kingdom

— Karim

Click here for NPR link to story of The Leesburg Stockade Girls and podcast on StoryCorp on January 18, 2019.