If I could see the world
Through Galileo’s telescope
On a hot air balloon 1,500 feet from the ground
Beginning from Antarctica heading south,
It would not be the same.
If I could see the world
Through photographs and maps
With careful annotations for every historical figure or event,
I would know of the world
But it would not be the same as having seen it
And I want to see it
They say when you travel, you’ll learn to really see people
Beyond the daily masks they wear.
If it were up to me, I’d backpack ‘round the Middle East
To Turkey and Egypt and Syria
And look into the faces the newspapers have often called ‘casualties’
As if accidents wiped away their stories from history.
As if the result of this war or the other was more important than knowing their names.
I know, I’m not part of this civil war,
But they had no choice.
The war came to them.
Children are not meant to have battle scars on their forearms.
Children are not meant to have fear embedded into their pupils from the stories they’ve heard through whispers
About the town next to theirs that was burned by men who call themselves ‘liberators,’
About the screams of mothers who have had their sons taken as soldiers and their daughters as slaves.
I’d sail to Africa, to Nigeria
Where 200 school girls were taken from their classrooms
And their books replaced with chains digging into their wrists,
Because in that part of the world,
That’s what smart girls deserve:
Punishment for wanting an education.
When the truth is before you
With no journalist to snip off harsh edges,
You see the words written onto paper come alive before your form.
There is no cropping an image to fit perfect little squares
There is no “editing” to keep the violence to a minimum.
You will hear screams
In places where city lights are not those that light the midnight sky
Where Orion is not the only visible constellation
Where the northern lights dance like the ocean’s waves with the current
Where the night is green, and pink, and purple:
Nature showing off
And its audience letting it.
I’d take a plane to China
To see the old dragon rooftops
With moon-shaped gates and foo dogs to guard them,
See all the old neighbourhoods before they are torn down
In favour of new replicas of all the old neighbourhoods.
See what it’s like to have your culture stripped from the walls in honour of the greater good.
I want to see the world
Through the clarity of my glasses
No blurred out backgrounds
No filter besides my own.
Gandalf was right to tell Bilbo
That “the world is not in your books or maps.
It’s out there.”
When nature reveals itself
In full colour, and retina replicated display,
It will say:
This is who I am
If you’d only be brave enough to see me.