Je Suis

For this free choice blog, originally, I planned to write a poem and a follow-up response, one that revolved around a love letter from a grasshopper to fireworks (inspired by American poet Sarah Kay). It was very beautiful, I think, and very idealistic. As the events in Paris (as well as attacks in Beirut and Baghdad) occurred,  however, at first I simply could not find it in myself to write such a light-hearted topic in such serious times.

But I think that is one of the things that we must do in such times.

We see what is happening, we react, we are countries away, and we mourn over something, rightfully so, that is so unbelievable in theory but horribly possible in our society today. We bear witness to the destruction of human lives, the obliteration of a sense of security, and the tarnishing of an entire religion.

We always talk about prevention when these such attacks occur. What could we have done differently? Were there warning signs? Could we have reacted differently, what if we were faster? What if, what if, what if.

It is not a matter of ‘what ifs.’

It is a matter of ‘what nows.’

Now, we must move away from blaming millions on the actions of a select few. Now, we cry over those that have been lost and some grow angry and demand action must be taken – but against whom, exactly? Now, we need to realize that actions based upon hate plant the seed for what would undoubtedly turn into horrible counter-actions, which repeats in a cycle of fear and terror and hate and hate and terror and fear. Now, I’m not saying we sit back and examine these thoughtless actions with thoughts of our own and analyze and try to figure out why (at least) one hundred and forty people were killed in less that 3 hours.

Now, I am saying we extend our hands that have bled, as a country, as a world, to the affected in such trying times and let them know that we stand united against whatever has happened and whatever will happen and let them know we don’t need to be afraid of our neighbour that wears a head wrapping and we don’t need to be afraid of stepping outside our doors in the event we get shot and we will not show fear to these cowardly individuals who do not deserve to see this certain emotion tattooed upon our skin.

Now, I am saying we plant seeds of comfort and unity rather than seeds of hate or vengeance. Now, I am saying we do not let this event kill (people or hope or comfort or whatever you may think) more than it already has.

Now, I am saying we take time to mourn what has happened and move towards creating a world in which these sorts of things do not happen. As idealistic as that sounds, the actions of a few in the beginning can change the fate of all in the end.

The following is my poem that I planned to post originally. I am posting it to accompany this blog because it may just be as idealistic and pure as my closing thought and sometimes I/you/we need that. (Now that I reread it, I realize it could be applied to this situation from certain angles. Please read it with whatever mindset you so choose.)

Please keep Paris and Beirut and Baghdad in your thoughts or prayer or hopes or dreams


a love letter from a grasshopper to fireworks


what i love the most about

you is that you are not

here for a very long time

and neither am i, i think.


you are so many beautiful shades

of golds and reds and more

i am a dull green, in

colour and in envy.


i jump and hop as high

as i can but you are

so high, in the clouds of

the gods and i can not

reach you before you burn out.


i only see you when it is

very warm during sunlight hours and

dreadfully cold to accompany those dark

skies you so fittingly light up.


i like to think that the

sun sets just for you and

i. is that true, you think?


i wish my heart wasn’t so

small or my life wasn’t so

short so that i may stay

longer and watch you command the

vastness above that intimidates me so.


i do not know if you

are aware of my complete love

and adoration for you and all

that you were and all that

you are but please know that

the reflection of your life in

my eyes will never burn out.

claire b. 

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3 thoughts on “Je Suis

  1. Dearest Claire,
    I’m at a loss for words, so I’ll keep this comment short.

    As I am sitting here, contemplating your post with tear-filled eyes, I want to thank you.
    Thank you for the innocence and sweetness of your voice.
    Thank you for the way that it emphasizes the potency and the power behind this piece.
    Thank you for sharing your heart and your mind with the world.
    Thank you for reminding me of the importance of love in a world of hate.
    Thank you.

    Yours with love and gratitude,

  2. Dearest Claire,

    Thank you for this piece. This week, as I was beginning to write my own free choice blog, I struggled with the same ideas you have so beautifully clarified.

    With Remembrance Day being earlier this week, I felt very moved to write a piece regarding the day and it’s significance. I was inspired by my friends and my family; I was inspired by the songs that have been repeating themselves around me recently. The world seemed to be conspiring for me to write a piece regarding the topic. The inspiration was all there, yet the creativity was not. I simply couldn’t form words. So in it’s stead, I wrote a more joyful personal response that had struck me about a week ago. I felt bad that I had written a happy piece, when deep down inside, I was still thinking about Remembrance Day and mourning for those close to me that are gone, as well as those that I fear losing.

    Your simple love poem from a grasshopper to fireworks makes my heart soar. Your message is simple, yet it is one that we so often forget. Healing is a heavy process that often becomes so dragged with anger, resentment, and antagonism.
    Yet healing truly begins at the core of one’s spirit; it is a process that involves acceptance, forgiveness, and gratitude. Your poem has reminded us all to find these things. Regarding Remembrance Day and the horrors that have happened in the world the past few days, many of us are fortunate enough to have never seen war. Yet war still remains in our world. The things we must remember, among our fallen brothers and sisters, are the things that are good in life, the things we must fight for. Your poem, and your post’s title “Je Suis”, are symbolic of these ideas and I can’t thank you enough for your beautiful words and your beautiful heart.


  3. Dear Claire,

    I adore the simplistic power of this piece. You are honest and compassionate; you display your opinion with such tenacity that it left me in complete awe. I found it incredible how you were able to intertwine your poem – which wasn’t meant for this piece – into your post. You said “Now that I reread it, I realize it could be applied to this situation from certain angles.” To me, this accompanies your blog extremely well by showing contrast of thought and emotion. You taught me to dismiss the “what ifs”: to embrace the “what nows” – to not allow hatred get in the way but instead to come together as a collective despite our differences in a time of such grief; a grief we all undeniably felt.

    Aside from the message, I also was enticed by the dynamics of your piece. Your run-on sentences, repetition, and questions presented to the reader added an aspect of durability and persistent.

    Overall, I was overwhelmed yet again by your gift of writing.

    With love,

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