Thursday, October 29, 2015

Poem: Appalling Silence by Neal Hall, M.D.

New York, N.Y.  Appalling Silence is the featured poem of Dr. Neal Hall’s third book of poetry titled Appalling Silence. The book represents new work composed during his poet/scholar-in-residency in Hyderabad, India  and, selections of poems from his first two books – Nigger For Life and Winter’s A’ Coming Still.
Neal Hall, M.D. Hi Res 
Neal Hall, M.D., Poet.
Appalling Silence
it is not the night,
but the absence of light
it’s not the sweltering fervor of the desert
but the rainfall that fails to fall
it is not humanity that loses its humanity
taking, denying humanity from its fellow man but,
humanity that fails to find its humanity
fighting back to give back to grant back
humanity seen, taken, denied its fellow man
it is not the strident clamor nor the vitriolic voices
of the bad people, but the appalling silence
of those who claim to be the good people [1]
it is not the night,
but the absence of light
that keeps us in the dark
and in that darkness we must remember not
the words of our enemies, but
the silence of our friends [2]
Poems in Appalling Silence have been translated into Telugu and Urdu by three of India’s finest and accomplished poets: Jameela Nishat (Urdu), Volga (Telugu) and Vasanth Kannabiran (Urdu, Telugu and English).

Hyderabad’s Council For Social Development lead by Kalpana Kannabiran sponsored the poet/scholar residency, created, published and launched the book this past July in India.
It is the silence of the good people that has caused the most damage to our humanity.
[1] Martin Luther King
[2] ibid
Neal Hall, M.D., Poet
Dr. Neal Hall is a medical-surgical eye physician and graduate of Cornell and Harvard Universities. An internationally acclaimed poet, he has performed poetry readings throughout the United States and internationally to include: Kenya, Indonesia, France, Jamaica, Morocco, Canada, Nepal, Italy and India.

His poetry speaks not just to the surface pain of injustice and inhumanity but deep into that pain, we label and package into genteel socio-political-economic-religious constructs to blur the common lines of cause, that is our shared story. A shared story that should unite us in a common struggle to be free.

Dr. Hall is an award-winning author of four books of poetry:
Nigger For Life, reflecting his painful discovery, that in “unspoken America,” race is the one thing by which he is first judged, first measured and metered diminished value, dignity, equality and justice.

Winter’s A’ Coming Still reflecting poignantly the more things are said to change, the more things are made to stay the same. His third book. Where Do I Sit. will be released this summer 2015. Appalling Silence – selections of his work – has been translated into Telugu and Urdu and published in India.

The intellectual and philosopher Cornel West, Ph.D., said of Dr. Hall “ [he] is a warrior of the spirit, a warrior of the mind, an activist, a poet. I sense Dr. Hall’s hypersensitivity to suffering – Martin, Malcolm and Jesus all had this hypersensitivity. Both sides of his soul have prophetic leanings. His poetry has the capacity to change ordinary people’s philosophy on social and racial issues.”

India’s Vasanth Kannabiran, Chairperson, Asmita Resource Centre for Women, remarked:This is poetry that scalds you into waking up to the possibility that you are perhaps one of those silent spectators. All in all he is a poet. And unquestionably one of the most significant voices of the century. ”

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