First published in Woodnotes #11, Winter 1991, page 28. See “From The Gulf Within.”
review by Jerry Kilbride
The Gulf Within, edited by Christopher Herold and Michael Dylan Welch. Two Autumns Press, 1991, 32 pages, paperback, 5½ by 8½ inches. 58 poems by 34 poets. $6.00 postpaid. HPNC members who have poems in the book may buy a single copy at the special price of $3.50 (subsequent copies are $6.00 each). Order from Ebba Story, 478 Guerrero Street, San Francisco, California, 94110 [address no longer correct].
I receive The Gulf Within through the mail as the William Kennedy Smith trial begins on CNN. The world press gathers in Palm Beach and reporters familiar from Desert Storm appear on the screen. I am reminded of the chilling numbness on watching those first bombs—a thousand points of light—explode over Baghdad, and vividly recall my gut-empty-feeling that Armageddon was at hand.
out in the street
a few frail voices
give peace a chance
The first section of The Gulf Within is titled “The Shield” and contains haiku telling of rumors of war, peace rallies, troop airlifts, flags appearing in neighborhoods. It deals with a time of diplomatic flights between Washington and Baghdad, negotiations of Perez de Cuellar, the Pope speaking out. In North America haiku poets pick up their pens, confront worlds without and within . . . frail voices perhaps, but resounding in this book of iron.
people I don’t know
killing people I don’t know
with bombs I paid for
“The Storm”—the second section. January 16th, 1991 and the word SCUD enters our lexicon. Angels of death cross skies where angels of life flew centuries ago. Gas masks are placed on children in Tel Aviv. Scuds take dozens of American soldiers in one swoop and Iraqi troops are buried alive by advancing tanks. Television, that unnumbered horseman of the Apocalypse, advances with a vengeance, and in an attempt at sanity a poet in Berkeley writes,
talking to the tree
outside the window
about rain, about the war
“The Gulf Within”—the third section. February 27th, 1991, the war is over. Flags come down and yellow ribbons are taken from the trees. Kurds flee their ancient homeland and head north into an unknown.
between haiku meetings