Going Outside the Palace

By: Kristen Chandler

Brothers, Sisters,
Is this poetry?
Is poetry only rhythm and rhyme?
Brothers,
Is poetry only beauty-spot and lip?
Sisters,
Is this a poem when it doesn’t have the power
To go outside the palace
And become a hand over a child’s head?

This is a poem by Mr. Kamran Mir Hazar, a Hazara poet. From what I understand he left the palace of his life and never came back. I’ve been thinking about the famous and unfamous people who’ve “left the palace,” never really to return. Did Buddha leave because he knew what was out there? Or because he didn’t? I think people leave the comfort and security of their lives every day for both reasons.

In a way, I’m leaving my palace this week, going to a country I knew almost nothing about a few months ago. I’m going with one of my sons to work with some very special people. I hope we’ll come back, but I hope we’ll come back wiser than we left. I don’t believe you need to go across the world to help people or to discover the narrowness of your own experience, but that’s what we’ve been given the chance to do.

I already feel so blessed to be a woman in a country with laws that give me ownership of my life. My family and I enjoy so many freedoms. As I pack my bag I think about this poem and wonder if I will be big hearted enough to hold what this experience has to tell me.

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