Poetry: ‘The Lioness’ by Stuart Anderson

by Nick Brandt

The Lioness
By Stuart M. Anderson

Day on the savannah is an inheld breath
between the brief, cool pants of dawn and dusk,
a tawny silence aching to be broken
by any sharp sound.
I watch from a small shade.

The giraffes browse among the treetops,
within the rustling shadows of their leaves,
in the high communion only they know.

The antelope graze on the turf,
in the broad light and rippling distance;
what psalm the grass sings, only they know.

The giraffes have their patient gods in the treetops,
and the antelope theirs in the turf;
always and everywhere they are with them,
but the faint scent of mine comes to me
from some far place I do not know,

fleeing, and always further.

Once, I was a young hunter, and my worship was swift!
and once –
for one brief, exalted leap –
I had my teeth in the lean flank of heaven,
but I couldn’t bring it down.

“The Lioness” by Stuart M. Anderson was chosen this month by Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO, as the first place winner for the Thomas Merton Prize for Poetry of the Sacred. Read other top poems here.

Protest Against Trains Carrying Depleted Uranium to Utah

DUprotestutahMarc Haddock had a brief news report in Deseret News on the protesters who came out against shipping depleted uranium into Utah. The trains are scheduled to start rolling across the country from Savannah to Utah sometime this week.

My favorite quote in the article is from Ed B. Firmage, emeritus law professor at the University of Utah, who says: “If you or I brought nuclear material into the state, we would be arrested as terrorists. So why can the state do it?”

It sounds like it’s time to relaunch the White Train resistance network. These were trains that transported the parts for nuclear weapons from the PanTex plant in Texas to various sites around the U.S.  (read more here).

Catholic pacifists Jim and Shelley Douglass were lead organizers for those who protested the trains by holding vigils on the train tracks. Often they sat on the tracks to block the trains and risked arrest. (The February 1984 issue of Sojourners magazine details this whole resistance movement.)

Here’s Haddock’s article:

SALT LAKE CITY — Two dozen protesters braved the cold Saturday morning, December 19, to protest plans to ship more than 3,000 tons of depleted uranium through the state to Utah’s western desert.

The protest was organized by the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah as a train carrying the first of three planned shipments of depleted uranium nears the state.

“We cannot allow this waste to be buried here, and we are asking Gov. Herbert to help us turn these trains around,” said Christopher Thomas, policy director for HEAL Utah.

Thomas said a compromise worked out between Gov. Gary Herbert and the U.S. Department of Energy Thursday is inadequate. Under the agreement, the state will allow the first of three trains loaded with the radioactive waste to enter the state, but not to bury the material at EnergySolutions disposal site near Clive until additional safety measures can be taken.

“This is no time to declare victory just because we’ve delayed the time of our defeat,” he said. “Gov. Herbert’s agreement has not stopped these shipments from coming, it’s only slowed them down.” Thomas was cheered on by a small but vocal group sporting signs that read “No DU” and “Nuclear waste is immoral.”

Political activist Claire Geddes also spoke to the small group. “This material needs to be placed in deep storage, not in a lake bed,” she said.

On the fringe of the gathering, Ed B. Firmage, emeritus law professor at the University of Utah, passed out a letter likening the decision to allow the nuclear material into the state as an act of terrorism.

“If you or I brought nuclear material into the state, we would be arrested as terrorists,” he said. “So why can the state do it?”
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