Progressive Writers Bloc

The Public Form of Love

by Bill Becker

Those who work for peace with justice
"the public form of love"
as it has been called
more than speak the truth
they are the truth.

Whether known or obscure
they are themselves refutations
of the lies of the violent
(many have paid the ultimate price).

And so, my friend,
even when we first meet
do we not surely know each other
after only a few words are spoken?

Your being there gives me hope
less than helps me to know
that not yet do I need
to feel completely alone.

— Bill Becker


SABIÁ is the name of a group of four women nueva canción singers/musicians who worked in the peace movement opposing President Reagan's Central America program. They have long since gone their separate ways. The poem above was adapted from my personal "send-off" for their Latin America tour sometime in the late 80s:

If we think about it long enough, we find that those who work for peace with justice—the public form of love, as it has been called—more than speak the truth; they are the truth. Whether known or obscure, they are themselves refutations of the lies of the violent; thus they are dangerous—many have paid the ultimate price.

Truth takes other forms, too—hope and joy being those which renew us in the struggle, and song to remind us of those who have gone before.

And so, dear SABIÁ, you are also the truth. Your messages of peace and love have guided me on my own journey, and for your being in the world, I am profoundly grateful.

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