“Gay marriage critics really fear shift of power” (Dick Whyte)

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………………..gay rights
………………..immortalised in stone—
………………..snow falls

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Headlines:

“Americans’ Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push” (New York Times)

“Defense Set to Press Gay-Marriage Case” (Wall Street Journal)

“Recap of Day 9 of the Prop 8 Gay Marriage Trial” (Gayopolis)

“Gay marriage critics really fear shift of power” (The Star)

“How San Diego mayor shifted on gay marriage” (San Francisco Chronicle)

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Poem by Dick Whyte (see editor biographies). Read more by this poet.

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^ 6 Comments...

  1. Chris White

    Hi Dick,

    I haven’t had time to read through all of the articles you linked to – does one of them connect to ‘immortalised in stone’ ? Otherwise I don’t grasp the meaning of the line.

    I do like the sentiment of the poem though, I think it’s brilliant that you’ve incorporated such an important contemporary social matter into this haiku. I have a feeling that it’s just me missing something when I read this, I’m sure others will get it. I do feel that ‘snow falls’ remains suggestive even though I don’t feel like I follow the whole poem – to me it suggests a great equaliser – the way snow can render everything the same.

    In terms of the articles, I think that the San Diego mayor’s statement that “I think the decisions I made were grounded in prejudice,” with respect to his original opinions about same-sex marriage prior to his change of mind really hit the nail on the head. If only more people could take this step.

  2. Chen-ou Liu

    “does one of them connect to ‘immortalised in stone’ ?”

    No.

    In my view, this phrase is evocative and rich in religious significance (The Ten Commandments, or Decalogue, were written on two stone tablets, which are often placed in front of a lot of court houses in the USA) and allusion (The Stonewall riots).

    Dick, an engaging read. Thanks!

    Chen-ou

  3. Chris White

    Hi Chen-ou, thanks for that.

    I really don’t know why the ‘written in stone’ idea didn’t get throught to me… maybe because it was late and I was tired when reading this!

    But your bringing out those two allusions, especially ‘The Stonewall riots’ which I’d never heard of until now, really enriched the reading for me.

    Dick, great poem!

  4. Dick Whyte

    Thanks to both Chris and Chen-ou for the lovely comments. And yeah, Chen-ou hit the nail on the head. I wrote this standing outside the Stonewall Inn (where the Stonewall riots started) by these stone statues of gay people in a park commemorating gay rights. I took photos of my wife posing with the statues (she is writing a comic on gay actor Roddy McDowall who lived through all this stuff, so it was important for her to go there and experience it). The Stonewall Inn was lovely – had a whiskey and a great chat with a drummer who played jazz. Great guy. Played drums continuously on the barstools. We got to hear some first hand accounts of what it had been like. Amazing and moving stuff.

  5. Bill Kenney

    Wish I had known you were in town, Dick. A resonant verse.

  6. Dick Whyte

    Thanks Bill – I wrote it about a year and a month ago, so it was before we knew one another (we were in New York Christmas, 2008). Next time I am in town I will definitely look you up (not sure when I will next be in New York but my wife and I LOVED it – NY was a city we could live in one day).

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