Planets at Dawn (Mike Lewinski, CC-BY)

A poem for 2017

A year ago, I was in Russia to film a short documentary for ARTE with Edward Snowden and Birgitta Jónsdóttir. As most who would read this page know, Birgitta founded the Pirate Party in Iceland, and has been a long time inspiration. Snowden, as the world will come to agree, is a more recent inspiration.

The film, Meeting Snowden (2017), is exactly as the title suggests — a powerful exchange that shows us a different side of Snowden. I’m hopeful the film will become available in the states.

But meanwhile: before she was a politician, Birgitta was a poet. Here’s one of her poems, from her book, Wake Up! (2001), available under a CC license, particularly apt for where we are today. Read it outloud, many times.

Birtukveðjur/with Rebellious Joy
My heart is fire
My voice is a thunder
My arms moving towards 
the Earth 
the Sky 
at the same time
I listen to the voice of grief
pulsing through your marrow
Generation after generation of fear
singing a mournful song in your DNA
Listen to what your heart is whispering 
when the sun sets 
the moon rises
Write it on the walls with bright yellow
sing it without a melody 
be it 
move in it 
shout it 
-It is always darkest before dawn