No Pepper Spray on Nonviolent Protesters 

 (page created 9/7/04)

Introduction by Plaintiff Noel Tendick:

I recently published a book of poetry titled Simple Frames. Divided into four elemental chapters, it explores relationships to community, self, and the natural world. These are poems of exploration, bearing witness, and question. They come from years of experience moving through wild places, as an activist and devotee, sharing awe, joy, and sorrow. Whether you read a poem about being pepper-sprayed while protecting old-growth redwoods, about sitting by the ocean or hiking in the mountains, simply know that these poems were written for you and the intricate paths we all share.


"Resistance is Fertile"

A poem by Noel Hewitt Tendick 


Confusing observation with action
is a perilous occupation.

For instance, in scholarly days,
I read pages of statistics
on the devastation of ancient forests,
all with corporate sponsorship
like athletic stadiums,
but kept attending class
as cancers spread.

But when I watched one
thousand year old tree cut down,
cut up,
and dragged away
like a murdered thing,
I locked myself to a bulldozer
and stayed there
while loggers yelled and then fell silent
as cops smeared pepper spray
into my eyes.
I allowed them to burn me blind
for the sake of protecting some trees
for a couple of hours. 

[which were themselves
Taken while I sat in jail.]

This is not a soap box confessional;
this is not a badge of self-righteousness.
This is not an alienation of me from you.

This is simply the voice of a guy
who saw some trees fall
and who knelt on a stump and wept.
We hear it all and whether touched or derisive,
at some level we’re torn apart
and somewhere we’re longing
for the harmony that
all of our stories
remind us is gone.

Since longing doesn’t stop chainsaws,
let’s stop studying how we’re killing our world.
We can protect places green and gorgeous,
build something organic,
love each other with grit and compassion.
So when the beast finally runs out of gas or
blows itself apart,
there will be some space to begin again.


From the book Simple Frames
by Noel Hewitt Tendick

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