there is nothing samaritan here
if the stranger stays strange
until you paste a face on her

if you have to see
your mother bruised
your sister raped
your daughter cut
your son gay
your wife hungry
to care,

it’s not empathy
but ownership
a possessive attributive adjective–
mine versus yours

another lesson in tribal thinking
or primate hostility for
anyone other than us

get ready to pound that chest
and hiss disagreement, but

this is no change of heart
just an arbitrary shift of rules
that were fine for everyone else’s family

but yours

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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23 Responses to samaritan

  1. yeoldefoole says:

    yes! love this!

  2. purple says:

    A very powerful poem that deserves a little more than clicking a Like button. Not empathy, but ownership … Do we only care if it is “mine” not “yours”?

  3. Alice Keys says:

    This reverberates inside me this morning. I’ve erased the beginnings of several triggered and related rants here. I’ll leave it that you did a good job with this one, Susan. Thanks for both thinking and writing. You wear them well. Alice

  4. Very nicely done. The tribal mentality is fiercely disturbing. Your last two lines are especially apt.

  5. There is a saying here that translates roughly as ‘if it is hanging on your friend, then it is hanging on a tree.’ To wit, once an issue does not have a direct impact on you, you are dispassionate about it. Let it relate to a blood relation or a loved one then, passion takes on a different meaning.

    there is nothing samaritan here
    if the stranger stays strange
    until you paste a face on her.

    Well done, Susan, Voice of the Voiceless 🙂

  6. You punch like a prizefighter.

  7. Ah yes. “Them” and “us”… 😉

  8. boomiebol says:


  9. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    Exactly. I really don’t know quite what else to say. You have it right. 🙂

  10. nelle says:

    What you said.

  11. Lindy Lee says:

    You said it, dear poet– excellent choice of words…

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