A Poem for History

History is not simply “what was”

But rather, history is “what was” plus how “what was” came to be, equals “what is,” and some say even “what will be.”

You see, just like the individual patches of a quilt don’t mean much on their own, simple dates and facts only mar the story that needs to be told.

It’s complicated.

But when you take those pieces of cloth and weave them together, you get a beautiful piece of art, a quilt with a story to behold

Look at the context.

History is a fabric woven across the centuries, and when you mend that fabric you reveal a story.

This story must be told, told to you.

Told to the diverse faces that inhabit the world; told to me.

It can not continue to be something that we all say, “Well I’ll like it when I’m old.”

It is essential.

I mean, what would the world look like without history?

Let’s see:

There would be no progress, because how can you have progress if don’t have anything to progress from?

Just as the seed forms into a sprout, which grows into a tree, which then yields fruit to eat,

Everything needs a place to begin.

On a personal level, lies would be told because there would be no evidence to prove what was true.

People would go around saying whatever came to mind, regardless of the foundation of truth that is established by the study of time.

History is essential.

Without it, It would be impossible to expect the possibility of empathy; what do I mean?

How can you appreciate others if you don’t understand them?

A mom who cares for her child knows.

She understands that tone, which means help; or that shriek that means danger.

Or when her child stares off into space, she knows the myriad of thoughts running through his mind, and in that moment, she smiles. He too, shows progress.

Or maybe at school, a kid seeks to be understood, but continues to walk past her peers in silence.

All that’s shared between them are stares, until one day a group of kids asks a simple question: Can we sit with you?

Empathy was shown.

By seeking to get to know those around us all, we learn that they share so much in common with us. They are human, too.

History takes that moment and recreates it not just for the people we see, but the people before us, the cultures that developed us into the people we have come to be.

The beauty of the relationships that develop this empathy, could never occur without history.

Think about it: it is essential.

Without history, the world would be filled with people only trying to get ahead, not taking a second to listen to the person that needs to be listened to.

Some say this is already true.

See the problem?

If people don’t listen to people with voices, then why speak?

In order to talk, you need to be heard, and in order to hear, you need to listen.

Knowing the past helps us to understand, that it’s not US vs. THEM, but its US with THEM. Sharing this land, this sea, this air we breathe, this planet we see.

At the core of all of this, it’s history.