Guest Voices: Sue Tolle's "Indifference"

May 1, 2023

INDIFFERENCE (with and without)

Susan Tolle

Commemorating the 60th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from prison

“The opposite of love is not hate – it is Indifference” Elie Wiesel, acclaimed author and Holocaust survivor

Indifference is:

Dispassionate toward emotions

  Unsympathetic to sadness

        Hardened to tears                         Makes others walk in fear                Be aware

Impervious to struggles

 Detached from distress

        Unmoved to offer help                  Security quickly melts                     Be caring

Inattentive to relationships

  Self-absorbed and callous

        Negligent to nurture                One loses hope in the future                Be engaged

Steals trust and intimacy

   Ignores and looks away

        Dismissive of history                  Dignity suffers in misery                   Be brave

Will not attend joint council

   Or heed any warning

        Research any remedy           Self-reliance becomes identity               Be open

Aloof to burdens

   In denial of responsibility

        Apathetic to needs                    Personal worth bleeds                     Be responsive

Emotionless to suffering

   Impassive to pleas

       Unresponsive to despair      Generations believe no one cares      Be compassionate

Shows no interest in healing

    No receptivity to change

        No involvement to salvage        Unity and Love are ravaged               Be connected

Without Indifference:

Healing can begin

    Truths told and heard

        Acknowledge all are equal       Beauty seen in all people                   Be accepting

Unconscious bias unveiled

     Inequitable prejudice addressed

        Unmask disparity’s denial          Build a way to reconcile                Be an advocate

Likeness is deeper than skin

   For all our days are numbered

        Our lives can give humanity     Love and unity an endless capacity      Be for peace
                                                                                                                   and brotherhood


Photo by Emily Kicklighter

Sue Tolle is an award-winning poet here in Alabama. Sue discovered her gift for writing poetry and songs during a Kennedy Center, Artists as Educators workshop with poet Sanford Lyne. Since that time the love for writing poetry and songs has been a constant thread over many years. Sue writes transparently from the heart about nature, life experiences and faith. Photographs, paintings, sculptures, and dance deeply inspire her, offer a broad pallet of topics and has expanded her body of works. Many times, these poems and songs offer the opportunity to share and collaborate with other artists. Her first book of poetry “Standing Where to Behold” is in collaboration with Alabama photographer Ramona Edwards. Sue grew up in Pennsylvania but has also lived in Boston, Indianapolis, Nashville but now calls Birmingham home after 25 years. She has 3 grown children, is a grandmother and treasures the three women in her writing group for the motivation, accountability and love they offer and share.

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