Blog Post

Community is a poem

December 19, 2023

This piece was part of CCEDNet’s most recent national newsletter. If you’re not on our mailing list yet, you can subscribe here.


People building the foundation of a building with text that says What’s here is something that we are still building. It’s something we cannot yet see, because we are part of it -- a quote attributed to Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha.

CCEDNet’s vision – sustainable, equitable, and inclusive communities directing their own futures – can be difficult to conceptualize. It gestures toward a delicate balance between interdependence and decentralization, autonomy and unity. What does that world even look like, and how will we know when we get there?

Maybe the word “vision” is misleading. In contemplating the future we’re building, perhaps we shouldn’t limit ourselves to one of our senses, but instead engage all of our sensory, creative, and imaginative faculties at once. Even if we can’t see the future, maybe we can feel it.

But how can CED practitioners develop and convey something as abstract as a felt sense of the future?

We can look to artists for guidance. For example, Gazan poet Mosab Abu Toha invites us to feel the future through his poem, “We Love What We Have.” For Abu Toha, who was recently arrested and beaten as he and his family fled the violence in Gaza, love is more than just a survival strategy. Love is the infrastructure of an imagined future where the bonds of community protect and nurture young life.

“We love what we have, no matter how little,
because if we don’t, everything will be gone. If we don’t,
we will no longer exist, since there will be nothing here for us.
What’s here is something that we are still
building. It’s something we cannot yet see,
because we are part
of it.
Someday soon, this building will stand on its own, while we,
we will be the trees that protect it from the fierce
wind, the trees that will give shade
to children sleeping inside or playing on swings.”

We are grateful to be in community with you, building toward peace, love, and joy, together.