Western Friend logo

David Poundstone


Look into their Faces Surely life is more than waiting at the center of a wheel of fortune that spins and stops repeatedly to point out countless causes and concerns. Finish one task and then hang on as the wheel spins and points out the next one. Will it be immigration, prison reform, nuclear disarmament, climate change, indigenous rights, racism and white privilege, or . . . ? This inner image of a spinning wheel reflects how my life can feel these days – juggling and shuttling among various tasks and commitments.

Issue: On Balance (May 2017)

Seventieth in Nagasaki At 11:02 on August 9th, 2015, the bell at the rear of Nagasaki Peace Park began to peal. It was the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of that city. A siren’s wail soon overtook the bell with its shrill, piercing alarm. With my head deeply bowed, I prayed for the sound to carry my sorrow-filled compassion to all the spirits of the dead: the tens of thousands killed instantly by the atomic blast above that very spot; and the tens of thousands more who suffered cruelly lingering deaths, burning from the inside out. I summoned all the intensity of my longing to be present as an Amen. Then the moment was over.

Issue: On Countries (January 2016)

Just Talking in Prison Looking out across the dance floor at the audience seated on aluminum bleachers and standing along the prison gymnasium walls, the incongruity was glaringly obvious. Me, with my Irish complexion, taking the microphone to make a statement to scores of Native Americans during their powwow. I could not even guess how many different tribal backgrounds were present. But here they were, with one thing in common: all federal prisoners, incarcerated at FCI Englewood (Federal Correctional Institution), all dressed in prison khaki or government-issued brown t-shirts and shorts.

Issue: On Reconciliation (January 2015)