Saturday, January 01, 2005

the mind staggers in the face of such horror at the devastation in South Asia caused by the tsunami. like everyone I've seen the photos and video images of the rampaging seas and I'm humbled by our relative puniness compared to the mighty earth. much as our collective human being, particularly the current administration, who might think that because we can send a few individuals out of earth's atmosphere, or dam our rivers, we can control nature. but we can't, and such knowledge, for me at least, fills me with humility, wonder and awe. the numbers of dead in South Asia is horrible. it is a disaster of biblical proportions. but I am in wonder and awe, the furor and mystery French poet Rene Char called during his time as a leader of the French Resistance during WWII, of the earth's, the natural world's, awesome power.

so I turn to Char for comfort. I also think of Alex Gildzen's meditations on deaths past and present. we live and die on this earth, our only one. we cannot control the natural world but we certainly can control the violence we inflict upon ourselves, especially this idiotic war in Iraq. there people are dying because of, what? we should be ashamed.

Long Live. . .

This country is but a wish of the spirit, a counter-sepulcher

In my county, tender proofs of spring and badly dressed birds are preferred to far-off goals.

Truth waits for dawn beside a candle. Window glass is neglected. To the watchful, what does it matter?

In my country, we don't question a man deeply moved.

There is no malignant shadow on the capsized boat.

A cool hello is unknown in my country.

We borrow only what can be returned increased.

There are leaves, many leaves, on the trees of my country. The branches are free to bear no fruits.

We don't believe in the good faith of the victor.

In my country, we say thank you.

Rene Char

(tr. Mary Ann Caws. New Directions, 1992).


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