Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Allegiance/3 Ivins Gems/Cry With Bly



(P1) Philosophical

Truer Allegiance

What I would say in one sentence is that, for Americans, the real work is becoming native to North America. The real work is becoming native in your heart, coming to understand we really live here, that this is really the continent we're on and that our loyalties are here, to these mountains and rivers, to these plant zones, to these creatures. The real work involves developing a loyalty that goes back before the formation of any nation state, back billions of years and thousands of years into the future. The real work is accepting citizenship in the continent itself.

- Gary Snyder
Born May 8, 1930, in San Francisco, Gary Snyder grew up near Puget Sound in Washington State. He first climbed Mount St. Helens at 15, following with most of the other peaks in the area within the next few years. He graduated from Reed College in Portland with degrees in literature and anthropology. From there he went on to study Asian languages at Berkeley. Eventually he traveled to Asia, where he spent a number of years studying Buddhism, translating Zen texts, and visiting numerous parts of the continent. Early in his life he worked alongside Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg, and Jack Kerouac. In the late 1960s he was one of the founders of the Deep Ecology philosophy, a way of thinking granting value to all life. Snyder has been awarded several prizes for his work, including the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection Turtle Island. He has also received awards for his nature writing and his spiritual work with Zen Buddhism. His thought-provoking collections of poetry and prose will continue to move us in the decades to come.

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(P2) Political

Three October 9th Molly Ivins Gems

No one needs to tell Molly to speak her mind:

1. The Old War Criminal is back. I try not to hold grudges, but I must admit I have never lost one ounce of rancor toward Henry Kissinger, that cynical, slithery, self-absorbed pathological liar. He has all the loyalty and principle of Charles Talleyrand, whom Napoleon described as "[dung] in a silk stocking."

Come to think of it, Talleyrand looks pretty good compared to Kissinger, who always aspired to be Metternich, a 19th century Austrian diplomat. Just count the number of Americans and Vietnamese who died between 1969 and 1973, and see if you can find any indication Kissinger ever gave a damn.

As for Kissinger's getting the Nobel Peace Prize, it is a thing so wrong it has come to define wrongness -- as in, "As weird as the time Henry Kissinger got the Nobel Peace Prize."

Tom Lehrer, who was a lovely political satirist, gave up satire after that blow.

2. What's wrong with the Washington press corps? Speaking of people who have trouble with the truth, here's a recent
George W. line from two weeks ago I particularly prize: "There's kind of an urban myth here in Washington about how this administration hasn't stayed focused on Osama bin Laden. Forget it. It's convenient throwaway lines when people say that."
How do these urban myths get started? Perhaps with GWB on March 13, 2002: "I don't know where [bin Laden] is. ... You know ... I just don't spend that much time on him. ... I'll repeat what I said: I truly am not that concerned about him."
Or as Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on April 6, 2002: "The goal has never been to get bin Laden."

3. A half-hour documentary about Granny D (Doris Haddock) will be playing throughout October on various PBS channels. Granny D, the crusader for campaign finance reform who hiked across the country at age 90, is now 96, and the documentary of her work is inspiring.
She's such an adorably "sweet old lady" that one forgets how tough she has been and how consistent she has been. You want to know where to get the strength, courage and optimism to keep fighting for change? Listen to Granny D at www.grannyd.com .

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(P3) Poetical

Call and Answer

Tell me why it is we don't lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?

I say to myself: "Go on, cry. What¹s the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!"

We will have to call especially loud to reach
Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding
In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.

Have we agreed to so many wars that we can¹t
Escape from silence? If we don¹t lift our voices, we allow
Others (who are ourselves) to rob the house.

How come we¹ve listened to the great criers -- Neruda,
Akhmatova, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass -- and now
We¹re silent as sparrows in the little bushes?

Some masters say our life lasts only seven days.
Where are we in the week? Is it Thursday yet?
Hurry, cry now! Soon Sunday night will come.

-- Robert Bly

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2 comments:

K. Hastings said...

Yes, it's blind, and it's terrific!

David Beckman said...

I can just hear Bly's inimitable voice behind this poem. My theory, for what it's worth, on our silence: we're cowed, consciously or otherwise, by the prospect of doomsday in the form of more and greater terrorist attacks, and this has taken away our voices (either from imagined guilt if/when it happens, or some other primitive fear).