Thursday, July 09, 2009

Poetry and Power

Today is Thursday, 9 July 2009.

A particularly fine poem today in The Writer's Almanac.

"The Place I Want To Get Back To"
by Mary Oliver

is where
in the pinewoods
in the moments between
the darkness

and first light
two deer
came walking down the hill
and when they saw me

they said to each other, okay,
this one is okay,
let's see who she is
and why she is sitting

on the ground like that,
so quiet, as if
asleep, or in a dream,
but, anyway, harmless;

and so they came
on their slender legs
and gazed upon me
not unlike the way

I go out to the dunes and look
and look and look
into the faces of the flowers;
and then one of them leaned forward

and nuzzled my hand, and what can my life
bring to me that could exceed
that brief moment?
For twenty years

I have gone every day to the same woods,
not waiting, exactly, just lingering.
Such gifts, bestowed,
can't be repeated.

If you want to talk about this
come to visit. I live in the house
near the corner, which I have named

"The Place I Want To Get Back To" by Mary Oliver, from Thirst. © Beacon Press, 2006.

One of the resonances of which this poem makes me think is The Great Gatsby, and the foolishness of how, when we've had a particularly wonderful, even life-changing, experience (as Gatsby did with Daisy), we often waste part of life trying to duplicate it, when, of course, the fact is "one can't step twice into the same river": even if the external stimulus is the same, we're no longer the person once we were, and we cannot, without deforming ourselves, duplicate the internal response. We can only seek to encounter joys resembling, broadly equivalent, but never precisely the same.

On 8 July 1999, students in Tehran demonstrated peacefully against the dictatorship’s closing of a reformist newspaper. That evening, paramilitaries attacked a student dormitory at the university, beating indiscriminately, and killing at least one student.

On this date in 1999, began six days of demonstrations all over Iran against this type of gangsterism. At least 70 demonstrators were kidnapped by security forces and disappeared; most must be presumed dead, and at least a handful are still imprisoned.

Today, tens of thousands of Iranians attempted to march in Tehran, commemorating the anniversary and protesting the stolen presidential election. They were again viciously attacked by the security forces. Casualties are unknown.

Smash religious fascism! Long live democracy!


Post a Comment

<< Home