Sunday, September 11, 2005

Looking Back, Looking Here, Looking Forward

The past: Today is the 4th anniversary of September 11th. The present: We are in the heart of devastation from Hurricane Katrina. The future: I am deeply concerned about looming environmental threats. To avoid getting political, let me just borrow from Gary Snyder's words. When will we learn to "go light" upon this world?

Today has been a day of looking back, looking here, and looking forward. As I sip my cup of tea, I allow these two poems to help me sort through my many emotions.

Sonnet No. LXIV
William Shakespeare

When I have seen by Time's fell hand defac'd
The rich-proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras'd,
And brass eternal, slave to mortal rage:
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat'ry main,
Increasing store with loss, and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

For the Children
Gary Snyder, Turtle Island

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

5 comments:

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Val Pierce said...

Yes, if we could just "go lightly" in so many different areas of life, it would be a vastly different reality. 9/11 was tragic on multiple levels. Hopefully soon, America will realize the logical end of its black-and-white, selfish, and childishly simplistic worldview. I will be thankful when her moral convulsions are over. I find these times psychically jarring.

Val Pierce

Steph said...

Val - thanks for your comment!