Saturday, September 02, 2006

An Analogy

Sunflower Woman and I fly to the states tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to testing the real mood of the country first hand. In Denmark, Iraq no longer exists.

The news here is on Afghanistan, where we have some three hundred pairs of boots on the ground in what they told the public was a "peace keeping" operation. The Danish soldiers were sent to a hornets nest in Pashtun country, poppy country and darn if the Brits didn't blow up a mosque (by accident) the week before the Danes arrived!

Sooo, the Danes have been taking fire and casualties ever since. The politicians here have been expressing shock that they were not better informed.

Sheet, when I heard where they were sending these young boys, I slapped my forehead and said "What the F-!"

Speaking if young boys, I give you another poem from the pen of my Aunt Helen. Her son, David Talmadge, was three years younger than I. His life was cut short when one morning he took a lift to school that ended with a speeding car in the ditch, wheels spinnin and all passengers dead inside.

Whether lost in a sensless car crash or a senseless war, a mother's pain at the loss of a child never ends. My Aunt Helen, just celebrated her 97th birthday. Many of her poems circle around that day in 1958 when my cousin died.


As I stood beneath the maple trees
And watched a wandering autumn breeze
Gently caress each quivering leaf,
I felt your brave spirit soaring free...

It rose to the sky exultingly,
Forever done with all human grief:
Like a moth or butterfly who, at last
Sheds the husk chaining it to the past
And dries its wings in the noonday sun...

Who weeps that the chrysalis has wings?
We love the joy that its beauty brings!

Nor grieve that its earth-bound days are done.

An editor, who otherwise liked this poem, wanted Helen to find other words for "Shed" and "harsh", because "these words are to hard to pronounce and have too many 's' sounds".

Ah, but these are the exact right words she uses! They are the heart and turning point of this lovely piece.

If poets go to the same heaven as editors and critics, there will be some fistfights before we settle down to plucking our harps...


Lurch said...

That's a lovely poem about tragically coincidental death. Any death is a loss to someone, and all believe that a life cut short so pitiessly is a greater wrong.

Such a death goes against Nature's way because the young are supposed to outlive the elders. This is the way of the world. From the standpoint of evolution and logic we be become biologically inconsequential once the new generation is able to support itself and reproduce. Yet, homo sapiens is different from other species because we have an improved ability to communicate and thus can further mentor the new gneration even as it continues on its independent journey.

The fact that each generation seem to make the same mistakes provides an argument that mankind is not yet ready to stand as a mature species.

By burying a child we are experiencing Nature and Fate's mockery of all our efforts. We don't expect this loss. We dread it and spend significant time in trying to forestall it until the time the child first begins to leave the nest.

Because we appear to experience emotions in a more pronounced manner than, say, a dog, we grieve for years....

Two years after my beloved's passing I am still shattered, and unable to cope in some of the simplest daily rituals. Twenty years after my mother's passing, I have barely achieved closure. How would I react to the death of a child or grandchild? Accepting the logic of suicide as a humane alternative to unbearable suffering, I shudder at the implications.

I don't know how your aunt coped with this loss, but her poetry speaks of a strong, resilient spirit.

Chuck Cliff said...

Lurch, thank you most kindly for your comments right from the heart.
They made think once again -- what creatures are we, we human beings?

Perhaps more important, what are we becoming? Something "higher" or a rat-race gnawing holes in the universe?

It struck me as I went to get a glass of water after reading what you had written, that this is perhaps why the creationists are so adamantly against the concept of evolution.

Not only does evolution imply that their god is too small for the little we understand of the universe today -- it implies that what we are now is definitely not that which will inherit the kingdom