Tuesday, December 23, 2008

poetry and prose

we will be known as a culture that feared death and adored power, that tried to vanquish insecurity for the few and cared little for the penury of themany. we will be known as a culture that taught and rewarded the amassing of things, that spoke little if at all about the quality of life forpeople (other people), for dogs, for rivers. all the world, in our eyes, they will say, was a commodity. and they will say that this structure was held together politically, which it was, and they will say also that our politics was no more than an apparatus to accommodate the feelings of the heart, and that heart, in those days,was small, and hard, and full of meanness.

--mary oliver, "of the empire"

i'm not a poem kind of girl. i like prose; i like the sentiments that cannot be expressed in concise bites or easy words. i, myself, am verbose. but mary oliver is onto something with this one, and reminds me of why the brevity of verse is so good and necessary. fearing death, i am learning, is one of the dumbest uses of our time. it is going to happen, because we are the lucky ones--we, who get to live and move and have our being, who can breathe and swim and eat and move and love, we are alive, and we will die, and not all too long from now. but in our battle to hold onto it all, our hearts grow smaller and harder and contract with envy and cruelty. mine does, i know. and i let my feelings get the best of me, cling to scarcity over abundance.
it is hard. but it is oh, so good. life outside of the empire, that is.

No comments: