Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fare thee well, Adrienne...

The death of Adrienne Rich is particularly difficult for me in these days where it seems like issues we had thought resolved 40 years ago have resurfaced.  She has led the way for a long time on feminist issues.  She was also a wonderful poet, an exemplary human being.  From the New York Times obituary today:

 "Ms. Rich was far too seasoned a campaigner to think that verse alone could change entrenched social institutions. “Poetry is not a healing lotion, an emotional massage, a kind of linguistic aromatherapy,” she said in an acceptance speech to the National Book Foundation in 2006, on receiving its medal for distinguished contribution to American letters. “Neither is it a blueprint, nor an instruction manual, nor a billboard.” 

But at the same time, as she made resoundingly clear in interviews, in public lectures and in her work, Ms. Rich saw poetry as a keen-edged beacon by which women’s lives — and women’s consciousness — could be illuminated."

My son said this morning that she will be sorely missed.  So you can see what he and I mean, here is one of her most beautiful poems.


In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand
there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see
or the child’s older self, a poet,
a woman dreaming when she should be typing
the last report of the day. If this were a map,
it would be the map of the last age of her life,
not a map of choices but a map of variations
on the one great choice. It would be the map by which
she could see the end of touristic choices,
of distances blued and purpled by romance,
by which she would recognize that poetry
isn’t revolution but a way of knowing
why it must come. If this cheap, mass-produced
wooden stand from the Brooklyn Union Gas Co.,
mass-produced yet durable, being here now,
is what is is yet a dream-map
so obdurate, so plain,
she thinks, the material and the dream can join
and that is the poem and that is the late report.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Luminous moments in time

 Take a look and see what you think.

TED talk by Ric Elias

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Rise up shepherd, rise up!"

I said yesterday I would rather listen to music, good music, than another commentator discussing the political primaries that are all around us.

Most of you know that I am Bruce Springsteen's biggest fan.  Along with giants like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan, he makes anthems that cause our hearts to swell and our spirits to lift.

He's done it again.  Though we all heard "We Take Care of Our Own" kick off the Grammys and were impressed, I think there are a couple of outstanding anthems on this new Wrecking Ball album that show off a versatility with other forms we don't always see in his previous albums.  

In particular, I am bowled over by two, one of which features Clarence's last recorded track. 

 The two tunes are "Rocky Ground" and "Land of Hope and Dreams. 

 Here are excerpt and  chorus from "Land of Hope and Dreams."  This song lifts us up,  makes us look forward with full hearts.

Big wheels roll through fields
Where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams
Well, I will provide for you
And I'll stay by your side
You'll need a good companion now
For this part of the ride
Leave behind your sorrows
Let this day be the last
Tomorrow there'll be sunshine
And all this darkness past

I said now this train...
Dreams will not be thwarted
This train...
Faith will be rewarded

This train...
Near the steel wheels singin'
This train...
Bells of Freedom ringing'

Even taking into account my bias for trains, I have to still put this song way up there.