Sunday Morning with Hayden Carruth

Carruth_bright wings

Today I woke and tried
to write some poetry.
As usual the words
wouldn’t behave themselves–
I gave up writing
to drink mimosas
and watch the soft rain
bead up on the driveway,
run off into the yard.

It dawned on me that I’ve seen
a lot of news video clips
of the Middle East
and in nary a one is it raining.
A lot of dead bodies bleeding
into the sand, but no rain.

I don’t want to see it anymore.

The dead bodies, that is.
The rain I can live with.

After the rain stopped
I picked up your book and read,

“Bright wings disappearing,”
and it reminded me why

against all logic,
against my better judgment,
against the way of the world,
I still write my quiet lines.

 

Finches

DSCN1277

Wasteful finches at the feeder
scatter seed over the front porch,
costing me more money than I
have to spend for the mere pleasure
of simple watching. 
                                   Yet I want
them here, I need to see that some
act of foolish kindness can still
bring joy in this world of hatred,
greed, and our endless bloody wars.

Wendell Berry: We Need Something New

230ea-wendellberrybyguymendesThe aim and result of war necessarily is not peace but victory, and any victory won by violence necessarily justifies the violence that won it and leads to further violence. If we are serious about innovation, must we not conclude that we need something new to replace our perpetual “war to end war”?

–Wendell Berry, from “Thoughts in the Presence of Fear”

Edna St. Vincent Millay: Apostrophe to Man

(Library of CongressPrints and Photographs DivisionVan Vechten Collection)

Apostrophe to Man
(On reflecting that the world is ready to go to war again)

Detestable race, continue to expunge yourself, die out.
Breed faster, crowd, encroach, sing hymns, build bombing airplanes;
Make speeches, unveil statues, issue bonds, parade;
Convert again into explosives the bewildered ammonia and the distracted cellulose;
Convert again into putrescent matter drawing flies
The hopeful bodies of the young; exhort,
Pray, pull long faces, be earnest, be all but overcome, be photographed;
Confer, perfect your formulae, commercialize
Bacteria harmful to human tissue,
Put death on the market;
Breed, crowd, encroach, expand, expunge yourself, die out,
Homo called sapiens.

                       –Edna St. Vincent Millay (Feb. 22, 1892-Oct. 19, 1950)

Chris Hedges: War’s Crusade

Once we sign on for war’s crusade, once we see ourselves on the side of the angels, once we embrace a theological or ideological belief system that defines itself as the embodiment of goodness and light, it is only a matter of how we will carry out murder.   

                       –Chris Hedges, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

Stephen Crane: There Was a Crimson Clash of War

           
                                                  
                                        XIV

There was a crimson clash of war.
Lands turned black and bare;
Women wept;
Babes ran, wondering.
There came one who understood not these 
          things.
He said, “Why is this?”
Whereupon a million strove to answer
          him.
There was such intricate clamour of 
          tongues,
That still the reason was not.

                                     
                                             –Stephen Crane, from Black Riders and Other Lines