Saturday, November 06, 2004

Robert Bly on the President

One of the great war poems written about Viet Nam is Robert Bly's "Teeth Mother Naked at Last." It has great historic consciousness and is part prophecy, poem, and nightmare. Poems such as these give comfort in times such as these, partly in helping to remember that this is not the worst of times, but also in confirming that this is the worst of times. This section from the poem is especially revelant today:

Now the Chief Executive enters, and the press conference begins.
First the President lies about the date the Appalachian Mountains rose.
Then he lies about the population of Chicago,
then the weight of the adult eagle, and then the acreage of the Everglades
Next he lies about the number of fish taken every year in the Arctic.

He has private information about which city is the capital of Wyoming.
He lies about the birthplace of Attila the Hun,
Then about the composition of the amniotic fluid,

He insists that Luther was never a German,
and that only the Protestants sold indulgences,
He declares that Pope Leo X wanted to reform the church, but the
liberal elements prevented him.
He declares the Peasants' War was fomented by Italians from the North.
And the Attorney General lies about the time the sun sets.

* * *

These lies mean that something in the nation wants to die.
What is there now to hold us to earth? We long to go.
It is the longing for someone to come and take us by the
hand to where they all are sleeping:
where the Egyptian pharaohs are asleep, and our own mothers,
and all those disappeared children, who went around with us
on the rings at grade school. . . .

Do not be angry at the President--
he is longing to take in his hand the locks of death hair:
to meet his own children, dead, or never born. . . .

He is drifting sideways toward the dusty places

Kind of sounds familiar, don't it.

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