that is beautiful and it helped my cynicism ebb away.
--- [log in to unmask] wrote:
> Dear Eliot List
> Thanks for the words of comfort and support of these
> last days. It was niced
> to read, especially for those of us in areas of
> cities that were targets--New
> York and Washington. Thanks, too, for the Yeats and
> "Hollow Men" references.
> On NPR today someone read Dylan Thomas's "And Death
> Shall Have No
> Dominion"--readily available in anthologies. Let me
> add one quote from an
> essay in the anthology I used to use to teach
> Freshman Composition and
> Literature--Robert DiYanni, ed., _Literature:_Readin
> g_Fiction,_Poetry,_Drama,_and_the_Essay_, 4th ed.
> (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998), pp. 1840-1845:
> Loren Eiseley, a naturalist, wrote an essay entitled
> “The Judgment of the
> Birds.” One beautiful day, Eisley was out hiking,
> grew tired, and stopped to
> rest with his back against a stump. By accident, he
> relates, he was concealed
> from a glade that he could see into clearly. He fell
> asleep and was awakened
> by “some commotion”—”an enormous raven with
> a red and squriming nestling in
> his beak.” The sound that had awakened him had
> been “the outraged cries of
> the nestling’s parents, who flew helplessly in
> circles about the clearing.
> The sleek black monster was indifferent to them.…
> But suddenly, out of all
> that area of woodland, a soft sound of complaint
> began to rise. Into the
> glade fluttered small birds of half a dozen
> varieties drawn by the anguished
> outcries of the tiny parents.
> “No one dared to attack the raven. But they cried
> there in some instinctive
> common misery, the bereaved and the unbereaved. The
> glade filled with their
> soft rustling and their cries. They fluttered as
> though to point their wings
> at the murderer. There was a dim intangible ethic he
> had violated, that they
> knew. He was a bird of death.
> “And he, the murderer, the black bird at the at
> the heart of life, sat on
> there glistening in the common light, formidable,
> unmoving, unperturbed,
> “The sighing died. It was then I saw the judgment.
> It was the judgment of
> life against death. I will never see it again so
> forcefully presented. I will
> never hear it again in notes so tragically
> prolonged. For in the midst of
> protest, they forgot the violence. There, in that
> clearing, the crystal note
> of a song sparrow lifted hesitantly in the hush. And
> finally, after painful
> fluttering, another took the song, and then another,
> the song passing from
> one bird to another, doubtfully at first, as though
> some evil thing were
> being slowly forgotten. Till suddenly they took
> heart and sang from many
> throats joyously together as birds are known to
> sing. They sang because life
> is sweet and sunlight beautiful. They sang under the
> brooding shadow of the
> raven. In simple truth they had forgotten the raven,
> for they were the
> singers of life, and not of death” (1844).
> Lee Fjordbotten
"...he starts to walk again. He'd go a long way to see perfect stars."
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