Friday, 4 June 2010

It is not as if...

...I hadn't been reading the news about the flotilla / blockade and the murders in Cumbria. Regarding the first I want to wait to see what emerges. The accounts are wildly different and I have seen the various video and YouTube clips and read the various testimonies, and enough opinions to keep me opinionated for the rest of my life.

Nevertheless there are nine dead people and nothing cancels that. How they came to be dead and what might have been done to prevent them dying, along with all the larger questions queueing up behind that question, is something I frankly don't know the answer to, not now, and will probably not know even once more is generally known. Because nothing is ever fully known. Except I know what I would prefer to believe while knowing full well that preference isn't knowledge.


As regards the second set of deaths, where there are in fact more dead - none of us ever move in a world where there is no death, where there is no danger, where there is, conversely, no happiness or delight in life. The rights we accord ourselves mean nothing. We know that full well each time we grieve, each time the world tilts a little on its axis. This does not make the grief one whit less, the shock more palatable, the pain easier to bear. It doesn't, yet still we know that the right to life would be a nice thing if we or anyone had that right or ability to bestow it.

In the meanwhile it's good to look after each other a little while we may. Love is the other face of the fear of loss, a perfectly justified fear. So love too - should it ever need justifying - is justified. It's perhaps the best we can do, except perhaps avoid all clichés about love at this, or any time.


In the meanwhile this:

Prayer Before Birth

I am not yet born; O hear me.
Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the
club-footed ghoul come near me.

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.

I am not yet born; provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.

I am not yet born; forgive me
For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words
when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me,
my treason engendered by traitors beyond me,
my life when they murder by means of my
hands, my death when they live me.

I am not yet born; rehearse me
In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when
old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains
frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white
waves call me to folly and the desert calls
me to doom and the beggar refuses
my gift and my children curse me.

I am not yet born; O hear me,
Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God
come near me.

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.
Otherwise kill me.

Louis MacNeice

Marvellous poem, though this is interesting:

I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me...

...O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my

So the former is capable of the latter, and the humanity that can be frozen is the one with tall walls. Hence the predicament.

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