Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thank you, Robert Hass!

Time and Materials Robert Hass
"State of the Planet"
What is to be done with our species? Because
we know we're going to die, to be submitted
to that tingling dance of atoms once again,
it's easy for us to feel that our lives are a dream-
as this is, in a way, a dream: the flailing rain,
the birds, the soaked red backpack of the child,
her tendrils of wet hair, the windshield wipers,
this voice trying to speak across the centuries
between us, even the long story of the earth,
boreal forests, mangrove swamps, Tiberian wheatfields
in the summer heat on hillsides south of Rome- all of it
a dream, and we alive somewhere, somehow outside it,
watching. People have been arguing for centuries
about whether or not you thought of Venus as a metaphor,
because of the rational man they take you for.
Also about why your poem ended with a plague.
The bodies heaped in the temple of the gods.
To disappear. First one, then a few, then hundreds,
just stopping over here, to vanish in the marsh at dusk.
So easy, in imagination, to tell the story backward,
because the earth needs a dream of restoration-
she dances and the birds just keep arriving,
thousands of them, immense arctic flocks, her teeming life.

Complete credit it Robert Hass for that poem. It is not of my creation, but I wish. (wink)

All of the following is regarding the first three lines. which I know is taking something out of context. However, I'm less concerned with textual obligations than mortality. No offense, poets.

That. Yes.
I've never gotten there before.
I had gotten from, "There is no god, no afterlife" to, "I will die and be no more" but no further.
Yes, I will die because I am a creature like all others. My species' existence is based on atmospheric conditions, evolution, and earth. I am composed of atoms. Even my self-awareness and reflection are products of (and dependent upon) the material world. It's biology, a central nervous system, synapses. I'm not more than cells in life.

But now the next step: "I remain. Decay. Stay on earth. Rejoin the "tingling dance of atoms." I fund other projects."

This is a reality I can live with.

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