Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar’s The Sea Inside is a triumph-of-the-spirit picture with an unconventional premise: the hero, Ramón Sampedro (played by Javier Bardem), a quadriplegic for two decades as the result of a diving accident, is seeking the right to end his life.
Heavy the waxwings hang upon the bough, A gospel dozen, sharing summer fruits, The pyrocanthus touched with winter snow, Alive with yellow-banded crested suits. There is no solitary prophet here, Spying the setting, ranking lesser wings; They come in droves, in droves they disappear, Unlike the dove, alone no waxwing sings. Of course the birds are metaphor to me, The waxing congregation sharing all; The dove, I think, practices poetry, Solitary, an “individual.” Is it perverse to sing a lonely song, When love prescribes the place where we belong?
Zana Briski is a New York photojournalist who went to India in 1995 to document the plight of women in a patriarchal society. In 1998 she encountered the prostitutes working in the red light district of Calcutta. She moved in with them and got to know their routines.
When Mary Magdalene said she’d seen the Lord it was strangely disappointing One of the worst women saved from the street to have been first I knew it must be true that’s just what he would do but then when I was the only one to fight fear & search for myself the others lagging behind it was like the soldier’s spear went right through me too when I returned to hear the others bragging (that was the worst) that I was the only one not to have been there not to have seen where his hands were pierced I went into denial I won’t believe I said Anything less than my fingers in his wounds won’t be enough My words sounded odd to my ears A week later I was among them when he appeared & called my bluff My Lord & my God Conviction rolled off my tongue
The novelist Ian McEwan wrote, “Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality.” This is the rationale for the Empathy Library, an online resource that recommends fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books, plus films that can help people empathize with the lives of others. It includes top ten lists on different themes such as love, war, or religion. Readers are invited to add their own suggestions and comments (empathylibrary.com).