I have never stopped thinking of myself as a beginner. Auguste Rodin
Now that I’m retired and done being chosen Or rejected, respect mine to give again, I want to grow large, as large as the twelve Year old who dived off a wooden platform under Weeping willows and swam the longest of Man-made lakes to impress Rachel Kerwood, Not sure he could make it an acceptable risk, So that when he climbed out on the other side Green pond scum clinging emeralds to a milk White back, he sat beside her in the sweet grass Eating black walnuts cracked open with a rock, Talking of things he could only speak of Because he’d swum through the silken stillness In the middle of the deepest lake, where Pure artesian springs turned the water cold, And sullen bullheads grew twice normal size.
One might be weary of flesh. One’s own, another’s. Flesh of neighbor, stranger, passerby. Flesh of the real or the imagined lover, or secret flesh that mind and heart deny. One might be shut of it, freed from the nerve, but flesh is merciless, confines us, binds us to our servitude to cleft and curve. Even You have been a slave to this, true Spirit, on that wild night, delirious, piercing the meat of life. And since? Scandal to our atoms when flesh, merging with flesh, happens on You in single, paradoxical bliss. Perhaps all earth shall plunge toward sun, savage with desire to be One.
Love, lust, forgiveness, remorse, tolerance, sin, violence and death—these are just some of the themes engaged in The ,Ballad of Jack and Rose. It’s the third feature film by writer-director Rebecca Miller (Personal Velocity, Angela), a former painter and actress who is the daughter of the late playwright Arthur Miller.
Here’s my question. What if there was a poem That didn’t know what it was about until it got To the end of itself? So that the poet’s job isn’t To play with imagery and cadence and metrical Toys in order to make a point, but rather to just Keep going in order to find out that the poem is About how hard it is to watch your kids get hurt By things they can’t manage and you cannot fix. If I had been the boss of this poem I would have Made it so they can manage things, or I could be The quiet fixer I always wanted to be as a father; But that’s not what the poem wanted to be about, It turns out. This poem is just like your daughter: No one knows what’s going to happen, and there Will be pain, and you can’t fix everything, and it Hurts to watch, and you are terrified even as you Try to stay calm and cool and pretend to manage. Some poems you can leave when they thrash too Much but kids are not those sorts of poems. They Have to keep writing themselves, and it turns out You are not allowed to edit. You’re not in charge At all—a major bummer. I guess there’s a lesson Here about literature, about how you have to sing Without knowing the score . . . something like that. All you can do is sing wildly and hope it’ll finish So joyous and refreshing that you gape with awe.
Philosopher Michael Ruse is an ardent evolutionist and unbeliever, but he often comes to the defense of believers who are under fire from militant atheists like Richard Dawkins. Ruse says his sympathetic stance toward religion is partly due to his Quaker upbringing. “I grew up surrounded by gentle, loving (and very intelligent) Christians. I never forget that,” said Ruse. He also objects to what he regards as bad atheist arguments. Evolution explains the existence of religion as an adaptive mechanism, but that doesn’t necessarily explain it away. “It is as plausible that my love of Mozart’s operas is a byproduct of adaptation, but it doesn’t make them any the less beautiful and meaningful,” Ruse said (New York Times interview, July 8).