Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bearing Witness From Afar [To Mack The Turtle and my beloved friends]

To suffer woes which
Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy power which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till
Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates”

PB Shelley

Caveat emptor - this post is not about books or food.

I find myself at at a strange and unfamiliar juncture in my life. I am calm amid a swirling vortex of other peoples pain, existential distortion and violence. This is not a rehearsal for anything, and seems it could only be fictional. But its not.

Blythe spirits are bringing those who were far from me nearer. I surprise myself by inviting them closer. Inch by inch. Because it feels good.

Lesser even-tempered spirits torment by at the same time taking those I wish to be right near, to protect, much much further away leaving them in harms way. I fear for them, am paralyzed, terrified, but worse, immobilized. But it is not up to me. Worse yet.

And then the stupid senseless ever present daily banshees screech - the ones who think they need to yell to be heard and mutilate with their nasty words and sounds. The sound of a subway train entering a station at 8:14 am on two wheels careering around a corner. Colleagues -blasting their way through the day.

My mind is calm and I feel unfettered by anger, guilt, or loneliness - these things perplex which try try to envelop - but do not confound. I live in an embrace of warm tender love from my nears.

This is an obtuse post on purpose. A loved one is in peril - she flees a violent man. I do not know where she is. And I cannot ask. Speaking in code through third parties, shame and guilt are heavy.

As he is honoured tonight for his life and work - Paul Quarrington says, "Let's conceive of the soul as an aura that human beings wear on their backs, cumberson as a tortoise's carapace. Some are larger than others." — Paul Quarrington (The Boy on the Back of the Turtle: Seeking God, Quince Marmalade, and the Fabled Albatross on Darwin's Islands)

It seems to me at this juncture that the larger carapaces are stomping, smashing and bashing the littlers....

which of course, brings to mind........Mack, at the bottom of the pile.

Then again, from below, in the great heavy stack,Came a groan from that plain little turtle named Mack.“Your Majesty, please… I don’t like to complain,But down here below, we are feeling great pain.I know, up on top you are seeing great sights,But down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.We turtles can’t stand it. Our shells will all crack!Besides, we need food. We are starving!” groaned Mack.

“You hush up your mouth!” howled the mighty King Yertle.“You’ve no right to talk to the world’s highest turtle.I rule from the clouds! Over land! Over sea!There’s nothing, no, NOTHING, that’s higher than me!”

But, while he was shouting, he saw with surpriseThat the moon of the evening was starting to riseUp over his head in the darkening skies.“What’s THAT?” snorted Yertle. “Say, what IS that thingThat dares to be higher than Yertle the King?I shall not allow it! I’ll go higher still!I’ll build my throne higher! I can and I will!I’ll call some more turtles. I’ll stack ‘em to heaven!I need ’bout five thousand, six hundred and seven!”

But, as Yertle, the Turtle King, lifted his handAnd started to order and give the command,That plain little turtle below in the stack,That plain little turtle whose name was just Mack,Decided he’d taken enough. And he had.And that plain little lad got a bit mad.And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing.He burped!And his burp shook the throne of the king!

And Yertle the Turtle, the king of the trees,The king of the air and the birds and the bees,The king of a house and a cow and a mule…Well, that was the end of the Turtle King’s rule!For Yertle, the King of all Sala-ma-Sond,Fell off his high throne and fell Plunk! in the pond!
And today the great Yertle, that Marvelous he,Is King of the Mud. That is all he can see.And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are freeAs turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.

Dr. Seuss

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