Sunday, April 29, 2012

Another poem

Yesterday morning, I read this post at Segullah. It knocked me over.

The whole post is beautiful, so read it, but the poem...oh, the poem...

So here it is. (And I promise that my next few posts will be less heavy. My life is full of light and fun and spring rebirth and music and teenagers rolling their eyes at me and so much's not all philosophy and pain. Really, it's not.)

A Brief for the Defense

by Jack Gilbert

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered caf├ęs and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

1 comment:

Jana K said...

I'm always amazed at the ability to express so many feelings we all share in such an artistic concise way. It's as if a poet can enter my brain, take all the jumbled emotions and ideas,then organize it into something beautiful.