...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



A face in the crowd. It may be hard to get, where she is, when, the heat of it, and the pressure so constant it had to be named and named again and condemned, publicly and often at great risk, over and over before it began to separate from how it is, just the way things are. It can seem now - even when its sanitized versions shock and dismay - a much lighter thing than it was.
Here's another one:

Two soldiers, one looks, one looks away. Same place, same world, same time.
It does a disservice to the strength that's carried so many people so far to itemize it, to dissect and explain its details, but so much of the public mind that looks back now is stripped of its history, there's no solid context for the images - the old campaigners are reticent; the transformed are hesitant with shame; and the businessmen in charge of our collective documentation of that history are timid at best, venal mostly, and this kind of knowing doesn't sell.
So we can set it before the gathered like a puzzle, a rune, a poetic line - or make it into a lesson, a textbook example, a case, evidence, proof - or try to fit it somewhere in between.

Blog Archive