Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Friday, July 15, 2016

Requiescat in pace

Liberté, égalité, fraternité... Floating in my mind are words from a different unrest: “I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again" -Anne Frank, The Diary. So sorrowful to think of the 84--more to come--dead, ten of them just children, and all those suffering grief and bodily hurt in Nice.

10 comments:

  1. The encroaching, darkening wilderness terrifies me. And in a feeble attempt to sort things out I have posted something from Emerson today at S/P. I don't know if anyone now alive is prepared to leads us out of the wildnerness. But like Estragon and Vladimir in _Waiting for Godot_, we must wait. Surely Godot will come tomorrow . . . or soon.

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    1. We must be brave, we must call evil by its proper name, we must be vigilant. And we must still "love one another."

      My two cents.

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    2. It disturbs me that those who murder in the name of Allah denounce people like me, you, and others as evil even as they declare themselves brave warriors for the prophet. Yes, bravery and evil become difficult concepts. To "love one another" takes me back to Jesus in Emersonian terms. I wonder if love (as represented by Jesus) is sufficient.

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    3. Tim, I have no feeling that writers know any more than anybody else, but why should we define ourselves by their culture? Why should our definition of love or courage or evil be tainted or weakened by the evil acts of evil men?

      Lincoln said the states united would never be destroyed from outside but only from within. We've been doing a pretty good job of undermining ourselves. We need to remember what made us appear as "a city of a hill," what made the world ascribe greatness to us, what our traditions are and what is valuable in them.

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  2. it's hard to get around history; we tend to forget that tech is only about 200 years old, and that human nature has been forming over millenia. like diverting the mississippi with a toothpick...

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    1. Indeed. History is definitely a bulky, unwieldy parcel. Maybe like that snag in the Mississippi that Twain talked about, the one that clawed out the bottom of steamboats.

      Tech has been on my mind today--first coup ever announced by email, first time I deposed (or maybe semi-deposed, almost-deposed) had to talk via social media using his cell phone. That's a weird image for television, a hand holding up a cell phone with a tiny President Erdoğan speaking.

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  3. and so it goes... (kurt vonnegut)

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    1. When the world is a slaughterhouse... Only we can't make a narrative jump to another time.

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  4. They had discussed cancelling yesterday's stage of the Tour de France bike race but thought of all the spectators strung out along the route and reckoned it would be playing into a murderer's hands. Normally, each day, there are individual presentations to the category winners (The accumulative leader, the best hill climber, best youngest rider, etc). Instead they all stood together on the podium for two minutes' silence, holding the bouquets they would have received. Then, as an unprompted gesture, they laid the bouquets on the floor of the podium. These are very hard men taking part in one of the most demanding sporting events in the world; what they did was simple, effective and moving. Then, because this had been unplanned, they shuffled away awkwardly, their awkwardness reflecting what I certainly felt at that moment. I mean, how do you react?

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    1. I don't know, I'm torn between the agonized King Lear with Cordelia in his arms--"Why should a dog or horse or rat have life, but not you?"--and the agonized Christ looking down at the mob--"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Bouquets for the dead are sweet, emblems of life and love, but we have seen them so often of late.

      Out there in the moral wilderness, a man is being crucified, a woman buried to the waist and stoned. And what is "the frail duration of a flower" against such blows?

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.