Monday, May 28, 2007

Waist Deep in the Big Muddy (Pete Seeger)

From the Writer's Almanac: Today is Memorial Day, first observed on this day in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery, where members of both the Union and Confederate Armies were buried. It was the idea of Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, who said he was creating Memorial Day, "For the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land."

SONG: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy by Pete Seeger

BOOK: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

POEM: To the Congress of the United States, Entering Its Third Century by Howard Nemerov

because reverence has never been america's thing,
this verse in your honor will not begin "o thou."
but the great respect our country has to give
may you all continue to deserve, and have.

* * *

here at the fulcrum of us all,
the feather of truth against the soul
is weighed, and had better be found to balance
lest our enterprise collapse in silence.

for here the million varying wills
get melted down, get hammered out
until the movie's reduced to stills
that tell us what the law's about.

conflict's endemic in the mind:
your job's to hear it in the wind
and compass it in opposites,
and bring the antagonists by your wits

to being one, and that the law
thenceforth, until you change your minds
against and with the shifting winds
that this and that way blow the straw.

so it's a republic, as Franklin said,
if you can keep it; and we did
thus far, and hope to keep our quarrel
funny and just. though with this moral:—

praise without end for the go-ahead zeal
of whoever it was invented the wheel;
but never a word for the poor soul's sake
that thought ahead, and invented the brake.

QUOTE: "War does not determine who is right but who is left."

1 comment:

  1. Wow; you're off to a great start. Pete Seeger? I'll be back for more. Keep up the great and good discipline you've started here. You'll like it, but so will folks who read it.