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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Friendship of Poetry

Brave - by Terrence Young

We were looking at the moon, a full one it seemed, though there
was some discussion about that, about which day precisely and for

how long, until it was decided it was okay to say the moon was
full as long as we knew we might be mistaken, a compromise

which satisfied everybody and allowed us to return to our quiet
lunar observations while a CD of Latin music played through the

outside speakers, each of the songs full, too, of swooping, senseless
lyrics that probably wouldn’t have made us want to cry if we’d known

what they were saying, but we didn’t, content, as we were with the
moon, to act on empirical facts alone—what looked full, what

sounded sad. The sea battered Mexico’s volcanic coast like a
ruminant horned beast that refused to give up the fight. Across the

bay, a flag we originally thought the size of a soccer field hung in
the moonlit air, not fluttering as flags are said to do in a breeze, but

coiling and uncoiling the way a snake might if it were flattened out
to the thickness of silk and suspended from a pole. These three

things—the rising moon, the waves, the undulations of the flag—
didn’t bring to mind anything so grand as Arnold’s “ebb and flow

of human misery,” but aligned seaward as we all were on our chaiselounges—
my son, my daughter, my wife and I—our legs extended,

backs upright, heads tilted to the sky, I couldn’t help thinking—maybe
it was the Spanish refrain, I don’t know, some hint of a hopeless cause

like love or war about to begin—that the four of us were courageous,
though not in the way heroes are said to be courageous, those people

who snatch small children from debris in the middle of swollen rivers,
but brave as my mother used the term on those occasions when another

pet sank beneath the soil of our back garden, or when on a morning
of rain and gloom I walked out the front door to school, lunch kit in

hand, the drawstrings of my hood pulled tight around my face, another
pointless day with the substitute teacher. “You’re a brave boy,” she’d

say, and I believed her, as I believed my family was brave simply for
sitting there on that tropical evening, like passengers on an ocean liner

who had left behind a country on the brink of ruin only to discover there
was no safe port left in the world, no haven that would take them in.


Bakin Rapscallion said...

wonderful songs...they go well with a good lager too...

What song(s) will you be posting for the out-going Bertie Ahern?

Bakin Rapscallion said...

Yes, I know, it's "poetry" for friends...but I stutter...therefore I have to sing the words...or I'd never get finished! Brilliant any way you categorize 'em!