Wednesday, December 19, 2012

more pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring

© 2007 Amber Schley Iragui, Brooklyn, NYC, red curtain

No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
Woe, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-old anvil wince and sing—
Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked 'No ling-
ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief."'

     O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •    •   •   •   •   •   •   •    •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

I cannot begin to know this grief, this unnew news of sorrow broadcast everywhere. But I do know that in our televisionless home, safe with my two children and our lit Christmas tree, it still creeps in. An unwanted Advent guest, a ghost story in lurid daylight detail. 

Why repeat what everyone has heard, over and over, a story that no one can really comprehend? Why look at photos of grieving people, paramedics racing to the scene, parents fiercely clutching their unharmed children? It cannot be helped: I return, again and again, to the scene of the crime. Combing articles and videos in a futile effort to understand. 

No point in pointing fingers. There is no fault here that can be pinned to any single person, movement, or belief. But it has happened too often, and something must be done. Doubtless there are too many guns in this country, and it is far too easy to purchase them. Doubtless the violence glorified in movies and video games should be (gasp!) censored. Doubtless there is a lack of good options for the mentally ill, and for the parents of the mentally ill. Doubtless the shuttering of so many mental institutions (for whatever good reasons they were shuttered) has increased the risk that deeply disturbed individuals will be free to walk into malls and schools and movie theaters with legally purchased firearms. Doubtless, yes, doubtless: there are limits to personal freedom. It is the fault of us all, and of no one.

The solution, as much is there is a solution to the enormous unsolvable problem of evil, lies within each of us.
I think in this, as in so many other things, we must walk in the direction of our fear. It is important. It is important enough to take the time to listen, to cooperate, to end the name-calling and self-righteous attacks on those who think differently.  
              No one wants this unspeakable violence to continue.
It is ours to be kind, to be compassionate, to be wise. To stop shunning people because they are different from us, to be true to our inner sense that something is wrong, to have the courage to stop doing what is wrong, and most importantly, to listen to others when they speak, regardless of their amount of education or political party.

Of course, as a first step, if we could all refrain from training mentally ill teens—heck, all teens—to use firearms, that would be nice.

{   p o e t r y   w e d n e s d a y   }


Julia said...

I've always loved this Hopkins poem and it is so appropriate right now. I appreciate the clarity of your writing here, Amber, and I can also feel the sense of fatigue toward the complexity of the problem, which is what I feel too, and I'm sure a lot of people feel.

My post is up, albeit late, but please do link yours when you get a chance.

Mark Janssen said...

Hi Amber, Thank you for your reflections. I agree with every point. I'm feeling pesimistic today, so I'm not too hopeful that our country will be able to make a useful diagnosis or adopt effective remedies. Mark