Monday, September 19, 2016

Hollow Monday thoughts.

The news in New York all weekend long and into this morning is the news of bombs.

There was an explosion on 23rd Street between 6th and 8th Avenues on Saturday night that injured 29 people. Another bomb was found later in the evening in a garbage pail nearby, and this morning, more bombs were found out in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Mayor DiBlasio has been on the radio announcing that New York will see its greatest level of police presence ever. Partly because of the bombs, partly because once again the UN is in town, including President Obama.

Meanwhile, in my quiet Upper East Side neighborhood, things seem calm. I live a block from the private all-girls' school my daughters went to, and a block and a half from another private all-girls' school. Down the street is an elite PS, and just a bit further down, is the Lycee Francaise and still another private elementary school.

Needless to say, the neighborhood is teeming on this raining morning with book-bagged kids making their way to various classrooms. The Brearley girls wear short 1960s-style navy blue minis--trying their best to do everything they can to subvert the school's very austere dress-code.

Men and women holding umbrellas in various states of disrepair are rushing toward buses, subways or car services. 

There are no signs, up here, four miles from the bomb blast and a dozen or so from Elizabeth, that the world is coming apart at the seams. 

I've read my share of Dystopia and it's usually pretty, er, dystopian. But if we are entering--in the case of Donald Trump, galloping into, a new Dystopia, I happen to believe it won't look trememdously different from a normal day.

Young kids will still splash through puddles. Somehow we will still be rushing to work on a Monday morning. Somehow we will go on.

Faulkner said we will prevail.

Frost, prefered fire to ice.

But I think Eliot had it best:

The Hollow Men
Mistah Kurtz-he deadA penny for the Old Guy


    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats' feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar
    Shape without form, shade without colour,
    Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
    Those who have crossed
    With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
    Remember us-if at all-not as lost
    Violent souls, but only
    As the hollow men
    The stuffed men.


    Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
    In death's dream kingdom
    These do not appear:
    There, the eyes are
    Sunlight on a broken column
    There, is a tree swinging
    And voices are
    In the wind's singing
    More distant and more solemn
    Than a fading star.
    Let me be no nearer
    In death's dream kingdom
    Let me also wear
    Such deliberate disguises
    Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
    In a field
    Behaving as the wind behaves
    No nearer-
    Not that final meeting
    In the twilight kingdom


    This is the dead land
    This is cactus land
    Here the stone images
    Are raised, here they receive
    The supplication of a dead man's hand
    Under the twinkle of a fading star.
    Is it like this
    In death's other kingdom
    Waking alone
    At the hour when we are
    Trembling with tenderness
    Lips that would kiss
    Form prayers to broken stone.


    The eyes are not here
    There are no eyes here
    In this valley of dying stars
    In this hollow valley
    This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
    In this last of meeting places
    We grope together
    And avoid speech
    Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
    Sightless, unless
    The eyes reappear
    As the perpetual star
    Multifoliate rose
    Of death's twilight kingdom
    The hope only
    Of empty men.


    Here we go round the prickly pear
    Prickly pear prickly pear
    Here we go round the prickly pear
    At five o'clock in the morning.

    Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow
                                   For Thine is the Kingdom
    Between the conception
    And the creation
    Between the emotion
    And the response
    Falls the Shadow
                                   Life is very long
    Between the desire
    And the spasm
    Between the potency
    And the existence
    Between the essence
    And the descent
    Falls the Shadow
                                   For Thine is the Kingdom
    For Thine is
    Life is
    For Thine is the
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

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