Friday, September 18, 2009

Poetry and social commentary

Currently reading two American poets- Wendell Berry and Robert Hass- both active committed citizens, as well as poets of renown.

Here is Wendell Berry:
To be sane in a mad time
is bad for the brain, worse
for the heart. The world
is a holy vision, had we clarity
to see it—a clarity that men
depend on men to make.
And again:
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Robert Hass won the Nobel Prize for Poetry in 2008 for his book Time and Materials. These lines are from a poem titled "Ezra Pound's Proposition" from which this extract is taken.
Here is more or less how it works:
The World Bank arranges the credit and the dam
Floods three hundred villages, and the villagers find their way
To the city where there daughters melt into teeming streets,
And the dam's great turbines, beautifully tooled
In Lund or Dresden or Detroit, financed
By Lazard Freres in Paris or the Morgan Bank in New York
Enabled by judicious gifts from Bechtel of San Fransisco
Or Halliburton of Houston to the local political elite,
Spun by the force of rushing water,
Have become hives of shimmering silver
And, down by the river, they throw that bluish throb of light
Across her cheekbones and her lovely skins

No comments: