Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My Response to the President's "Speech"

No, I didn't watch or listen to the shrub. I read this poem instead and wanted to share it:

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting----
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Now, I know that the cynics out there, and I have that cynical part, too, will say that if we don't protest Bush, he'll "get his way" and there won't BE any more wild geese to write poems about. I maintain, tonight, that if we don't really SEE the wild geese and the beauty all around us, then Bush WILL "get his way" and those things we love will be gone.

I had an interesting experience the other day. I was out at the dog park with my poodle, lovely late winter afternoon. The park is near Truax field where Madison has its very own squadron of F-16 warplanes. (golly gee!) When I see them take off, and fly over the park, I feel so angry. All that money flying over my head and there are people hungry, not adequate health care, slashing education so no child will have anything to be left behind to do. But one day, that late winter afternoon, I was watching a flock of geese, flying over, calling out to each other, to me, to my dog and when the planes took off, I hardly noticed them this time.

I'm not trying to be naive here and suggest that by reciting poetry we can make Bush and his cronies go away. But, the typical protest march doesn't really feel useful or worthwhile anymore to me. You march, you chant, you get revved up and want to change the world, then the "all inclusive progressive left" has representatives of just about every group stand up and tell us how to change the world. Again. And again. And again. Until we all get cold and go home feeling like we somehow did "our duty", but not feeling very hopeful. We need some new way or ways to get the attention of the people that are robbing our country. What will that be? As the poem says, "the world offers itself to your imagination", calling out to you, telling you that you do matter, you do belong and no one can be allowed to tell you otherwise.

George the Decider has told a whole lot of people in this world that they don't belong. Learning to be a Quaker, I struggle to see God in Mr Bush. I struggle to see God's plan here. Hey, God, its not making sense! Help! Send me some geese and a lovely winter afternoon. And lets all use our imaginations and send Bush packing!


Suzy said...

Your title, My Response to the President's "Speech" should have another set of quotation marks around "President".

Well, you know I have my cynical streak too, but I value so much the
little everyday miracles -- those things with feathers (or fur or scales or leaves or petals) that we call hope. And I agree, that putting your focus there will go a lot further than another rally and a crowd of angry, loud people. And if we give up looking for those things, then the terrorists (aka the Bush administration) will certainly have won.

Did I tell you about seeing a fox on fourth street a few weeks ago? It was right at dusk, and heading down the rail corridor. I wonder if foxes and coyotes are preying at all on those east side backyard chickens?

One more thing that struck me recently and seems pertinent here. I just read that NASA now believes that life WAS found on Mars and it was inadvertently snuffed. They were looking for the wrong thing, it seems. You don't have to dig too deep to see the metaphor in that!


Pete said...

One can only hope that a flock of geese will take down Airforce One. I know that it would be a horrible loss (of geese), but if it means losing a few geese to benefit the rest of the world, so be it.
Oh yeah, let's hope Dick is on the plane too!

My nephew is being deployed.....