Friday, April 27, 2018

Troupe of Scarecrows


Charles Simic

Shirts rose on a neighbor’s laundry line,
One or two attempting to fly,
As three fire engines sped by
To save a church going up in flames.
People walking back from the pyre
With their Sunday clothes in tatters
Looked like a troupe of scarecrows
The bank had ousted from their farm.
As for the firebug, we were of two minds:
Some kid trying out a new drug,
Or a drunk ex-soldier angry at God
And Country for making him a cripple.

1 comment:

  1. i followed the We're doomed link to the interview with mayer hillman

    one passage that caught my attention was

    we’ve failed to curb the car’s crushing of children’s liberty. In 1971, 80% of British seven- and eight-year-old children went to school on their own; today it’s virtually unthinkable that a seven-year-old would walk to school without an adult. As Hillman has pointed out, we’ve removed children from danger rather than removing danger from children – and filled roads with polluting cars on school runs

    coincidentally, it was only last week that i had a conversation with montgomery county's notorious "free range mom" danielle meitiv - she is now running for the county council and the organizer of an event for her at a local retirement community invited me

    that morning a young fellow from the democratic socialists of america passing out literature for the county council candidates they endorse for the primary [including danielle meitiv] had come to my door - we had agreed that one should pursue non-violent attempts at change for as long as possible

    2)when i went to the campaign event i was not familiar with mayer hillman's views in particular, but the pessimism he expresses is not so unique - in conversation before the event i raised the general issue, and as one might have expected from someone willing to run for the county council, danielle (who is a climate scientist) expressed the view that mitigation efforts should be made

    this is what i think too - even if all the polar ice melts, as mayer hillman predicts, this need not mean the end of human life on earth, nor even necessarily the end of technological civilization - disruption happens, deal with it, as the ancient wisdom advises -

    and speaking of "dealing with it", an article i found with hillman as co-author made a good case that attempts at harm reduction can result in behavior change which undoes the intended result - "The risk compensation theory and bicycle helmets" -

    supposing that hillman and persons sharing his view, such as ian welsh, are correct - that civilization, and perhaps even our species, is doomed, i came across something recently that helps place that prediction in perspective - the achievements of the european space agency's sky-mapping satellite gaia

    if things don't go well here on our own planet from a short-term or medium-term perspective, there are lots more where we came from - as the pythons put it in 'the galaxy song' -

    And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
    'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!