Thursday, October 25, 2018

It Kissed Us, Soft, to Cut Our Throats


John Berryman

It kissed us, soft, to cut our throats, this coast,
like a malice of the lazy King. I hunt,
& hunt! but find here what to kill?—nothing is blunt,
but phantoming uneases I find. Ghost
on ghost precedes of all most scared us, most
we fled. Howls fail upon this secret, far air: grunt,
shaming for food; you must. I love the King
& it was not I who strangled at the toast
but a flux of a free & dying adjutant:
God be with him. He & God be with us all,
for we are not to live, I cannot wring,
like laundry, blue my soul—indecisive thing . .
From undergrowth & over odd birds call
and who would starv'd so survive? God save the King.


  1. the human condition - 21st century version

    your first two bullet points reference the fact that - metaphorically speaking - we (talking monkeys of this planet) are in a car heading at high speed toward a brick wall

    you link to ian welsh's gloomy reflections on the likely implications of the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

    admittedly, it looks like the situation will continue to develop not necessarily to our advantage

    on the other hand, let's remember the lawrence berra uncertainty principle: you never know when something surprising might happen

    in the twentieth century most people made it through the hellish ordeal of world war ii (admittedly many didn't) and my guess is that many (maybe not most) will persist through the eras of climate change

    how many will make it depends on how well systems of production and communication and control adapt - no doubt, like in war, [and i expect even more war than we've got right now] there will be a lot of coercive coordination required of people -

    but will the human race become extinct?

    probably not - but i have no idea whether a few centuries from now there will be a few stone-age remnants,

    or a thriving interconnected global system, sadder but wiser, supporting hundreds of millions or more of happy, healthy, potentially sentient beings,

    or something in between

    the big picture - life, the universe, and everything

    back in the previous millennium, i met someone who explained the basics of the mystical worldview to me in a way that has stuck with me - the foundational assumptions are

    1)the universe is here on purpose
    2)humankind has, or could have, some connection with that purpose
    3)it is possible to improve your ability to perceive and act on this connection

    to me, it still seems possible that these might be true, even if our terrestrial goose is cooked -

    because this planet is one of billions and billions of possible geese, some of whom may survive the dilemma of being so powerful and clever and stupid and self-centered and hateful and greedy as people are - and maybe that will even happen here on this planet - you never know when something surprising might happen

    1. I think the universe is here because it can't be anywhere else.

      Or more seriously, perhaps you could say the universe exists because it's impossible for nothing to exist. How could there be absolutely nothing? There'd have to be something to compare the state of nothing too. In which case there wouldn't be nothing. There'd be something. At any rate I know the world exists for whatever reason, and science hasn't come up with anything but conjecture regarding the origins of the universe, or reality itself. Nothing to worry about though.

      Donald Trump reminds me mostly of Shirley Temple, but without the curly locks. Donald does a lot of singing and dancing. He just makes up reality as he goes as well. It's all just an act. I still think Donald is the quintessential American. He's all those things you mentioned; powerful, clever, stupid, self-centered, hateful, greedy. It's the perfect description of Trump. Then there's the chumps for Trump, but that's another story.