[lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Poem

  • From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2006 17:22:36 +0900

You can say that again, brother.

John

On 1/22/06, Mike Geary <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> right on, David, right on.
>
> Mike Geary
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "david ritchie" <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2006 1:59 AM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Poem
>
>
> > On the differences between is and ought
> >
> > A student asked me this week if I am dismayed by the first meetings
> > of classes,
> > in which I find that people know nothing about history.
> > I said that in middle life I am less interested in ought;
> > I deal with what is.
> > This is true re. students,
> > not so with deans.
> > I also said that when it comes to students two things annoy me from
> > the outset:
> > quoting Webster's Dictionary as if that settled anything,
> > and quoting Santayana's comment about people being doomed to repeat
> > history.
> > A more inane comment would be hard to imagine!
> > What are the consequences of not knowing where one came from?
> > Being lost.
> > Being ignorant of what others know.
> > Being stupid.
> > Having less understanding than or of others.
> > Not catching as much crab.
> >
> > The radio today played a phone call from a German man who surrendered
> > in 1941.
> > From 1942 to 1947 he was a POW in Australia.
> > In 1945 he heard that his mother had died in one of the bombing raids,
> > or maybe from artillery when the town was captured.
> > One way or another, explosives killed her,
> > or walls,
> > or fires,
> > or a flying piece of glass.
> > I don't know,
> > We don't know.
> > No one knows.
> >
> > In his mourning, he found Mozart important.
> > That's what the radio was saying.
> > What I thought was--
> > here is history, as we might currently understand it;
> > here is something to know.
> > When you read that Germany was defeated,
> > it's about some poor sod who was drafted,
> > did his best,
> > surrendered,
> > ended up in Australia,
> > where he learned that his mother was dead.
> > Go through life not knowing this
> > and you may think that invading,
> > or blowing yourself up,
> > or paying yourself six hundred thousand dollars from charity funds,
> > are really good ideas.
> >
> > In the middle reaches of the night,
> > I drift down the fat stream, which goes by James Bond's punt,
> > tied up in an idyllic hide.
> > I worry, as one does, whether Osama
> > has some kind of big boil on his posterior,
> > or something of that ilk,
> > a disease that historians will later seize upon,
> > when searching for causes.
> > How lame are our brains
> > when tired, or sorely exercised.
> > How easily we decide what is important;
> > how much better things are,
> > when we choose the fights that we ought.
> > Win or lose; the points are life.
> >
> > David Ritchie
> > Portland, Oregon
> >
> >
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--
John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd.
55-13-202 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama 220-0006, JAPAN
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