Monday, September 15, 2014

Black Horizons
  by Carl Sandburg

Black horizons, come up.
Black horizons, kiss me.
That is all; so many lies; killing so cheap;
babies so cheap; blood, people so cheap; and
land high, land dear; a speck of the earth
costs; a suck at the tit of Mother Dirt so
clean and strong, it costs; fences, papers,
sheriffs; fences, laws, guns; and so many
stars and so few hours to dream; such a big
song and so little a footing to stand and
sing; take a look; wars to come; red rivers
to cross.
Black horizons, come up.
Black horizons, kiss me.

I’m way behind in my mourning for the dead who’ve made the news this summer. I have to catch up somehow, because I still feel bad about the passengers who were shot down over the Ukraine and that happened on July 17th. My heart is on the wonky spectrum and it progresses from tragedy to tragedy in the world too slowly, I guess. I’m not keeping up.

Did you know that when Sam Peckinpah made “The Wild Bunch” way back in 1969, he hoped his film, with its slow-motion deaths, blood that looked and behaved like blood shooting out of all those bullet holes, and scene after scene of human brutality, would prove to be a cathartic experience? That people would be so affected by the violence in his film that they would leave the cinema craving peace and harmony?  Maybe even march against the war in Vietnam? Boy, was he ever wrong. 1969 was also the year of Woodstock and I think the musicians and hippies at that rock festival were more on track regarding peace and harmony promotion. 500,000 people, rain, mud,scarce food, pot, and no killings. I remember feeling proud of my generation…optimistic.

I wish there would be a global epidemic of a virus that softened hearts. I think deluded minds have taken charge in too many places and too many hearts have hardened to steel. I wonder what one can do to relax after beheading someone or shooting down a plane? Here, there, everywhere there is someone inflicting hurt. But not in our house; my brother’s and mine. Not in yours either, I bet. After all, my blog isn’t likely to appeal to someone busy with waging war, whether on a battlefield or in their neighborhood.

I used to teach emotionally disturbed children. Hitting, kicking, biting happened, (sometimes to me) but everything, (everything!) we teachers did in those classrooms was directed toward helping the kids understand that they weren’t going to win in their lives through violent behavior. Our first goal in this was simple: that a child experience his or her environment with pleasure. They needed to do this, you see, before gentler emotions could get the upper hand. We needed to start with this simple goal, because we taught children who did not know how to play, make friends, or feel safe. They experienced their environment with pain when they came to us, and anger was often their ruling emotion. But I saw children change and when a child learned to use his words rather than his fist, it was a marvelous thing. Sam Peckinpah thought bombarding us with bloodshed would, somehow, do some good. He was troubled by how far he was off the mark. Back in 1969 I thought Woodstock meant we were all going to move toward a kinder, more peaceful world. Huh. Both wrong. Well,
Carl Sandburg by Dana Steichen
I’ll grieve at my own pace, one horror at a time.