Monday, August 14, 2017

After Charlottesville


After Charlottesville

- with thanks to Rosalind Bell

Icebergs calve like this:
a glacier expands, expands,
crevasse deepens, geometry
meets water pressure –
silent, unseen, ignored. 
Thickness, impurity, stress,
mix and protest,
fist against its own body.
A crack like a sonic boom –
time hovers,
holds its breath – invisible knife
cuts the cord.  Ice slams into water,
wave rises like a wall.
In all ways this is a birth,
a creature entering the fiery world
from an indigo blue womb,
separation and creation
in one swift gasp.
Remember: beginnings
emerge out of endings.
We are the grownups now.
This is our inheritance.

Deborah A. Miranda

I've been full of pain, and a sense of wordlessness at the events in Charlottesville, an hour from our home in Lexington, Virginia.  Once again, it seemed as if words had been blown away by violence; as if nothing could be said but words of mourning and grief.

Two things happened to help jolt me out of that state: first, I thought of what my heart felt like - like it was breaking into huge pieces, calving like a glacier.  The word "calving" seemed both destructive, and creative. I had to pause and examine that image.  And then, my friend Rosalind Bell, herself a beautiful writer, said to me in an email: "We are the grownups now. This is our inheritance."  And I thought: it's horrific violence that she is referring to.  But it's also a kind of birth.  An awakening for many.  A surge of life and protest against violence and passivity."

I hope that comes through.  I will be honest: this poem surprised me.  I did not expect anything remotely hopeful to come out of my heart.  I'm reminded that birth, while amazing and holy, is also traumatic and violent for the being involved. There is no way to go from the peaceful floating in tranquility, your every need met, to the outside world where temperature, light, touch, and sound are no longer centered around your comfort.  There is no way to avoid the pain of life.  But it's life.  It's life.

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