what kind of times are these

R1-05602-011A

So, the U.S. government has gone into shutdown. If there is a good time to practice the "keep calm" mantra, now is certainly one. And as someone who works for public schools, this really sucks. Big time. Special education, which is the department that I work for, is one of the two exceptions that will continue to receive federal funding despite the shutdown, so I guess we are "lucky" (if you can call it that). Still, according to this article, there are programs that are at risk from a lengthy shutdown including Head Start for preschool children and the National School Lunch Program.

I really can't believe it has come to this. The children, most of all, don't deserve this. Especially if a group of men in the Congress is acting like stubborn kids themselves. They remind me of those playground bullies who throw their weight around just because they think they can. Unbelievable. I'm getting a headache just thinking about the number of people that's going to be affected and the trickle down effect that will happen if this will go on for a longer period of time.

Deep breath.

Let's talk about poetry instead. Here is a poem that is very apt for today, along with the tree photo above. It was taken a year ago and I've always thought of it as a reminder to try and find humor in everything. And boy do we need that right now.

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What Kind of Times Are These
by Adrienne Rich

There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.

I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.

I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
to talk about trees.

*Watch Adrienne Rich read this poem here.

4 comments:

  1. that poem is something of a response to a Brecht poem, do you know it? "To Posterity" is the English title. I love that she doesn't just allude to it (in the title and the last sentence) but builds on the political/psychic conversation.

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    1. Holly, I didn't know that! Ah, she is really genius, isn't she? I have to read Brecht's poem now. Thanks!

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  2. I adore your blog so much. It's always so reassuring. Thank you!

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    1. Elena, THANK YOU. You are too kind.

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