...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

July 14, 2004

Poetry Wednesday

After missing two and a half days of work, i spend my morning searching the web for this Wednesday's poem. That's how much i love you all.

You may see that i changed the blog's epigram over there on the left. The new epigram is a verse from Bob Marley's "Buffalo Soldier," which states one of my main purposes for doing this blog, however arrogant or ironic the epigram might sound.

The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters is a classic of American literature. If this book was not assigned to you in high school, you should call your principal and demand to know why.

i saw Spoon River performed a few years ago at a little theater in L.A., and i also acted one of the parts for an acting class in college. The idea of the book is that each poem is what one of the dead persons in Spoon River's graveyard might say if they were able to talk. It's heavy on irony, but there's a good amount of wry humor, too.

So, to balance the sentiment of the Bob Marley quote on my sidebar, you might find the theme of the following poem from Spoon River useful.

Oaks Tutt

My mother was for woman’s rights
And my father was the rich miller at London Mills.
I dreamed of the wrongs of the world and wanted to right them.
When my father died, I set out to see peoples and countries
In order to learn how to reform the world.
I traveled through many lands.
I saw the ruins of Rome,
And the ruins of Athens,
And the ruins of Thebes.
And I sat by moonlight amid the necropolis of Memphis.
There I was caught up by wings of flame,
And a voice from heaven said to me:
“Injustice, Untruth destroyed them. Go forth!
Preach Justice! Preach Truth!”
And I hastened back to Spoon River
To say farewell to my mother before beginning my work.
They all saw a strange light in my eye.
And by and by, when I talked, they discovered
What had come in my mind.
Then Jonathan Swift Somers challenged me to debate
The subject, (I taking the negative):
“Pontius Pilate, the Greatest Philosopher of the World.”
And he won the debate by saying at last,
“Before you reform the world, Mr. Tutt,
Please answer the question of Pontius Pilate:
‘What is Truth?’”

Posted by annika, Jul. 14, 2004 |
Rubric: Poetry


Read it sophomore year in American Lit.

This one more or less describes my own spiritual/theological arc of development. Always had a thing for Masters -- and for Pilate, for that matter.

Posted by: Hugo on Jul. 14, 2004

One might say that Pilate was a pioneer relativist...by raising the philosphical issue "what is truth?", he was able to weasel out of taking a stand on the injustice that was about to be committed. Would have fit in very well on a modern faculty, raising questions about whether women are really more free in the U.S. than under the Taliban....

Posted by: David Foster on Jul. 14, 2004