October. Northern Thailand. Rainy season. Slate-gray clouds, full of water, hang low over the earth. The river, thirty feet in front of my house, is nearing flood stage and the little damn the villagers cross to get to the rice paddies lies beneath the water. The usual roaring from the spill is now a vast and silent surging of water looking to hop over the banks. It wants to and will if the rains continue. I’d rather it not. I’ve been there. Flooding is beautiful but destructive. It is, of course, a cyclical dance, repeated over and over for millennia, but is this dance becoming more and more a Whirling Dervish of imbalance?
I pray for the many who’ve lost so much in recent weeks to Nature’s indiscriminate fury and her lamentations.
Just as the earth’s lamenting repeats itself, so too does the darkness of humankind. I ran across this remarkable poem by William Carlos Williams published in 1944, the year I was born.
What blackguards and murderers
under cover of their offices
accuse the world of those villainies
which they themselves invent to
torture it—we have no choice
but to bend to their designs,
buck them or be trampled while
our thoughts gnaw, snap and bite
within us helplessly—unless we
learn from that to avoid
being as they are, how love
will rise out of its ashes if
we water it, tie up the slender
stem, and keep the image of its
lively flower chiseled upon our minds.
William Carlos Williams, from The Wedge, 1944, New Directions
The Illusionist, photograph 2017
The ‘WHY ART MATTERS’ competition continues
You still have time to possibly win ‘The Arrival.’
The deadline is OCTOBER 31
The Arrival, mixed-media on paper, 2012