Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Words Fail

Yesterday morning on La Revue de Presse Internationale presented by Cécile de Kervasdoué, a Japanese journalist was quoted as saying “I returned just now from an overdue trip in the northwest region of Japan… Never have I been witness to such extreme destruction… as if human life had been eradicated with a single blow. In the middle of a pile of debris there was a sewing machine, a wig, a little Buddhist temple with photos in it, a pair of glasses and a toilet bowl… everything within view was broken, ripped, twisted, damaged… all which served to remind me of the words of the Japanese novelist Takeishi Kaiko when he visted Auschwitz: ‘I had the impression that words had lost their meaning, as if they had become as useless as dead leaves.’”

“What a dreadful pretention,” the journalist continued, “to have believed that my eloquence and words could help these devastated people. There is such a profound gulf, so completely irreconcilable, between those who have survived a disaster and others such as myself who have only been witness.”

“I wept and I wept some more and could not finish weeping,” a woman confided to the journalist in the midst of a mountain of debris.

“I would love to find the words to comfort her," said the journalist, "but it’s impossible, totally impossible: words have lost their meaning!”

“We love the beauty of the obscure,” commented the Vanguardia of Barcelona. “It’s a tendency inherited from Romanticism, which loved the mythic tragedy; and it is the drive of our western poetry.”

“Poetry is the echo,” said Rabindranath Tagore, “of the melody of the universe in the human heart.”

“Except for today,” commented the Vanguardia, “there are fewer and fewer places for these words.”

There is too much noise in the world. Too much self-interest. Too much greed. Too much materialism. Too many brutalizing industries. Too many mind-numbing TV shows. Too many cell phones. Too many cars. Too many guns. Too many dictators. Too many demagogues. Too much propaganda. Too much poverty. Too much predation. Too much bullying. Too much rudeness. Too much careerism. Too much narcissism. Too much corruption. Too much dogmatism. Too much hypocrisy. Too much too much too much.

Not enough joy. Not enough delicacy. Not enough wet dreams. Not enough rebellion. Not enough pure glittering water. Not enough trees. Not enough wind power. Not enough curiosity. Not enough crazy lazy drifting. Not enough housing. Not enough solitude. Not enough huckleberry. Not enough prairie. Not enough Japanese flowering cherry.

Not enough whales. Not enough nails.

Too many jails.

Not enough birds. Not enough herds. Not enough words.

Too many words.

Keith Richards called Allen Ginsberg a windbag. I don’t think Allen Ginsberg was a windbag. I thought he was incredibly smart. I miss Allen Ginsberg.

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