Friday, January 21, 2005

On Our Ten Dollar Bill

...is Mary Gilmore, who never started any wars that I know of, though I think she did go off to Paraguay with those utopian colonists for a while. This is the only poem of hers that I can remember - I will not look it up, but just write it down as I remember it, so you can have the fun of correcting me:

I have grown past hate and bitterness
I see the world as one
But though I can no longer hate
My son is still my son

All men at God's round table sit
And all men must be fed
But this loaf, in my hand
This loaf is my son's bread

I thought of this poem immediately when I read Marco's post a while back about how his emotional involvement with deaths of the very old and young is limited to those people he has known personally. Unfortnately, my attempt to expand and clarify this connection collapsed in a tangle of non sequiturs. I may try again later.

Anyway, to continue my penitential theme, here is a link I found to Ambrose Bierce's enchanting short story, Chickamauga. It is only very short. You should read it, if you haven't already.

4 comments:

Marco said...

I thought of expanding on it, but I guess I don't know at what level to expand. I guess I could ask again if there is any personal life experiences with death that have influenced you; are they talked about or are they "taboo". I guess I worry about deaths being suspicious - but expected deaths are inherently viewed as not suspicious, I've found.

Marco said...

Nationality


I have grown past hate and bitterness,
I see the world as one;
But though I can no longer hate,
My son is still my son.

All men at God's round table sit,
and all men must be fed;
But this loaf in my hand,
This loaf is my son's bread.

Dame Mary Gilmore

You got the poem exactly right (except for an extra comma maybe). I'm not quite sure why it would be called Nationality, though.

Anonymous said...

I think it's called "Nationality" because the people at the table are representative of people of all the nations of the world. Although the speaker bears them no grudge, the bread she distributes goes to her son first. Primarily loyalty is to her own people above others, and thus there is a sense of nationality.

Marco said...

DR Clam said:

I ought to answer that question you keep asking: No, I have absolutely no personal reason to have a bee in my bonnet about state-sponsored genocide of young 'uns. I just learned to read early in life, and so found out the awful truth about my society before I had absorbed enough doublethink to cope wth it.

I distrust personal reasons. I think we all have a responsibility to fight against the natural feeling expressed in 'Nationality' and really act- when considering these sort of social and political questions- as though we believed that the children of some anonymous Algerian peasant are just as important as our own. For that reason I am absolutely disgusted wiht myself that the 2001 attacks on the United States have made any difference to my own thinking at all. Islamofascists had already killed thirty 11/9's of people in Algeria by 11/9. We knew what they were. The Algerian victims were mostly innocent people, too, not cogs in the Usury Death Machine or the Military-Industrial Complex...

Now, will you answer my question, which was something like: "What is this God you mention occasionally?" :)
I am not sure I'm going to answer this question to your satisfaction, but anyway.... I am extremely coy about my own spiritual beliefs, and I guess that is an important part of what I believe. My early education regarding abortion consisted almost entirely of the (explanation of the) misery imposed on mothers and their children due to abortion being illegal in Italy presumably in the 60's. This was explained to me as further evidence of the evils of religion in general - specifically when it had too much power. (Though communism was explained to me to be even more hateful than religion) My first positive spiritual experience was with my father's mother - a devout catholic. She gave me my first bible of which I tried to read from cover to cover. My parents were in Australia at the time and were completely horrified. My mother's father's brother had become a priest after "too" close a relationship with his religious grandmother. My first exposure to any information against abortion was in grade 8. I distrust personal reasons too, but I put a great deal of emphasis on personal experience and influence. Personal experiences are examples which I can study in great depth. I do feel to have influence on the decisions of those immediately around me. I can't bring myself to having feelings of responsibility for anything outside of my reach.