The North Georgia sky is hazy and gray; it has been for a couple of days now. I’d be perfectly okay with this (it fits my mood this week), if it wasn’t for the fact that the mountains, my beloved North Georgia mountains, are burning. So are various mountains and ridges and forests and patches of land from Florida to Kentucky. The southeast is on fire. It seems like such an obvious symbolism that to call it a metaphor feels kind of trite, but there it is.
And Leonard Cohen has died. I’m no expert on his work, but I enjoyed him, and sought solace in the song “Hallelujah” and it’s poignant (and perfectly written) lyrics more than once. I know he was a revered musician and songwriter, but to me, he was an example of the quintessential tragic poet. Read one of his songs like a poem – the lines actually breathe. They have an energy and crackle all their own. That is real magic. He will be so very missed.
If April is the cruellest month, then 2016 is the cruellest year. Watch our best creative minds, thinkers and artists flee us, their mass exodus a warning call – this earth is not a good place anymore. That’s what it feels like, and who can blame us?
There is still hope among the ashes, I think, but it can be hard to dig it out when the coals are hot and our eyes are burning.
This morning the fifteen year old girl who still resides behind my eyes somewhere decided to come out for a visit, and write down one of her angsty poems. I don’t claim to be the next Leonard Cohen, but I thought it was pretty indicative of the way I – and so many others – are feeling right now.
The sky is gray today.
The smell of smoke, acrid fog, gentle and soft
like poison candyfloss trails around
Like so many burning things.
we stand in the wind, eyes burning;
Do we put it out or
(burn it down)
(let it burn)
They talk of building walls –
walls of bodies,
walls of fire,
walls of guns,
a funeral pyre.
(everybody is dancing in the street)
But I can say with some authority
you make a pitiful carpenter.
Your hands are too soft, you have no eyes for toil.
(you have no head for this biz, or any biz, your acumen
a crumpled foil)
The medium, the mean
is only this
Fires are burning, not just here but there and everywhere
Not just on our mountains; the brush and dead leaves catching so quick to burn
so quick to end themselves, to become ash and memory, to move on to some other
(and we are ashamed embarrassed reluctant to admit we understand this
all too well)
Not just fires
our fists, our guns, our nooses
The earth gets warmer, gets hotter
we fill our brain with iPhones Netflix Beer Nail Polish
(I read myself to death)
like so much fodder
But it doesn’t change the temperature
It doesn’t change the simple fact
It doesn’t turn us roundabout
from truth to the abstract.
The waters rise, the animals die one by one.
Our planet chooses to be swallowed by the sun.
We’ve caused it too much pain
with our wall building and our fists and our frowns,
with sheer neglect.
A thing neglected and unloved is destined to shrivel up and die.
And it’s just what we deserve,
it’s just what we deserve.
The fires, the walls,
a wall of fire perhaps,
We start to try.
For real this time.