Z problem wiz problems
It’s not always you come across a poem you feel has figured out the problem with a way of life, a civilization, a philosophy in just a few lines. Lines that go down history being applied to what have you. Sir Wlater Scott’s “What a tangled web we weave” is one of those lines for me. Shakespear’s “What a work of art man is”, another. Bob Marley’s war lyrics:
Until the philosophy which hold one race
Superior and another inferior
Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war, me say war
feels almost prophetic in it’s quality.
W.H. Auden is my latest discovery. In his poem September 1, 1939 (which may have been a title or a date) you find the lines:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
This poem is used as an opening line for the movie “Body of Lies”. A “conventional espionage thriller”, starring my all-time favoriate Leondardo DiCaprio, whose romance sucked it dead. Or so i believe. Nothing like romance to ruin a good idea. Can quote me on that.
Now…. if the solution is as easy to figure out as the problem, imagine how easy our lives would have been. If we can, for example, say “they are only pissed off by the way Israel is treating Palestinians” and be proved right. If looking into the mirror every mornig and telling yourself you were beautiful is the key to loving and accepting yourself. If “people were basically good; if honor, courage and virtue mean everything; if power and money, money and power meant nothing; if good always trimped over evil and true love never died”.
But, we’ve been told, discovering the problem is half-winning the battle.
And we shall say: Amen.
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