For Saturday, November 14, 2015:
“[T]he overlap and straining of divergent world views is a gift. Don’t ask to live in tranquil times. Literature doesn’t grow there.”
Rita Mae Brown
By now we’ve all heard and seen the accounts of yesterday’s horrible and heartbreaking terrorist attacks in Paris, France. Personally, I prefer tranquil times. At the same time, I expect we can all think back to one or more of the classics of literature that have grown out of war and conflict.
Literature may not grow in tranquil times, but it is disheartening to think that we, the human race, seem not to learn from the classic accounts. Isn’t that one reason for literature, that we try to learn from it?
At the same time, I’ve already seen poems that seek to make sense of the horror, that share the individual and collective heartbreak most of us feel. Nowadays, of course, the world is much more immediately connected than in Homer’s time, or Stephen Crane’s, or Hemingway’s, thanks to the sometimes-dubious wonders of technology. We don’t have to wait days, weeks, months, or years to hear of war across the world anymore. Would that we could learn as quickly as the poets of today.