Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kay Ryan, poet

Great Thoughts

Great thoughts
do not nourish
small thoughts
as parents do children.

Like the eucalyptus
they make the soil
beneath them barren.

Standing in a
grove of them
is hideous.

This is a poem by the very concise thinker, Kay Ryan, who was poet laureate of the US 2008-10. I only discovered her a few months ago and love the preciseness of her poems --indeed of her thought process.

Yesterday, in the documentary film course we watched the Michael Moore film, Capitalism: A Love Story which I had not previously seen although I had seen the somewhat better, Inside Job -- both are about the debacle wrought by Wall Street and the rich, rich, rich repiles in that snake pit and their poisoning of American life and strangle hold on the American government.

The discussion afterwards, by that room full of 60+ people, some conservative and some liberal was maddening and painful to me. The "big thought" words: capitalism, democracy, socialism were used in knee jerk ways. The discussion was that barren patch of dust under the eucalyptus tree. I got up and left when a man said "we haven't had a good war since Roosevelt was president" and that's the reason we have our economic problems today. Actually I may be doing him a disservice but I was so flummoxed by the the utter inability of ordinary thoughtful and aware citizens to grasp the mess I had to leave. I knew ten or fifteen years ago I wouldn't be able to understand it when I transcribed an interview with a bank president in which he said "only about five people in the world can understand exactly how derivatives work."

No comments: