The world is fucked up. (First thing you learn in CPE: sometimes you better be able to say something sucks when something really sucks or you might as well just get out of the hospital room because you aren’t helping.)
I mean seriously, messed, up. Donald-freakin-Trump is actually considered a realistic candidate for President, and that’s before he began spewing stuff that sounded resoundingly like the beginning of the career of a certain Führer. We averaged more than one mass shooting a day in my country in 2015. And for the first time since Henry Ford the Middle Class became a minority. And that’s just our little corner of this broken world. Death, terror, poverty, they are just as prevalent today as they were a hundred, a thousand years ago. They go by different names but the suffering doesn’t change.
And here we are, little tiny sparks in that great dark sea probably feeling in the dark of the year that there is little we can do to actually change anything. The tsunami of hysteria and hatred is too big, the forcers working to keep us scrabbling for scraps too entrenched and organized and powerful. And we might be tempted to just give up and walk away and be done with the whole thing. To eat ourselves to death, or drink until we are blinded to other’s pain, or spend ourselves into oblivion.
We can do all those things. I’m going to write poetry.
Stupid isn’t it? In the face of all of that to write a poem.
Maybe it won’t help at all. But maybe it will. Because while hatred and rage and violence have created a lot of problems the only damn thing that has ever actually solved a problem is love and beauty. While hatred and fear can be abstract, in fact work best when applied to the hazy and ill defined “other” (the gays, Mexicans, Muslims); love blooms in the particular.
So I’ve set myself a challenge, to write a poem a day, every day, through 2016. Most of them I suspect will never get shared, but I suspect a few will. What I do want to share is that what we do shapes who we become. If what we do is hang out watching Fox News and various other fear factories we will become fearful, isolated beings filled with anger and suspicion. If we binge on a daily diet of horrible news about which we can do nothing concrete we will become angry, frustrated and defeated.
But if we daily look deeply for beauty, for joy, even for pain about which we may say something meaningful then we will become people who see, who listen, and who express. Imagine what a world would be like if even just half of us chose to do different that we might be different.
It starts with each of us, the turning of the world.
So this year, I will write poems, I will fling them out into the world like birdseed. What will you grow in the dawning light of the turning world?