Part II: Uniting the Right and Left: Is It Possible?
I sent this poem to a fellow hubber and now I send it out to all of you. I do so because this Nobel Prize winning poet transcends the divide in our country between atheists and believers, between right and left, between all divides of any kind. That I am a Christian does not deter me from appreciating the moment shared in this poem, and neither should it or would it be tossed aside by anyone who appreciates life at all.
On Angels by Czeslaw Milosz
All was taken away from you: white dresses,
wings, even existence.
Yet I believe you,
There, where the world is turned inside out,
a heavy fabric embroidered with stars and beasts,
you stroll, inspecting the trustworthy seems.
Shorts is your stay here:
now and then at a matinal hour, if the sky is clear,
in a melody repeated by a bird,
or in the smell of apples at close of day
when the light makes the orchards magic.
They say somebody has invented you
but to me this does not sound convincing
for the humans invented themselves as well.
The voice -- no doubt it is a valid proof,
as it can belong only to radiant creatures,
weightless and winged (after all, why not?),
girdled with the lightening.
I have heard that voice many a time when asleep
and, what is strange, I understood more or less
an order or an appeal in an unearthly tongue:
day draw near
do what you can.
I also wanted to share it because it is incumbent on all of us, individually, if we want our country to survive this mostly “spiritual” (in my opinion) war of the inward and outward man, to put aside all our moral prejudices and take a moment to read this poem and reflect on what we can do to restore sanity to as many people as possible by sharing ourselves in the unifying spirit of hope, truth and beauty once again. That I call on all great artists (believer and nonbeliever alike) should be no surprise, since in the face of the greatest perils faced in history, it is the artist that reflected back to us – through all art forms – who we are as a people and who, alongside Godly truths (even when God was not what the author had in mind), lifted us up in the belief that, despite differences, we are most unified in the truth and beauty of our deepest longings. Is it true that life imitates art, or is it true, rather, that art imitates life?
I wrote a hub previously on uniting the left and right, and I asked, “Is It Possible”? This poem offers but a glimpse of what I believe is possible. Let us put political hubris aside, not only to create unifying art, but let us all be gracious towards each other by putting away our politics (at least in our daily communications with those that cross our paths but for a moment) and all our prejudices always, to embrace the building of hope in the hearts of others, especially our young ones, by putting ourselves in their “heads” and in their shoes, and being examples of maturity. The children are our future, and whether we believe the world is ending or not, we owe it to them to believe life must go on, day by day, moment by moment. To that end we must exude that model of maturity, encouragement, and an instilled conviction that even if the world were ending tomorrow, what our children are today is vital and matters so much.
So if one be a Christian, so be it; and that one is an agnostic, so be it; and that one be an atheist, so be it. That all are not the same does not mean we cannot come together to build a great country. That the product of our work be unifying and inconclusive and not at enmity to others is how we love each other. This is more powerful than money, for it creates camaraderie, and with camaraderie we create opportunity.
This is America after all. Underneath the veneer of our divide, each of us has a similar longing, and through our work and in all we do we seek it always and we must be our best always, in our work and communications, to each and the other, for our children most of all, despite ourselves. When we speak of “love,” this is love: That even though we are suffering, we wear faces of ease for our children, we show no fear and we work hard always toward our goals. At the office we say “good morning” even when we do not feel it, we look to patience and we think on those things that are beautiful, we concentrate on our gifts – whatever they might be – and we take one day at a time.