Monday, May 19, 2008

The Earth Quakes

Poetry was once just another way to touch other people's minds. The game built up around it in a culture, whether academic or publishing, is irrelevant in the new world of the web. The world is now, a world of poets.

Chung Du, in Sczechwan Province, where the recent earthquakes killed thousands, was known as the city of poets. People recited poems in the streets and parks for centuries. The city had a living tradition of honoring the power of the word and how the use of just the right words to say the most jewel-like thought, distilled to its essence, is vital to life and to the spirit. Their honor for the ancient art of word painting and story telling, the art of seeing and saying the deepest thoughts, was part of the history of the area.

Among the cries of mothers calling, of wives and sisters crying and calling out names, of children crying out for their mothers and fathers, there are poems floating in the gray dust. Pages swirling from open rooms. Young poets lie crushed at their desks, ink and blood on the rice paper. Old poets release their last song, crushed from their lungs by fallen concrete. Nothing is less abstract than concrete.