A POEM TO PONDER
A Brief for the Defense
By Jack Gilbert from Refusing Heaven
Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of the world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafes and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.
A POINT TO PONDER:
“The only way this nation can compete with
those that produce high-quality products at a lower price is by generating
ideas that build a special
relationship with consumers. Everyone has buildings and technology;
those are commodities. The only leverageable asset in the future
will be creativity.”
— Peter A. Georgescu, former advertising executive, Young & Rubicam,
in his new book, The Source of Success, New York Times, August
7, 2005, Page BU2.
“I’m a peasant. At one point, I thought
life was about acquiring things. Life is totally about losing everything.”
— Mike Tyson, after losing a fight to Kevin McBride,
The New Yorker, June 27, 2005
A “DON’T” TO PONDER:
“Yesterday’s opening of the John
Roberts confirmation hearing was a time for historic firsts. Senator
Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.)
made 49 first-person references in a 10-minute statement that
was, ostensibly, not about himself.”
—The Washington Post, September 15, 2005, Page A7
A “DO” TO
“May God break my heart so completely that
the whole world falls in.”
— Mother Teresa