July 05, 2007

The End of the End of the World

I can imagine the cataclysm -- explosion, flood,
asteroid collision, implosion of the sun....
I can envision billions of bodies or no bodies,
an ashen globe or its ashen quadrillion fragments --
all that I can conceive of.

What I cannot imagine, in all that silence
(and any silence is an opportunity,
so this final silence must be
the opportunity to end all opportunities) --
what I cannot conceive of is the absence
of 10,000,000 poets -- the absence of even
a single poet -- to tell the absent us
in trillions of words, collectively,
how hard it is to speak at such a time,
but that now, after the end of the world,
more than ever, we must speak out;

no 10,000 or 10 billion e-mail messages
about gatherings of poets, ash to ash and
on the web, to mourn, to share, to celebrate
man's renewed commitment to survival, if only as
dispersed atoms and exotic rays in whirls
of dusty cosmic gas;

I can't conceive of no lyrical affirmations,
no acid condemnations of those to blame
(The System, corporate greed, philistines,
Arabs, Jews, Communists, Blacks, the press,
the administration, right-wing extremists,
liberals, environmentalists, men, etc.),

no fresh and powerful voices joining in,
no performance poets rapping out their rages,
brags and politically correct empathies,
no brilliant epiphanies to make us keenly aware
that we are all, everyone of us, cinders --
and perhaps that most of us deserve it,
and certainly only the poet could feel
the death of a whole world
in the crushing of an ant or the shadow
of a leaf's fall -- if only there were still
ants and leaves and sensitivity.

No, this is inconceivable, beyond silence;
it cannot be, this oxymoron: A catastrophe
without poets, the greatest conceivable catastrophe
without the greatest flowering, or at least vegetating,
of poets. It is inconceivable,
like a perfect God with zits, and therefore
impossible. Yes, thanks to poets,
the end of the world is impossible.

—Dean Blehert

Posted by dwaber at July 5, 2007 11:46 AM