But Where's The Medivac?

bootsAre poets the front-line soldiers of our collective consciousness? If so, then where are the medics when they are wounded by the ugliness of today's 24/7 news cycle? Why are they any less the protectors of our world than guns and drones and eavesdropping dragonflies hunting for dirty bombs? They take emotional risks, but call it by different names, and we don't think often enough about their sacrifice because we take their cost for granted.

How do they do it and still protect their tissue from the bruising shrapnel of false rationalism and smug ideologies? These minds, they astound me. So attuned to the subtle movement in life. That slight movement around our eyes when slighted by someone we love. But nobody notices except the poet in the corner.

Our poets have always reflected in quiet observatories invisible to us, archiving the things that digicams miss, and chat forums wouldn't stop typing for. The good, the bad, the ugly, the pimple on your nose, the dream in your closet, that memory that shames you and keeps you honest. Those places that are disappearing with the pace of change and violent likes and dislikes in cyberspace that are no less precious than the endangered Amazon forrests. And really, our poets are as irreplaceable as those unpronounceable lost Amazonian species that we donate to save with the click of a button.

So where are the medivacs to heal our poets when they take a bullet of truth on our behalf? To save us from thinking for ourselves for another day. T.S.Eliot warned the birds in the garden to quickly, quickly run away, for indeed, we humans cannot bear very much reality.

The only bunker left is the anonymity that poetry brings. The silences when we re-read, remember a forgotten stanza, or listen as I did last week when a retired British soldier, in a monotone recollection of his army days suddenly broke into remembered lines of an obscure poem about Hitler which made me look twice at him, and wonder how I could have thought him so invisible. My mistake.


If we lost them from the face of the earth this morning; we wouldn't know how to appreciate all those things we are trying to save today.


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