Friday, December 22, 2006

Winter Soul-stice

Be still, Wish Machine!
Another year draws to a close
Your time is running out, but
Wait! There's a moment yet
A desperate prayer to be back next year.

Be quiet, Restless Heart!
You now know the dangers lurking
Behind the smiles, the words, the promises
Wait! You may yet find
That not all who wander are lost.

Be calm, Agitated Mind!
Why must you ruminate and fret so?
One of your rushed thoughts beckons,
Wait! You can't stop thinking
But you must think of stopping.

Be mine, Fleeting Contentment!
Must you tease and tempt me still?
The more I need you the more you elude me
Wait! I'd forgotten - you are
The tail I should stop chasing.

Be silent, Loud Ambition!
I forget that you're powerless alone
You and your crony Entitlement must
Wait! I cannot use you yet
Not without Purpose and Hard Work.

Be patient, Silent Rapture!
Like a bottle of vintage wine
I've preserved you for the right moments
Wait! I know your time is coming - I see it
In the lengthening days and my brightening outlook.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Audacity of Hope

Just finished the book by Barack Obama. I follow politics about as much as an average person does, but for some reason, in 2004 my nose picked up a new scent - a scent that's now prevalent all over - the Obamenon (or the Obamonation as the Republicans might want to call him!) Call him what you will, Senator Obama certainly presents the most attractive (in many many ways!!) promise this country has seen in a while.
His appeal, in my opinion, lies in the fact that he proposes the middle path, the compromise, the honest unabashed idealism of the olive branch. Be it in his racial heritage, his career, his family, his politics, his views on social issues, he represents an interesting mix that appeals to a larger base than the now common polarized extremists in politics manage.
As I was listening to him (yes, it was a book on CD), I found myself torn. One part of me was so charged by his charisma, his honest and clear dissecting of issues, touched by his candid everyman reflections and very impressed by his ideas. This part of me was saying "I am listening to the future President of the United States - the man who has to take care of the nation as it falls from supremacy to mediocrity." The other, cynical part of me was thinking "This guy can't be for real. His words are too cliched, too smooth, too correct, too pleasing, too appealing - too good to be true. What skeletons lie in his closet, what traps lie in his inexperienced life waiting to trip him up, when will he mess up?"
Regardless of what his intentions are with respect to running for office in 2008, I know this much - so far, he has done everything right. If nothing else, this has been a well-managed show. And since I do retain a bit of audacity of hope as well, I will add this...this man is what this country needs. A leader charismatic enough to galvanize the masses, a politician young enough to not lose his idealism yet, a representative of the people who is appealing for the very reasons that make him distinct and statistically likely to lose - his demographics and his ideas.
I hope I'm wrong in my cynicism and doubt. I truly want to see him succeed where others have failed, merely to see the return of integrity, representative politics and idealism. Only time will tell.
As Red says in the Shawshank Redemption: "Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane."
I'd like to take Andy's view on this: "Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."
I too, have the audacity of hope.

Speaking of hope, check out the song on my lips these days: From the album, "Begin to Hope" Regina Spektor's lovely voice singing Fidelity - I like the symbolic use of color (and lack of it!) in the video. And of course, the way she sings 'hea-a-a-a-a-a-art"