Sun in the heaven, Thou art the cause of my mirth, Star in the evening Thine is my province since birth; Depths of the sky Yours are the depths of my worth.
An American poet who concentrated repeatedly on reference points to mark, or verify a "normal life" - despite external conditions - wrote this short poem in comparative youth and called it, Self-Respect. That in- teresting value, seeming these days to have precipitated the least res- pectful moral framework for knowing normal life, ever to descend upon America, comes back to mind as so many grope for reference points now, to endure it, and of course, not merely to transcend it but to erase it. Voltaire's Écrasez l'infâme isn't the phrase we need, but it's apt. What one wants, are reference points for pursuing humane life.
Resistance is not an interval, but absorption necessarily is. The extraordinary debasement of our culture, to be exalted early in the coming year, can- not be repulsed without some period of digesting its ignom- iny, humiliation, and ravaging malice. Simply the reflections the facts summon to qualify it, excite its Bacchic vengeance. We take time, not to ignore, not to delay, not to console, but to refine that resolve which is the vessel of hope. We don't presume, our proven- ance does more than anticipate us. No. But it is galactically competent, and does not melt before some snarling meteor.
Picture a yacht Canting at speed Over ripple-ribbed sand. Change its mast to a man, Change its boom to a bow, Change its sail to a shield: Notice Merionez Breasting the whalebacks to picket the corpse of Patroclus.