Sunday, April 26, 2009

the hollow men

Illus: Howard Penning

There's a horrible hollow that fills the belly when you wake to the morning and recall the world has changed.

I felt it when my dad was in a coma, each morning wondering fresh if he would survive the day.

Felt it when I learned my husband of 10 years had lied to me most of that decade.

Felt it after death took my friends. My family.

Feel it when I open the paper to read the latest wrestling over what to do, how to confront the horrible things we have done; committed in the name of Freedom, the principle we claim to have built our country on. Felt it when I read this morning's piece by Frank Rich, who also alludes to Hannah Arendt, on The Banality of Bush White House Evil.

The truth about those hollows? They take much time to fill, and they're never entirely whole again.

The Hollow Men

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us ‑‑ if at all ‑‑ not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

-- T.S. Eliot

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