Maybe the question most relevant to our New Millennium times is not whether poets--or skateboarders, or soccer moms, or teachers, or politicians--dare to disturb the universe. Maybe it's whether everyday people accept that they do indeed possess such ability even without the glamorous looks or powers of TV's super-equipped heroes; and, that they at some point choose to exercise that ability in the ways that matter most.
Extreme historical times demand extraordinary responses but most of us Earthlings have been trained to conduct our lives with the docility of pets that behave in prescribed ways to maintain acceptable forms of "order" and "appearance," even if such order is illusory or delusional; and, ultimately, contributes to the very conditions that maim one's own life as well as that of one's friends, neighbors, lovers, and kinsmen.
Poets and artists in general by their creative nature tend to peer beyond surfaces and instinctively address both the chaotic incongruities of life and its more enthralling manifestations of harmonious beauty. Both-chaotic incongruities and harmonious beauty-can be disruptive, and both can be healing.
It's true that disturbing the universe is definitely a fearful thing to consider. The thought conjures images of ice shelves breaking apart and threatening to flood oceans, or whole galaxies disappearing down the funnel of a black hole and plunging the world into nonexistence. It's not difficult to forget that disturbance can also result in positive change, and for that reason many refrain from entertaining such an idea.
Then a point arrives when we are forced to confront the question of what the consequences might be if the universe as we know it is not disturbed.
In this first decade of the Twenty-first Century for billions of people, it is really not a difficult question to answer. Not disturbing the universe would mean extending beliefs and practices that have plagued humanity to a point of near collective insanity. Global warming, genocide, disease, modern slavery, terrorism, and starvation are elements within a universe that clearly can use some disturbance. The option is one that at least includes the possibility of hope as reasonable and empowering rather than the assumption of imminent destruction as glamorous or inevitable. It also provides some clue as to why J. Alfred Prufrock's song was one of love and not one of hatred or war.
© National Poetry Month April 2009
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Causes Aberjhani * Supports
I make contributions to a number of charities through my lenses on Squidoo but the following are a few that interest me the most: