Wednesday, November 25, 2015

KEITH WILSON ~






K E I T H    W I L S O N





THE POEM POLITIC 10:
A NOTE FOR FUTURE
HISTORIANS



When writing of us, state
as your first premise
THEY VALUED WAR MORE THAN ANYTHING
You will never understand us
otherwise, say that we

cherished war

   over peace and comfort
   over feeding the poor
   over our own health
   over love, even the act of it
   over religion, all of them, except
   perhaps certain forms of Buddhism

that we never failed to pass bills of war through our legislatures,
using the pressures of imminent invasion or disaster (potential)
abroad as absolution for not spending moneys on project which
might make us happy or even save us from clear and evident 
crises at home

Write of us that we spent millions educating the best of our
youth and then slaughtered them capturing some hill or swamp of
no value and bragged for several months about how well they
died following orders that were admittedly stupid, ill-conceived

Explain how the military virtues, best practiced by robots, are
most valued by us. You will never come to understand us unless
you realize, from the first, that we love killing and kill our own
youth, our own great men FIRST. Enemies can be forgiven,
their broken bodies mourned over, but our own are rarely spoken
of except in political speeches when we "honor" the dead and
encourage the living young to follow their example and be glori-
ously dead also

NOTE: Almost all religious training, in all our countries, dedi-
cates itself to preparing the people for war. Catholic, chaplains
rage against "peaceniks," forgetting Christ's title in the Church is
Prince of Peace; Baptists shout of the ungodly and the necessity
of ritual holy wars while preaching of the Ten Commandments
each Sunday; Mohammedans, Shintoists look forward to days of
bloody retribution while Jews march across the sands of Palestine
deserts, Rabbis urging them on. . . .

THEY VALUED WAR MORE THAN ANYTHING

Will expose our children, our homes to murder and devastation
on the chance that we can murder or devastate FIRST and thus
gain honor. No scientist is respected whose inventions help man-
kind, for its own sake, but only when those discoveries also help
to destroy, or to heal soldiers, that they may destroy other men
and living things

                                                                                   Be aware that
Destiny has caught us up, our choices made subtly over the ages
have spun a web about us: it is unlikely we will escape, having
geared everything in our societies toward war and combat. It is
probably too late for us to survive in anything like our present
form.

THEY VALUED WAR MORE THAN ANYTHING

If you build us monuments let them all say that, as warning, as a
poison label on a bottle, that you may not ever repeat our follies,
feel our griefs.

___________________


K E I T H    W I L S O N



Keith was born in Clovis, New Mexico in 1927 and spent most of his life
in the southwest Rocky Mountains. He began his adult life as a career navy officer
and moved into a world and life of poetry, as a professor at New Mexico State University
and publishing more than twenty volumes of poetry over forty years. The poem above
has been drawn from his masterpiece Graves Registry






 


2 comments:

Luster said...

Dear Bob,

I first came to Keith's work after meeting and interviewing his mother-in-law Besmilr Brigham in 1994. I own but one of his books, Transcendental Studies, but it stays close at hand. Sounds like I need another.

stay close,
mike

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

Mike,

With Besmilr, with Keith, you get two astonishing poets in one family. Who can so brag?

You need more than one more book.

Thanksgiving cheers to all in that great musical family,
Bob & Susan