Side By Mqximus

She says, "I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?"

There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven’s hill, that has endured
As April’s green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evening, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow’s wings.

---"Sunday Morning"
Wallace Stevens

By Giovanna Coppola

SO HERE WE START all over again, another beginning, a beauty beginning. isn’t this all we know? isn’t this all it is worth? the spirit, the beauty and the love light that the spring brings again.

the earth breathes if you look at it long enough and the crickets start to sing and the creek down the road is swollen and the worms start to come out and land in the mud…

some think the world is ending, some people only see death, and there is death and violence and bombs and a war that many people who once believed in it now are becoming confused. what does all this matter?

after a long frozen winter in new york state, spring has come in a day. the layers of snow have melted, the crickets have begun to sing, the forsythia is starting to bloom, and people are generally easier to talk to, where conversations about the weather are actually sincere.

guilt. it’s easy to understand. people are breathing in the beauty of the earth waking up, while there is the consciousness that millions in Iraq are witnessing terror and death in a war that we started. we think about small pox vaccinations, nuclear plant shut downs, fingers crossed as more of the young are shipped overseas. at the same time, it’s april, the sky is alive again, and the morning doves sing as the neighborhood goes for a walk.

so how are we supposed to react. on march 22 in New York City, there were thousands of us that marched down Broadway from 42nd Street to Washington Square Park. It was beautiful outside, the only thing blocking the sun were the NYPD helicopters watching us. People were smiling, people were wearing tank tops, people were chanting, feeling united in something so fucking huge, it almost seems impossible that we can end it.

but still, this spring, this april beginning, is all we have. in the face of death, terror, and violence, the beauty of the earth reviving becomes twice as brilliant, inspiring us to work towards peace. It is us that are capable of doing it. We are the ones with the perspective to take it all in, to watch the media, to listen to the government, and to look within our community. and we have to realize that these things do not match up. And so even at the smallest level, from lighting a candle in our window to holding a peace sign under the only traffic light in town, we are working towards it, working towards change.

i fully believe that with the complexity the war brings, people are going to unite, people are going to start listening to each other, listening to the news, writing letters to the newspaper, organizing protests, vigils, and prayer circles. we are beyond comfort now. we know that there is no turning back to what we had before.

and with the arrival, it is impossible to ignore the paradox. how can we support this war while we are sitting under a tree watching the river go by?

whatever religion, whatever spirit we believe in, whatever faith we have, we see what is in front of us. the television shows destruction, but before us we see the sun, we feel the warmth, we hear the singing of the animals as they rejoice in the beginning of spring.

and that is a lesson for us who can not witness the horrors of war, because with death in the background, life is in front of us, and everything is sweeter than it ever was before.

and maybe it’s because we feel guilty. just like in wallace steven’s poem "Sunday Morning." The woman sits in the bliss of nature and drinks coffee instead of going to church like she is supposed to. she can’t totally let go of her guilt, she asks questions over and over.

‘could this be the source of spirituality? this life and death?’
‘where is paradise?’
‘if there is a heaven, where can one find bliss and beauty if there is no death?’
‘do the flowers never die?’
‘are the trees always heavy with fruit?’

the only thing she knows, the only thing we know, for certain, is that the "april green endures." april returns over and over. after every death there is a birth, after every end, there is a beginning.++


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