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Krista Tippett Reads Jane Hirshfield’s Prayerful Poem of Promise to the Future – The Marginalian


Let Them Not Say: Krista Tippett Reads Jane Hirshfield’s Prayerful Poem of Promise to the Future

The story goes that when a newspaper mistakenly printed his obituary in 1888, the Swedish entrepreneur and inventor Alfred Nobel, very a lot alive, was so horrified to see himself remembered because the “tradesman of demise” for his innovations of dynamite and ballistic that he determined to dedicate his remaining years to supporting essentially the most life-affirming endeavors of the human spirit. And so the Nobel Prize was born.

Two dynamite-powered World Wars later, in his insightful Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Bertrand Russell recognized vainness as one in all the 4 needs driving all human conduct.

No matter our judgments about private vainness could also be, the attention that it’s so elemental to the human animal, a lot an exoskeleton of the self, makes Alfred Nobel’s impulse touchingly relatable; that he selected to channel it in so generative a manner is a testomony to his character. What is very uncommon about his expertise, nevertheless, is that he had a residing glimpse of what none of us ordinarily do — our legacy. Each human being, whether or not they readily admit it to themselves, needs to be remembered and remembered kindly. The final word vainness of personhood is the want to not have lived in useless.

Given how relatable this want is on the person degree, it’s slightly odd that we hardly ever contemplate it on the collective degree of the tradition, the civilization, the species. There, a time-travel glimpse of how posterity remembers us — the totality of us who lived and died in a shared area of spacetime — will be the last word calibrator of our conscience and its echoes in our actions as we make (or unmake) the world we bequeath to the long run.

Such an unusual ante-obituary for our time is what poet and ordained Buddhist Jane Hirshfield (who, in my guide, is due the Nobel Prize in Literature) affords within the opening poem from her excellent assortment Ledger (public library), one in all my favourite books of 2020 — a poem she describes as a form of prayer, a vow to the long run to not be true, a poem “hoping to make itself sometime incomprehensible,” learn right here by Krista Tippett (with a contact of Debussy) in an excerpt from their altogether improbable On Being dialog about poetry as an instrument of conscience and contemplative aliveness:

LET THEM NOT SAY
by Jane Hirshfield

Allow them to not say:     we didn’t see it.
We noticed.

Allow them to not say:     we didn’t hear it.
We heard.

Allow them to not say:     they didn’t style it.
We ate, we trembled.

Allow them to not say:     it was not spoken, not written.
We spoke,
we witnessed with voices and arms.

Allow them to not say:     they did nothing.
We did not-enough.

Allow them to say, as they need to say one thing:

A kerosene magnificence.
It burned.

Allow them to say we warmed ourselves by it,
learn by its gentle, praised,
and it burned.

Complement with Jane Hirshfield herself studying “At present, One other Universe,” additionally from Ledger, and her long-ago masterpiece “For What Binds Us” — one in all her earliest and most transferring poems — then revisit her penetrating reflection on what artwork and poetry do for us and a beautiful stop-motion animation of her spare tree-inspired ode to the which means of optimism.



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