Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting In The Infinite Wings \ Survivalists

Nancy: Having met a woman whose daughter had been "disappeared", having seen her face set in a rictus of grief, I found that phrase "walk-on parts" offensive beyond imagination.

Waiting In The Infinite Wings

“For centuries, the main subject matters
[of history as written by men] were high
politics and war, in which women have
usually played no more than walk-on parts.”
     -  Lawrence Stone, NYReview, 30 May 1985

Women are still walking on,
sagging into the arms of friends
again, for the second son, for the third son,
for the daughter, walking
to the walls, waiting outside the walls,
walking to the bone yards outside the city.

     A blockbuster production, history.
     Not even Cecil B. DeMille dared dream
     these infinite wings filled with walk-ons.

Women are still walking on,
feeding the babies leaves, walking,
climbing, through thigh deep snow with a sick child,
with a dead child, walking,
running to the rubble, wailing.

     A cosmorama, history: “high politics,”
     the kind you ride to in limousines,
     and war.

Women are still walking on,
stepping back onto the road behind the last truck,
because there might be milk, or barley,
the gates might open, someone might, today,
someone might pass a slip of paper through the wires.

     Epic smash!  Calls for author, author, and the man
     in the suit walks out and grasps the hand of the man
     in uniform.  “There is no history but biography,”
     he quotes modestly.  They bow.

Maria – not her real name, it is safe to write
Dr. Stone’s name, or the names of men in Addis Ababa
or Buenos Aires, but Maria will walk on nameless –
comes out of the wings searching for her daughter.
Her daughter was disappeared six years ago.
Maria does not know why.  This is not a speaking role,
only a walk-on, the curtain is falling on this act, more women
are pressing out of the wings, walking across
a stage almost as dark as dusk, still more women, more women,
more women, walking on

     still, behind the curtain, between acts,
walking on

Alan: Perhaps someday it will be true again, the meek shall inherit.  It has happened once.


We live quietly as we can amid great noise.
We live frugally as possible in a rank world steamy with wealth.
We live simply, content to practice the endlessly applicable basics.

All about us, dinosaurs are munching the treetops.
Insatiable, great-limbed beings are tearing apart the earth.

We appear to be hardly mouthfuls as we hide in the forest litter.
Our greatest strength is our insignificance.

In our small way we are ready.
Perhaps, if the right things happen,
we shall watch the dinosaurs fall.

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