Wednesday, March 08, 2006

retrospective and memorial 

I can feel all the sadness of the traveler
who has gone far away from his home
and he knows he can never return there
for the place and the people have gone.

Now i wish that my heart would ever wander
in the days that will be first and last
in my memories of things to be cherished
let me live with a touch of the past.

~ from: A Touch of the Past, by Gary Williamson

Springsteen Does Seeger by David Corn (The Nation):
...Bruce Springsteen next month will be releasing an album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, featuring thirteen traditional songs associated with Pete Seeger, the writer, performer, preserver, and champion of folk music.


Springsteen's career path flipped Dylan's arc. Dylan dropped the politics as his star rose; Springsteen expanded his range to include politics as his catalogue grew. It was after his Born to Run breakthrough that he began to identify with causes, perhaps first with his participation the No Nukes concerts of 1979. His songwriting, too, began to examine the plight--that is, stories--of living-on-the-edge Americans. "Born in the USA" was not a jingoistic anthem, as columnist George Will and Ronald Reagan falsely described it. It was a haunting tribute to veterans who had been screwed twice: first by the Vietnam War, then by the deindustrialization. The Ghost of Tom Joad, released in 1995, was a quiet-but-angry, Woody Guthrie-flavored look at the down-and-out of America.

I was out on patrol in the spring of '69,
I stepped on a trip wire, took some shrapnel from a mine.
Spent the rest of my tour in a hospital bed,
With a pin in my leg, and a plate in my head.

On the plane ride home, I thought of all I'd been through.
I'd lived nine lives and I was just 22.
And I thought about Hector and what I'd promised before,
And I planned to look him up, right after the war.

Twenty-one years later in Washington, DC,
I was there on vacation with my family.
I went out to that park to see that wall,
And face up to a past I didn't want to recall.

First, I looked for that guy that Hector wrote me about,
He wasn't on the list, I guess he lucked out.
Then my eyes caught a name at the top of the page,
Corporal Hector Gonzalez, 21 years of age.

My throat got tight. My mouth went dry.
I looked up at that wall and I started to cry.
And the memories hit me like incoming fire,
From a time when we were so young,
Hector wavin' at me from the door,
Sayin', "Don't forget to look me up, after the war."

~ from: After the War, by Tim Irvine.



Far out on the desert to the north dustspouts rose wobbling and augered the earth and some said they'd heard of pilgrims borne aloft like dervishes in those mindless coils to be dropped broken and bleeding upon the desert again and there perhaps to watch the thing that had destroyed them lurch onward like some drunken djinn and resolve itself once more into the elements from which it sprang. Out of that whirlwind no voice spoke and the pilgrim lying in his broken bones may cry out and in his anguish he may rage, but rage at what? And if the dried and blackened shell of him is found among the sands by travelers to come yet who can discover the engine of his ruin? ~ Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian

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