Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Ann Sexton wrote in a love/death poem called "The Truth the Dead Know," "in another country, people die..." -- sometime the war feels so far away, while death itself looms thick and heavy. I have small children, so I don't tend toward the news very much -- the news, even NPR is so concentrated on deaths ... but sometimes it is important to see it again. I came across this AP video this morning.

The headline reads "Fighting Erupts in a Critical Iraqi Oil City."

Oil. I also notice in this video language I'm sure is still out there which I haven't noticed in a long time -- note Dana Perino says that insurgence have "infested" the area. This is part of a large base of language that was systematically employed during the first Gulf War to liken Iraqi people to insects. (I did my undergraduate thesis on this language in 1992.)

I found this video first on an amazing news search engine I just discovered, Silobreaker.com.

The Truth the Dead Know
by Anne Sexton

For my mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
and my father, born February 1900, died June 1959

Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one's alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in their stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

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