Dead Arms & Dead Legs by Eliot Sumner

I occupy these feet with these dead arms and these dead legs
The brambles catch and tighten and they pull me into bed
This is no retaliation – this is the universe
I imagine myself walking here 5 million years before…
I’m so intrigued by this one – it’s sharp around the sides
There’s a danger to your loving, and my loves been compromised

I have been out walking with these Dead Arms & Dead Legs
And the mysteries of the universe are patterned in my head
The terrain becomes unbearable – too steep to stick your heel
I imagine myself here again in 50 million years

I run to the left… I run to the right
And all my fears become a life
And what is left… and who are you in the end?

I demonstrate my actions in the grace of your defeat
And all things that were left unsaid internally repeat
And the pain becomes tyrannical – 400 tonnes of shame
As I walk into a perfect storm again
I take the burden on myself

I run to the left… I run to the right
And all my fears become a life
And what is left… and who are you in the end?

I’ve entertained their feeling maybe once but never twice
And you feel the world is ending, nothing else can suffice
If it fills that void you bear, if that something wasn’t free
How can I begin to blame you, you are the prisoner in me?

So I run to the left… I run to the right
And all my fears are so alive
And what is left… and who are you in the end?
I run to the left… I run to the right
And all my fears are so alive
And what is left… and who are we in the end?

The State is an Artificial Body

Charles Sumner, “Oration,” The Grandeur of Nations: An Oration, (Boston: The American Peace Society, 1845), p.43:

The old idea, still too much received, is, that man is made for the State, and not the State for man. Far otherwise is the truth. The State is an artificial body, intended for the security of the people. How constantly do we find, in human history, that the people have been sacrificed for the State; to build the Roman name, to secure to England the trident of the sea. This is to sacrifice the greater for the less; for the fleeting possessions of the earth to barter the immortal soul. Let it be remembered that the state is not worth preserving at the cost of the lives and happiness of the people.

Afterthought

Hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, economic instability, unemployment, chronic disease, drug addiction, and war, for example, persist in spite of the analytical ability and technical brilliance that have been directed toward eradicating them. No one deliberately creates those problems, no one wants them to persist, but they persist nonetheless. That is because they are intrinsically systems problems—undesirable behaviors characteristic of the system structures that produce them. They will yield only as we reclaim our intuition, stop casting blame, see the system as the source of its own problems, and find the courage and wisdom to restructure it.

Donella Meadows

A Truce of God

Rosa Luxemburg, “Breslau, Mid-November, 1917,” Letters from Prison: With a Portrait and a Facsimile, (Berlin: Publishing House of the Young International, 1923), pp. 49-50:

What I have just written reminds me of an incident I wish to tell you of, for it seems to me so poetical and touching. I was recently reading a scientific work upon the migration of birds, a phenomenon which has hitherto seemed enigmatic. From this I learnt that certain species, which at ordinary times live at enmity one with another (because some are birds of prey, whilst others are victims), will keep the peace during their great southward flight across the sea. Among the birds that come to winter in Egypt — come in such numbers that the sky is darkened by their flight — are besides hawks, eagles, falcons and owls, thousands of little song birds such as larks, golden-crested wrens, and nightingales mingling fearlessly with the great birds of prey. A “truce of God” seems to have been declared for the journey. All are striving towards the common goal, to drop, half dead from fatigue, in the land of the Nile, and subsequently to assort themselves by species and localities. Nay more, during the long flight the larger birds have been seen to carry smaller birds on their backs, for instance, cranes have passed in great numbers with a twittering freight of small birds of passage. Is that not charming

Playlist of the Week

James Last & Gheorghe Zamfir — The Lonely Shepherd
Ólafur Arnalds ft. Atli Örvarsson & SinfoniaNord — Öldurót
Shirley Nair & The Silver Strings — You’re the Boy
Ania Dąbrowska — Sounds of Silence
Susan Christie — Echo in Your Mind
George Harrison — All Things Must Pass
Amy Winehouse — Some Unholy War
Antony and the Johnsons — Bird Girl
Dream Theater — Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On
Moddi — Where Is My Vietnam

Seclusion by Eduard Mörike

Let, oh world, ah let me be!
  Tempt me not with gifts of pleasure.
  Leave alone this heart to treasure
  All its joy, its misery.

 What my grief I can not say,
  ‘Tis a strange, a wistful sorrow;
  Yet through tears at every morrow
  I behold the light of day.

  When my weary soul finds rest
  Oft a beam of rapture brightens
  All the gloom of cloud, and lightens
  This oppression in my breast.

  Let, oh world, all, let me be!
  Tempt me not with gifts of pleasure.
  Leave alone this heart to treasure
  All its joy, its misery.