Saturday, March 17, 2012

In Chicago: Anything Can Happen

I'm looking forward to the premiere Tuesday night of a new choral work by Mohammed Fairouz. It's based in part on "Anything Can Happen," a translation that Seamus Heaney made of an Ode by Horace.

Here's the text:
Anything Can Happen
by Seamus Heaney (After Horace, Odes, I, 34)*

Anything can happen. You know how Jupiter
Will mostly wait for clouds to gather head
Before he hurls the lightning? Well just now
He galloped his thunder cart and his horses

Across a clear blue sky.. It shook the earth
and the clogged underearth, the River Styx,
the winding streams, the Atlantic shore itself.
Anything can happen, the tallest towers

Be overturned, those in high places daunted,
Those overlooked regarded. Stropped-beak Fortune
Swoops, making the air gasp, tearing the crest off one,
Setting it down bleading on the next.

Ground gives. The heaven's weight
Lifts up off Atlas like a kettle lid.
Capstones shift. Nothing resettles right.
Telluric ash and fire-spores boil away.
A lot of people think the modern translation sounds like it's about 9/11.

But maybe it's about revolution?

Or love?

Or all of the above?

What do you think?

* poem retrieved from . . . With Both Hands blog. "Anything Can Happen" was published in book form by Amnesty International in 2004.

Image: Lightning storm generated by Chilean volcano at Universe Today website.

Related posts

In the past several weeks, the President of the United States tried to undertake an attack against a foreign country, but the American people said "Hell no!" and the Congress let the President know they couldn't support it. How often does that happen?

(See When THE PEOPLE Take Control: "Anything Can Happen")

I was back in New Jersey to visit with high school friends in July. It gave me the opportunity to visit the newly opened 9/11 Memorial. Not surprisingly, what I saw made me spend days and weeks thinking about the memorial itself, and the larger issue of 9/11 in our national life. Out of all that I have seen and heard and read and thought about, several thoughts keep rising to the top.

(See 9/11 Memory: Grieving and Celebrating Valor, Leaving Vengeance Behind )

Is this the perfect moment for all of us to step outside our comfort zones? I've started to think: maybe we can encourage many more people to see things in a new light. Maybe this is the meaning of a "mass movement" -- a large number of people moving a little, rather than just a few people moving a lot.

(See Read a Poem - or Eat a Peach - for Peace

When Chicagoans fully succeed in fully connecting the dots -- especially to the crimes being committed in their name with their tax dollars and the weapons produced by their favored corporate citizen, Boeing -- I think there will be some new and different phone calls taking place . . .

(See What's New in Chicago: Connecting the Dots - US Aid, Boeing Weapons, Gaza Massacre, Chicago Complicity )