Civilization (-1?, 2?, 3?)

This is a follow-up to a poem I posted on Facebook two days ago (140826) & will append at the end of this post, as well as to a musing I posted here a few days before that, to which I’ll also refer & add a link. I composed what follows the quote just over three years ago (hence the question-marks after the numbers in the title). I’m not sure I totally agree today with everything in it, but it is for me something to continue to reflect on, & perhaps, thru posting it, not alone…

Politics is inherently controversial crop
The quotation is from Harry V. Jaffa, Aristotle and the Higher Good, review of a new translation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics by Robert C. Bartlett And Susan D. Collins in http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/03/books/review/book-review-aristotles-nicomachean-ethics.html?nl=books&emc=booksupdateema3. Here I also found the following reference by Jaffa to the views of Leo Strauss [see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Strauss], to which I then added the comment below it:

The West2

To that comment I added a couple of days later: & today (110708) I find:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/arts/cities-of-god-and-blood/story-e6frg8nf-1226084960936, an article I reread while building this post & find most apposite & still relevant today.

& during this process, two days ago (140828), it also occurred to me that without the colonialism & nationalism that developed in “The West”, Zionism too could never have been born…

& now from the earlier musing I referred to above, in a post titled [[2] in hospital, slowly [but nicely, even gaily] recovering from an acute psoriasis flare-up , I include here the following excerpt:

& I was thinking of adding to my earlier listing all the cruelties & incivilities, robbings, rapings, beheadings, forcings, torturings physical &/or mental, tormentings. & imposings & deposings & other shit done by individuals to others, whether for personal or impersonal reasons, no less than all the stuff done by all the gangs, militias, governments or organizations that have only their own groupings’ (religious, ethnic, corporate, familial, tribal, ideocentric &/or xenophobic &/or whatever) interests at heart, all converging for me into the thought that civilization, really like any -ization, is a verbal noun, a process in progress, something that is still evolving & hasn’t been fully achieved yet, though much progress has been made in the few tens of millennia it has been going on for – let’s face it, for all the technical & cultural & other accomplishments that ancient & modern so-called civilizations have achieved, some which have lasted & some which have been lost, it has only been since the 60s of the last century that women have begun to be treated as people with equal rights, & still only in the more advanced parts of the world, & civilization will never be a substantive until civility to all others is the basic rule of life & most of the people in the world are civil to one another & I can’t even guess if this can ever happen but also can’t imagine real progress without an increase of feminine & maternal & compassionate influences in ways that will counter the continuing marches of hordes of masculine raiders & marauders & conquerors & profiteers & occupiers of lands & resources & peoples that have so far been the driving forces of so much of what we call human history, & I somehow feel that the only real hope for a civil civilization lies in those deeply feminine impulses that I know [not only from myself] are not absent from masculine hearts….

& here’s the poem I posted on Facebook:

Civilization crop

 

[4] some gay lines & a pic from an earlier gray day, & some pics from my last full hospital day

First a pic & some lines from an earlier day that I posted on Facebook a few days ago (140822):

another gray day

another gray day

& today starts out gray
& gray too is ok
one more way
to be gay
in the spirit of play

(& yes i love the word gay
& what it always could say
before being taken astray
to mean a samesexual way)

yeats said it best, feel I
in his great lapis lazuli
(google & read it, don’t be shy)
with some of the best lines i’ve ever read
like “Gaiety transfiguring all that dread”…

& then pics of changes in the skies thru this, my last full day here,  most of them through the window of my hospital room, and two from the end of the corridor outside. The captions give the times they were taken, again in “military style”.

[3] my last full day in hospital, still slowly [but nicely, but definitely gaily] recovering etc…

0637  (I’m adopting the “military”(??) form for the times, it saves me having to use points, ams & pms, & using it here first of all to indicate the time I start writing a new par[agraph]): At 0545 a nurse wakes me as daily…

[1755: a note before I publish: just in case wordpress again publishes this using my previous profile pic, I'm adding a thumbnail of the one I updated here but doesn't seem to be appearing. if it does appear, no harm done, you'll just see it twice: I just don't want you thinking that what's written here comes from the face you see in the old pic.
IMG_1612 crop& another note: this has turned out to already be quite a long post, so please feel free to read just as little as you want each time & come back to it later. now back to the chronological progression.]

0717 [in the meantime, after rising, dressing, hands & face washing, teeth & dentures brushing, two puffs of my inhaler, thinking, who knows, this may be my last full day here, maybe make it a day without even looking at facebook, see what that can bring, & opened my blogsite to start this writing, but then the breakfast girl brought in my tray .... anyhow,  to continue, first, the sentence I started above] … turning on the light in the bathroom & opening its door so she can see to do my “obs[ervations]“, I don’t open my eyes as I bring my right arm out from under the blankets & sheet & let her wrap the on the armband that tightens & tightens so the machine can digitally show my now&here blood pressure while she slips the rubber oxygen level measurer onto my middle finger & sticks the disposable metal tip of the thermometer into my left ear, & when the band untightens a bit I take a peep at the numbers, just to be sure the blood pressure’s ok, & it’s reasonable enough, & when she turns off the bathroom light & closes the door I turn over to my left side thinking maybe i’ll sleep a little, but already dayish thoughts are coming in, like one about a wordspic posted on facebook yesterday about this group they’re forming in israelandpalestine for “THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX” for people to come up with whatever dreams or crazy ideas & I imagine all kinds of brainstorming & maybe ultralateral thinking, which closed with a sentence something like (I’m not going to go check it now) “Who knows what ideas people might come up with that might change things for the better?”, which I clicked a “Like” to, & commented “Who knows indeed? Keep us posted”, while Shakespeare’s Hamlet’s line “Who knows what dreams may come / When we have shuffled off this mortal coil” ran thru my mind, but couldn’t think of how to appropriate it to the context, like, say, “/ Before we shove every of one of us off this mortal soil”?… no, no, I let it go then… Anyhow, while lying there I find myself thinking: so if you think outside the box (whatever box you may be thinking in), who’s to say you won’t just be thinking inside another box?, maybe all thinking goes on in boxes, boxes inside (or, if you prefer, outside) boxes, like those trick presents wrapped in endless layers of paper or those Russian(?) dolls or eggs that have smaller ones inside them — except that here the process is in the opposite direction, from thinking inside a small box to thinking outside it but inside a larger one, anyhow with all that in my head I decided I was awake enough to get up, and quickly put some clothes on my naked body (I’ve found the clean sheets that they change here daily the least irritating to my skin), the “clothes” I wear here during the day also of my own designing for minimum skin irritation: a cotton half-sheet that I don like a longhi or sarong, then from shoulders to thighs one of those blue cotton hospital gowns that you put on back-to-front & can tie round your waist with white strips at the sides; over that a thinner white cotton gown that’s also meant to be put on back-to-front (tbc [= to be continued])

0826 That par interrupted first when two service staff girls came to change my bedsheets & I stopped to remind them that I like the top sheet to be drawn only up to the top of my bed, and the blankets to be brought only up to about twelve inches below that & then fold the strip of sheet over them, & please not to tuck them in at the bed’s bottom, happy again that they’re not annoyed by my telling them how to do their job (the first few days here, I jut remade my bed after them the way I like it, but for a few days now I’ve been telling them –they’re not always the same ladies & even when they are they can’t be expected to remember, they have 54 beds to do in about an hour each morning! — & they’re all ok with that & we can share some good-humoured banter) & then another nurse came to bring me my morning meds (asked me about the methotextrate on my chart, which I explained the dermatologist had prescribed to help bring down the psoriasis but I only take it morning & evening on Tuesday & morning on wednesday every week, & asked me if I’d done my flixotide puffer, which I had, & then gave me my 11 morning pills (prednisone now 40 mg, 3rd day down from the 50 until then — now comes in 4 pills, a 25 & three 5s; my new — 3rd day on this too — SSRI, escatalopram; vitamin D; amplodipine for my blood pressure; aspirin my daily blood-thinner; telfast antihistamine to lessen the itching; Lasix to help bring down the still somewhat bothersome swelling around & above my ankles & feet; folic acid for whatever that does)  … & now to continue: I put on that white gown with the opening to the front so it’s like a kind of light coat, but because its straps are short, maybe for tying at the back, I’ve fashioned an extension strip out of white papertape so I can tie it in front, & that’s my basic dress for the day, & when it gets cooler I take another cotton half sheet & put it over my shoulders like a large tallith, & that’s also how I walk in the ward corridor when I do some walking exercising or go to the little room where a machine makes me a really tasty coffee, & there’ve been some fun responses, the head male nurse said to me I look positively papal, another one told me I look like a monk, and as I approached the central desk yesterday afternoon in this garb & with my walking-stick one nurse there said “I think I’m having a vision… It’s like the guy in the bible who parted the waters with his staff, who was it?”, and after a few guesses she came up with the name Moses … & I’ll pause here, maybe I can capture some of this costume with my ipad camera, tho I’d like to do it without my face, because all my selfies of my face come out pretty awful. back soon, hopefully… [stopped 0913, tbc]

1107, after skypemessaging Nitza my “plans” for today, staging & taking the ipadpics (which involved several maneuvers of getting up on a chair in my bathroom facing the mirror, good exercise though), having a poo, then my shower, then smearing my skin all over with the corticosteroid cream, then buzzing for a nurse to do my back after putting a towel around my waist, finally coming back to the computer in my towel, seeing N’s reply & replying with a heart, music & sun emoticon, then nurse sam coming back to do my “obs” again, uploading the pics & cropping them in Paint, I’ll upload them here:

IMG_1765 crop 1213  … well, I didn’t like the second one, so went off again to try for a better shot (& before that took some shots  of the changed sky&seascape thru my window) , & then they brought lunch, then the doctor came, he says the blood tests are all good & I can be “discharged” tomorrow, probably some time “after lunch”, after the pharmacy people can give me a full schedule of the meds I have to go on taking etc. so then I skypemessaged N with the good news & also broke my facebook break briefly to update my family group, & now its already 1310 & I’m going to take a little walk & then make myself some coffee…

1338  ah this coffee’s so good, & wow, the roggelle Zo brought me yesterday when he & Tali & Omri & Shamaya paid me a brief but delighting visit yesterday (so good to have a good baker son, & not just a baker, he also brought me sabeekh in a pita the way he makes me so well that I wolfed down happily in two portions yesterday) & twas good to see Omri up & better after a week of hard flu, & with his new haircut that suits him so well, Tali was calling him Mr Know-it-all, because he’s so often adamant that he knows everything, & when I asked him “So how do you know all this stuff that you know?” he thought for a brief moment & then brightly answered: “Fishing!”, which I found delightful (& he’s a kid whose Dad has already often taken him fishing)…   Meanwhile, back to the THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: can it be that when you come out of the box you were in you’ve got to start exploring the dimensions & contents of the bigger box you find yourself in? Can your box be initially a Tardis? IMG_1780 crop
Or do you have to start looking for materials to actually build some kind of relatively safe & manageable box outside the smaller one yet inside the one whose qualities & quantities you don’t yet know? & say, if we go back to the particular box or boxes the question arose out of: must you first define the box you want to start thinking outside of? actually how many boxes or kinds of boxes are boxing one another &/or boxed disharmoniously together in israelandpalestine, & how boxed are these boxes in bigger boxes of corporate, ethnic, racial, religious, military-, petro-, etc, etc, industrial packaging, all of them surely only (but powerfully) imagined realities,  to use the term explained, used & demonstrated so well by the brilliant Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari, whose book, which has now been published under several titles (the latest: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind) is a real mind-opener, every bit as fascinating & much much more illuminating than Hendrik van Loon’s The Story of Mankind that was my first real introduction to history in my  childhood, & which I’d recommend to any teenager & anyone seriously interested in history, historiography &/or historiosophy, & certainly to any sane education system that wants a good primer for all introductions to the history of our species (but more about that maybe some other time). Maybe now I’ll upload the second pic I’ve cropped from the takes I did before lunch, & then lie down for a rest..

1715  I had a great nap, I love these hospital beds with their remote controls tat can get your feet & legs &/or your back up or down as you need &/or want them, & a wonderful little dinner of beef stroganoff & sautéed potatoes & side salad, the food here is always tasty & different every day with choices you make yourself & it comes like clockwork at fixed times, & you know what, I think I’ll just reread for typos what I’ve written till now, publish it, & see what else comes the rest of this day…

1750  which I’ve now done, so here goes another one…

1803 actually not until I add that pic I mentioned in the second par

1817 here we go!

[[2] in hospital, slowly [but nicely, even gaily] recovering from an acute psoriasis flare-up

[& here, while interjecting occasionally inside square brackets as I'm doing now, I return to the parts of that spurt of writing from last Saturday night that I left out of the post I published last night, where I wrote about my respondings & postings on facebook to terrible things that were happening while I've been recovering here, but before I do that I need to add that I was also posting other kinds of things too that were heartwarming, & heartwarming too were many responses I've been getting, & for me at least the facebooking has been a boon that has helped me in my recovering. nonetheless, what's been happening in israelandpalestine  has been a recurring source of grief & trepidation. & in that spurt I went on from where in my last post I said I was skipping:]

yet like so many jews (or unfortunately maybe not yet so many, & maybe also for some other still unadmitted shames of my own) wanting to say not in my name, or even like I don’t even know if any jew has said, hey, have you forgotten that Israel’s in Palestine, so whoever lives there or comes from there or is descended from someone who fled or was  exiled from there is a Palestinian & why tf can only israelis live in that country without being occupied or exiled or restricted or humiliated by a foreign power, why can’t all Palestinians, be they “Israelis” or “Falastinis” be equal citizens of their country even if they “belong” to two different nations with two different languages & two different cultures that have developed there since the early 2oth century [while bearing with them & adapting much older cultures], & accept at last that both nations are there to stay & have to get it together somehow in some cooperative way like say in Switzerland or Canada or other bi- or multi-national countries, however dangerous & almost impossible this may seem with all the threats posed by fundamentalists & stoked by arms manufacturers & dealers & all, how come there isn’t yet a serious joint movement of Israeli & Falastini Palestinians gathering strength of a different kind to withstand all those pressures, ok I know all [the fears & distrust & the post-traumatic stress disorders & religio-nationalist psychoses or etc, & whatever] so-called historical reasons etc, [not to say that even the Canadians have got it together harmoniously], or that all Australians either are equal citizens, & not to say that the brits & later the australians treated the aborigines as equals or gave them rights until not long ago & there’s still a lot to be done here in that regard, & then there’s Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, & there’s still so many places where there are officially equal rights but look what’s happening in the usa south right now, & what about [genocides & famines & ebola & whatnot] in africa [& all the detritus everywhere from the aftermaths of European colonialist & imperialist occupation  & exploitation of all the world's other continents] & then what isil or isis is doing & what’s been going on in Syria for ages, & what life’s like especially for women in so many arab countries & meanwhile the planet’s getting like a macrowave oven & no fucking wonder so many good people get stressed &/or depressed not only from whatever personal problems they may have or traumas they may have suffered individually & it didn’t start from one good morning vietnam (vale vale robin williams) either, but at the same time i also see so much goodness in so many people & in what so many are doing in so many places, so many things to like & love, so much kindness & initiatives & hopes, & inventiveness, people devoting energies to humanitarian & civil causes, solidarities with & of the oppressed & suppressed, & people still managing to have fun, & the joys of love & family & children & grandchildren, & creativity & art & perception of beauty.

& I was thinking of adding to my earlier listing all the cruelties & incivilities, robbings, rapings, beheadings, forcings, torturings physical &/or mental, tormentings. & imposings & deposings & other shit done by individuals to others, whether for personal or impersonal reasons, no less than all the stuff done by all the gangs, militias, governments or organizations that have only their own groupings’ (religious, ethnic, corporate, familial, tribal, ideocentric &/or xenophobic &/or whatever) interests at heart, all converging for me into the thought that civilization, really like any -ization, is a verbal noun, a process in progress, something that is still evolving & hasn’t been fully achieved yet, though much progress has been made in the few tens of millennia it has been going on for – let’s face it, for all the technical & cultural & other accomplishments that ancient & modern so-called civilizations have achieved, some which have lasted & some which have been lost, it is only been since the 60s of the last century that women have begun to be treated as people with equal rights, & still only in the more advanced parts of the world, & civilization will never be a substantive until civility to all others is the basic rule of life & most of the people in the world are civil to one another & I can’t even guess if this can ever happen but also can’t imagine real progress without an increase of feminine & maternal & compassionate influences in ways that will counter the continuing marches of hordes of masculine raiders & marauders & conquerors & profiteers & occupiers of lands & resources & peoples that have so far been the driving forces of so much of what we call human history, & I somehow feel that the only real hope for a civil civilization lies in those deeply feminine impulses that I know [not only from myself] are not absent from masculine hearts….

[& what has all this to do with my recovering slowly (but nicely, and gaily) from my acute psoriasis flare-up? Perhaps nothing, as perhaps nothing will change in the world for my saying it, but I feel that somehow having been able to say it & get it out of me & publish it is also releasing something pent up in me& that this helps with my healing. maybe, maybe not, whatever, I let it go...]

in hospital, slowly [but nicely, even gaily] recovering from an acute psoriasis flare-up [1]]

[if you're reading this from the email notification, or on the status on facebook that wordpress posted, let me recommend that you click or hit the title.]

in hospital, slowly [but nicely, even gaily] recovering from an acute psoriasis flare-up all over my skin except my face  & extreme edema swelling from ankles to thighs when nitza [so wisely] drove me to the ER at john flynn in tugun [on sunday before last, 10 august, i add today, friday 22 august; & all I write inside square brackets, including the four words in the first line, are my additions today to this writing spurt i  began last saturday but didn’t want to post until i’d read it again, & didn’t feel like reading it till today, after a skypetalk with nitza in which we spoke about my being reminded several times while being here (& also yesterday in a private facebook message by a friend whom I won’t name here because she’s told me she’s a very private person, & who also mentioned after seeing some of what i’ve been posting on facebook since i’ve been here that the condition seems to be bringing out the poetry in me) of that wonderful tv series “the singing detective” by the brilliant & also seriously psoriatic author dennis potter that we’d loved so much way back when, & she said how it had always been somehow another hidden thing in me (not that I took much trouble to hide it, it was mainly on my buttocks which very few saw & knees & elbows & calves where it wasn’t very noticeable, though each of my grandchildren as they grew up would notice at a certain stage & ask me & i’d tell them it was a sickness of mine), & it surely isn't the only thing I've kept hidden, even most of the time from myself, but now this is all over me & out in the open so maybe more too can come out of the well (not that I have that kind of marvellous fictional imagination that potter had, tho' I did flash on the thought of "a singing dick") ...; now back to what I wrote then:] & i don’t want to even remember the itching & burning & aching all over my body that preceded this flare-up in numerous waves since almost a year ago, all so different from the chronic psoriasis i’ve  lived with since the early ’80s when for several years i thought it was some fungus thing until it was diagnosed [which often & for long periods was quite fierce & so  itchy I'd scratch till I bled], many stories i could tell & not a little i remember having written but never published about my various attempts to treat it, [doctors, naturopaths, biofeedback, acupuncture, dead sea retreats, corticosteroid ointments, hemp oil, this cream & that, yogas & tai chis & meditation techniques  (for I've long known psoriasis is also a stress-related disease, & I'm certainly carrying not a little post-traumatic stress since becoming a refugee kid & my father dying in Shanghai when I was 9 of a protracted & in those pre-antibiotic days incurable disease that took all the skin off his flesh & then continuing to grow up with a dear & devoted & hardworking but inevitably deeply depressed mother) but in recent years living here, & especially after recovering from a heart attack in November 2001, & even during the several years of extreme but fortunately benign prostate hyperplasty that was finally resolved a year and a half ago, also in this fine hospital, with a TURP procedure well-handled by an excellent surgeon] my psoriasis was thankfully relatively unfelt even if I did have to daily treat it with a mild corticosteroid ointment, until [what seemed to be an] all-over rash suddenly appeared about a year ago that no doctor could identify & went thru different stages until this total eruption that may have been caused by reducing too quickly the second round of cortisone medication in three months that each time did bring some relief but this time exploded all over me more or less concurrently with the kidnapping of the three young Israelis & continued with the escalating responses & the devastation of so many human lives & hopes & possibilities of living humanly in the country which in some ways even more than the country I’m so glad I’m living in as a naturalized citizen is close to my heart & an indelible part of my life, concurrently too with so many other terrible things happening in that region &  not only there, & following them all this time too on facebook & in the online newspapers etc., & aching & thinking & sometimes also responding & posting, as if my thoughts could make any difference, or as if any logic could make any difference when so many vested & jacketed & heavily invested interests are vying for power &/or profits yet [& here my spurt that Saturday evening goes into so many things that I'm thinking it'd be better to leave for a later post because this one is already getting too long, & just skip to where I say:] I’m so glad we came here, & so grateful to the doctors [the doctor in charge of me, a consultative geriatrician whose patient explanations to me help me understand it'll be a slow process from now on, though his treatment in the first few days brought most of the swelling down & I weighed 4 kg less than when I came in, & who brought in the dermatologist & the rheumatologist & then the psychiatrist when I told him I'd been planning with my GP (after accepting the wise advice of my dear middle son Ohav who knows me so well & finally admitting to myself that I am a much more stressed & anxious person than I've ever been willing to admit to myself that I am) to start on a program of SSRIs, & who this morning started me on Escitalopram, the hopefully good effects of which may take four to six weeks to kick in, but hey, I'm in no hurry; & when I told the good doctor I hadn't been exercising much since I've been here he also said he'd send me a physiotherapist to guide me back in (though I did do a bit of walking & some of my tai chi routine today)], & I’m grateful too for the treatment I get here from the nurses & support staff [I don't find myself imagining them breaking into song-&-dance routines like in the singing detective, but we do have some good-humoured chit-chat] & for the considerate administration & the relatively good & tasty meals, & for all the medical  & pharmaceutical knowledge that can help me so, this the third time since we moved back to oz in 2001 that I’ve been helped out of quite critical situations (glad I had both the foresight & the wherewithal to take out private health insurance soon after arriving) in this fine hospital, & this time I have a room with a wonderful ocean view to look out on, different dayscapes daily, can even sometimes see the surfspray above the heads at coolangatta, & nightscapes, had the supermoon two nights last week & have seen several sunrises, & part of a rainbow a few days ago but now it’s pouring… [& apart from what's here, so glad I have the love & support of Nitza & my sons & daughtersinlaw & grandchildren, Nitza's several visits since I've been here & our daily skypings & messagings, & a visit from Jonathan, & that same Saturday afternoon before I started this much-added-to spurt] she came with Zohar & my granddaughter Shamaya it was such a joy to see her playing here with the five-fingered balloon Zo made for her by blowing

IMG_1390IMG_1385

 

IMG_1401IMG_1406

 

 

 

 

up a blue plastic surgical glove from the box in my room, & the love & support I get from them all & from friends in emails or messages or facebook comments all of which bring me heartwarming smiles that are probably the greatest complementary catalysts for the healing medications I’m taking. The present prognosis is that most of the fuller healing will need to continue at home, & if the blood tests I have to have over the weekend show that the new SSRI isn’t interacting adversely with any of my other medications, I’ll be discharged on Monday] & be back at home with the wife I love & the life I love.

 

so (3) three evenings ago,

after not feeling able to face facebook all day, I started preparing to post this “status” with its 12 ipadpics & its 21 lines there in an album but found I couldn’t do it the way I envisaged there, so here it is. [& i again invite you to read my page About me & this blogsite, updated 8 jul 14. & you're welcome to share any of it.]

with this afternoon’s warmer eveninging

after not feeling able to face facebook all day
i turn from what i cannot say of what’s not here now
to what i can see here now & ipadpic a little

IMG_1196

hoping to catch a little of the pinkness in the gray
in the same frame i’ve posted more than once

IMG_1198

or perhaps this is closer? ah the ipadpic loses

IMG_1200

the bright red flowering of the dying coral tree
the ultra-invasive noxious weed

IMG_1202

that flowers in winter more brilliantly & beautifully
than in this light an ipadpic can show

IMG_1203

&/but its forms can play

IMG_1205
such parts

IMG_1206

in frames of sky

IMG_1207
& tree forms leafed & bare

IMG_1210

& when i turn there’s the view behind me
over the roof of our house

IMG_1211

or a little lower
with the light in the window from nitza’s desk

IMG_1212

& then veer back westnorwestwards, to a lilac-backed chinese aquarelle

IMG_1213

with cloud calligraphy

with this afternoon’s warmer eveninging

after not feeling able to face facebook all day
i turn from what i cannot say of what’s not here now
to what i can see here now
& ipadpic a little

hoping to catch a little of the pinkness in the gray
in the same frame i’ve posted more than once
or perhaps this is closer? ah the ipadpic loses
the bright red flowering of the dying coral tree
the ultra-invasive noxious weed
that flowers in winter more brilliantly & beautifully
than in this light an ipadpic can show
&/but its forms can play
such parts
in frames of sky & tree forms leafed & bare
& when i turn there’s the view behind me
over the roof of our house
or a little lower
with the light in the window from nitza’s desk
& then i veer back westnorwestwards,
to a lilac-backed chinese aquarelle
with cloud calligraphy

so (2)

[if you're reading this from the email notification, or on the status on facebook that wordpress posted, let me recommend that you stop, & start reading it on my blogsite where if you enjoy my writing then i'm sure you'll enjoy it more. Here's the link: http://dikflantz.wordpress.com/. i also invite you to read my page About me & this blogsite, updated 140708 (= 8 july 14). & you're welcome to share all or any of it.]

so
& i look thru my recent afterdinner Padwriter emails to my PC since last week & find myself reading this — and remember that in yesterday’s post I wrote something about the majority of voters, & some thoughts in the second of these (but you need to read the first to get it) resonates with that, so i’ll post them (not without adding & changing a few things here & there).

wed 140709 8:40 pm [updated 140716]

“Visible consequences are iceberg tips, most results of actions are invisible to the doer”  — David Mitchell, number9dream

just finished this one, after first reading his first, Ghostwritten, which i found by reading a review of his latest on the guardian, really & most rewardingly had to suspend my disbelief to go with it, & now, after reading a reply of his on a talkback the guardian posted, started at last to read Yukio Mishima, his first, Spring Snow, & enthralled by the opening chapter’s story’s move into the long, moving, & detailed description of the artistic photograph of the scene, centered on an unpaired wooden cenotaph, of thousands of massed soldiers, each of them also representing more than one of the war dead. I found myself immediately connecting that poignance ( the translator’s apt word, for me at least) with my feeling with the dead & dying in the still ongoing Israel-Palestine war & those who have represented or are representing them or will represent them at services or gatherings or rallies there &/or will think alone of those of them they knew &/or cared for, of who they were, & of how & why they died, not that all who die by war have services afterwards or people representing them, & also, in the Russo-Japanese case almost all those who died by war were soldiers, still, before in World War II the world’s major powers made the killing & even the targeting of civilian populations an integral part of modern warfare…  Then I realized that what I was feeling while imagining all that this scene was suggesting to me was building on what I felt when I first read the brief chapter the Yitzhak Laor posted on Facebook today from his novel הנה אדם, a title I don’t know how he’d want to translate, if it was in biblical Hebrew it’d be Behold Adam; but in modern Israeli Hebrew it could be Here’s Adam, or Look at Adam, or Look, Adam, or Here’s a Person Adam, or Look at a Person, or Look, Man – because, apart from the biblical first man’s name, adam means ‘a person’ or ‘man’, a meaning that isn’t lost when we discover that the novel’s hero’s name is Adam. & I reread the piece, & added a brief comment to this morning’s like, & now I think I’ll try to translate that powerfully moving & cutting piece of writing that increasing build to the intensity & depth of feeling of its closing sentence.

thur 140710 8:58 pm [updated 140716]

& after reading a later par in Mishima, I think that’s what good fiction can do, let you feel so fully what a fictional character is feeling & experiencing, & as you’re feeling it you realize you’re feeling something like what someone real, not a fiction, could or would have felt in such a kind of situation & more… & what in fact can do that if not the fictional imagination? what can humanize, can open the gates of empathy that people who have evidently never opened them to others if they cannot identify them as belonging to the grouping of whatever kind that they identify with (& a part of becoming a member of a grouping, & everyone born into any human society does that to start with, is distinguishing between us and them)… How in my life reading fiction, first of all John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, opened me to the universalizing empathy that becomes a sense of solidarity with all who are oppressed anywhere, and to a socialistic vision of a more just and humane world. But could I have got to that from Steinbeck’s book if I hadn’t experienced empathic identification with so many fictional heroes (& non-heroic protagonists too) before that? for I was already an avid reader & absorber of fiction, in books, comics & films, & had been since I learned to read, & still (& more, again, in recent years), but now i can get it in so many other forms too, songs, the occasional poem, films, tv series, sometimes illuminating & sometimes recreation is enough…

& I’m thinking like if that’s what does it or can do it, how important it is to have good fiction available & accessible to children, & how that can’t ever happen wherever there’s One Book, one text, that’s sacred while all others are profane &/or prohibited if not properly subordinate to the Book as determined by its socially acknowledged interpreters, & how I was saved from that by being born to a generation already emancipated from that & by having always lived in countries where good fiction was freely available & accessible.

& i’m wondering is it only a certain kind of sensitivity, temperament, (something genetic too?) that makes it painingly obvious to some people that the occupation is wrong,  is a cancer in & of Israeli society, in & of life in Palestine, & so is returning asylum seekers to Sri Lanka or many other things the Abbott government is planning for Australia, I write here only of the two countries I feel closest to because they have been & still are so central in my life, but come on now, there’s awful shit going down right now in lots of places that lots of people we don’t know are suffering, benefiting from, enjoying, etc., etc., so what is it distinguishes us ‘leftists’, who want peace, equal rights, an end to occupation, inhumane detention, who feel compassion, solidarity & shared-humanity with the oppressed & dispossessed by an occupying power, who feel helplessly frustrated, angry, all those things that distract us from our own ongoing etc., etc. — from those who fear &/or hate &/or demonize &/or dehumanize the Other & are willing to detain, dispossess, invade, besiege, bomb, kill & wound demolish homes & fruit-bearing trees of generations of them to ‘protect’ their own survival &/or comfortable existence &/or power &/or profit? what does it take to make someone swing from ‘right’ to ‘left’? It’s easier for me to imagine someone swinging the opposite way, can imagine an increased fear, a fear increased by something personally experienced, even tho particulars don’t prove anything, but many minds can shake logic away, especially if with it comes the added benefit of suddenly & at last belonging to the majority, no longer to be smirked at as one of those goodie-goodie-goddam leftists… but what could bring someone to swing from right to left?