Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember
Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden wrote “September 1, 1939” at the outbreak of World War II in Europe. It’s a poem that’s often quoted during times of crises such as ours, and only seems to highlight the recurring cycles of political dissimulation and media exacerbated fury that escalates into tragedy. While battling a virus, we’ve “cancelled” each other and branded each other racists and bigots. We’ve listened to politicians and oligopolies wildlydenounce opponents of their agendas as terrorists. We’ve been witness to unchecked brutality this past year as our cities burned with mob violence during which thirty people were murdered, and neighborhoods and livelihoods went up in smokewhile governors and mayors watched.
Auden began the poem with these words:
I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death Offends the September night.
In the penultimate stanza he cautions: “We must love one another or die.” The same holds true today.
Read the complete poem at poets.org. And hear the poet Dylan Thomas read it below.
There’s no one in this great country of ours that’s not thinking about its future, especially as our President was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive with COVID-19 yesterday. We have had so much turmoil over the past four years as our political leaders have lost their minds and hardened their hearts against the welfare of their citizens. For them the country is all about their power, their political influence, their global agendas, while they and their families fill their own pockets and campaign coffers with foreign and domestic corporate and union paybacks. Fires of hatred and division have been fanned to divide us, and ultimately to control us. But we must not let the forces of hate win.
We have the testimony of God’s creation all around to remind us that even in Washington, DC, good can triumph, by His grace, beauty can blossom like lilies.
This evening let’s join with the millions praying for our President’s recovery as well as his wife, Melania, and the good of our nation in the weeks and months and years to come.