IDeadlock is a curious situation. The whole universe is caught in a state of an intriguing impasse. Nothing is really happening. Nothing of consequense, that is. Yes, there are terrible things happening, like the massacre in Sri Lanka, but if one looks closely, this is a stage in deadlock where one contending faction has made a manoeuvre and the other is going to respond soon to neutralize it. And by factions I don't mean Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE. In old-fashioned terms, in T.S. Eliot's words
The world turns and the world changes,
But one thing does not change.
In all of my years, one thing does not change,
However you disguise it, this thing does not change:
The perpetual struggle of Good and Evil
There is a fight of principles. Each has a bag of good and evil mixed, out of which they hurl the sin-stained clusters of their innocence on the other. A lot is happening in Nepal, Pakistan, the general election in India too and far off three ladies (four, if you count his mother, or some failed love affair) have pushed the success of one man in South Africa. But is there a breakthrough in sight? There is a seeming movement though. People are wanting to get married. Houses are being bought. A friend is graduating in the USA. Another one is going for poetry reading in Europe, despite the fact that poetry makes nothing happen. Now the latter phrase is W.H. Auden's who was a 'committed' poet himself and wrote that line to commemorate another 'committed' poet (W.B. Yeats). Poetry does not break the deadlock. Poetry, in fact, is the mainstay of any deadlock, promising deliverance, yet not delivering on the promise. It is the opium of the aesthete. It gives hope. It defers the fruit of that hope. Yet in this janus-faced relationship with deadlock and hope, poetry performs a useful function. It helps survive in the deadlock, in the eye of the storm. Auden comes to mind again as in his "Musée des Beaux Arts", he highlights the co-existence of suffering and indifference, the deadlock of apathy and tragedy. This record, this recognition compels endurance, the grandest virtue for this age. There are few things possible, perhaps, only in poetry.
IIIt's 11 May today and by sheer coincidence I chanced upon this little gemstone of a poem by Joel, which, incidentally, he wrote on this very day many years ago, when 'existentialism' was in vogue and people typed not on computer (which means I exercised my editorial discretion while italicizing "can" and "may" at the end).
Always, of course
One chooses: the eternal
Curse of the blessing of free will.
One may praise
If one wants to,
One may not die
If one wants to
One always can
But not always may
© Joel V David