Monday, November 10, 2008

"...dedicated here to the unfinished work..."

image: scalder

Wow! What a week. As Jonathan Raban said in The Guardian, on Saturday;

“What America has succeeded in doing, against all the odds, and why we cried when it happened, is to elect the most intelligent, canny and imaginative candidate to the presidential office in modern times - someone who'll bring to the White House an extraordinary clarity of thought and temperate judgment.”

Poet Desmond Swords caught some of my own optimism about Obama the individual, in his blog comment about his exceptional communication abilities;

"... which (I think) appears to be the forthright human honesty of a seemingly normal person who has plucked the day by harnessing new medias and making them the vehicle for a message of hope and change by inclusion."

George Szirtes, initially welcomed Obama's victory as predominently symbolic - a cautionary stance we must accept, given the vast intricacies of US and geopolitical systems;

"Consider me symbolically delighted, over the proverbial moon. It is, as the moon-lander said, a pretty terrific leap for man. Therefore I rejoice. Party time. Work later.

Forgive me. I have never trusted elation, not in the long run. Wind blows one way: I tend to lean the other. Can't help it. Just instinct."

As for myself, I was quite overwhelmed - symbolism or no. In recent days I've been surprised to shed some of my cynicism - for the better - and find myself embracing possibilities of new measures of hope and change in my own life. And that's the most surprising and inspirational aspect of recent events. Would that there were some way of allowing the bitterest of hearts to allow room for one small change, or room for new hope in themselves. Perhaps then, growing hope could build new engines of change for all of us. If nothing else, Obama represents a remarkable example of the power of poetry in our lives, for without poetry, where might we find those abstract aspirations that allow change become manifest in our lives?

And yet, the same weekend newspaper that showed one family of four on the way to the White House, carried pictures of another family of four mown down, bodies touching, in their home in Kiwanja. So many steps, in so many journeys yet to be travelled. One. Step. At. A. Time.