Monday, December 9, 2013

US Presidents Speak About Nelson Mandela

Screen shots from US Presidents on Nelson Mandela.
Earth, receive an honoured guest:
[Nelson Mandela] is laid to rest.
Let the [African] vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.
Time that is intolerant
Of the brave and the innocent,
And indifferent in a week
To a beautiful physique,
Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet. 
Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his views,
And will pardon Paul Claudel,
Pardons him for writing well. 
In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of [the world] bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate; 
Intellectual disgrace
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye. 
Follow, [father], follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice. 
With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress. 
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountains start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
From In Memory of WB Yeats, by WH Auden, with apologies for my modifications [in brackets].

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

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