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Lachlan MacLearn: Blog

#20 - Fretful Worn World

Posted on June 21, 2014 with 0 comments

I was remembering, recently, a song I'd begun writing, but couldn't finish. Subject matter was more than I wanted to contemplate.

Analysts are often quick to suggest we're 'projecting' when negative images from the outer world intrude - as if we're the authors - as if that invalidates our perspectives or observations. Rather, I prefer to think of it as a part of a huge continual feedback loop. We observe/hear/feel/smell/touch the world around us, and catalog it all, sending it back out into the world in greater and lesser ways. If what we perceive is negative enough, then that's what we project outward. Artist as mirror.

The subject of the lyrics involved reflecting on that sand disc out near Socorro, NM where the Trinity blast occurred, that started that ugly monstrosity we blithely call the "nuclear age". I was out there on a project a few years back, and, overlaid in my heart and mind are the testimonies of the 'Hibakusha' - the only survivors of direct nuclear attack from whom our world can gain useful perspective.

The song probably won't get finished. Too dark. But considering the experience of viewing, from a distance, the Trinity site with my naked eye, and recalling Nevil Shute's work "On the Beach", and by extension, the cultural proximity of my Aussie pals, down under, I had to say something on the subject. I can only hope Nevil, and an earlier critic of the human heart, W.B. Yeats, would approve.


Lunch with Nevil Shute 

Out beyond the rails
Where the tall grass grows
Green paint flakes
Where windows long gone
Once saw the world
Half-tumbled roof
Birds nests and rain
A chair with three legs
The whine of crickets
Boot soles worn thin
Let it go to ruin.
All these things
Have fallen away
Even memory, even hunger
Clean as a child's sleep
The smell of dry air
Unblinking sun

What ever was it?
(this thing we sought)
From a window shade
A bottle hangs
Rises and falls
To the straight key
And a mad song
Calls leviathan
Oppenheimer and Morse
Blind men at their elephant

Let it all go
Even love
Even as thirst
For dreamless peace