By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, FEB. 20, 2014) — THE PLANET doesn’t delve much in poetry at this address, except when we get lucky with words and what our fingers pluck out on the keyboard form phrases and more than more-or-less rise equivalent to our fully formed thoughts. Then we cross into the poetic. Oh, we wish it would happen more often than it does, yet we marvel that it happens at all!
As a bit of grounding, which we all can use from time to time, we share this mini drama that caught our attention on a recent frosty morning. We will also add that in the past couple of days, THE PLANET has been to Needles and back, this time confronting some of the most nasty creatures that dwell, usually hidden and unseen, in the low desert. Thus, we welcome grounding as an old, dear ally.
As the east-southern morning sun beamed through the Andersons, we noticed a solitary fly lured from its hiding by the light and heat to the inside window pane. It tried with gargantuan determination to cross the plane of the pane but couldn’t. Knowing it would not give up but die in the trying, we began to imagine its frustration.
It did not have the intellectual capacity to understand the working of the invisible “force” that kept it from freedom nor did it know (or even consider, we’re sure) that it had no chance in succeeding. Still, it did not give up. It kept probing the pane, looking for a way out. Laugh if you will, but it forced a moral dilemma. This life form, on an equal to our own and in many respects superior, would die for certain on the inside. We imagined a long, wearying, frustrating death. Thus, we intervened.
We found in the incident a fitting metaphor for a key aspect of the human condition. All of us face situations from the outside and pressures from the inside. Sometimes, even often, these external and internal pressures remain invisible, like the glass in the window the fly couldn’t see. Nonetheless — like Sisiphus with his rock or Fitzgerald‘s boat beating helpless against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past — we beat on, struggling, heroically, tragically.
From our reflections on this incident, a poem occurred, which we now share.
——- 000 ——- 000 ——-
ATTENUATION: FLY AGAINST MY WINDOW IN WINTER
Not seeing it can’t leave and not believing,
the trapped fly suctions and kneads the glass.
The window stays transparent to its leaving,
yet the wisdom of the fly won’t give up or pass.
It will neither feel sorry for itself
nor will it die from selfish grieving.
My hand intervenes in insect compassion
knowing it’s superior to me and sinless.
I open the window and gasp at its reaction:
It wings to freedom in the sunlit frost, egress
that considers not the cold of certain death,
preferring icy flight to the prison of artificial heat.
In the opening I exhale and see my breath.
Breathless, the fly wings on, its knowing complete.
God, how long can it last in the January air?
A minute or less? Perhaps, but I remind myself to remember
its minute is a thousand years.
It’s there. It’s all around us.
It’s is Life.
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” — The Beatles, finale of “Abbey Road.”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.