Friday, August 28, 2009

Poem: Be Nobody's Darling

By Alice Walker

Be nobody's darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.

Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.

Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

Be nobody's darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Today's Quote

Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.

William Butler Yeats

Edward M. Kennedy: In Memoriam

I grew up in New York City during the '60's. It's a town and a state well known for its charismatic, brilliant legislators and states people -- Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Robert Wagner, John V. Lindsay, William F. Buckley, Mario Cuomo. Even so, Ted Kennedy was always on my radar screen.

When I was three he was tossed out of Harvard for cheating on a Spanish test, later re-enrolled and graduated in 1956. When I was 11, he broke his back in a plane crash, was bedridden and in traction for six months and wore a back brace for a long time.

Two of his brothers were assassinated and his oldest brother killed in WWII. He would be the only Kennedy brother to survive to old age.

When I was a 16-year old in 1969, he was under the spotlight for involvement in the vehicular death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick, at the time an event more shameful, cowardly, and scandalous than any other except for Watergate. Ten years later he was a failed Presidential candidate.

His personal life was messy until he remarried in the 1990's and included struggles with alcohol, weight and rumors of womanizing. His young son, Teddy would have to have his leg amputated because of bone cancer. And then he developed brain cancer in 2008.

Can greatly flawed men become great? Someone said, that's the only type of great man there is. That Senator Kennedy could rise from these extreme lows to become one of the greatest if not the greatest legislator of the 20th century speaks of his resilience, his strength and his fighting spirit.