[The EZLN and other zapatista translations are, as ever, waiting in the Library for your reading pleasure. I posted a new one this afternoon, and, rather than attempt a summary, I shall let the words speak for themselves.]
There are moments when I wonder if things – and people – really are born with a platonic path of sorts. A tabula already scribed, as it were. An ordinary life meandering, all unknowing, to a particular moment of glory or defeat.
And when that moment comes, that life knows it, the eyes reflect that knowing.
Dick Cheney, perhaps, during his photo op in the Gulf today, surveying the tens of billions worth of new infrastructure contracts for Halliburton subsidiaries dropped in his lap by the grace of governance. I doubt that he expected it, but there it was. You could see it in his eyes – he knew. Life was good.
Geraldo Rivera, in his 60s now, condemned to endless bicep-flexing sandblasted visits to off-the-front-burner Iraq. But now, suddenly resurrected, with his new 70s-permed hairpiece, choreographing a hands-on “rescue” in the New Orleans muck. Still setting hearts aflutter and stomachs heaving. His eyes were glazed with the tears he must have been inwardly shedding in certain gratitude. Life was good.
The gentleman we’ve all seen – the one who lost his wife on that roof, no matter how hard he clung to her hand. Lost, desperate, bereft beyond all ability to conjure. The moment had come, and he recognized it, his eyes were wide with that knowing.
I would prefer to believe in another construct. One that posits an unknown, invisible and apposite companion. Also Platonic, of course, but infinitely more comforting:
If the red slayer thinks he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.
Far or forgot to me is near,
Shadow and sunlight are the same,
The vanished gods to me appear,
And one to me are shame and fame.
They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings…
Emerson, “Brahma,” sans the last stanza.
Tables turning, divine comeuppance, the implicit other side of the coin.