"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, April 23, 2007

We Are the Hokies, My Friend

Via my friend Winston Smith---the Virginia Tech murderer's award-winning poetess/professor contributed a eulogy. Comment deferred to the comments section---it must be read on its own terms, far above our poor power to add or detract. It should be discussed, but first it needs to be shared:

We are Virginia Tech

We are sad today
We will be sad for quite a while
We are not moving on
We are embracing our mourning

We are Virginia Tech

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly
We are brave enough to bend to cry
And we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again

We are Virginia Tech

We do not understand this tragedy
We know we did nothing to deserve it

But neither does a child in Africa
Dying of AIDS

Neither do the Invisible Children
Walking the night away to avoid being captured by a rogue army

Neither does the baby elephant watching his community
Be devastated for ivory
Neither does the Mexican child looking
For fresh water

Neither does the Iraqi teenager dodging bombs

Neither does the Appalachian infant killed
By a boulder
Dislodged
Because the land was destabilized

No one deserves a tragedy

We are Virginia Tech
The Hokie Nation embraces
Our own
And reaches out
With open heart and mind
To those who offer their hearts and hands

We are strong
And brave
And innocent
And unafraid

We are better than we think
And not yet quite what we want to be

We are alive to imagination
And open to possibility
We will continue
To invent the future

Through our blood and tears
Through all this sadness

We are the Hokies

We will prevail
We will prevail
We will prevail

We are
Virginia Tech


---Nikki Giovanni, delivered at the Convocation, April 17, 2007

6 comments:

Hunter Baker said...

I can only say it would have been better if addressed directly to the situation at hand and not used as a grab bag of political complaints.

Kathy Hutchins said...

I can add it would have been better if it had been anything resembling actual poetry. This is way, way worse than than sack of manure Maya Angelou unloaded at Bill Clinton's first inaugural.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Hear, hear. Only the standing tall tearlessly part resembles poetry at all.

The rest is propaganda.

I thought of John Donne's "no man is an island, any man's death diminishes me, the bell tolls for thee" thing. But his next section speaks of a "covetousness" that goes to the next man's house to get more misery, misery properly understood in Donne's Christian context as "gold," part of the riches of life.

Ms. Giovanni, as if the misery of the murders of 32 of her innocent brothers and sisters were insufficient, covetously, greedily, cast about for more, and brought home a bunch of baby elephants.

Hunter Baker said...

What's more likely, an infant being killed by a boulder set loose by destablized land or an infant being killed by left-wing sanctioned infanticide?

Jay D. Homnick said...

I watched the original convocation so I heard it in real time. My impression was she is right: it is hokey.

On the other hand, I confess I liked all the religious leaders. The Moslem, the Buddhist, the Hillel lady (with the Israeli girl providing the Hebrew) and the Lutheran. I hope I have not violated any precept by admitting that.

Hunter Baker said...

Hey, Jay. You're the Jewish law scholar! You tell us.