Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In honor of George Bush's farewell visit to his European partners in crime ...

here are a few apt lines from Margaret Atwood. This poem was actually written more than 30 years ago. Some things never change, huh?

Backdrop addresses cowboy
by Margaret Atwood

Starspangled cowboy
sauntering out of the almost-
silly West, on your face
a porcelain grin,
tugging a papier-mâché cactus
on wheels behind you with a string,

you are innocent as a bathtub
full of bullets.

Your righteous eyes, your laconic
trigger-fingers
people the streets with villains:
as you move, the air in front of you
blossoms with targets

and you leave behind you a heroic
trail of desolation:
beer bottles
slaughtered by the side
of the road, bird-
skulls bleaching in the sunset.
(more)


From Selected Poems 1965-1975. Text from Poetry Foundation.

5 comments:

Perfumeshrine said...

This is my favourite quote (and considering my profession, highly ironic):

"What experience and history teach is this -- that people and governments never have learned anything from history or acted on principles deduced from it."

~Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

And that was centuries ago!

And of course let's not forget this: "The Melian dialogue"

http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/melian.htm

Sounds eerily familiar...

Whodat said...

I love Margaret Atwood. How is it that so many cool women are from Canada?

BitterGrace said...

Re cool women from Canada--Do Joni Mitchell and kd lang outweigh Celine Dion and Shania Twain? Who am I missing? Seriously, I'm asking.

Great quote, E. Of course, people always claim to be learning the lessons of history, even as they disregard them.

Thanks for the Thucydides link. I wonder if the neocons could grasp the parallel. BTW, did you realize that web page is hosted at my alma mater, Mount Holyoke? The professor who posted it, Vinnie Ferraro, was quite the faculty heartthrob when I was there. He used to take his favorite students hot-tubbing. I suspect those days are over.

Mary said...

Atwood rocks.

Perfumeshrine said...

I didn't realise that M!! What a great experience it must have been: sounds like an enlightened mind. Education shouldn't be stiff or anal retentive IMO.

"right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must": I can't think of a more apt parallel, really...
(and it's deeply cynical that the neocons choose to enrobe it with "salvation" speeches)