Monday, June 5, 2017

Diminished Things, Part 2

What to make of a diminished thing—It is a terrifying question, at least to me, as I sit here pondering the state of the world, the receding of all that seemed promising, the sudden looming predominance of all that is absurd and unhinged and ugly.

Diminishment is a difficult concept to grasp because it is natural. Think entropy. Even in his poem in which he concludes with the phrase "what to make of a diminished thing," Robert Frost holds out the hope that everything is cyclical, like the seasons themselves. This is the problem with being a nature poet: There is always hope in the short-term. And that makes us uncertain of how to deal with the reality that something is always being lost. Yes, the return of spring is long as one doesn't go extinct over the winter. The rainy season is a relief...unless one drowns.

Hope vs. wishful thinking. That is our dilemma as human beings, as artists, as teachers. That is our on-going challenge. Something is needed in place of hope, as we ponder what to make of a diminished thing. Especially when the diminishment is our own fault.

Fate vs. choice was another of Frost's grand themes. How ironic that we have the choice here of what it is that will be diminished, what will be lost. And we keep choosing to diminish ourselves. What to make of this diminished thing, indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment