Saturday, August 29, 2009

Readings: Black Swan Rising


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Last night, for the first time in a long time, I took from the shelf The Gary Snyder Reader. In a prose piece about a trip to Australia, Snyder relates the following anecdote, spoken by one of his traveling companions, John Stokes, during a discussion of the disappearance of a baby from a public campground which had been big news the year before:

Stokes then reports what [poet] Robert Bly said at a talk in Adelaide. Bly was commenting on the thirteen young women who all mysteriously disappeared from a picnic at Hanging Rock in the 1890s. No one found out what happened to any of them. Bly says, “You want to know what happened to the girls at Hanging Rock? Because you Australians won’t give the aborigines their land back, your women are going to disappear. What happens then? They turn into black swans and the black swans turn into B52s. How do I know? Because that’s what happened in America.” Very useful commentary, Mr. Bly.

Indeed. I can make use of that by relating it to this quote from G.K. Chesterton’s novel, The Man Who Was Thursday, which I am also currently reading:

Like any man, [Syme] was coward enough to fear great force; but he was not quite coward enough to admire it.

Neither, one suspects, was Crazy Horse. Pray for Virginia Dare.

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