Note to My Granddaughter Jessie
In the dark light of a cold January day
I am listening once again to grim news
Of senseless violence overseas,
While here at home
The degradation of our days
Is measured by the mob’s ascent,
The reeking stench of thuggery,
And the cowardice that underlies the rise of white supremacy.
It seems that we are living through a time
When the distance dividing us from other people’s rage
Is vanishing. The news is nothing if not grim,
And we have been told repeatedly that violent death
Is coming our way - that nothing we say or do
Can possibly save us from our own history.
This may be true but even so there still remains
The simple beauty of the morning rain to praise.
It has been raining here for hours, Jessie,
And I have lit a fire to take away the chill.
There is music here as well,
Lyrical and spare delineations of our longing
From the horn of Lester Young.
Hearing Lester burnishing the air between the notes
You have to love how skillfully
He works to build a space
From which the need to kill
Has been ceremoniously excluded.
You have to love how gracefully
He reaches past the grief we feel in search of deeper pleasure;
How he teases out perfection;
How he preaches understanding;
How he calls on us and calls on us
To love the fallen world.