Why Are We Here?

That’s not a philosophic question – it’s the raison d’ etre for The Agonist.


John Adams’s answer:

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

  I think it is particularly appropriate today to ponder why Martin Luther King, Jr. worked so tirelessly, what he and others died for.

“…to give a life
In the world of time and space among the bulks of actual things,
To a dream that was dreamed in the heart, and that only the heart could hold.”

Padraig Pearse

  Back in the sing-along ’60s, I once ex-temp’d a verse to ‘Michael, Row The Boat Ashore’:
          “Maybe Lord, I ain’t been free – hallelujah!
           But my children’s gonna be – hallelujah!”

  Some generations do more heavy lifting than others. MLK Jr was one who ‘thought of the children’.

  It is helpful sometimes, particularly in the darker hours, to remind ourselves of why we struggle: we want something better, if not for ourselves, then at least for future generations and – I am optimistic enough to believe – for everyone, not just our own family/ethnos/country.
Between the mechanics of iiving and our attempts to improve it, we often lose sight of the things which make life and the struggle worthwhile.

The Agonist is not a family place, but it can foster friendship.
It is not an art gallery, but it can provide beauty, in it’s myriad forms.
It is not a literary venue, but it can share poetry.

The Man Beneath
    Tatters and the naked man beneath
    and the grime of the forsaken past
    and the keepsake purity of what was future,
    more anger than a failure can maintain,
    a rigid pride where wisdom would be silent.
    This man has seen harsh seasons
    yet none so bitter as his shade.
    You who find a challenge in each sound,
     notice the scars and the shuddering reflex,
    consider how he came by his compassion
    and wonder that
    his touch burns like a brand-iron.
    There was a time he moved as an animal
    and his will sufficient for his reach.
    There was a once he did not feel his skin crawl
    at the sight of a suspended moment
    or gasp to hear his world
    crumble beneath thundering centuries
    and hush.
    The knowledge of his world as it fell,
    it cracked across his mind and who he was.
    This man remembers an instant out of time
    when he shared

Eulogy – For Everyone
    Three birds came to announce the wind,
    the soft blue wind,
    three birds flying as one
    over the hard green earth.
    The garden was quiet, very
    as if things
    were buried there.
    And one red rose
    (so dark dark dark it seemed about to bleed)
    fell red-bursting on the silver air
    and shattered the hard green earth.

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