February 03, 2003

attitudes and self-focus

Death Comes in Clouds

Death comes in clouds now
And in contrails,
In billows and mushrooms
And smoke. In streaks
Across a morning-blue sky.
It seems wrong, somehow,
The combining
Of horror and beauty. But then
It's not a new mixture
There always has been
The rich ruby sheen of blood
The sleek glimmer of knives
The sparkle of deep water.
Still, death by cloud is new
This past century:
More beauty defiled.
We can't afford
More beauty defiled.

This morning on the news, I saw an interview with the sister of one of the Columbia astronauts. She said, "We'll get through this, we'll help each other through this." And of course I felt sorry for her because her brother's dead and all, and of course I'm glad her family is helping each other deal with grief. But since when do you talk about "getting through" a grief two days after it's inflicted? That's not the time to worry about your own mood; that's the time to weep and wail and rail at God and the universe, or to take and give comfort, or to mourn the dead person in whatever way that particular person ought to be mourned. She's probably not really a selfish woman, and it's not fair to judge someone by what she says in a time of pain, with a microphone shoved in front of her face. She's probably saying what she thinks people are supposed to say at this sort of time.

So what sort of culture do we have when concentrating on one's self instead of the dead person seems like what is supposed to be said?

By the way, kudos to NASA for protecting the immediate families of the astronauts and asking the reporters to leave them alone.

I'm having trouble with the question "So, how was your weekend?" today. I mean, in one way, it was fine. I got a massage, made some adjustments to my boat that I think will help, washed and waxed it, saw a good movie, bought tickets to visit T2 and Egret, spent loves of time with Rudder. On the other hand, I spent a lot of it in front of the TV watching footage of people dying, watching a gut-punch to the only federal agency it's still possible to love. (Only because love is blind. You do have to squint enough to ignore the big piles of red tape.) So I had a horribly depressing weekend in that sense. Maybe I should read what I just wrote and not focus so much on my own reaction.
Posted by dichroic at February 3, 2003 04:59 PM
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