I am visiting the Pacific University low residency MFA creative writing program as a faculty member and the program has its winter residency in a beach front hotel in the town of Seaside Oregon. Our plane trip from Iowa to Minnesota and then to Portland was a cinch but getting from the airport to the coast was quite a journey owing to the debestating flooding that folks are experiencing in both the states of Washington and Oregon. ON the way here it was hard to tell the sea from the land in many of the low lying communities.
The sea is the realm where the effects of global warming are most catastrophic. Coming out of Iowa where last summer’s epic flooding shut down the University of Iowa and nearly destroyed the city of Cedar Rapids I couldn’t help but feel today as we made our way to the coast that the damage to our planet has produced wider effects across our continent than our slack government was prepared to acknowledge until very recently.
One feels the futility of talking about literary art while the planet is reeling. I taught last summer while thousands of students and local citizens tried to save the University of IOwa’s library by sandbagging in a vast industrial line.IN despair at the terrors of the second world war Auden once remarked that poetry makes nothing happen. May he be wrong always. Can we solve the crisis of climate devestation? Al Gore says we’re nearly out of time but there’s still a slim window.
A slim window. Like those windows in the Aran Islands, built narrow to keep out the north sea. A narrow window with an hour glass.
O let us be stewards.
Last night I dreamt that a holy man, a bishop told me to eat only the tenderloin insects. I shall trust like John the Baptist that our ways shall be made straight.
I think my unconscious was calling for a simpler life. The planet could subscribe to human simplicities.