Weekend Poetry: Three Poems by Kyle Heger
The Optimism of the NihilistsDid the nihilists ala Bakunin reallybelieve that once the social orderwas destroyed a better system wouldtake its place? Where did they getthe optimism to think human naturehad anything better to offer? It isdifficult not to be touched by suchnaiveté.Sympathy Note to the Socialist InternationalYou have my sympathy. All thatsolidarity and suffering, all thosehigh hopes and mistakes, all thatdestruction and building and planning,all that loyalty and betrayal, and allthose endless meetings wasted. Howwere you to know until the experimenthad failed so often that the world,the species, wasn’t worth the troubleof so noble a dream?Siding with the PhilistinesI’ve worn my voting finger to thebone funding grade-school classesin music, drama and visual arts,believing that education must gobeyond “the three Rs” if peopleare to lead happy, fulfilling andproductive lives. But suddenly,years of hearing my two oldestsons complain about whathappened in their “enrichment”programs have combined withmemories of how my own earlyimpulse toward the arts barelysurvived nine years of ham-fistedinstruction, leading to a belatedEpiphany. So now, as my youngestchild is poised to enter the samegauntlet of classes in whichmaintaining compliance andforce-feeding curriculum are moreimportant than nurturing students’nascent esthetic senses, I havesurprised myself by contemplatingthe possibility of striking a strategicalliance with the Philistines andvoting against school money for“The Arts,” steeling myself to thetask in much the same way thatanarchists swallowed theirindignation to make commoncause with Social Democratsin order to defeat Franco in theSpanish Civil War and China’sCommunists forced themselvesinto cooperating with the Kuomintangto fight off Japanese invaders duringWorld War Two.
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