pseudopodium
. . . Maria Shriver

. . .

The true wonders of this world

"... poets and artists in reviving a more living sense of our moral traditions are political in that way -- cleansing the air."

Regarding the ever-fresh topic of political art, I recommend scooting on over to the Sacramento Bee to listen to Maria Shriver's Maya Angelou reading at the inauguration of Herr Governor Schwarzenegger.

Even in a politician's wife, rarely have I heard fear so tightly corseted. But her strangled dignity reaches Story of O levels at the lines:

"... whose hands can strike with such abandon, that in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living. Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness, that the haughty neck is happy to bow and the proud back is glad to bend."
That truth was perhaps a little too brave and startling, since she then stumbles:
"Out of such chaos, out of such contradiction, we learn that we are neither devils nor divines. When we come to it, we this people, on this wayward floating body, created on this Earth, have the power to fashion for this Earth a climate where every man, and every woman, can live freely without sanctimonious piety and without --

"Enduring history --

"When we come to it, we this people on this wayward floating body, created on this Earth, of this Earth, have the power to fashion for this Earth a climate where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety, without crippling fear. When we come to it, we must confess that we are the possible, we are the miraculous, the true wonders of this world. That is when, and only when, we come to it."

Where Shriver stumbled, of course, was at "crippling fear." Which she replaced with the improvised equivalent, "enduring history," an easier thing to live without.

In either case, one could say that she spoke truth to power, since Maria and Arnold, like Angelou's other admirers, would indeed be willing to confess that they are the possible, that they are the miraculous.

But why should speaking truth to power so often involve marriage to power and the duty, as hostess to power, of keeping attractive young women out of power's groping hands at public functions?

Well, that's where art comes into it.

This poem was written and delivered in honor of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.
© Maya Angelou

. . .

Errata

Reader Renfrew Q. Hobblewort comments:

Sir: I'll have you know Maria Shriver is 48, thus no fresh blossom in the manure garden of political life.
We deeply regret any inconvenience.

 

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