However, as I am sure contemporary politics will occasionally provoke me to postings better left imagined, I ask your forgiveness in advance.
To begin, I'm going to ignore the interpretation of history. Instead I am going to quote part of a poem that has long haunted me. If it is not about history, is certainly about memory and time. (I would post the whole poem, if I did not want to begin life here with a copyright suit from Ecco Press.)
The poem is by Czeslaw Milosz, it’s from the collection, Bells in Winter (1974), and it’s called “Encounter.”
I dedicate it to any person drawn to look back in the past, over his life, or her life, or the life of others.
The poem begins with a memory of travel in a wagon through the woods at dawn. Somehow you know that it is drawn by an animal. It’s a cold dawn. A hare darts out . . .
“One of us pointed to it with his hand.
That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive.
Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.
Oh my lover, where are they, where are they going
The flash of hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.
comments powered by Disqus
- NYT's Notable Books of 2015: These are the history books that made the cut
- Petition signed by 44,000 to add more female thinkers to the Politics A Level syllabus in the UK
- Most Students Have No Clue What Accurate Native American History Looks Like
- Historians Re-Enter Presidential Studies
- David Courtwright sees 19th-century solution to the current heroin crisis