Children, come to my knee.
I am old, I forget
More things than I can say.
What is the news today?
No news today, no news today.
There is always news-a town
Burning, a man shot down.
Men salt the lands with man;
The blood rusts a man’s hand.
That is no news today.
No news, no news….
But were I to say
I have seen mercy: the sun lapping
The bared head, the empty hand
Why, who would believe you today?
Randall Jarrell / The Complete Poems
When the president said today, “You mark my words, people are going to tire of the war on terrorism. And, by the way, it may take more than two years,” I realized that I don’t have two or more years to devote exclusively to fixate on a war that I have very little chance of altering. It is time to refocus on those things that are most important today instead of worrying about a future I cannot control anymore than I could control in the past.
When I look back at my life, it’s amazing how many wars have impinged on my life: World War II, The Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, not to mention a few-odd police actions. Luckily, I was unaware of most of them, unless that was the reason I liked the Fort Apache I got for Christmas so much, and nothing in 4th grade seemed quite so important as that cute girl who wouldn’t pay attention to me, certainly not a war in a distant land.
I don’t think I will “tire of the war on terrorism,” nor do I think I will be able to avoid being outraged as long as there is a television in the house, but I will try my best to focus on the small things that bring me joy and make my daily life as meaningful as it can be.
My war, the one I couldn’t ignore, made me miserable for a long time, but it also made me aware of how lucky Americans really are.
If I’m luckier this time, my revived awareness of just how much misery there is in the world and how much misery will inflict on others will somehow make my moments of happiness more precious instead of eating away at them.