Monday, June 02, 2014

Ode to history

by azly rahman




A good friend of mine once wrote to me in defense of history as memory so
necessary: Memory leaves traces, perhaps like marbles that, according to the shifting incidence of light, shine an occasional pattern we can crave to see. History is the history we can tell ourselves and look at our child in the eye.


But I replied to her with my understanding of history:

But if history is one we can tell ourselves
And look at the child in the eye
By whose narrative are we possess'd by?
----Of the Emperor's without clothes?

Who called upon his sages
And tell them: Ah... write me this story
So that generations aplenty can be reminded of this glory
----Or is this,
history of those cast off from this kingdom bountiful and plenty
Those whose blood sweat and tears buried-- and eternally be one
with the Pyramids
of Power of Your Majesty

Ah .. what is history?
But a syntactic, phlegmatic and ironic linguistic trajectory

Thrus'd into the noetics of this child we look in the eye.
This child--- dazed and confused of what it means to be historied by the collection of memories
whose truth and falsehood are perhaps in disarray.
Like the history told by Dante, Marat, and Robespierre.

Or one told in whispers by the once exiled Khomeini,

Or narrated in splendor pomp and pageantry
and archived in Mein Kampf
and sung to Wagnerian symphony.
What historied us thus?
And whence do we point to the Emperor without clothes.
And burn his garment and him and all ceremoniously
So that the child we look in the eyes
Will cast off his garment and write his own symphony.
Amen!

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