28 June 2004 - Monday
Sonnet to National Public Radio
When ignorance my thoughts subdues, and when
The sound and fury of plebeian tongues
O'erwhelm my native tolerance again,
Then do I seek the solace of thy lungs.
I crave the fire of thy stillness and
The passion that comes only to the mild.
I bare my mind to touches of thy hand;
Thy verbal powers lightly drive me wild.
Commercial radio feeds the baser tastes —
For pop, for rap, for boors with loud bombast —
The AM band turns minds to barren wastes
And leaves offended gentler souls aghast.
Then thy sweet voice my frayed nerves soothes once more;
Thou hast the power of silence I adore.
24 June 2004 - Thursday
History is boring
I wept twice in the last two days while listening to the radio.
Yesterday morning, a story on Emmett Till sent me reeling. In 1955, Till (a fourteen-year-old black) was murdered in Mississippi. Apparently, he was kidnapped and killed by the husband of a white woman at whom he had whistled. When the battered body was found, it was placed in a sealed coffin. Till's mother, however, had the coffin unsealed. Despite the grotesque mutilation of the body, she staged a open-casket funeral. Thousands of people viewed the corpse, and Jet Magazine published a photograph. I will not describe the horror of it here, but I have seen that photograph. But the thought of a mother . . . .
This afternoon, I heard a story about the return of a fallen soldier's remains to his family. I lost my composure when I heard that the soldier's father placed one of his own medals from Vietnam in the coffin.