Some fling away Some stay and cling— Each their own Way To do their own thing.
Sacrifice meaning For love of the rhyme; Know that in dreaming You make up the time.
Sacrifice meaning— When thought becomes sight Your soul from its mole-hole Blinks into life-light.
An early poem, from when I was searching for meaning and questioning the various Meanings that were presented. Decades later, I feel the answer to the meaning of everything is best expressed by Leonard Cohen at the end of Tower of Song. That, and by John Cleese in the photo’s poster, and Douglas Adams’ “42”. Do your own thing, indeed; and keep dreaming and rhyming.
‘Some Fling Away’ was first published in ‘Metverse Muse‘ in India.
It’s coming through a hole in the air From those nights in Tiananmen Square It’s coming from the feel That it ain’t exactly real Or it’s real, but it ain’t exactly there; From the war against disorder From the sirens night and day From the fires of the homeless From the ashes of the gay Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It’s coming through a crack in the wall On a visionary flood of alcohol From the staggering account Of the Sermon on the Mount Which I don’t pretend to understand at all; It’s coming from the silence On the dock of the bay From the brave, the bold, the battered Heart of Chevrolet Democracy is coming to the U.S.A
It’s coming from the sorrow in the street The holy places where the races meet From the homicidal bitchin’ That goes down in every kitchen To determine who will serve and who will eat; From the wells of disappointment Where the women kneel to pray For the grace of God in the desert here And the desert far away Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
Sail on, sail on O mighty ship of state! To the shores of need Past the reefs of greed Through the squalls of hate Sail on, sail on, sail on…
It’s coming to America first The cradle of the best and of the worst It’s here they got the range And the machinery for change And it’s here they got the spiritual thirst; It’s here the family’s broken And it’s here the lonely say That the heart has got to open In a fundamental way Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It’s coming from the women and the men Oh baby, we’ll be making love again We’ll be going down so deep The river’s going to weep And the mountain’s going to shout Amen! It’s coming like the tidal flood Beneath the lunar sway Imperial, mysterious In amorous array Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
The United States is a “flawed democracy” (as defined by The Economist Intelligence Unit, see below). “Democracy” was written by the Canadian poet/singer/novelist Leonard Cohen over three years in the early 1990s. The song as we have it was boiled down from some 60 verses, scattered through seven or eight notebooks. In his book “Songwriters On Songwriting” he explains, “This was when the Berlin Wall came down and everyone was saying democracy is coming to the east. And I was like that gloomy fellow who always turns up at a party to ruin the orgy or something. And I said, ‘I don’t think it’s going to happen that way. I don’t think this is such a good idea. I think a lot of suffering will be the consequence of this wall coming down.'”
There are so many strong lines in this poem that, although written 30 years ago, resonate today. I particularly like
It’s coming from the sorrow in the street The holy places where the races meet
and the mention of America as
The cradle of the best and of the worst
as well as the timeless, human dynamic of
From the homicidal bitchin’ That goes down in every kitchen To determine who will serve and who will eat;
Photo: A map of the world showing the results of The Economist’s Democracy Index survey for 2016. This file is licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. The USA has been stuck in the third tier for the past few years, scoring below 8 on a 10-point scale. Those in the first tier, scoring above 9, are the five Nordic countries plus New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Canada, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Note that almost all of the top tier countries use some form of Proportional Representation (PR) to elect their governments. Several of their parliaments include parties with Trump-style xenophobic parties, because it is important to include representatives of all opinions in a democracy. But with PR the most extreme parties of right and left are unlikely to be included in a government, let alone dominate it. With PR the parliament gets the benefit of hearing all concerns and points of view, and the voters get the opportunity to vote more closely for who they want: a choice of libertarian, fundamentalist, green communist, as well as more mainstream conservative, liberal or social democrat. Voter turnout is naturally higher than in a two-party system which fails to address the interests of a large percentage of the population.
Other points that can be made from looking at the truest democracies: 1) Unicameral structures score best, meaning the US could have just the House, no Senate. 2) There is no need for separation of the Executive and Legislative functions; separating them doesn’t provide any benefit, despite the holy mantra of “checks and balances”, it merely destroys efficiency and obfuscates responsibility and encourages confrontation. 3) The Judiciary should not be appointed by the government, it functions best if it is developed with true independence within its own legal system.
The American system is an interesting historical artifact, but long outdated and highly counterproductive to good government. When Americans have written new constitutions for countries that they have taken over, the results have not been good. They should let the Scandinavians do it.
I recommend watching the Danish TV series ‘Borgen‘ (it has English subtitles) for a practical view of a single-chamber, multiparty system of coalition government.
“You look like a musician-poet in that dark fedora.”
I think of the young Dylan, and it takes away my breath,
And for her easy flattery I all the more adore her…
But she meant Leonard Cohen in the days before his death.