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On Hope: David Ray’s idea

Posted on the April 16th, 2010

From an interview with poet David Ray – CERVENA BARVA PRESS LLC, 2005-2006

“No matter how regrettably our ‘creative’ intentions misfire, taking action is more honorable than evasion and paralysis. I stray from your question, but that’s precisely what my writings do, whatever scattered work you mention.

I hope my leadings of conscience, especially ‘One Thousand Years’ and ‘The Death of Sardanapalus,’ will not be remembered merely as propaganda. I hope I will not, like Cervantes, wind up burning my manuscripts. I hope I will not, like Flaubert and Tolstoy, curse my work as contemptible. I hope I will not, like Edna St. Vincent Millay, depressed and addicted to alcohol and morphine, denounce as ‘propaganda’ her work of humanitarian passion such as ‘The Murder of Lidice’ and her activism protesting the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti. Did she really want to be remembered only for her sonnets and that splendid poem of enthusiasm for nature, ‘Renascence,’ which made her famous while she was still in her teens? Instead, I would rather witness, in all senses of the word, to the unbearable lightness of being, not the unbearable burden of darkness.

First lines from Ray’s poem, “THANKS, ROBERT FROST” (“Music of Time: Selected and New Poems” 2006):

Do you have hope for the future?
someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.
Yes, and even for the past, he replied,
that it will turn out to have been all right
for what it was, something we can accept,
mistakes made by…

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