“Your Fear” by Leatha Kendrick

Leatha Kendrick


Now ask yourself—who might it serve that you
would grow downhearted? What do you choose
to see? What will your seeing make? The “news”
selected and relayed, mirrored and soon
a billion times its weight, weighs on the mind
that seeks it out. What is the new? The breath
just drawn, the thought not yet enfleshed, the kind
word being said, the stars that press unseen
overhead. “It is the unforeseen
upon which,” Poe said, “we must calculate
most largely.” Impossible to separate
misery and joy—the living edge of mystery.
Time’s unfolding, dauntless, holds you dear.
The universe has no need of your fear.

from Poets Respond
December 23, 2018


Leatha Kendrick: “Like many others, I have distanced myself from the 24-hour news cycle. Last week here in Lexington, Kentucky, reader and writers celebrated Thomas Merton’s life with a reading from his works. Merton, who died in 1968, lived in Kentucky at the Abbey of Gesthemani and had many friends among Kentucky writers including Wendell Berry (one of my teachers and mentors). As I listened to again Merton’s clarity about what divides us, I realized he could have been writing about today. As the Vietnam War intensified, Merton saw the opportunities for distortion and manipulation inherent in television reporting. He claimed to have only watched television twice in his life. His words made me ask myself again, ‘What do we gain from the 24-hour news cycle? What is it selling, if not fear? And for who’s benefit?’” (web)

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