Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What will they think of us?

Yesterday a new name was unveiled on the black marble monument that stands in the town common. A new name under the name of a new war . . . or rather an old war renamed and continued through the centuries in locations all across the globe--different civilizations, different weapons, but for the same reason: power, resources, religion.

And I wondered . . . eons from now, long after ancient wonders have turned to dust; long after Stonehenge is mere grains of sand; pyramids are flattened plains; cities are piles of rubble, and the archeologists discover us anew, what will they make of these indestructible monuments of polished black marble buried at odd angles beneath ruins across the world?

Will they deduce their purpose? Will they decipher our ancient language? What will they say about our society?

That we take pride in our countries?
That we honor our heros?
That we recognize sacrifice?
That we mourn for loved ones lost?

That we never found peace? Never made peace?

And will they learn from our sad lesson?

About Kevin T. Preach
Read Memorial Day Tears on Camroc Press review

Peace has its victories no less than war, but it doesn't have as many monuments to unveil. ~Kin Hubbard


Carter said...

They will write poems like this:

"'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my works. Ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."--Shelly


Ross Eldridge said...

Hi there, Ruth,

I'm glad Carter mentioned Ozymandias. I don't have a collected Shelley here and now I don't have to hunt it down online.

Looking at those dark, shiny monuments makes me think (always) of the monoliths in "2001: A Space Odyssey". You'll recall that nobody in the film plot knew what exactly they were. The viewers and readers gradually learned they were listening posts, an early-warning system.

A shame our sad monuments to war and terrorism and unnatural death and destruction are not early warnings to us. Perhaps they are to some people. But is anybody acting on it ... really?

Monuments have certainly been simplified. Have you ever seen the Albert Memorial in London? Everything Albert ever touched gets a carving. Nowadays we have but names on a smooth surface, and names are, by nature, a mystery. One cannot ever really know someone by their name. We can never get the answer to the question "What were they thinking?" from a name. [And some of the names children have today make one ask: "WHAT were their parents thinking?"]

I like the bit of greenery on the lower picture. The black stone is so dead, the greenery is alive.

So it goes.


Jo said...

If they are our desendants, they will probably still be waging wars over the same issues -- power, resources, religion. It will never change. And they will create monuments that their descendants will uncover.

Wanda said...

Ruth, what a provokative and prfound article.

I just makes me sit and ponder.....


Janice Thomson said...

Thought-provoking and poignant post Ruth...as the song says; 'When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn...'