Monday, September 15, 2008

My children are all well. . .


History is a perverse imp. It makes us imagine that we can escape our past. It is a labyrinth with more minotaurs than heroes.

Sad, sad is the story of Icarus. How was he to understand that the danger of flying near the sun with wings made of wax and sea gull feathers? The poor boy had been confined all his life to the prison. And to assume that any parent, even a genius of engineering, could protect a child from the perils of the world—pathetic, really.

Icarus was not guilty of hubris. He was guilty only of being young. He was guilty of having been punished on his father’s account.

Does this make the grief of his father less? It does not. Nor does it limit the pain and fear as Icarus plummets into the sea. It only demonstrates the pathetic fallacy of every parent—that they might, somehow, rescue their child. The first sight of that little chick head wobbling on a neck fragile as a promise can undo a person. From then on, the only goal is to die before that beloved child, because otherwise is unbearable.

For this reason there are so many stories of the sleeping, the imprisoned, the permanent child.

What the child learns from these stories is unclear.

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