virus: Virus Poetry Corner

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 5 Mar 1999 12:20:52 -0800

Dave Pape wrote:

>Wasn't there some mythical golden age when mailing lists and newsgroups
>were allegedly less hierarchical than they are now?

That reminded me of this poem from the latest issue of The Progessive. -Prof. Tim

The Shape of Mythic Lies
by Michelle T. Clinton

There is a story that we are told.
There is a story that we hear again & again. And so we hear the story and so we believe the story. The story is shaped like this:

        Once, in a time in the past
        there were people
        who were like we are
        except they were happier than we are now
        they were luckier than we are now
        they were better than we are now.
        Once it is clear that in the past
        people were happier, luckier & better
        than we are now
        something happens to them.
        Something bad happens to them
        & it's sometimes their own damned fault
        but sometimes it's not.
        The middle of the story is that
        the people lose their luck & their happiness
        through a terrible change.
        And the end of the story is that the people become us.
        And so we are unhappy & unlucky
        & maybe we've done it to ourselves
        & yesterday is better than today
        & here we are
        & don't be surprised if all this makes you depressed.
This is the shape of mythic lies:

exalted people in an exalted past
a dreadful change
& this horrible now.
This story believes your best worth is in yearning for a lost time. This story is a thief.
This story constricts the muscles of your heart

& takes away the breath of your present. I am trying to warn you:

Guard the region of your mind that takes to the shapes of stories.

Beware the myth of flawless kings & glory-full cavemen on their hunt. Beware the story that starts in the garden & finishes in hell. Be aware: Our time is not downhill from perfection.

        Our time craves you, your feeling, your action.
        You are the one born for sake of your excellent presence.
        You are the one radiance in the center of our precious now.