There Is No Escape From Telling, by Edward Curtin

A meditation on how we interpret the world, from Edward Curtin at

By the lake’s lapping shore above the town and the railroad tracks, my wife and I stopped and marveled, struck stone silent by two dazzling Baltimore Orioles, clawed together as they tumbled, wrestling in the green morning breeze above our heads.  They perched upon a branch and sang a morning hymn, an ode to joy and the spring’s morning glory.  Their black and orange throats vibrated amid the green quaking aspen’s leaves as the lake’s low lapping sounds lent counterpoint.  They were sublime.

I too felt a quake, a shiver down my spine as associations tumbled through my mind.  Poems, songs, memories of other early morning walks in spring.  Intoxication, elation, the horripilation that accompanies spring’s rising, the sexual excitement.  Hope, and the loose feeling of being forever young.  No solution to anything, just reverence for existence.  Nothing changed, except a few years.

In quickly putting into words what I felt a half-hour ago, I drew on a vast store of personal and cultural memories that came to me with little thought as I was walking home.  Words strung together without thinking.  You have just read them.  I felt impelled to tell them.

Now as I sit and contemplate, I think about culture and what it might mean.  In my case, I was gifted by my parents and schools with the love of poetry and art from a young age.  I know well that everyone is not so lucky and that, in any case, culture has many meanings.  “Culture,” writes Raymond Williams, “is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language.”  From its original verbal meaning to cultivate the land to high, low, and middlebrow culture onto so many other meanings and conflicts that are often tied up with social class issues. There are cultures and culture.

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One response to “There Is No Escape From Telling, by Edward Curtin

  1. Fear Of Anarchy

    Culture? What culture, F’ culture, the blueprint for all control.

    Sleaford Mods

    Especially the fundamentally transformed culture of the former USA.

    “You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.”

    ― Alexander Solzhenitsyn


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