Saturday, April 02, 2005

The word "wiser"

Mark Kleiman, in correspondence, suggested I write an occasional poem on Terri Schiavo's death (though in the meantime I see he's calling for a moratorium). I replied that elegies are long and difficult and bad at an even higher than normal rate. I've written one, for Sergio Vieira de Mello, but for someone who I think is lucky to have finally died, or has been dead for years, it's the wrong form. But...

Nine Lines On Terri Schiavo's Death

At 18, you weighed 250 pounds.
When you died, you weighed 110.
The last fire will leave much less.
And no scale is subtle enough
To weigh your soul.

How better to measure love
Than by the suffering of the living?
And no scale is capacious enough
To weigh a nation's pain.

Some comments on Terri Schiavo at Obsidian Wings starting here. In my private version of English "wiser" and "smarter" are synonyms, but writing in public I distinguish them, or pretend to. As hilzoy says in the thread, it would generally be wise to not talk about Mrs. Schiavo for a while, but I did learn something about what I think in the process of commenting.

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