Monday, October 29, 2018

A Poem for the Times

Ai Wei Wei, "Spouts"
from Life Cycle*

Good Bones

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
Maggie Smith

"Spouts piles together thousands of antique teapot spouts dating as far back as the Song dynasty (960-1279). Following Ai's practice of repetition and multiplication, Spouts can be seen as a mass of mouths, a metaphor for the widespread yearning for freedom of speech despite its continuing restriction throughout many societies."


  1. I don't know. I can't feel this way. If I let myself, I would be hopeless.
    Perhaps I am the child. Tell me the lies. I need to hear them.

  2. Every day, again and again, making this place beautiful. This is our struggle.

  3. Wow, that is a fantastic poem. Dark, but fantastic and truthful. We all hide the world's more evil tendencies from children, don't we?

  4. incredible poem that sums it up nicely. how can we be honest with our kids about the evil in the world? why would they want to go on living and growing in such a horror show? they are naturally curious and enthusiastic: the world hasn't hurt them enough - yet.

  5. I always loved that poem, I think because in spite of everything, it holds out the possibility of making this place beautiful. This earth school. This life.

    1. I agree with that being the primary reason I too Loved it.

  6. I just Love that Poem, I'm going to Share it... it is definitely a Poem for the times.



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