Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Barely One You Wish To Harm

Barely One You Wish To Harm

There are only so many people you can carry
in your small boat before their weight sinks you.

A hundred you can carry whom you love.
But barely one you wish to harm. 

          This poem reminded me of two things. The first is the book Life of Pi, as the boy (Pi) escaped a sinking ship via a lifeboat, only to learn that the boat also holds a spotted hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger. Throughout the book, the tiger (Richard Parker) and Pi "fight" for survival "but barely one you wish to harm".
          We learn that Pi was raised a Hindu who practices vegetarianism. At 14 he investigated Christianity and Islam and decided to become an adherent of all three religions, having said he "just wants to love God." The author, Yann Martel, said Life of Pi can be summarized in three statements - "Life is a story... You can choose your story... A story with God is the better story."
          A recurring theme throughout the novel seems to be believability. Pi at the end of the book asks: "If you stumble about believability, what are you living for? Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?”
          That's one of my favorite lines. Just believe. 
          The second thing this poem reminded me of was A Visit To William Blake's Inn  which is an attempt by Nancy Willard at writing in the style of Blake for children. You can see one of the poems and illustrations below. 

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