The old and the new, the up and the down have been with us since the beginning. As the poet W. H. Auden said, “the situation of our time surrounds us like a baffling crime.”
Technological changes are the steps we climb in each generation to re-discover basic truths. Some find them in the buzz of contradictions, expressed as perils and new orders and nuggets of definition that give way. These differences are rungs that lead us back to what is profound, that remain always unexpressed but buried to be unearthed in the living. They are dust tracks on the road.
The former poet of the Library of Congress, Chicago’s Gwendolyn Brooks in her day put it this way about a couple (The Bean Eaters) whose light because of diet and income sought refuge in beans:
They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair,
Dinner is a causal affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
The two are Mostly Good,
Two who have lived their day.
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.
And remembering . . .
Remembering, with twinkling and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that is full of
beads and receipts and dolls and clothes, tobacco crumbs, vases