Let No One Be Called (Updated: Audio)

Ernest Lockridge, Ernest Lockridge, "Are We There Yet?"
Ernest Lockridge, "Are We There Yet?"

Ernest Lockridge, “Are We There Yet?”

Let No One Be Called (3:11)

Perhaps it is better to have no legends.
Let there be no letters composed into rigid words.
Let no words be graven onto replicating presses.
Let the forms be broken and the letters be molten.

Let there be no more legends on the earth.
Let life live and death die.
Let there be no names for sorrowful recollections.
Let there be no words for the earth, for love,
for life, for death, for beauty and piquant faces.

Let there be no sorrow or recollection of life.
Let there be only the river and its odor of fish and flower.
Let the river be a nameless flowing from distant to distant summer.

Let there be no collectors of specimens, classifiers of species.
Let no one disturb mounds beside the river.
Let no one give names to extinct peoples.
Let all the fossils remain undisturbed around the watering places of the earth.
Let no one sorrow for the extinct billions.
Let no one grieve for the three-toed ancestor of the horse.

Let there be no more historians of species, nations, races, suns.
Let there be no nebular hypotheses.
Let there be entire forgetfulness and beautiful and blissful ignorance.
Let there be no lusting for forbidden fruits.
Let there be no commandments or fearful commander.

Let there be no historian of the decline and fall of empires.
Let there be no historian of republics in glory and decay.
Let there be no empires and let there be no republics.
Let there be only the earth, which does not weep or have vanity.
Let there be only the earth and the nameless memories of flesh.

Is the frog absent without a name or a color?
Only the namers have names, only the bald mammals
with the adroit hands write names on stones.
Let there be no symbols traced on stones.
Let there be no alphabet coupling into words.

Ask the earth about loyalties and listen for a response.
Ask the river about permanence and listen to its voice of change.
Let no one be emancipated from ignorance into grief.
Stay away from graveyards and earth mounded beside the river.
As long as you can, boy. As long as you can.
Let no one mourn beside the tomb of the storied hero.
Let no one yearn to be named in that tomb.
Let no one be called hero.
Let no one be called.


Extracted out of and adapted from Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr. (pp 1043-44).

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Douglas Storm is a host and producer for Interchange on Bloomington, Indiana's community radio station WFHB. "Why then do you try to 'enlarge' your mind? Subtilize it..."

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