‘I Am on the Side of Tears’

Duong Tuong (1932-2023), oil on canvas, 16×20 in. (JMN 2023). Poet and translator Duong Tuong translated nearly 60 foreign works into Vietnamese. They include works by Proust, Emily Brontë, Nabokov, Camus, Sartre, Céline, Chekhov, Murakami, Günter Grass and Tolstoy. Mr. Tuong said his most often quoted line, which could be used as his epitaph, was, “I am on the side of tears.” … The phrase represented his belief that it is the duty of all people to address the suffering, weakness and oppression in the world, and to “make the tears stop flowing.” (Seth Mydans, “Duong Tuong, Who Opened Western Works to Vietnamese Readers, Dies at 90,” New York Times, 3-9-23)

“All we can do now is pray.” Famous last words. Prayer is the recourse of the desperate when there’s no recourse. It’s the last croak from the isthmus of the fauces before humanity lies facedown in the mud.

When you finally spoke, it was to say nothing at all.

(Margaret Renkl, “An Open Letter to Governor Lee on the Slaughter of Our Children,” New York Times, 3-29-23)

Religion hangs decorator drapes in the recreation room of despair and discreetly draws them against the flames outside the window. Religion helps us go all dimpled and dappled like a Gerard Manley Hopkins epiphany while tots absorb bullets from the magazines of Hell.

“We can’t control what [wrongdoers] do,” [Tennessee governor] Bill Lee said.

(Mike Baker et al., “After Mass Shootings, Republicans Expand Access to Guns, New York Times, 3-30-23)

All we can do now is pray.

(c) 2023 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Quotations and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to ‘I Am on the Side of Tears’

  1. Nice painting !
    Have a nice day !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is just so incredibly depressing hearing of yet another slaughter of children and adults by one person with high-powered guns in the US. How will this ever stop? We watch in horror. Sue

    Liked by 1 person

    • JMN says:

      Sue, I always welcome your comments and feedback, and I thank you especially for this one. I react on the blog as little as possible to certain lamentable aspects of our national life here, but sometimes the urge to groan is acute. I’m afraid the answer to your question — how will it stop? — is that it will not any time soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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