Part Five--Not Just a “Walk in the Park”: Poetry and Politics - 1/15/2016

Today's blog post was written by Edward M. Richstone. Richstone is a retired school psychologist. He has written articles on a variety of topics for civic organizations and city newspapers.

Central Park, New York City 7/2/2009
Photo courtesy Christy Hengst
 

In my previous blog, the remainder of the phone interview with Ms. Hengst covered her techniques of construction and strategies for showing.

Christy Hengst’s work inspires me to wax poetic. I am sure that I am not unusual in this regard. Wherever birds appear, they are a welcome sight. For me, doves, in particular. They mate for life. Their calls sound like laments. When I hear them, I always wonder whether they have lost their mate. But the reality is that this bird, an icon of peace, is known to eventually find a replacement, just as we must rebuild after a war.

Always, somewhere in the world, violence rages. Christy Hengst experienced shock and dismay when she witnessed in 2003 how the American public largely reacted to the U.S. invasion of Iraq with unquestioning acceptance. Christy felt impelled to process this and reach out through her art.

At different times in my own life, I have been repulsed by blind complacency and, worse yet, callous disregard. Often humanity seems morally shipwrecked. But Christy’s porcelain birds, like those in nature, bring into view a reality beyond ourselves. In a mystical sense, they appear as messengers, just like the proverbial bottle from a desert island, containing a letter, washed ashore, begging for rescue.

In parting, Christy left me a quote from Hermann Goering, one of the highest-ranking and vilest of Nazis. The pronouncement, included among Christy’s images, bears an “eerie” resemblance, as Christy puts it, to much more recent developments. Goering’s chilling words:

“….Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany….it is always a simple matter to drag the people along…All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Christy encourages the public to visit her website: www.christyhengst.com

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