While enjoying a chopped cabbage,
lettuce, celery and olive salad
in Dorothy and Tom’s kitchen,
“…with a bit of horsreradish?”
I query Tom about children in poverty.
“…once and future poverty?”
Yes. A future that looks
with eyes of apprehension
Shoes and extra fries?
Life in the ‘hood?
A friendly hand for the long walk?
…and those ten servings of vegetables?
“I’m not sure I can put it into words,
that sense of one’s humanity
in connection with someone else;
to be of use to people
with no need to protect
oneself against others.
the momentum of the low income life style.
It’s hard to know
how the parental legacy will play out.
Having children is a hopeful response of the organism.
“You wonder. What’s going to happen
to kids raised on the street, in cars and camps?
With minimal shelter?
What’s their response to that parental legacy,
their no fixed abode?
Why shouldn’t their response be,
‘Get an infinite amount of stuff…’
Where and how
will be their contentment?
“…is it wonderment at new things?
To think the new.
To live the new.
To get up off all fours and look at the horizon?
…and what about friendship?
“Can they truly access the supreme value of friendship?
Friendship in a life that comes to an end?
“If the Universe aims at richness
then the uniqueness of individuals is prime.
And if we really pay attention
doesn’t that have something to do
with being friends
and the possibility of tenderness?
…extending to tenderness for the planet?
Isn’t it through our relationships with others,
our quest for continuity, for knowledge,
for friendship, for love?”
(Tom, a consumate artist, taught Art and Philosophy
in China and the US.This discussion’s qualifications?
Father, grand-father and friend.)
“How does friendship happen?
…a choice without expectations?
…your own responsibility to be
the best person you know how to be
because if I’m of no use to myself
how can I be a friend to you?
“It is the underlying duty of friendship,
isn’t it…to maximize your human resources.
Being the most you can be
is tantamount to being a friend.
“I believe group organisms evolve with friendship:
development, richness, variety,
all shouldered by the group
because unique is unique.
That evolution of friendship
is greater, more important
than any things I could own or collect.
“From inside my heart, my being, my self summarized,
I have a good assessment of my limitations.
…an awareness of the burden of excellence.
“I want to learn ‘why.’
My desire is ‘to know.’
…to create an enthusiastic environment
and maintain the momentum of curiosity
“We always strive to harmonize
reason, happiness, dignity and freedom;
but how to contact the injured?
“It is the wonderment
…of emotional and intellectual camaraderie,
…of interpersonal generosity,
…of sharing hopeful and uplifting life experiences,
material well being and altruism.
“These are the challenges and delights
we gain looking into these eyes of our human future.”