THOLOS OF ATHENA

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

MOLLY IVINS, AMERICA'S BELOVED HUMORIST, HAS DIED

Wisdom and humor were combined in such a delightful way, in the essays of Molly Ivins. And she deserves the laurel wreath that is given to the brave, having spent many years in a fight with recurrent cancer. Molly was a Texas original, an irrepressible spirit and an influential figure, whose political commentary was often hilarious and touching as well. She was supremely gifted in the art of lampooning the tragic and often ridiculous figures who haunt our political life. There was such a blessing in Molly's humor, and something deeply instructive.

I found myself laughing as I considered her persona, which always produced such satires and other fun in her artistic life, and there was the striking humanity in all her written words. After all, most talented humorists are admired for their wit; but only a select few, like Molly Ivins, have been so widely loved. There is either the pang of grief, or a sweet kind of laughter that arises when the memory of her life's work stands revealed. I wanted to find a poem to honor her; and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran came to mind, immediately this passage:
Then a woman said, speak to us of Joy
and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your
laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your
tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your
being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very
cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your
spirit, the very wood that was hollowed
with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into
your heart and you shall find it is only that
which has given you sorrow that is giving
you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in
your heart, and you shall see that in truth
you are weeping for that which has been
your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than
sorrow,"and others say, "Nay, sorrow is
the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits
alone with you at your board, remember
that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales be-
tween your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at
standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to
weigh his gold and his silver, needs must
your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

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