Here is a very good article from the NY Times about the failure of spin and stonewalling in some high-profile disasters. BP's failure to speak honestly and remorsefully, instead making things worse with attempts to trivialise the disaster, is particularly egregious, proving how vast an echo a leader's words can have. CEO Tony Hayward's "I want my life back" will probably live in memory the way Clinton's "I did not have relations with that woman" has, or Nixon's "I am not a crook." There's much to be said for speaking the truth.
Though I think poetry is tremendously important, I am not myself a writer of poetry. I gave that up after some adolescent attempts that, though long since destroyed, still bring a blush of shame to my cheeks. However, there are some ideas best (or only) expressed in verse, and since in this case I can’t follow Philip Larkin’s advice and write what I want to read, I thought I’d throw out a challenge to any aspiring poets who happen by this post.
I’ve been thinking a lot about boat people, oil spills, whaling, and how these issues circle and plumb our collective soul, and particularly as a country ‘girt' by sea. The word ‘seaworthy’ continues to float atop these thoughts. I feel constitutionally incapable of producing the poem they seem to demand, so I thought I’d cast them adrift and see if any passing poet hauls them aboard.