We Rise to Play a Greater Part

I'm off to vote in the primaries here in Delaware. I delight in doing this small thing and all the crabby things I say about politicians fade.  I find it amazing that people are willing to run for office, knowing that their election depends on the sometimes fickle sentiments of louts like me. And when elected we will hold them accountable for their votes on mind-numbing bills concerning sewer regulations and to read long studies of run-off related to roadway expansion, and so forth and so on. And more, no matter the self-serving that is possible, we expect our elected officials to be signs of commonwealth, of the care the whole for all its parts.

So voting is first a salute to those who, if they win, will face boring hours in meetings, and if they lose will feel rejected.

Then of course I will vote for the candidates of my choosing. Candidates of first choice are those who believe we can "rise to play a greater part."  The line comes from a  song by Leonard Cohen, "Villanelle for our Time." The words are by Frank Scott, a former teacher of his. 

I read this poem and listen to Cohen's voice a lot these days. I'm coming to the end of playing several parts and moving on to play others, but behind it all there is the hope once again to "rise to play a greater part."  Voting is a part of that greater part, and, of course, there are others.

Here are the words:

From bitter searching of the heart,
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part.

This is the faith from which we start:
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.

We loved the easy and the smart,
But now, with keener hand and brain,
We rise to play a greater part.

The lesser loyalties depart,
And neither race nor creed remain
From bitter searching of the heart.

Not steering by the venal chart
That tricked the mass for private gain,
We rise to play a greater part.

Reshaping narrow law and art
Whose symbols are the millions slain,
From bitter searching of the heart
We rise to play a greater part.

And here is Leonard Cohen's voice.


1 comment:

  1. What a delight (especially for Canadians). Sometimes I worry that Frank Scott has been forgotten; not only a poet, he was a spokesman for labour in his non-fiction writing, and one of the founders of the CCF (the forerunner of the New Democratic Party, currently the opposition party in Ottawa).


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