Recognition Scenes

This is how it begins

The image/         the pawnees
in their earth-lodge villages,
the clear image
of teton sioux, wild
fickle people the chronicler says,

This is how it ends

in our desires, our desires,
mirages, mirrors, that are theirs, hard-
riding desires, and they
become our true forbears, moulded
by the same wind or rain,
and in this land we
are their people, come
back to life.

The poem is “The Pride” by John Newlove and it concludes the 1968 Black Night Window — note the tension that is created by the alternative positioning of “we” and “they”.

Now consider this ending for Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, the last short story being “October 2057: The Million-Year Picnic” (Note how the third person narration leaves a lot of room for the reader to be astonished and choose to identify (or not) with the action.) The final sentence reads:

The Martians stared back up at them from a long, long silent time from the rippling water….

And I am indebted to the Wikipedia entry for this summary (and the information that the story was first published in 1946).

A family saves a rocket that the government would have used in the nuclear war and leaves Earth on a “fishing trip” to Mars. The family picks a city to live in and call home, destroying the rocket so that they cannot return to Earth. They enter and the father burns tax documents and other government papers in a campfire, explaining that he is burning a misguided way of life. A map of Earth is the last thing to be burned. Later, he offers his sons a gift in the form of their new world. He introduces them to Martians—their own reflections in a canal.

A third recognition scene is from Pogo = “we have met the enemy and he is us”.

And so for day 1038

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