Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the [Civil] war. I believed in it. I don’t know whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I approved of it; I joined in the general cry of madness and despair. I urged men to fight. I was safe because I was too old to go. I was like the rest. What did they do? Right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable -- which I need not discuss today -- it changed the world. For four long years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian against Christian, barbarian uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to kill. It was taught in every school, aye in the Sunday schools. The little children played at war. The toddling children on the street. Do you suppose this world has ever been the same since? How long, your Honor, will it take for the world to get back the humane emotions that were slowly growing before the war? How long will it take the calloused hearts of men before the scars of hatred and cruelty shall be removed?We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and we rejoiced in it -- if it was the other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell you how many upright, honorable young boys have come into this court charged with murder, some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common frenzy -- what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and these boys were trained to this cruelty.
Clarence Darrow
Rush-hour on the A rain. A blind man staggers forth, his cane tapping lightlyown the aisle. He leans against the door,raises a violin to chin and says I’m sorry to bother you, folks. But please. Just listen. And it kills me, the word sorry. As if something like musicshould be forgiven. He nuzzles into the wood like a lover, inhales and at the first slow stroke, the crescendo seeps through our skin like warm water, we who have nothing but destinations, who dream of light but descend into the mouths of tunnels, searching. Beads of sweat fall from his brow, making dark roseson the instrument. His head swooning to each chord exhaled through the hollow torso. The woman beside me has put down her book, closed her eyes, the babyhas stopped crying, the cop has sat down and I know this train is too fast for dreaming, that these iron jaws will always open to swallow a smile already lost.How insufficient the memory, to fail before death.how will hear these notes when the train slides into the yard, the lights turned out and the songlingers with breaths rising from empty seats? I know I am too human to praise what is fading. But for now, I just want to listen as the train fillscompletely with warm water and we are all swimming slowly toward the man with Mozart flowing from his hands. I want nothingbut to put my fingers inside his mouth, let that prayer hum through my veins. I want crawl into the hole in his violin.I want to sleep there until my flesh becomes music.
Ocean Vuong