The deepest dream is of mad governors,
Down, down we feel it, till the very crust
Of the world cracks, and where there was no dust,
Atoms of ruin rise.
– The Deepest Dream – Mark Van Doren (1894-1972)
He appears, inexplicably,
on a panel talking about the death of JFK,
the day after, late in life, surely years after
he wrote The Deepest Dream.
He doesn’t say much. Unlike his son,
not given the answers, he doesn’t
wind on like the others, doesn’t speak at all
until late in the program, and then
speaks mainly of the past.
But then later, coming to this:
Whoever did this…
defeated his own end more completely
than one can say.
But then, he is still speaking
of the past, of Brutus and Cassius,
of Lincoln. Perhaps thinking
of the early church.
The camera pans the eminent men:
the worldly philosopher
and seems as dazed as they seem
in the wake of the few lucid words
that anyone can say.