O Clemens, O Pia

But if you think that exile is a feature of our condition (Percy did, as did many others stretching all the way back to St. Augustine), and if you sing “To thee we exiles, children of Eve, lift our crying” as you pass through this vale of sorrow, then the question, it seems to me, is: with whom, and where, would you be exiled?

The answers we give, if they can be made to fill out more than the contours of mere self-fulfillment, may prove to be fatal rather than whimsical.

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4 comments on this post.
  1. Ken Craven:

    Well said, pilgrim.

    Ken Craven
    scholar-in-exile
    Sparta, TN

  2. Fenmick:

    Mr. Peters that road of yours is, purportedly, a mighty fine road. So this bodes poorly for the rest of the nation.

  3. Anymouse:

    Excellent essay. The freeways are like vacuum cleaners that suck the people out of the small towns and villages.

  4. Robert Oculus III:

    Yes, but. I suppose there are some small towns somewhere that have beautiful, quaint main streets, shade-dappled cottages, and in which every day is a joy and life is a banquet of neighborliness and Gemütlichkeit. The small city that I grew up in isn’t one of them. It was and is a wonderful place to be sucked out from. It was a place of narrow, anti-intellectual, lowbrow, suspicious people, it had practically no art of culture, and it offered the young, bright, and ambitious no hope for any future beyond a life spent toiling in the low-wage retail or food service industries. (Eight families ran and still run all the town’s major businesses and control who gets a job at them, and at the local government and service utilities.) It is a place of low incomes, low expectations, and low performance.

    I was lucky — my dad worked at the Army base outside of town, rendering us independent of the eternally-depressed local economy. I was able to escape. But for thousands of kids just like me, there was no escape, just a lifetime spent within the limits. They are still there, flipping hamburgers and cleaning the houses of those who own and control the few “good jobs” to be had.

    I got out, and have never looked back.

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