Eric D Dobbs 
Member since Jan 16, 2018


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Re: “How It Was

As usual, it takes a poet to see clearly things that have become shrouded in the haze of familiarity. I came here to college in 1967, having been brought up in Roanoke. Cloistered away in the University of Richmond, it was several years before I became acculturated to Richmond, with its non-rhotic accent and peculiar traditions connected with the Civil War. Like Ron Smith, I was brought up in the South, but things were different in Roanoke with its industrial atmosphere - nothing like the air of decadent gentility I eventually began to feel in the humid air of Richmond. Among the things that mystified me were the monuments and how such glorifications of misguided reverence for disaster and the hideous waste of so many young lives could exist. But, like your grandparents' strange and tasteless furniture, they eventually faded into the background of the local color. Except when I was asked by foreign visitors "who were these men?" Somewhat embarrassed, I explained who they were and what they had fought for. These men were at best insurrectionists and actually traitors. "How can this be?" they asked, mystified that such men could be publicly memorialized. I said, "well, this is the only country in the world, I guess, where a monument can be raised to a traitor." Again, "how can this be?" I was at first flummoxed, but I said, "we're free."

16 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Eric D Dobbs on 01/16/2018 at 10:44 PM

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