Sunday, October 05, 2003


Conrad: your honest and fiery words below are a forthright admonition to us all.

Your last two sentences are utterly moving. You write: "don't ask me why i'm so pissed off over here. ask yourself over there why you're NOT!"

Your sentences and sentiment echo an apocryphal story about Thoreau's arrest for refusing to pay his taxes. He wanted to call attention to the abolitionist cause and the Mexican War.

The story is this: Emerson heard Thoreau had been arrested so he went to the Concord jail to bail him out. As Emerson approached the county jail he could see down into the holding cell where he saw Thoreau looking out and up from behind the bars. Emerson said, "THOREAU WHAT ARE YOU DOING DOWN THERE?" And Thoreau said, "EMERSON WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT THERE?"

That's the story I was told, and like to tell, and is mightily alive in sprit of the gifted young poet CAConrad.

(The real story is that the tax was probably paid by Thoreau's Aunt Maria, not Emerson. People in Concord wanted to know why Thoreau went to jail, so he wrote "Resistance to Civil Government," now known the world over as "Civil Disobedience.")

--Tom Devaney

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