The image I carry of Cortés setting fire to the aviaries in Mexico City that June day in 1521 is an image I cannot rid myself of. It stands, in my mind, for a fundamental lapse of wisdom in the European conquest of America, an underlying trouble in which political conquest, personal greed, revenge, and national pride outweigh what is innocent, beautiful, serene, and defenseless — the birds. The incineration of these creatures 450 years ago is not something that can be rectified today. Indeed, one could argue, the same oblivious irreverence is still with us, among those who would ravage and poison the earth to sustain the economic growth of Western societies. But Cortés’s act can be transcended. It is possible to fix in the mind that heedless violence, the hysterical cries of the birds, the stench of death, to look it square in the face and say that there is more to us than this, this will not forever distinguish us among the other cultures. It is possible to imagine that on the far side of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment we can recover threads of an earlier wisdom.
~ Barry Lopez
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keeping in mind the words of the poet Pierre Joris, ". . . I make the arrogant claim that the poet is possibly the last, in Robert Kelly’s words, ‘scientist of the whole… to whom all data whatsoever are of use.’ . . . The prerogative of the poet is to steal directly whatever is of use, without needing to theoretically kowtow via analysis, explicatio, critical cloning or proof of pc allegiance."