An old German poem comes to mid. It speaks of the four great winds -- the North Wind,
the East Wind, the South Wind, and the West Wind -- who in conversation are plotting as to where they should meet for their next spectacular dance. "Let's
meet at the canyon," says the North Wind, "Oh yes, let's meet at the great
bridge there," says another. "Ah, and let's meet there at the
midnight hour when the last train is crossing," says the third wind.
"Hurray," says the fourth wind, "what a wonderful dance this will be, a whirl-dance of fire,
mingled with shrieking voices and breaking steel."
And as they had conspired, so it was
done. As the poem ends, the first question is repeated. "Where will we meet
The poet speaks of a bridge that
has stood rock solid for ages and has weathered many storms, but not all of them
coming together from all directions. He speaks, as if he was speaking of today's age, where we are
increasingly threatened with the relentless force that combines all that is
inhuman. And so, we in this age, if we care to survive the storm, find ourselves challenged to heal
our world of
threatening and increasingly unfolding nightmare.
Today, as in the poem, there are four horrific forces
coming together which are poised to destroy all life, love, and civilization.
Sure, we can halt the
four violent winds in
their track, but to accomplish this, and to protect our world, we first need to heal
ourselves. And this we can do, because as the poet vaguely points out in
the poem, the obvious fact is that the destructive four winds that challenge
civilization are after all but "winds." Thus, the poet defines
the nature of empire, as but puffed up boisterous winds. He bids us to realize
that the power of empire is but a ruse, because mankind, having stood its ground
for countless millennia, is ultimately not that easily blown off its foundation.
There is a power in man that can command the winds, and cause them to cease.