Celebrating Detroit’s process of rebirth

Wednesday, May 31

I hadn’t begun to look for a poem this morning for today’s post, technically at least, the final post before Work Day/Hard Time’s summer break (back again August 1).  I was only browsing Crain’s Detroit Business before turning to a poem.   This Crain’s piece caught my eye and, distracted from a poem search, I read an article with this headline:  “Orchestras conference to return to Detroit after 31 years.”  For this 35+ year Detroit homey, the piece is delicious.  It does not ignore my city’s wounds and the slow process of rebirth in more and more places within our 140 square miles.  For me, rebirth articles turn my head, often.  Like yesterday’s news that The Ford Foundation just announced that it will be opening an office in the City, a follow up on its startling $125M investment in our bankruptcy’s “Grand Bargain.”  Homeys here know that although Henry and his son Edsel founded the Ford Foundation in 1936, a fight with Henry the Deuce c. 1955 shut down the Foundation’s presence in Southeast Michigan until, c. 2 years ago.  Then, they backed our Architecture School’s process for a fifty year Detroit Future City plan.  From that start several years ago, and the Foundation’s lead role in the Grand Bargain, comes yesterday’s news about an office in the city (http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2017/05/30/ford-foundation-office/102332510/).  Homey’s delight.

Even so, today’s piece about the Orchestras Conference coming to Motown to talk about the DSO’s pretty amazing rebirth, turns my head today.   I remember my first time at Orchestra Hall, c. 1982. The Hall’s rescue from the wrecking ball was just “in progress.” That evening, I learned during my first live performance there, why it is counted one of the acoustical wonders of the country.  Today, Orchestra Hall lives at the center of some billions of investment dollars all around it.   Next week, the DSP will  host c. 1000 orchestra people, coming to talk about how this rebirth came to be (http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20170525/news/629531/orchestras-conference-return-detroit-after-31-years#utm_medium=email&utm_source=cdb-afternoon&utm_campaign=cdb-afternoon-20170526).

Yes, I’m a little giddy.  That’s partly because my week on Pine Ridge leaves me alive with beauty and a history of kinship there.  Maybe partly too because I was looking for a good send-off to the list before summer break.  I hope you check out both Crain’s articles.

Let me conclude, though, with a wonderful poem written by Rashani Rea.  The poet’s evocation of rebirth, was not explicitly written for Detroit, but . . . .   Best to read the poem out loud, with pauses.

See you c. August 1.   Have a blest summer, our beauty and turmoil and all.


john sj

Today’s Post:  “The Unbroken”

There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
a shatteredness
out of which blooms the unshatterable.

There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.

There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.

There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open to the place inside
which is unbreakable and whole,
while learning to sing.

Rashani Réa

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