————————————————-

Bruce S. Post, a former Selectboard member, was chief of staff for 1980 presidential candidate U.S. Congressman John B. Anderson

Against The Grain Masthead.png
The Poisoned Arrow

April 15, 2021

I closed my previous column: “We have conversations. We can continue down this path of having conversations.”

Little did I know that Selectboard members Elaine Haney, Patrick Murray and Vince Franco would soon hold their own secret conversations, engaging in a mendacious and profane texting tryst at the March 25th Selectboard meeting, Haney’s last.

I have struggled with how to respond. Three or four times, I started a commentary but scrapped each draft. I did not want   to emulate the flaming that has occurred on Facebook and Front Porch Forum about this merger; I did not want to mirror Haney’s, Murray’s and Franco’s behavior.

Then, I remembered a favorite poem, The Arrow and the Song by Longfellow:

I shot an arrow into the air, 
It fell to earth, I knew not where; 
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight 
Could not follow it in its flight. 

I breathed a song into the air, 
It fell to earth, I knew not where; 
For who has sight so keen and strong, 
That it can follow the flight of song? 

Long, long afterward, in an oak 
I found the arrow, still unbroke; 
And the song, from beginning to end, 
I found again in the heart of a friend. 

poisoned arrow2.png

To me, this poem is about intention. It seems reckless to launch an arrow not knowing where it would land.

The arrow, though, did no harm because it was accompanied by a loving song that would eventually lodge “in the heart of a friend.”

Apprentice herbalists learn that the healing quality of medicinal herbs is affected by the intention of the preparer.

If you are sloppy and unmindful, your preparation will be weak; put care and compassion into your effort, and the result will be healing.

 

On March 25th, Murray encouraged Haney to “Go out with a bang,” and she did, intentionally shooting an arrow with a poisoned tip. 

It was accompanied not by a loving song but one of derision and spite. 

 

Both the arrow and the song landed squarely in the heart of our local democracy, and we are all wounded.