A Brief for the Defense
by Jack Gilbert

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace , they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
everyday in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafes and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.


  • What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
  • Addictive Thinking and The Addictive Personality, by Abraham Twerski M. D. and Craig Nakken. Two books in one.
  • What’s A Parent to Believe, by Timmen L. Cermak, MD (marijuana)
  • The Recovery Book, by Anthony B. Radcliff, MD
  • Addiction Why Can’t They Just Stop?, by John Hoffman & Susan Froemke
  • Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues, by Barry Neil Kaufman
  • When Bad Things Happen To Good People, by Harold S. Kushner (degenerative disease)
  • dogs of god, by Pinckney Benedict
  • Soul Mates, by Thomas Moore
  • Earth in The Balance, by Senator Al Gore (global recovery)
  • In The Absence of the Sacred, by Jerry Mander
  • Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond
  • The Mirror Effect, by Dr. Drew Pinsky
  • Alcoholism, by Clive Graymore
  • Prozac Backlash, by Joseph Glenmullen, MD
  • Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson
  • Kitchen Table Wisdom, by R. Remen, MD
  • The Big Book of AA, NA, or any 12-step authorized publication
  • Eat Right 4 Your Type (blood types for your diet), by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo