Category Archives: Poetry

Poem for the Weekend

“Spring” by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

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Afternoon Links

Burn it all down

Every damn day it’s something else. It’s exhausting. And we’re only a little over a hundred days in.

How to read the newspaper

A critical eye is warranted. Newspapers, like all the works of men, are imperfect things, and the nation’s newspaper editors and television-news producers are very much at fault for the low general level of trust in the media. But they do not traffic wholesale in fiction. All of the cries of “fake news!” in the world are not going to change that. What is happening right now is not salubrious skepticism but a kind of mass hysteria, millions of heads plunging with struthioniform insistence into the same sand, as though insisting that reality is something other than what it is, or merely averting our gaze, would somehow alter the truth. Something has changed radically with remarkable speed. Not long ago, when I would inform someone that they had passed along an Internet hoax or erroneous claim (writers on public affairs spend a fair amount of their correspondence thus engaged) the response would be a sheepish “oops.” About once a week, someone will inform me that Hillary Rodham Clinton was disbarred for misconduct (she wasn’t) or that Barack Obama’s mother-in-law is receiving a six-figure federal pension for having babysat his children (she isn’t) or some other such nonsense, and then cry “fake news!” when corrected. The irony is that they have fallen for fake news, and retreat into “fake news!” when their gullibility is shown…We owe it to ourselves to take account of reality. And we owe it to the country, too. It is cheap, it is cowardly, and it is bad citizenship to simply shriek “fake news!” every time reality forces a hard choice upon us.

Here’s why Comey couldn’t just quit in February

101-year-old D-Day veteran claims new record for oldest skydiver

Books about books

“I am told that what the President did is actually far worse than what is being reported.”

Trump’s defense of his Russia leak is not reassuring

Bosch and Bruegel

Opera’s essence is the orchestra 

A New Jersey bill protects pool owners from low prices

“A child cannot be president. I love my children; they cannot have the nuclear codes.”

One does not need to be a Marvel superhero or Nietzschean Übermensch to rise to this responsibility. But one needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control. And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed. Trump is seemingly deficient in them all.

Of course he did. He’s Trump.

The music of poetry

Tolkien’s tennis shoes

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Weekend Links

Why no one takes protest art seriously

Tyrannosaurus rex was a sensitive lover, new dinosaur discovery suggests

Capturing the essence of Pushkin

‘To Walk Invisible’ explores the suffering and genius of the Brontë sisters

The Freedom Caucus is the silver lining in the Obamacare debacle

Picasso portrait that became legend of the French Resistance could sell for $50 million

Don’t mock Mike Pence for protecting his marriage. Commend him.

Why Mosul is so hard to take

This is why you probably hate slam poetry, according to a linguistic scholar

Why are ‘doomed’ poets considered better?

Democrats are heading toward an epic miscalculation in filibustering Neil Gorsuch.

How did Monet become so popular?

President James K. Polk’s body may be moved. Again.

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Your Morning Cup of Links

The surprising rising popularity of board games

Netflix to restore and release unfinished Orson Welles film

Unbelievable. Literacy is racist, guys.

The best Sinclair Lewis novels for these crazy times

Franz Kafka’s posthumous short stories

Bosch and Bruegel

The passions of Elizabeth Bishop

The poetry, politics, and madness of Ezra Pound

Mussolini’s last lover 

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Poem for the Weekend

Leisure
by William Henry Davies (1871-1940)

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

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Music Monday/Poem for the Week

 

Darest Thou Now, O Soul
by Walt Whitman

Darest thou now, O Soul,
Walk out with me toward the Unknown Region,
Where neither ground is for the feet, nor any path to follow?

No map, there, nor guide,
Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand,
Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips, nor eyes, are in that land.

I know it not, O Soul;
Nor dost thou–all is a blank before us;
All waits, undream’d of, in that region–that inaccessible land.

Till, when the ties loosen,
All but the ties eternal, Time and Space,
Nor darkness, gravitation, sense, nor any bounds, bound us.

Then we burst forth–we float,
In Time and Space, O Soul–prepared for them;
Equal, equipt at last–(O joy! O fruit of all!) them to fulfil, O Soul.

 

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Poem for the Weekend

Upon his Picture
by Thomas Randolph (1605-1635)

When age hath made me what I am not now;
And every wrinkle tells me where the plough
Of time hath furrowed; when an ice shall flow
Through every vein, and all my head wear snow;
When death displays his coldness in my cheek
And I myself in my own picture seek,
Not finding what I am, but what I was,
In doubt which to believe, this or my glass;
Yet though I alter, this remains the same
As it was drawn, retains the primitive frame
And first complexion; here will still be seen
Blood on the cheek, and down upon the chin.
Here the smooth brow will stay, the lively eye,
The ruddy lip, and hair of youthful dye.
Behold what frailty we in man may see
Whose shadow is less given to change than he.

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