Links 10/3/19

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Yves here. It was 103 degrees in Birmingham yesterday.

I Gave My Cat a Fitness Tracker and the Results Were Worrying Vice (resilc)

Woman Caught On Camera In Bronx Zoo Lion Exhibit YouTube. Darwin award futures.

National Poetry Day 2019: 28 of the most powerful lines ever written Independent. Readers please provide your picks! Some of the ones here weren’t that strong, IMHO. What about Blake, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney? The Ezra Powell choice strikes me as odd. And what about the thumpy but effective Charge of the Light Brigade?

How anti-vaxxers target grieving moms and turn them into crusaders against vaccines NBC (resilc)


Southbound flows rescuing Hong Kong equity market Bruegel

From Dan K. A must read:

North Korea: ‘Grave moment’ as North tests missile fired from sea BBC


Dismay in Brussels as Boris Johnson finally reveals Brexit plan Guardian (furzy). Um, it is not as if anyone was surprised.

UK parliament to be suspended again from Tuesday Politico. As we predicted. And this is well within the parameters that the Supreme Court set out. Like it or not, Johnson is within his rights to want a Queen’s Speech.

Note this was telegraphed yesterday but now it is official:


Exclusive: In Saudi Arabia, criticism of Crown Prince grows after attack Reuters

MBS must shelve his vicious war in Yemen Asia Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

What If The World Treated The U.S. Like a Rogue State? HuffPost (UserFriendly)

France Set to Roll Out Nationwide Facial Recognition ID Program Bloomberg. Cross them off my tourism list.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Google contractors reportedly targeted homeless people for Pixel 4 facial recognition The Verge (Paul R)

What Is the FISA Spy Court and Why Do People Keep Bashing It? RealClearInvestigations (UserFriendly)

Trump Transition

Justice Department Weighs Collecting DNA From Migrants in Custody Wall Street Journal

This poll number proves how powerful Trump’s misinformation machine really is CNN (furzy). No, it’s that most people don’t care. An intra-elite cage match has nothing to do with putting food on the table.

There’s Another Whistleblower Complaint. It’s About Trump’s Tax Returns. Washington Post (furzy). *Sigh*. Complaint is re alleged undue influence re Trump’s audit, which knowing Trump’s bullying tendencies, is entirely plausible. However, first we get garbage like this:

….whom he gets money from, whom he owes money to (and on what terms) or how his 2017 tax overhaul enriched him personally.

Repeat after me: tax returns are not Rosetta stones. They show general categories of income, and the names of partnerships (for the K-2 filings). They most certainly don’t show the names of creditors. And the tax reform issue is a stretch since both houses voted through legislation that Trump signed. Regular readers will remember that the reform plan that Mnuchin presented was so thin as to be embarrassing, but the Republicans have been salivating for tax “reform” for years and had draft language all ready to go.

The Americans who think a monarchy would solve their political problems Guardian (resilc). They need to pay attention to Brexit.


Both Nixon and Clinton Defenders Cried ‘Coup’ Too New York Magazine

Trump, Republicans accuse top Dem of orchestrating whistleblower complaint NBC (furzy)

Five Observations on the Politics of Impeachment RealClearPolitics (UserFriendly). Pelosi does not have the votes, and it’s not clear how she gets them. So this piece is out over its skis.

How Donald Trump Could Further Erode Democracy During Impeachment New Yorker

A Brief Guide to Giuliani’s Questionable Friends in Ukraine — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast ProPublica. UserFriendly: “LOL one corrupt anti-corruption prosecutor after another.”

Freedom Rider: The Phony Ukraine Scandal Black Agenda Report (resilc)


Corporate Journalists Push Tax Attack on Medicare for All FAIR (UserFriendly)

My Plan to Tax Excessive Lobbying Elizabeth Warren (Kevin C)

The Significance of Bernie Sanders’s Heart Disease Atlantic (resilc)

AOC, Sanders Dine at Burlington’s Penny Cluse Café Seven Days Vermont (resilc)

Sen. Susan Collins Feted as “Hero of Kavanaugh Confirmation” at High-Dollar California Fundraiser Intercept

Is the US Political System Beyond Repair? CounterPunch. We need to ask?

ALEC’s gerrymandering summit taught lawmakers how to get away with gerrymandering. Slate (Chuck L)


Mass shootings have hit 158 House districts so far this year The Hill

Democrat Biden will seek if elected to ban assault rifles but not force owners to sell them Reuters. Resilc: “Please tell me why the cops are not against assault rifles, body armor and silencers big time?????”

UAW rejects new GM offer as strike forces 6,000 Mexico layoffs Reuters (resilc)

U.S. to impose tariffs on $7.5 billion of EU imports after WTO ruling: report MarketWatch

Scotch whisky and French wine hit by $7.5bn US tariffs Guardian. Note that this is jumping the gun (natch), the WTO is supposed to give the $ amount of tariffs the US can apply and it has not done so yet.

Federal R&D, Tax Credits, Immigrants Might Boost Tech Innovation Bloomberg. Resilc: “I will repeat: a much bigger crisis than climate change is deciding on the iPhone 11 or wait for the iPhone 12 in 2 months. The marginal utility of new crap is nada. I want old stuff I can fix easily and it works the majority of the time.”

Global market rout hands FTSE 100 worst day since 2016 Financial Times

The Dow dropped more than 800 points in two days — here’s what’s going on CNBC

Boeing 737 Max Safety System Was Vetoed, Engineer Says New York Times (Paul R)

IRS: Sorry, but It’s Just Easier and Cheaper to Audit the Poor ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Will a wealth tax be crippled by avoidance schemes? The Week (UserFriendly). Gives a more detailed summary of the Summers/Sarin piece in the Washington Post than I did, and also includes a rebuttal by Zucman and Saez that I chose not to dignify…their claim that the rich hold only 20% of their wealth in private businesses. That is a completely made up number. There is absolutely no way to know. As I pointed out, little old moi has had multiple clients who were WAY above the threshold for inclusion in the Forbes 400 (domestic or int’l) and weren’t because their holdings were mainly in real estate or private companies. And keep in mind I have a microscopically small data set.

No, We Don’t “Need” a Recession J. Bradford DeLong, Project Syndicate

Class Warfare

Wealth Identity Politics: Billionaires Acting Like A Persecuted Minority Is Peak Capitalism Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly). The coincidence of Schwarzman saying maybe Bernie Sanders shouldn’t exist and Sanders angina is creepy.

Here’s how much things have changed for women-owned businesses since the ’80s (and how far we have to go), by the numbers Business Insider (Kevin W). Some eye-opening factoids.

I Worked at Capital One for Five Years. This Is How We Justified Piling Debt on Poor Customers. New Republic

Antidote du jour. John D:

I stepped out from the kitchen onto the back patio this morning, and happened to look forward into the peach tree, where I saw this owl calmly meeting my eyes. I talked a little to my treasured rodentophile friend, felt a warm communion, gently went back in and got Jenny’s smartphone, and took 3 photos, of which this is the middle. The owl is still there, about 6 hours later. We have not seen our friend since last winter, but we have not seen many mice since then, either.

Screech owl I think, comparing to online images. Same size as last year, about 8″ tall.

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. epynonymous

        It only *feels* like a poem, but “One Night in Your Life” by Ray Bradbury is as good as it gets.

        another favorite line (from quicker than the eye?)

        “They picked a handful of grapes from a wild barbed-wire vine. Holding them up to the sun, you could see the clear grape thoughts suspended in the dark amber fluid, the little hot seeds of contemplation stored from many afternoons of solitude and plant philosophy. The grapes tasted of fresh, clear water and something that they had saved from the morning dews and the evening rains. They were the warmed-over flesh of April ready now, in August, to pass on their simple gain to any passing stranger.

        And the lesson was this; sit in the sun, head down, within a prickly vine, in flickery light or open light, and the world will come to you. The sky will come in its time, bringing rain, and the earth will rise through you, from beneath, and make you rich and make you full.”

      2. newcatty

        The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep. I have promises to keep.

        Robert Frost, 1923

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Not all that well read in poetry myself, but I’ve always been partial to TS Eliot, particularly The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, and more particularly the following line –

      “Do I dare to eat a peach?”

      Old enough to understand what he was getting at now, as I find myself thinking twice about doing things I would have done in a heartbeat without thinking at all 30 years ago.

      So eat up! – the peach juice will come out in the wash.

      1. Procopius

        I’m not well-read in poetry, either, but I’ve found Langston Hughes’ poetry very affecting. For some reason my English teachers never spent much time on poetry, except for Canterbury Tales which was more about language change than poetry itself. In later years I’ve regretted than, but never taken steps to remedy it.

    2. Peter VE

      “In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive. © Back Bay Books, 1983.

      Look, the trees
      are turning
      their own bodies
      into pillars

      of light,
      are giving off the rich
      fragrance of cinnamon
      and fulfillment,

      the long tapers
      of cattails
      are bursting and floating away over
      the blue shoulders

      of the ponds,
      and every pond,
      no matter what its
      name is, is

      nameless now.
      Every year
      I have ever learned

      in my lifetime
      leads back to this: the fires
      and the black river of loss
      whose other side

      is salvation,
      whose meaning
      none of us will ever know.
      To live in this world

      you must be able
      to do three things:
      to love what is mortal;
      to hold it

      against your bones knowing
      your own life depends on it;
      and, when the time comes to let it go,
      to let it go.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        one of my absolute favorites of hers but I couldn’t find it so I contributed another (way far down).

        I am not a believer, so as a hospice social worker when loved ones are gathered around the bed of a patient who has just died, I don’t say a prayer. I used to read that poem aloud the way she wrote it, steady as a heartbeat.

        Despite the fact that the people I worked with were mostly either Catholic or some variety of fundamentalist Christian, it comforted and uplifted them. More than one family asked for a copy and had it printed in the program for the funeral or memorial service.

        What a gift to the world that woman was. I confess I was a little disappointed when she “found God” after her partner of many years died. Her poems enabled me to survive the death of the greatest treasure I will ever have, staying the course without resorting to magical thinking.


    3. eg

      Ted Hughes “Hawk Roosting” seems apropos in the era of our oligarchs ascendant …

      I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
      Inaction, no falsifying dream
      Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
      Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.

      The convenience of the high trees!
      The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s ray
      Are of advantage to me;
      And the earth’s face upward for my inspection.

      My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
      It took the whole of Creation
      To produce my foot, my each feather:
      Now I hold Creation in my foot

      Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly –
      I kill where I please because it is all mine.
      There is no sophistry in my body:
      My manners are tearing off heads –

      The allotment of death.
      For the one path of my flight is direct
      Through the bones of the living.
      No arguments assert my right:

      The sun is behind me.
      Nothing has changed since I began.
      My eye has permitted no change.
      I am going to keep things like this.

  1. russell1200

    “Please tell me why the cops are not against assault rifles, body armor and silencers big time?????”

    That is rather obvious. The very groups that tend to be very supportive of the police when they have a shooting incident, are also the groups that are rabidly pro-gun. If you are a group that feels itself under pressure, the last thing you are going to do is give up one of your strongest allies.

    In some farther right cultures (some of them may be within what is the alt-right, I don’t know) there is a suspicion of the increased militarization of our police, but the mainstream right and populist right are both very pro-gun and pro-police.

    1. Fraibert

      I agree it’s partly cultural but also I suspect there is an element of practical self-preservation: If these items are made illegal and then the police are required to confiscate them, it will be a mess.

      It’s no accident, for example, that the NJ state ban on large capacity magazines has not resulted in any being turned into the police or apparently any law enforcement action to confiscate them (

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        “Associations that represent police chiefs of large urban cities, as well as black law enforcement executives, Hispanic law enforcement executives, and female law enforcement executives, are all part of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, an alliance of police groups that support gun control and weighs in frequently on congressional legislation.

        The group represents tens of thousands of police leaders who serve millions of Americans, said Jim Johnson, the chair of the partnership and the chief of the Baltimore County police department.”

    2. Monty

      Not only are they supported by those organizations and far right cultures, they are all personally members of them too.

      Have you seen that Punisher “thin blue line” logo that the police “fans” are unofficially using?

      I see local cops in uniform at the store, probably going to or from work. Their personal cars are plastered with those kind of stickers. That Skull motif and the Punisher comic book character represent how they see themselves. That explains a lot.

      1. a different chris

        These comments are generally right, but of course there are a lot of police and a lot of attitudes among them.

        The big problem is, as usual, our political system. Where is a conservative church-loving cop to go except to the Rethug side, and thus he has to accept the gun nutz if he wants to get anything from the table. If we had a wider spread of political parties maybe one party could support all the right wing stuff except the anywhere-anytime gunz position.

        I still say anybody can have any guns they want like they can have aeroplanes they can afford, they just need to not store them in the neighborhood. When was the last time you heard of somebody offing his spouse by flying his plane into her?

        1. JBird4049

          The big problem is, as usual, our political system. Where is a conservative church-loving cop to go except to the Rethug side, and thus he has to accept the gun nutz if he wants to get anything from the table.


          Whatever one’s views on any issues, the system has stripped everything of all nuance and squeezed it into two acceptable “mainstream” viewpoints packages being ostensibly liberal or conservative. Personally, I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but heck no, there is no way I want to be associate with, never mind agree with any of the very limited and extreme “conservative” authoritarian, hate mongering, police state loving, big money worshipping positions of the Republican Party.

          I know there are socially conservative Republicans who are anti-gun, but just where would he go? The Democratic Party is going insanely fanatical with identity politics, although to be fair, so is the Republican Party, but with different identities. Really, as much as I despise what the Democratic Party has done by switching from civil rights for all to identy for all, they learned it from the Republican Party which used to be the party of Lincoln.

          Going by the media and especially what the parties say, if you are gun rights supporting you must a potential Republican John Bircher or Klansman, child hating, fundamentalist, and if you oppose them, you just must be some Democratic goofy identity politicsm, open boarders, NAFTA (Thanks, Bill) advocate.

          1. Anon

            You can have all the single-shot, small magazine, deer hunting rifles, pistols, and sling-bows you can store in your garage. Everything else needs to be under strict regulation.

            Things have become so nervy that tourists in my town thought they heard gun shots while visiting the beach and called 911. Sirens and chaos ensued. So much for summer reading at the shore.

      2. Plenue

        Ugh, the Punisher, real name Frank Castle (doctrine). There’s a lot that can be said about that awful character. He was originally a villain (for Spider-man), before being resurrected as as a tough-on-crime anti-hero, achieving high popularity in the Reagan-era. He basically exists to counter a strawman, that of some plague of crime that escapes the justice system. He’s written from the same delusional perspective as characters like Dexter, who is a serial killer but the audience is supposed to consider maybe he’s okay because he only kills people who are ‘obviously’ guilty but managed to get off. These are characters that reinforce the myth that the US justice system isn’t brutal enough.

        The only time the Punisher is remotely interesting is when he’s written as an outright psychopath, but most of the time the writers are infatuated with this thug.

        You might appreciate this article on the growth and dominance of the Punisher logo and aesthetic. If cops are embracing a character who literally exists to do ‘what needs to be done that the cops can’t do’, that says nothing good about where we’re headed.

    3. bob

      This guy was a cop!


      “He was accused last year of possessing 22 rifles and handguns that either had defaced serial numbers or were not listed on his pistol permit. He was also accused of having an assault rifle, a disguised gun, seven silencers and 13 quarter sticks of dynamite.”

      Alluded to at the end of the story is that all of his illegal guns made it back to him. The DA’s office was running a coat check for gun nuts in legal trouble( Regaining control of weapons…)-

      In addition to getting a hunting license, prosecutors accused Doneburgh of two other sentence violations:

      • Shooting a gun at the Camillus gun club.

      • Regaining control of weapons that were to be sold at Gem Sports Supply (inside Ra-Lin’s) after his sentencing.

  2. russell1200

    “I Worked at Capital One for Five Years. This Is How We Justified Piling Debt on Poor Customers. New Republic”

    The WSJ had a nice piece yesterday on how much debt people were piling up buying new cars. A combination of 7-year loans with the extremely low interest rates has people adding multiple past vehicles into their current loans, as in they are into their third+ vehicle that they have purchased when they are still underwater on the one they are turning in.

    1. dan

      At first, would have thought the used car market would be attractive. But knowing how stretched people are, it would seem to be a crap shoot if you actually got a vehicle that had regular maintenance at prescribed intervals.

      1. Sam Adams

        From the day I first learned to drive , I heard my Dad say, “change your oil every 3000 miles, keep your car repaired, clean and vacuumed and keep them at least 10 years. Then you know you’ve screwed GM. You can sleep well.”

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          i’ve been fortunate in this respect.
          2 of “our” vehicles are “inherited” from mom…grandma car and truck,2000 and ’04, respectively.
          my truck (’04) was obtained for $4500…cash from EITC(timing was accidental)…also a grandma truck…old person I know.
          we’ll keep driving them until they fall apart.
          the first two are long distance capable…and both have been in wrecks in the last 2 years(deer, and highschooler with cell fone). damage in both cases was entirely cosmetic, and safety/functionality was easily and cheaply restored…but insurance company wanted us to “total” them, due to age, and the prevailing(and all but enforced) weltanshaung that one simply must get a new car every other year…which is really about maintaining the constant drip of finance’s drug of choice, debt.
          none of them have anything but the most rudimentary computer, and i physically cut the cable on the car’s onstar(never paid for it, but it kept turning itself on and talking to me periodically)
          even out here in the wilderness, we are an anomaly…even the poorest folks i know are routinely trading in 4 year old vehicles for 2 year olds…and being overly concerned about resale value and appearances.
          knowing where most of them work, i marvel that they can afford to eat.
          if this is the new subprime harvest vehicle, the pain that results from the inevitable crash will be more widespread than the last time.

          1. Mel

            “prevailing(and all but enforced) weltans[c]hau[u]ng that one simply must get a new car every other year”

            Is this new? Five years ago I got a 4-year-old car out of a wide choice. Watching the market now, what are offered are 2-, 1-, and even zero-model-year-old cars, with the accordingly higher prices. I didn’t know why.

          2. ambrit

            Same here. A 2001 Dodge PT and a ’98 Dakota, 6-cylinder model. Drive them till they die and then flog the carcass for parts. For a minute I thought you had written “…cut the cable on the Northstar.” Gadzooks! Now that was a [something or other] system!

          3. cnchal

            > . . . but insurance company wanted us to “total” them . . .

            Follow the money. The reason is that driving a beater require only public liability insurance, a new or newer car bought with debt requires a comprehensive policy.

            Ka ching.

        2. a different chris

          Ten years!!???!! A native of the southwest I assume… :)

          Problem was in Pittsburgh especially they would rot out completely in 3 years if you were parking at a steel mill (ironically enough). Five at best otherwise. Then they finally started making them right for awhile, but that didn’t last (profits!!) and they’re not as bad as they were but still a 7 year old car doesn’t look so good and even if you’re mechanically inclined, sheet metal and paint is not that easy nor does it last like replacing an alternator would.

        3. Chris Smith

          My previous Japanese car (made in Japan no less) lasted 11 years and almost 300,000 miles, before I got another (drum roll) Japanese car made in Japan. Nobody screwed GM quite like themselves with a little help from Japan.

          1. Procopius

            You should read “The Reckoning,” by David Halberstom. Published in 1986 (which some people look back on as a Golden Age), it describes the utter stupidity of the managers in Detroit after the first, not very good, Japanese compacts arrived. I would be reluctant to buy an American car (I haven’t driven in thirty years), but I see the occasional (rare) Ford or (slightly more common) Chevrolet here in Thailand.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        A good place to look for a used car is rental car resale lots–Hertz etc.

        Relatively low mileage, late model–only one or two years old– and well maintained. My daughter bought a 2017 Hyundai Sonata last year with 45,000 miles for the same price that a dealer wanted for a 2011 with significant problems.

        Hertz Resale offered a 1 year warranty and the manufacturer’s warranty was still in effect.

        The car had a lot of bells and whistles like blue tooth that I couldn’t care less about but she was impressed. What I found kind of funny was that the only feature not included was power seat adjustment. Apparently that has a tendency to fail with frequent use, so the seat adjust in rental cars is manual.

        Hertz Resale has financing available and even takes trade-ins. She used her bank. There is also some sort of return policy–like maybe a week or so.

        I haven’t bought a car in 20 years–my Lexus is still goin’ strong, but, having helped her search for used cars. this was pretty painless and so far so (real) good.

        Apparently rental car companies want to rent the newest cars, so they pretty much turn their fleets over annually. I can recommend. It’s worth a look anyway.

        1. Jason Boxman

          Did the same. Bought an Elentra with similar milage. It’s the approach my parents have followed most of my life.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Yes they turn them over very quickly. In my younger days, when I used to eat lots of peaches (see poetry comment above), I really trashed a rental car which I was only using because I’d also trashed my own car and it was in the shop. I did not take out any rental insurance and was sure I was going to get hit with a huge repair bill. The guy at the rental agency did note the damage when I brought it back, but he also checked the car’s mileage and said they never should have rented the car to me in the first place as it was too old for their rental fleet, and luckily I didn’t have to pay a dime.

  3. dearieme

    The Indy link didn’t work for me. So I’ll just mention

    Our almost-instinct almost true:
    What will survive of us is love

    But to see her was to love her, Love but her and love forever.

    Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
    Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

    Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,
    To think how mony counsels sweet,
    How mony lengthen’d, sage advices,
    The husband frae the wife despises!

    The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.

    O, wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us!

    But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flower, its bloom is shed.

    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.

    Summer’s lease hath all too short a date

    Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

    But at my back I always hear
    Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near

    The grave’s a fine and private place,
    But none, I think, do there embrace.

    And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night

    A lonely impulse of delight
    Drove to this tumult in the clouds

    Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
    Butting through the Channel in the mad March day

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

    Approval of what is approved of
    Is as false as a well-kept vow

    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away

    About suffering they were never wrong,
    The old Masters

    April is the cruellest month

    I have been half in love with easeful Death

    Timor mortis conturbat me.

    1. dearieme

      The Dunbar one is too brief. Better:

      The flesche is brukle, the Fend is sle;
      Timor mortis conturbat me

      To my surprise no Chaucer and little Shakespeare came to mind.

      1. RWood

        I pledge allegiance to the soil
        of Turtle Island,
        and to the beings who thereon dwell
        one ecosystem
        in diversity under the sun
        With joyful interpenetration for all.

      2. Tom Bradford

        If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
        Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
        Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
        Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
        My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
        To children ardent for some desperate glory,
        The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
        Pro patria mori.

        Wilfred Owen

    2. Oregoncharles

      “And we are here as on a darkling plain…”
      Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach.”
      Most of the others are familliar, but that one shivers my bones.

    3. JEHR

      The one poem I memorized in Grade 8:

      “The One Hoss Shay”
      Oliver Wendell Holmes (1858)

      Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss-shay,
      That was built in such a logical way
      It ran a hundred years to a day,
      And then, of a sudden, it ah, but stay
      I ‘ll tell you what happened without delay,
      Scaring the parson into fits,
      Frightening people out of their wits,
      Have you ever heard of that, I say?

      Seventeen hundred and fifty-five,
      Georgius Secundus was then alive,
      Snuffy old drone from the German hive;
      That was the year when Lisbon-town
      Saw the earth open and gulp her down,
      And Braddock’s army was done so brown,
      Left without a scalp to its crown.

      It was on the terrible earthquake-day
      That the Deacon finished the one-hoss-shay.
      Now in building of chaises, I tell you what,
      There is always somewhere a weakest spot,
      In hub, tire, felloe, in spring or thill,
      In panel, or crossbar, or floor, or sill,
      A chaise breaks down but doesn’t wear out
      In screw, bolt, thoroughbrace, lurking still,
      Find it somewhere you must and will,
      Above or below, or within or without,
      And that’s the reason, beyond a doubt,
      A chaise breaks down, but does n’t wear out.

      But the Deacon swore (as Deacons do,
      With an “I dew vum,” or an “I tell yeou,”
      He would build one shay to beat the taown
      ‘n’ the keounty ‘n’ all the kentry raoun’;
      It should be so built that it couldn’ break daown!
      –“Fur,” said the Deacon, “t ‘s mighty plain
      Thut the weakes’ place mus’ stan’ the strain;
      in’ the way t’ fix it, uz I maintain,
      Is only jest
      T’ make that place uz strong uz the rest.”

      (There’s more! See link.)

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        I’ve been reviewing some FMEA/RCA work I did for a biotech a couple of decades ago, so I quite enjoyed that one, cheers!

    1. flora

      Matt Taibbi has a good post on the many parts in play. From 3 weeks ago. Be sure to click the small ” + show full post” link at the end of the opening paragraphs for the whole story.

      Latest Russian spy story looks like another elaborate media deception.
      The tale of Oleg Smolenkov is just the latest load of high-level BS dumped on us by intelligence agencies.

      1. anon in so cal

        Looks as if the entire blogosphere is apoplectic this morning because Ukraine’s president Zelensky has apparently sort of agreed to the Steinmeier Formula, including elections and possible withdrawal of Ukraine forces from Donbass.

        NeoCons on Twitter with huge platforms are gleefully denouncing this as proof of treason and collusion.

        This is not going to end well. What’s left out of all of these missives is the Obama Nuland McCain regime change op that deposed Ukraine’s elected president Yanukovych because he accepted the trade agreement and loan guarantee/grant from Russia over the EU.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          NeoCons on Twitter with huge platforms are gleefully denouncing this as proof of treason and collusion.

          Assume they mean TRUMP is guilty of “treason” and “collusion.” (Who else could they mean?)

          So let me get this straight. In a bid to end murder and mayhem is the foreign country of Ukraine, the newly elected president of that country agrees to allow a disputed region–of a FOREIGN country–to have a special election, and this is “evidence” of treason and collusion by the president of the united states.

          Please tell me that the huge-platformed neocons on twitter have walked through the “logic” of this, because, in spite of all the tortured “justifications” and conclusions that we have been fed over the last couple of years, I honestly cannot get from here to there on this one.

        2. shinola

          And a thank you to flora & anon for the links. Taibbi is always worth a read and it’s good to read articles providing an other-than-US-msm POV.

          An aside: Curiously, the “memorandum” of the Trump/Zelensky telcon presented in the off-guardian article sure looks like it was typed on a typewriter – and a manual one at that.

  4. toshiro_mifune

    National Poetry Day – Wow, Bukowski made it in. I’m kind of surprised by that. I would have gone with “So Now ?” but that’s just me.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      Blandeur, by Kay Ryan (Former US Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, MacArthur Fellow)

      If it please God,
      let less happen.
      Even out Earth’s
      rondure, flatten
      Eiger, blanden
      the Grand Canyon.
      Make valleys
      slightly higher,
      widen fissures
      to arable land,
      remand your
      terrible glaciers
      and silence
      their calving,
      halving or doubling
      all geographical features
      toward the mean.
      Unlean against our hearts.
      Withdraw your grandeur
      from these parts.

    2. Steve H.

      Sonnet 116, opening:

      Let me not to the marriage of true minds
      Admit impediments.

      I was asked to speak this sonnet in the blessing ceremony of a wedding last Saturday. Followed by twirling fire slingers, and angels twenty feet in the air on wings of silk. Humbled at the honor.

      If this be error and upon me prov’d,
      I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Personally I have always been partial to an Australian poem called “The Roaring Days” by Henry Lawson which starts with-

      The night too quickly passes
      And we are growing old,
      So let us fill our glasses
      And toast the Days of Gold;
      When finds of wondrous treasure
      Set all the South ablaze,
      And you and I were faithful mates
      All through the roaring days!

    4. urblintz

      Final Soliloquy Of The Interior Paramour – Wallace Stevens

      Light the first light of evening, as in a room
      In which we rest and, for small reason, think
      The world imagined is the ultimate good.

      This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.
      It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
      Out of all the indifferences, into one thing:

      Within a single thing, a single shawl
      Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,
      A light, a power, the miraculous influence.

      Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
      We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,
      A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.

      Within its vital boundary, in the mind.
      We say God and the imagination are one…
      How high that highest candle lights the dark.

      Out of this same light, out of the central mind,
      We make a dwelling in the evening air,
      In which being there together is enough.

      1. Democrita

        I’m a big Stevens fan. I’ll throw in my favorite coupla couplets from The Man with the Blue Guitar:

        “I know my lazy, leaden twang
        Is like the reason in a storm

        And yet it brings the storm to bear,
        I twang it out and leave it there. ”

        I only just now realized it kinda describes Trump to a t!

      2. Carey

        More Stevens-

        ‘Chaos in Motion and Not in Motion’

        Oh, that this lashing wind was something more
        Than the spirit of Ludwig Richter …

        The rain is pouring down. It is July.
        There is lightning and the thickest thunder.

        It is a spectacle. Scene 10 becomes 11,
        In Series X, Act IV, et cetera.

        People fall out of windows, trees tumble down,
        Summer is changed to winter, the young grow old,

        The air is full of children, statues, roofs
        And snow. The theatre is spinning round,

        Colliding with deaf-mute churches and optical trains.
        The most massive sopranos are singing songs of scales.

        And Ludwig Richter, turbulent Schlemihl,
        Has lost the whole in which he was contained,

        Knows desire without an object of desire,
        All mind and violence and nothing felt.

        He knows he has nothing more to think about,
        Like the wind that lashes everything at once.

    5. Bugs Bunny

      This one hypnotises me:

      The land of Hesperides had broken into
      in a floating archipelago,
      duties of Hesperides
      as both the watchers and the watched,
      was a fruit shaped in the air,
      suitable for one curling around it
      suitable to the shape of enveloping and the
      seeks a shaping of the watcher observer,
      by practicing a skill in the air,
      lowering the limits of the invisible,
      from the ranks of ordinary women with
      secret talents
      unrejuvenated by their own offspring,
      watching death and breeding,
      cast in shape and locked
      to shape a fruit in the air and be the guard of its shadows in the wind,

      to lower the limits of the invisible by the brink of reality and materialization,

      materialization at the junctures of numerous realities,
      the hostages of guarding,
      the watcher that become watched,
      growing from one dream into the next,
      in the next, the invisible boy of the
      the concealed fruit,
      is already covering himself.

  5. Ignim Brites

    Re: Impeachment
    “Pelosi does not have the votes, and it’s not clear how she gets them.”

    Pelosi does not want the votes. It is up to Schiff to produce them. The impeachment drive is actually aimed at the Congessional Party leadership. Putting Schiff in charge was a very canny move by Pelosi. It separates the impeachment leadership (Schiff – LA) from the NYC based leadership of the insurgency. Already the Times is undermining Schiff.

  6. Winston Smith

    “Ah, when to the heart of man
    Was it ever less than a treason
    To go with the drift of things,
    To yield with a grace to reason,
    And bow and accept the end
    Of a love or a season?”

    Robert Frost “Reluctance”

    1. urblintz

      What had that flower to do with being white,
      The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
      What brought the kindred spider to that height,
      Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
      What but design of darkness to appall?–
      If design govern in a thing so small.

      (Design – Robert Frost)

      1. Winston Smith

        Also like “Happiness makes up in height what it lacks in length”. Easy to memorize and really resonates when you recite it

        1. ilpalazzo

          My favorite is Fire and Ice. Kind of fitting the zeitgeist if you think about it.

          Some say the world will end in fire,
          Some say in ice.
          From what I’ve tasted of desire
          I hold with those who favor fire.
          But if it had to perish twice,
          I think I know enough of hate
          To say that for destruction ice
          Is also great
          And would suffice.

  7. New Wafer Army

    A haiku by Basho translated into English and Irish (Gaelic):

    shizukesa ya
    iwa ni shmiiru
    semi no koe

    how still it is!
    stinging into the stones,
    the locusts’ trill

    nach ciúin atá sé –
    clocha á ndingeadh
    ag giolc an chiocáda

    1. nechaev


      We pass and dream. Earth smiles. Virtue is rare.

      Age, duty, gods weigh on our conscious bliss.

      Hope for the best and for the worst prepare.

      The sum of purposed wisdom speaks in this.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      My highschool yearbook entry has the following, also Ba-sho:

      So- when was it?
      I, drawn like blown cloud
      Couldn’t stop dreaming of roaming
      Roving the coast up and down

  8. The Rev Kev

    “The Significance of Bernie Sanders’s Heart Disease”

    This is something that will have to be talked out. Sure Bernie just shrugged this episode off and went back to work but you just know that Trump or even other Democrats will seek to hammer him on it. But one thing that is obvious now is that Bernie is going to have to nominate a Vice-Presidential candidate to work with sooner rather than later. People will remember how John McCain, when he was running for President, had the inspiration to select Sarah Palin as his running mate. Voters back then realized that what with McCain’s medical problems, that Sarah Palin would then be only one heartbeat from becoming the President of the United States herself!
    It is said that elephants have good memories but I am willing to bet that there are a lot of Republican elephants trying to forget that idiotic stunt. Anyway, to shore up his position Sanders will have to select a running mate that is in good health and roughly aligned with the direction that he wants to take. Someone that will support him if he ever becomes President and go to bat for him so that he is not worn down. Probably someone who is strong on foreign policy so that Sanders can concentrate on domestic issues as he cares about them the most. Cheney showed the possibilities of having a strong Vice-Presidency so Sanders should be thinking along the same lines.

    1. dearieme

      Since large chunks of the Dems are obsessed with race, why don’t they just choose a Yang/Gabbard or Gabbard/Yang ticket?

      Wrong races?

      Anyway, I see speculation that Her Clintonesse is going to enter the race. I offer Senator Warren a new slogan:

      Better a fake Injun that a real witch.

      1. John Beech

        Dammit dearieme, “Better a fake Injun that a real witch”, whilst I may still be drinking hot coffee is commentariat malpractice.

        Source? Spewed hot coffee through my nose in surprise, am now in agony!

        Jeez that’s funny.

      2. L M44 E

        She gave the election away.
        Did she learn?
        She was and is totally innocent for server, emails, bengazzi.
        guilty of the good ole chicago pay to play to her foundation while being sec’y of state.

        The dem candidate has to visit Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and convince our young people to be democrats, take an interest of government at every level and vote.

    2. Steve H.

      Actuarial tables suggest the odds of Sanders making it through two terms is less than 1:1. I am willing to trust his judgement for VP, he’s been around long enough to know his who.

      “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”

    3. Oregoncharles

      I thought at the time that Palin was McCain’s revenge for being given the consolation prize: a nomination when he wasn’t allowed to win.

  9. Fraibert

    I took a quick look at Ms. Warren’s proposal to tax excessive lobbying, and I see one important problem that she does not address (which to be fair makes sense given the article’s purpose): under current Constitutional law, it is manifestly unconstitutional. (Whether that is a good result or not is a separate question.)

    Even putting aside the whole issue of corporations having free speech rights, the proposal also would be subject to attack as limiting the First Amendment right to petition government for redress of grievances, which has separate operative force.

    I cannot imagine that Ms. Warren is unaware of these considerations so I view the proposal as fluff, absent a clear intent (not mere rhetoric) to expend political capital in a push for Constitutional adjustments to the status of corporations.

    1. Johnnygl

      Yeah, that one struck me as much more about virtue signalling rather than a real statement of intent.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      i don’t know….depends if bribery is considered Speech.
      big oil lobbyists get listened to, while small organic farmers/poor folks don’t. this is directly proportional to the amount of money, hookers and golf trips the given lobbyist can provide.
      the silliest part is that everyone who will cry “First Amendment!!!” at this will be: 1 against the First Amendment for people they don’t like, and 2. well aware of how all this works in real life, and 3. seemingly ignorant of what words like ‘hypocrisy’ mean.
      just forbid money and favors(include the death penalty(or stocks) to keep the rabid right happy)…have a lottery or something to sort through the tidal wave of clamorers….or finally ratify Article the First, and expand the number of Reps, so they can more realistically handle the load of actually representing their constituents.(all that would work better without the $=speech and corp=”person” nonsense, of course)
      none of this is going to happen, even if our current manifestation of the Gracchi manages to get into office..
      i’m more likely to be abducted by aliens.
      that there’s a place in DC called “Gucci Gulch” should have been an indicator that the Republic was no more a long time ago.
      (my mom pointed out “gucci gulch’ to me when i was 11(so, 1980), when we went to DC. last i looked, google had lost all but one reference to it.
      the big pink dome(brothel) in Austin has a similar arrangement…places where lobbyists are known to hang out, like streetwalkers waiting for johns….and that’s just the open air, public places…not even considering Scholz Biergarten or the Texas Chili Parlour(within walking distance, if you’re ever there and would like to gawk at legislators in their native environment))

      1. inode_buddha

        AMEN, to which I would add, publicly funded elections, and term limits.

        What is amazingly annoying is that every time I float publicly funded elections to my Conservative acquaintances, they start howling about how we can’t afford it.

  10. Johnnygl

    That’s not always true. A lot of police unions in blue states are big advocates of gun control. I’m pretty sure that is still true in Boston and NYC.

  11. Sionnach Liath

    Re: the poetry article. There are many that could be suggested; but I am reminded of the lines written by someone very close to me:


    Swiftly, riding the dark steeds of Night,
    Soaring starward with the speed of Light;
    One last glance into the Well of Earth,
    Whence lately torn is second birth.”

  12. Wukchumni

    The Americans who think a monarchy would solve their political problems Guardian
    We have a monarchy, but you have to be a President or significant others of to be part of royalty, and it doesn’t matter if you were a good, bad or indifferent leader-or in past tense, you get all the perks.

    Case in point, last summer a former first lady was in Mineral King @ a hidden away mansion few know of, and I was told she had a retinue of 15 secret service agents in tow, for what exactly one wonders, a rabid squirrel or a menacing doe perhaps?

    1. Plenue

      I’ve observed (and attempted to interact with. They delete dissent) these ‘Dark Enlightenment’ types some. They’re ridiculous. Decades of cancerously increasing executive privilege and they go “yeah, we need more of that”.

      They’re also uniformly pretentious, and fancy themselves erudite. But they’ve somehow missed the thousands of years of human political evolution that has firmly established that kings are actually a terrible effing idea.

  13. Johnnygl

    I love the headline about how the GM strike ‘forced’ 6,000 layoffs in Mexico.

    Apparently, management at GM isn’t in charge and the UAW is calling the shots!!!

    “GM management chooses to layoff 6,000 workers in Mexico.” –corrected headline :)

    1. Carolinian

      And the plant closures are all called not “shutdowns” but rather “temporary shutdowns.” Nothing to see here folks–just a blip. It will all be cleared up shortly

  14. Frank Little

    This poem has been one of my favorites for a long time. The line “a dirty house in a gutted world” has become like a mantra for me lately.

    A Postcard from the Volcano

    Children picking up our bones
    Will never know that these were once
    As quick as foxes on the hill;

    And that in autumn, when the grapes
    Made sharp air sharper by their smell
    These had a being, breathing frost;

    And least will guess that with our bones
    We left much more, left what still is
    The look of things, left what we felt

    At what we saw. The spring clouds blow
    Above the shuttered mansion-house,
    Beyond our gate and the windy sky

    Cries out a literate despair.
    We knew for long the mansion’s look
    And what we said of it became

    A part of what it is … Children,
    Still weaving budded aureoles,
    Will speak our speech and never know,

    Will say of the mansion that it seems
    As if he that lived there left behind
    A spirit storming in blank walls,

    A dirty house in a gutted world,
    A tatter of shadows peaked to white,
    Smeared with the gold of the opulent sun.

  15. Carolinian

    Re Caitlin and those comically self-pitying sociopaths

    Stephen Cloobeck, who expressed outrage at the way progressives are using “the millionaire or billionaire word” to discuss issues with class and economic justice, saying he’d instructed Democratic Party leaders to bring a stop to this rhetoric or lose plutocratic funding.

    “It is very, very disturbing when I hear the millionaire or billionaire word,” Cloobeck said, as though he was uttering an ethnic slur for an oppressed minority and not a conventional label for a class that effectively owns the US government. “And I’ve told them to stop it. Knock it off.

    The emperor strides into the room naked and dares anyone to object. The real story is how few do and that people like Schwarzman aren’t laughed out of the room but instead get their names plastered on public libraries.

    1. a different chris

      I really liked this one:

      >“If you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany,”

      And if you go back to 1955, with different words, this is what Bugs Bunny is saying in a Warner Brothers cartoon.

      I mean WTF? These are the gods among us? Lordy.

    2. NigelK

      If you go back to 1933 with different words, Schwarzman sounds like Prescott Bush and The Businessmens Plot to overthrow FDR

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Everything Is Rich Man’s Trick on YouTube if you want to go down that particular rabbit hole. It’s a deep one.

  16. LaRuse

    One of my favorites:
    The Shortest Day
    by Susan Cooper

    And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
    And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
    Came people singing, dancing,
    To drive the dark away.
    They lighted candles in the winter trees;
    They hung their homes with evergreen;
    They burned beseeching fires all night long
    To keep the year alive.
    And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
    They shouted, revelling.
    Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
    Echoing behind us – listen!
    All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
    This Shortest Day,
    As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
    They carol, feast, give thanks,
    And dearly love their friends,
    And hope for peace.
    And now so do we, here, now,
    This year and every year.

  17. scarn

    I invite anyone who is not a gun owner or who is unfamiliar with firearms and American gun culture to watch Beau of the Fifth Column’s explainer series on media gun terms, gun laws, and gun control methodology and effectiveness. As the man says, “There are three types of people in the world: Pro-gun, anti-gun and those who understand how firearms work.”

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 3

    Even experienced gun owners have something to learn from this series on an explosively emotional topic.

      1. a different chris

        No they are not -still haven’t had time look at the links, apologies. In fact they are my friends. And here is the looming problem — the 2nd Amendment, no matter how you read it, doesn’t affect civil proceedings at all. And when Richey Rich (another thread on him) starts gets hit in the pocketbook, what do you think is going to happen?

      2. scarn

        Yeah brother, that’s a great one. The guy is a fine monologuist – the type that teaches you things even when you disagree.

  18. jefemt

    “For the Children”

    The rising hills, the slopes,
    of statistics
    lie before us,
    the steep climb
    of everything, going up,
    up, as we all
    go down.

    In the next century
    or the one beyond that,
    they say,
    are valleys, pastures,
    we can meet there in peace
    if we make it.

    To climb these coming crests
    one word to you, to
    you and your children:

    stay together
    learn the flowers
    go light

    ~ Gary Snyder, Turtle Island. © New Directions, 1974.

    1. shtove

      The Curse Upon Tretia Maria:

      I curse Tretia Maria and her life and mind and memory and liver and lungs mixed up together, and her words, thoughts, and memory; thus may she be unable to speak what things are concealed …

      I came across this in the early ’90s in a little corner of the British Museum, and thought I kinda had it to myself. But now it’s a click away on the internet. Seven nails driven through it!

  19. flora

    re: And what about the thumpy but effective Charge of the Light Brigade?

    That poem’s ‘half a league, half a league, half a league onward’ is in near perfect rhythm with a horse canter.

    I think it’s an audio-paced poem about a cavalry charge: from a rhythmic cantor to a gallop (cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them) to a run (Flashed all their sabers bare, Flashed as they turned in air).

    That does come off as thumpy I guess.

    1. The Rev Kev

      According to my copy of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” the worse poetry in the Galaxy is by Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Essex, England.

        1. RMO

          Based on Paul Neil Milne Jennings who was at school with Adams. The lines Adams based “Paula’s” poetry on were “The crippled swan slowly easing his stiffened wings, feebly trying”:”To discourage death’s stalking shadows with whispered hiss;”

          For me any list of great poetry that doesn’t have John Cooper Clarke’s “Chickentown” on it is sadly lacking.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Nope. To quote “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” –

          “Vogon poetry is of course, the third worst in the universe.
          The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their poet master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem “Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning” four of his audience died of internal haemorrhaging and the president of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos was reported to have been “disappointed” by the poem’s reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his 12-book epic entitled “My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles” when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save humanity, leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.
          The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator, Paul Neil Milne Johnstone of Redbridge, in the destruction of the planet Earth. Vogon poetry is mild by comparison.”

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
      Bears all its sons away;
      They fly forgotten, as a dream
      Dies at the opening day.

      (Isaac Watts. Typically verse 7 of the hymn “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”)

      And verse 8 is pretty resonant these days:

      Like flowery fields the nations stand,
      Pleased with the morning light;
      The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
      Lie withering e’er ’tis night.

  20. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Walker Bragman tweet: “I’m a cop…….”

    No idea who Walker Bragman is, but his next tweet is pretty good too:

    You know we’re fucked when the cops say the same thing as robbers: “nobody moves, nobody gets hurt.”

    Truth. What a concept.

  21. zagonostra

    Ok so it doesn’t meet the highest standard of poetry and he has better lines…but what the heck.

    “Little red wagon, little red bike, I ain’t no monkey but I know what I like.”


    1. BobW

      “I knew a man, his brain was so small
      He couldn’t think of nothing at all
      Not the same as you and me
      He doesn’t dig poetry
      He’s so unhip, when you say Dylan
      He thinks you’re talkin’ about Dylan Thomas
      Whoever he was
      The man ain’t got no culture
      But it’s alright, ma, everybody must get stoned”

      A Simple Desultory Philippic, Paul Simon

    2. Crunchkin

      Those verses are still a lot better than what is called “poetry” all over the world today! Dylan has more real poetry in his left pinky than those who lord it over, so -called poet laureates, the posers and hacksters, who produce the schlock I see being published today. But hey they are just yellow-bellied wankers who know nothing of the Final Poet.

  22. urblintz

    Wanderers Nachtlied – Goethe

    Über allen Gipfeln
    Ist Ruh,
    In allen Wipfeln
    Spürest du
    Kaum einen Hauch;
    Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde.
    Warte nur, balde
    Ruhest du auch.

    1. ewmayer

      Nice – I’m also partial to Ginkgo Biloba:

      Dieses Baums Blatt, der von Osten
      Meinem Garten anvertraut,
      Giebt geheimen Sinn zu kosten,
      Wie’s den Wissenden erbaut,

      Ist es Ein lebendig Wesen,
      Das sich in sich selbst getrennt?
      Sind es zwei, die sich erlesen,
      Daß man sie als Eines kennt?

      Solche Frage zu erwidern,
      Fand ich wohl den rechten Sinn,
      Fühlst du nicht an meinen Liedern,
      Daß ich Eins und doppelt bin?

  23. Carey

    ‘Boeing pushed FAA to relax 737 MAX certification requirements for crew alerts’:

    “In 2014,
    Boeing convinced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to relax the safety standards for the new 737 MAX related to cockpit alerts that would warn pilots if something went wrong during flight, according to documents reviewed by the Seattle Times.
    Seeking an exception, Boeing relied on a special FAA rule to successfully argue that full compliance with the latest federal requirements would be “impractical” for the MAX and would cost too much..”

  24. Pelham

    Re Biden plan to ban assault-style rifles:

    I can’t speak to why these guns are so popular but one reason may be that they’re probably the best choice for home defense. Here’s why:

    One might assume that a handgun kept close by is ideal for this purpose. But firing a handgun accurately is difficult, requiring lining up three pivot points — shoulders, elbows and wrists — precisely and managing the recoil from a gun that is typically light and firing a fairly large caliber. Plus the user must remember to focus when aiming on the sight at the end of the barrel rather than the target, a hard thing to remember in a high-stress situation and something that if neglected with a handgun is likely to cause a miss.

    An AR-15, however, is much simpler. When brought to the shoulder there’s only one pivot point, which means that even if the user forgets to focus on the sight, he’s still likely to hit the target at close range. Moreover, the gun is semi-automatic, which means it fires every time the trigger is pulled, eliminating the need to operate a bolt or lever. The recoil is minimal, making it much easier to maintain aim after firing, and the gun is short enough to easily maneuver in tight interior spaces.

    There are hundreds of reasons to hate these guns. I accept that. But there is at least this one good reason that some owners have them.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      A 12 gauge pump shotgun is the the most effective home defense weapon.
      It won’t kill your neighbor with your missed shots either.
      A pistol is much easier to maneuver in a tense, dark situation, aim center body mass and let er rip. But you might take out a neighbor.
      A rifle is the most stupid weapon for close in home defense. Unwieldy and even a .22LR has a range of one fricking mile.

      1. bob

        Hard agree. I can’t imagine a legal gun more likely to harm innocent bystanders, which in the home defense scenario would be family and neighbors.

        The 223/556 round was developed to get through body armor. A sheetrock wall isn’t even body armor.

        1. bob

          From wiki on the development of the round, for all the gun dorks calling for citations-

          .22 caliber
          Bullet exceeding supersonic speed at 500 yards [4][3]
          Rifle weight 6 lbs
          Magazine capacity of 20 rounds
          Select fire for both semiautomatic and fully automatic use
          Penetration of US steel helmet one side, at 500 yards
          Penetration of .135″ steel plate at 500 yards,
          Accuracy and ballistics equal to M2 ball ammunition (.30-06 M1 Garand)

      2. inode_buddha

        I hope I would never have to do so, but 12-ga anything will go completely thru my house and my neighbors, no doubt. I prefer the old-school double-barrel variety. In case the first one misses (shame on me)

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Unless you’re using double ought buckshot, the effective range is less than 40 yards, with no impediments.
          So yeah, if your windows are open and your neighbors window is open, you might be able to wing him.
          On the other hand, there is no fear like hearing a pump action rack a shell into the chamber, it’s like a rattlesnake, once you hear it, you never forget it.
          Like you, I hope to never have occasion to shoot anybody, but hope is not a strategy.

          1. witters

            I doubt there is anything sadder
            than two americans conversing
            on any subject pertaining to

  25. Synapsid

    Giants and the Genii
    Multiplex of wing and eye
    Whose strong obedience broke the sky
    When Solomon was king.

  26. David

    Nothing by WH Auden yet? Here are a few stanzas from his poem about the Spanish Civil War, which he later tried to suppress as his political views changed, but which seem very apposite just now:

    Many have heard it on remote peninsulas,
    On sleepy plains, in the aberrant fishermen’s islands
    Or the corrupt heart of the city.
    Have heard and migrated like gulls or the seeds of a flower.

    They clung like burrs to the long expresses that lurch
    Through the unjust lands, through the night, through the alpine tunnel;
    They floated over the oceans;
    They walked the passes. All presented their lives.

    To-day the makeshift consolations: the shared cigarette,
    The cards in the candlelit barn, and the scraping concert,
    The masculine jokes; to-day the
    Fumbled and unsatisfactory embrace before hurting.

    The stars are dead. The animals will not look.
    We are left alone with our day, and the time is short, and
    History to the defeated
    May say Alas but cannot help nor pardon.

  27. john c.

    Re: National Poetry Day and Yves’s call to NC readers — I’m not particularly religious, but whenever I happen upon “The Oxen” (T. Hardy) around Christmas, it never fails to stun me mute for a little while….

    Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
    “Now they are all on their knees,”
    An elder said as we sat in a flock
    By the embers in hearthside ease.

    We pictured the meek mild creatures where
    They dwelt in their strawy pen,
    Nor did it occur to one of us there
    To doubt they were kneeling then.

    So fair a fancy few would weave
    In these years! Yet, I feel,
    If someone said on Christmas Eve,
    “Come; see the oxen kneel,

    “In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
    Our childhood used to know,”
    I should go with him in the gloom,
    Hoping it might be so.

  28. ChiGal in Carolina

    The Sun

    Have you ever seen
    in your life
    more wonderful

    than the way the sun,
    every evening,
    relaxed and easy,
    floats toward the horizon

    and into the clouds or the hills,
    or the rumpled sea,
    and is gone–
    and how it slides again

    out of the blackness,
    every morning,
    on the other side of the world,
    like a red flower

    streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
    say, on a morning in early summer,
    at its perfect imperial distance–
    and have you ever felt for anything
    such wild love–
    do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
    a word billowing enough
    for the pleasure

    that fills you,
    as the sun
    reaches out,
    as it warms you

    as you stand there,
    or have you too
    turned from this world–

    or have you too
    gone crazy
    for power,
    for things?

    –Mary Oliver

  29. Oregoncharles

    My candidate for most powerful lines is the end of “The Second Coming,” by William Butler Yeats, but the beginning is almost as shivery:

    “That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? ”

    The Second Coming

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    W.B. Yeats, 1919

    Still a bit too germane.

  30. Judith

    The Moose
    Elizabeth Bishop – 1911-1979

    For Grace Bulmer Bowers

    From narrow provinces
    of fish and bread and tea,
    home of the long tides
    where the bay leaves the sea
    twice a day and takes
    the herrings long rides,

    where if the river
    enters or retreats
    in a wall of brown foam
    depends on if it meets
    the bay coming in,
    the bay not at home;

    where, silted red,
    sometimes the sun sets
    facing a red sea,
    and others, veins the flats’
    lavender, rich mud
    in burning rivulets;

    on red, gravelly roads,
    down rows of sugar maples,
    past clapboard farmhouses
    and neat, clapboard churches,
    bleached, ridged as clamshells,
    past twin silver birches,

    through late afternoon
    a bus journeys west,
    the windshield flashing pink,
    pink glancing off of metal,
    brushing the dented flank
    of blue, beat-up enamel;

    down hollows, up rises,
    and waits, patient, while
    a lone traveller gives
    kisses and embraces
    to seven relatives
    and a collie supervises.

    Goodbye to the elms,
    to the farm, to the dog.
    The bus starts. The light
    grows richer; the fog,
    shifting, salty, thin,
    comes closing in.

    Its cold, round crystals
    form and slide and settle
    in the white hens’ feathers,
    in gray glazed cabbages,
    on the cabbage roses
    and lupins like apostles;

    the sweet peas cling
    to their wet white string
    on the whitewashed fences;
    bumblebees creep
    inside the foxgloves,
    and evening commences.

    One stop at Bass River.
    Then the Economies
    Lower, Middle, Upper;
    Five Islands, Five Houses,
    where a woman shakes a tablecloth
    out after supper.

    A pale flickering. Gone.
    The Tantramar marshes
    and the smell of salt hay.
    An iron bridge trembles
    and a loose plank rattles
    but doesn’t give way.

    On the left, a red light
    swims through the dark:
    a ship’s port lantern.
    Two rubber boots show,
    illuminated, solemn.
    A dog gives one bark.

    A woman climbs in
    with two market bags,
    brisk, freckled, elderly.
    “A grand night. Yes, sir,
    all the way to Boston.”
    She regards us amicably.

    Moonlight as we enter
    the New Brunswick woods,
    hairy, scratchy, splintery;
    moonlight and mist
    caught in them like lamb’s wool
    on bushes in a pasture.

    The passengers lie back.
    Snores. Some long sighs.
    A dreamy divagation
    begins in the night,
    a gentle, auditory,
    slow hallucination. . . .

    In the creakings and noises,
    an old conversation
    –not concerning us,
    but recognizable, somewhere,
    back in the bus:
    Grandparents’ voices

    talking, in Eternity:
    names being mentioned,
    things cleared up finally;
    what he said, what she said,
    who got pensioned;

    deaths, deaths and sicknesses;
    the year he remarried;
    the year (something) happened.
    She died in childbirth.
    That was the son lost
    when the schooner foundered.

    He took to drink. Yes.
    She went to the bad.
    When Amos began to pray
    even in the store and
    finally the family had
    to put him away.

    “Yes . . .” that peculiar
    affirmative. “Yes . . .”
    A sharp, indrawn breath,
    half groan, half acceptance,
    that means “Life’s like that.
    We know it (also death).”

    Talking the way they talked
    in the old featherbed,
    peacefully, on and on,
    dim lamplight in the hall,
    down in the kitchen, the dog
    tucked in her shawl.

    Now, it’s all right now
    even to fall asleep
    just as on all those nights.
    –Suddenly the bus driver
    stops with a jolt,
    turns off his lights.

    A moose has come out of
    the impenetrable wood
    and stands there, looms, rather,
    in the middle of the road.
    It approaches; it sniffs at
    the bus’s hot hood.

    Towering, antlerless,
    high as a church,
    homely as a house
    (or, safe as houses).
    A man’s voice assures us
    “Perfectly harmless. . . .”

    Some of the passengers
    exclaim in whispers,
    childishly, softly,
    “Sure are big creatures.”
    “It’s awful plain.”
    “Look! It’s a she!”

    Taking her time,
    she looks the bus over,
    grand, otherworldly.
    Why, why do we feel
    (we all feel) this sweet
    sensation of joy?

    “Curious creatures,”
    says our quiet driver,
    rolling his r’s.
    “Look at that, would you.”
    Then he shifts gears.
    For a moment longer,

    by craning backward,
    the moose can be seen
    on the moonlit macadam;
    then there’s a dim
    smell of moose, an acrid
    smell of gasoline.

  31. Mark Gisleson

    From Mind of Cups by my late friend Shelly L. Hall


    Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? Matthew 7:9-10

    Giving bread when a stone is asked,
    giving fish when a snake is promised.
    The snake eats the rats
    that eat the children’s bread,
    the stone kills the snake
    that sneaks in to sleep
    with the warm children.
    Giving stone for soup when bread is scarce,
    giving snake when the fish won’t bite.
    The snake, though poisonous,
    is quite delicious, is best served
    with fresh bread.
    Raising cornmeal on fishheads
    and medicine on bread mold.
    Tossing the fish up
    to make everything else fly,
    stoning the snake to break its jaw
    and shut its cunning mouth.
    Stone bitten breaks the teeth,
    bread bitten drinks the venom
    and laughs at the snake.
    Children choke on fishbones
    and very dry bread.
    Eating snakebread will kill us
    unless it first make us immune,
    unless it first lift
    the scales from our eyes.
    Giving stone that turns to fish,
    giving snake that turns to bread.
    Giving bread to the children
    to feed the fish
    so they can fly safe away for the winter.

  32. Parker Dooley

    Anthem for Doomed Youth
    What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
    — Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
    Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
    Can patter out their hasty orisons.
    No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
    Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
    The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
    And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

    What candles may be held to speed them all?
    Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
    Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
    The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
    Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
    And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

  33. Duck1

    May you not seek to know, for to know is not right,
    what end the gods might give to you or to me,
    Leuconoe, and may you not probe the Babylonian
    astrologers either. How much better to endure
    whatever will be, regardless of whether or not Jupiter
    has alloted for us many winters or one last winter, a season
    which weakens the Tyrrhenian sea with its opposing rocks:
    May you be wise, may you strain your wine, and because
    of a brief life, may you cut back a long hope. While
    we speak, envious time flees: embrace the day,
    believing in the future as little as possible.
    Horace, Ode 1.11

  34. inode_buddha

    My canidate for most powerful line — Ozymandias, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    I met a traveller from an antique land,
    Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal, these words appear:
    My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
    Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

  35. DJG

    Marianne Moore:

    from “The Paper Nautilus”

    like the lines in the mane of
    a Parthenon horse,
    round which the arms had
    wound themselves as if they knew love
    is the only fortress
    strong enough to trust to.

    Matthew Arnold

    from “Dover Beach”

    The Sea of Faith
    Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
    Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
    But now I only hear
    Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
    Retreating, to the breath
    Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
    And naked shingles of the world.

    Murasaki Shikibu (my own translation, of sorts):

    A meeting by chance,
    I did not have any time
    to recognize you
    already going away
    like the Moon behind the clouds.

    Alda Merini, an oracular Italian poet:

    Sono nata il ventuno a primavera

    ma non sapevo che nascere folle,

    aprire le zolle

    potesse scatenar tempesta.
    Così Proserpina lieve

    vede piovere sulle erbe,

    sui grossi frumenti gentili

    e piange sempre la sera.

    Forse è la sua preghiera.

  36. Romancing The Loan

    The only poem I ever memorized just for fun – This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin. Theme song of the childfree.

    They f–k you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were f–ked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

  37. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    I spend a couple of days a week in the wilds of Donegal working on a project. Am now catching up due to the lack of internet up there & it never ceases to amaze me how much can now happen in 48hrs.

    This is a song rather than one of Rabbie Burns’s poems, but I believe it is fitting if only for the last line of each verse which I recall my Grandad would roar on the occasion of his often deep disgust towards politicians. He left me with the same habit but those loved 8 words rarely leave my lips.

    Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,
    Fareweel our ancient glory,
    Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name,
    Sae fam’d in martial story.
    Now Sark rins o’er the Solway sands,
    And Tweed rins to the ocean,
    To mark where England’s province stands –
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.

    What force or guile could not subdue,
    Thro’ many warlike ages,
    Is wrought now by a coward few
    For hireling traitor’s wages.
    The English steel we could disdain;
    Secure in valour’s station;
    But English gold has been our bane –
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.

    O would, or I had seen the day
    That treason thus could sell us,
    My auld gray head had lien in clay,
    Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!
    But pith and power, till my last hour,
    I’ll mak’ this declaration;
    We’re bought and sold for English gold –
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.

  38. ewmayer

    “The Dow dropped more than 800 points in two days — here’s what’s going on | CNBC” — A 3% pullback in a bubble-priced stawk index is what’s going on, CNBC. Scary! Still waiting in vain for those alarming “The Dow rose more than 3% points in two days — here’s what’s going on” headlines which should have been quite regular fare during the decade-long runup from the GFC low to Dow-near-30,000.

  39. Synapsid


    Under the wide and starry sky dig the grave and let me lie.
    Glad did I live and gladly die, and I lay me down with a will.
    These be the words you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be.
    Home is the sailor, home from sea, and the hunter home from the hill.

    Robert Louis Stephenson

  40. kareninca

    I used to have a favorite poem. It was my favorite for nearly thirty years.

    In the Desert
    In the desert
    I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
    Who, squatting upon the ground,
    Held his heart in his hands,
    And ate of it.
    I said, “Is it good, friend?”
    “It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

    “But I like it
    “Because it is bitter,
    “And because it is my heart.”

    But it no longer is my favorite poem. A person can change. I actually am no longer sure why I liked it so well. Either I’ve grown or lost a few neurons, perhaps. Now my favorite is:

    “Love unannounced goes in to God,
     Hath instant audience:
    Long in the antechamber wait
     Wit and intelligence.”
    Angelus Silesius

    1. Susan the other`

      I have a new favorite too, it isn’t exactly a poem; it’s a run-on sentence by Kafka – Das Nachste Dorf (sorry can’t find my umlaut):

      Mein Grossvater pflegte zu sagen, “Das Leben ist erstaunlich kurz. Jetzt in erinnerung drangt es sich mir so zusammen dass ich zum Beispiel kaum begreife wie ein junger Mensch sich entschliessen kann ins nächste Dorf zu reiten, ohne zu furchten dass von unglücklichen Zufallen ganz abgesehen, schon die Zeit des gewöhnlichen, glücklich ablaufenden Lebens fur einen solchen Ritt bei weitem nicht hinreicht.” (those few umlauts were volunteered by my spell checker!) Translation: My grandfather used to say, Life is amazingly short. Now the memory closes in around me so close that I can hardly understand how a younger person can decide to ride to the next village without fearing that, completely aside from unlucky happenstance, even the time for the usual course of events by far will not suffice for such a ride. (This apprehension is an age-acquired taste.)

  41. meadows

    The Oligarch’s Prayer

    Our Government, which art in Washington,
    Collusion be thy Name.
    Our Corporations come.
    Our will be done, on earth,
    As it should in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily Billions.
    And surveil our trespassers, 
As we subvert them that trespass against us.
    Lead us not into regulation, 
But deliver us from free thinkers.
    For Empire is our kingdom, 
our power, and our glory,
For ever and ever.

  42. Tim

    “Resilc: “Please tell me why the cops are not against assault rifles, body armor and silencers big time?????”

    Because they have those same toys in their gun closet, or at least their buddy does? They certainly don’t want to be stuck with the task of confiscating them. That would be a death wish.

    Guns need to be sunset, not confiscated. Yeah it will take a while, but it’s already been a couple hundred years so what’s the rush?

  43. Wukchumni

    be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
    or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
    you’re off to Great Places!
    Today is your day!
    Your mountain is waiting.
    So…get on your way!”

    Dr. Seuss

  44. Democrita

    I memorized some Sappho years ago. Forgot most, but always loved this quiet fragment

    Deduke mena selana
    Kai Pleiades mesai de
    Egaw de mona kateudaw

    Tonight I’ve watched the moon
    And then the Pleiades go down
    Night closes in
    I lie alone

    The verb for ‘closes in’ is similar to the French s’enferme — a wonderful word with a sense of shutting itself up not easily translated in English.

    Of course a fragment, so nothing like what Sappho actually wrote.

  45. john halasz

    birthing is hard
    and dying is mean-
    so get yourself
    a little loving
    in between.

    Langston Hughes

  46. Sylvia

    My favorite poem — written by a wonderful man:

    When despair grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting for their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    Wendell Berry

  47. General Jinjur

    Maybe it’s just my usual frame of mind but Jacques Prevert’s ‘Song In The Blood’ has always affected me deeply.

    …..”where is it going, all this spilled blood…”

  48. run75441

    Screech Owl was magnificent. Economist going down and up escalator was funny. Thank you Yves

  49. scoff

    Dylan Thomas:

    The Force That Through The Green Fuse Drives The Flower

    The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
    Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
    Is my destroyer.
    And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
    My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

    The force that drives the water through the rocks
    Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
    Turns mine to wax.
    And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
    How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

    The hand that whirls the water in the pool
    Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
    Hauls my shroud sail.
    And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
    How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.

    The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
    Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
    Shall calm her sores.
    And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
    How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

    And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
    How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

  50. The Rev Kev

    “The Americans who think a monarchy would solve their political problems”

    Well, in Colonial times the building blocks were already in place for America to have a titled gentry. I am given to understand that back then you had large tracts of land that were called “manors” with non-hereditary lords in control. When the New York Assembly was first convened, many of these “manors” were given a seat in the Assembly. To quote a reddit discussion-

    “Some of the more famous of these New York manors were the Philipsburg Manor (part of what is today the Bronx and much of Westchester County), the Van Cortlandt Manor (much of the rest of Westchester County), the Livingston Manor (much of Sullivan County), and the Rensselaerswyck Manor (near Albany, New York). Each of these had several male generations of a single family as owner of the manor, which, in turn, later gave them a seat in the Assembly.”

    So if there had been no American revolution, you would have expected to see a system of Lords, Barons, etc to arise which would have owed their allegiance to the English Monarchy still in the same way that Australia does. So, still no American Monarchy, only a Governor General instead of a President. But you would expect to see new identities for current figures such as Baroness Clinton, the Marquess of Rockefeller, Lord Mueller, George Bush Earl of Texas, etc.

  51. eg

    Tennyson’s “Ulysses”

    It little profits that an idle king,
    By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
    Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
    Unequal laws unto a savage race,
    That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
    I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
    Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d
    Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
    That loved me, and alone, on shore, and when
    Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
    Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
    For always roaming with a hungry heart
    Much have I seen and known; cities of men
    And manners, climates, councils, governments,
    Myself not least, but honour’d of them all;
    And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
    Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
    I am a part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
    Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
    For ever and forever when I move.
    How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
    To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!
    As tho’ to breathe were life! Life piled on life
    Were all too little, and of one to me
    Little remains: but every hour is saved
    From that eternal silence, something more,
    A bringer of new things; and vile it were
    For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
    And this gray spirit yearning in desire
    To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
    Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

    This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
    To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
    Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
    This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
    A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
    Subdue them to the useful and the good.
    Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
    Of common duties, decent not to fail
    In offices of tenderness, and pay
    Meet adoration to my household gods,
    When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

    There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
    There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
    Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me—
    That ever with a frolic welcome took
    The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
    Free hearts, free foreheads—you and I are old;
    Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
    Death closes all: but something ere the end,
    Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
    Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
    The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
    The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
    Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
    ‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
    Push off, and sitting well in order smite
    The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
    To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
    Of all the western stars, until I die.
    It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
    It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
    And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
    Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

  52. Theo

    This used to be sung at the beginning of a local radio show. Not sure of the author.

    I’m having party and you’re not invited
    I wish you could come but it’ll just be my friends
    Attractive, creative, intelligent people
    I wish you could come
    But you just wouldn’t fit in

    I’m having a party
    I guess you won’t be there
    It makes me real sorry
    But that’s how it goes
    Maybe next time
    If you get a haircut
    If you get a job
    And buy some new clothes

  53. meeps

    So many thoughtful poems here today. Thanks.

    I thought I’d submit something profound like Archibald MacLeish’s, Speech to Those Who Say Comrade, or something as suited to the season as Richard Wilbur’s, The Beautiful Changes. If the criterion be relevance to capitalism–exposed, then I judge the childrens’ poem, Hungry Mungry, by Shel Silverstein, to be as imaginative as any.

  54. AllanW

    For National Poetry Day.

    It’s not religious, it’s not nationalistic but this one is stirring and with a great narrative. Compelling example of what poetry can achieve.

    Robert Browning; How they brought the good news from Ghent to Aix

    How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix

    I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;
    I gallop’d, Dirck gallop’d, we gallop’d all three;
    ‘Good speed!’ cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew;
    ‘Speed!’ echoed the wall to us galloping through;
    Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,
    And into the midnight we gallop’d abreast.

    Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace
    Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place;
    I turn’d in my saddle and made its girths tight,
    Then shorten’d each stirrup, and set the pique right,
    Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chain’d slacker the bit,
    Nor gallop’d less steadily Roland a whit.

    ’T was moonset at starting; but while we drew near
    Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawn’d clear;
    At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see;
    At Düffeld, ’t was morning as plain as could be;
    And from Mechelm church-steeple we heard the half chime,
    So, Joris broke silence with, “Yet there is time!”

    At Aershot, up leap’d of a sudden the sun,
    And against him the cattle stood black every one,
    To state thro’ the mist at us galloping past,
    And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
    With resolute shoulders, each butting away
    The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray:

    And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back
    For my voice, and the other prick’d out on his track;
    And one eye’s black intelligence,—ever that glance
    O’er its white edge at me, his own master, askance!
    And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon
    His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.

    By Hasselt, Dirck groan’d; and cried Joris “Stay spur!
    Your Roos gallop’d bravely, the fault’s not in her,
    We ’ll remember at Aix”—for one heard the quick wheeze
    Of her chest, saw the stretch’d neck and staggering knees,
    And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank,
    As down on her haunches she shudder’d and sank.

    So, we were left galloping, Joris and I,
    Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
    The broad sun above laugh’d a pitiless laugh,
    ’Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like chaff;
    Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang white,
    And “Gallop,” gasped Joris, “for Aix is in sight!

    “How they ’ll greet us!”—and all in a moment his roan
    Roll’d neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone;
    And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight
    Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,
    With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
    And with circles of red for his eye-sockets’ rim.

    Then I cast loose my buffcoat, each holster let fall,
    Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
    Stood up in the stirrup, lean’d, patted his ear,
    Call’d my Roland his pet name, my horse without peer;
    Clapp’d my hands, laugh’d and sang, any noise, bad or good,
    Till at length into Aix Roland gallop’d and stood.

    And all I remember is, friends flocking round
    As I sat with his head ’twixt my knees on the ground;
    And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
    As I pour’d down his throat our last measure of wine,
    Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
    Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent.

  55. Futility

    One of the few poems I memorized:

    Move him into the sun—
    Gently its touch awoke him once,
    At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
    Always it woke him, even in France,
    Until this morning and this snow.
    If anything might rouse him now
    The kind old sun will know.

    Think how it wakes the seeds—
    Woke once the clays of a cold star.
    Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides
    Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?
    Was it for this the clay grew tall?
    —O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
    To break earth’s sleep at all?

    (Wilfried Owen)

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