Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday commute lxviii: hanging out on a question

  The delight I take
  in my thoughts is
  delight in my own
  strange life. Is 
  this joy of living?

Ludwig Wittgenstein
Diaries, 1932
Culture and Value
G.H. von Wright, editor
Peter Winch, translation
op. cit.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A magpie without name and I were talking

I had three guesses of his name,
and I blew them all. I thought,
of course, of Kipling; and so I
figured Mowgli would be fine. I
thought of Edward Elgar and his
dream of Gerontius; I even fig-
ured Lutyens on the durbar for
George V. I knew I was dealing
with a Potemkin sort of magpie,
an empty etch-a-sketch of shil-
ling for the exceptionalism of
the mercantile empire, but I in-
nocently got the dynasty wrong.
Mary of Teck would not have had
two Cadillacs.

encumbering himself of a faith that
spoke wonders for the scope of his
bladder, on how the furthest reaches
of the Earth might be enhanced by a
constant sharing of our betterness,
as a people, burnished by the engine
of profits. Subsidiary, but equally
dazzling premises were advanced by
our chirpist, but I came to the ten-
tative conclusion that one can't ac-
tually know what he thinks, if he
does think a thing of his own any-
more, until and unless the President
of the United States is no longer of
African descent. But Friday is not a
day for unhappy reflections. He might
not, actually, revive torture in
our military jurisprudence, once the
spectacle of the black man's humane
Executive Orders were vacated; and
he might fret less about apologies
for our genius, if we had his to fall
back upon.

Yet every day does push forth his
demand to be our leader - our, if
you will, example, as he is bold
(always, we may count on it, bold)
to say. And this Friday I reflect
that it will be nice to have our
Fridays back, once this more can-
didly racist campaign than 2008
has washed away the magpie's tale.

ii  dark sea, Derek 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Horace at your back v: across the plains of the turbid sea

Vides ut alta stet nive candidum
Soracte, nec iam sustineant onus
  silvae laborantes, geluque
  flumina constiterint acuto?

See how Soracte, glistening,
stands out high in
its cape of snow, how laboring
woods let go of
their load, and all the streams
are frozen
over completely with sharpest
cold now?

drawn from the cruelest war ever fought,
of how an enterprising Special Operations
officer spirited the Wehrmacht general
of the occupying forces on Crete away to
British custody in Cairo, whom he'd kid-
napped by posing as his chauffeur. Escap-
ing Crete by hiking across Mt Ida, the
birthplace of Zeus, the General was heard
to recite the first line of this Ode, the
9th from Horace's first book, and his cap-
tor then resumed the recital to its end,
writing later, they had seemed to have
drunk from the same fountains, before.

It does not seem to most as likely that
the necessary task, ongoing now, to subdue
the forces of exploitation and cruelty in
American politics might later reveal them,
in their subjugation, as having been nur-
tured much by learning they are so merry
to revile. But heaven knows, they must do
Horace at Cranbrook sometimes, and it is
just possible that the poet may be shown
again to have been right:

Entrust, then, all the rest to the Gods
as soon as
they've calmed the winds that battle
across the plains of
  the turbid sea, the cypresses and
  ash trees of old will no longer tremble.

At the same time, we are entering the
season of book-signings, and soon the
most auspicious biography of that Brit-
ish officer will be in broad circula-
tion. The grand-daughter of Duff and
Lady Diana Cooper, and daughter of our
premier historian of Venice has had ac-
cess to everything and everyone who
could illuminate that life, beyond his
own undying memoirs in print. This is
an occasion of great news for people

The Odes, I, 9
  To Thaliarchus
John Hollander, translation
J.D. McClatchy, editor
op. cit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I cannot figure out Argentina


             We will be hitting
             it off smashingly,
             with Argentina all
             lighted up on my
             blogger map, game-
             ly propped up by
             Chile in silence;
             and then - I don't
             know, was it some-
             thing I said?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Now Atlas shrugs a fair set of shoulders

Have you ever held out hope,
this year, that Mitt Romney's
party's frenzy to circumvent

the hispanic, the african-amer-
ican, the white with a bacca-
laureate and, for all we know,
the female, the fecund, the
pansy, cummerbunned, the old,
the cold, the innocently punned,

could leave them then Apollo 
to confront, the figure the
Right supposes has so kept it
at the front, but not to melt?

If the people of the United States
does invite us, to conceive of the
election as a referendum on the
human right of voting for one's
government, what is the chance that
the whirlwind they have sown would
not be reaped in freckles, scarcely

And why not? We keep hearing demands
of the fashionable, to discuss pol-
icy instead of politics, but why now
leave it to the gods to speak to the
chic, of nothing ever grander than the
equal right to have a say in the sur-
render of one's power to the state?

    Note photographique
    September 23, 2012

Dep't of no kidding i: having a dream in English

Which side did she sleep on?
Maybe she wasn't asleep. Maybe
she was lying thinking about me.
Blow, blow, ye western wind. Well,
it blew and it wasn't the small
rain but the big rain down that

It rained all night. You knew it rained down that rained. Look at it. Christ, that my love were in my arms and I in my bed again. That my love Catherine. That my sweet love Catherine down might rain. Blow her again to me. Well, we were in it. Every one was caught in it and the small rain would not quiet it. "Good night, Catherine," I said out loud. "I hope you sleep well. It it's too uncomfortable, darling, lie on the other side," I said. "I'll get some cold water. In a little while it will be morning and then it won't be so bad. I'm sorry he makes you so uncomfortable. Try and go to sleep, sweet."

I was asleep all the time, she said. You've been talking in your sleep. Are you all right?

Are you really there?

Of course I'm here. I wouldn't go away. This doesn't make any difference between us.

You're so lovely and sweet. You wouldn't go away in the night, would you?

Of course I wouldn't go away. I'm always here. I come whenever you want me.

"------," Piani said. "They've started again."

"I was dopey," I said. I looked at my watch. It was three o'clock in the morning. I reached back behind the seat for a bottle of the Barbera.

"You talked out loud," Piani said.

"I was having a dream in English," I said.

ii  Hans Hartung
v   Mathias Lauridsen

Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929
First Scribner edition, 2012©