Thursday, May 16, 2013

Undergraduating, contextually

Poor Valentino, caught up
in the unfairness of fash-
ion, suffers his trousers
now to be worn too short
to celebrate the cut, to
say nothing of the stride.

This would be unthinkable
to Alistair, who wore one
length of trouser for sit-
ting on the club veranda,
and another for venturing
off to a seminar on Yeats.

But the thing about doing
without socks would be a
consolation, always assum-
ing the foil of the her-
ringbone, paving his way.

Ben Eidem

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Chilling, as he was, in his Farrow & Ball whites

our idler thought of Venice, 
as he contemplated dressing.

            Then it was all true. I saw the skins 
            of tigers flaming in his palace on the 
            Grand Canal; I saw him opening a chest 
            of rubies to ease, with their crimson-
            lighted depths, the gnawings of his 
            broken heart.

I've been reading (haven't we all been reading), and with acute in-terest, the happy volunteerings of many voices, on what they think The Great Gatsby is, and what it would be like to make it relevant. New York donated space to a lady who used it to denounce Fitzgerald's morals; The New Republic opened up for one who sees it as our Moby Dick of class consciousness; then, naturally, there are spirited findings on the latest movie, The New York Times taking care to insist, the text is nothing sacred.

Possibly not. You can jockey for position on it, and money; and yet the world will go right on,              getting it.

F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby
op. cit.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pomp and circumstance

.. I must essay a path by which I too
may rise from earth a triumph fluttering on the lips of men.
I first, if only life prolong, into my country returning
will lead the Muses from the Aonian mount,
and in the green field a marble temple plant
at water's edge, where in slow turns wanders
great Mincius fringing its banks with supple reeds.
In its nave I will have Caesar, and he will have its dominion.
In his honour I, a victor dazzling in Tyrian purple,
will drive a hundred quadrigs along the river.

  Meanwhile it flies,
  time flies irretrievably,
  while captivated with love
  we ramble through minutiae.

Kimberly Johnson, translator
Georgics: A poem of the land
  Book III, 8-18, 284-285
Penguin Classics, 2009©