Saturday, May 23, 2015

Erin go bragh!


  He came back to the sofa. He lifted
  MacMurrough's wine and silently gave
  it into his hand. They listened to
  the night sounds through the window,
  while the mood recouped, repossessed

  "MacEmm, can I ask you? I don't know
  does it mean .. does it mean any-
  thing with marrying, MacEmm? Doyler 
  and me..

  I don't know, you see..

  I never thought of it before and   then I wondered, is it this way     
  you'd be with a wife? You see, I
  don't know."

                "MacEmm, you haven't brought this
                from England with you, you know.
                It was here anyway. I wasn't the
                first in the Crock's Garden and I
                doubt I'll be the last. I'm sorry
                for the soldier for I doubt I was
                much comfort to him and I hope he
                found better joy where he went.
                But you know I wouldn't live that
                way. It will be different, won't

                "I hope it will, my dear."

Jamie O'Neill
op. cit.
Scribner, 2001©

i      Charlotte Hedley©
iii   The New York Times©

Shall we have Gail Collins or lose this day after all

    Like you, I'll do anything
    to avoid one of our Satur-
    day commute postings, but
    I was prepared to go ahead
    with a blithely nautical
    entry, albeit under penal-
    ty of enlistment. We late-
    ly saw a reader encouraging
    the page to continue our
    also to invent a few lines;
    and if one can't say some-
    thing nice about a sailor,
    it would smack of tarring
    him with the brush we re-
    serve for his uses.

    What I think we all like a-
    bout our modern writers is
    that they don't make us re-
    member very far back. This
    defies Fitzgerald's Law of
    Second Chances, but it ex-
    plains our wars to a T, not 
    to mention our zombies of
    Presidential aspirations.

    One could go on in this
    vein, but to deny readers
    Collins' tracking of such
    an aspirant with his may-
    onnaise jar, groveling
    for a flag to wrap him-
    self in in Iowa, would
    contradict the spirit of
    the Saturday commute. 

    Is there still a Scott
    Walker, we must ask; and
    if so, why?

Gail Collins
Rush to Judgment
The New York Times
22 May 2015©

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A little bit of war

        Have we all been keeping up
        with the Mission Accomplish-
        ed, so many years ago, now,
        that we've all but washed
        our hands of our own triumph?

        Ramadi has bit the dust again.
        Is this the President's "whack-
        a-mole" image, come to recur-
        ring life? Is it another gurg-
        ling simmer in the tardily dy-
        ing pot of sectarian strife?

        I don't think so. I think it's
        yet another nail in the coffin
        of the pretense we prolifically
        pursue, that we can have a lit-
        tle bit of war, and deny it, as
        we "move on."

        If nothing else, I hope the in-
        numerable American martyrs we'll
        revisit this weekend at Arlington
        will be spared the contemptibly
        false non sequitur, "insurrection,"
        for counter-attacks against an ab-
        solutely inachievable mission. An
        insurrection presumes an establish-
        ed government; what we observe is
        non-compliance with our fantasies. 
        The dead deserve their language.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Margaretta Fitler Murphy Rockefeller

My memory of this lady began
when I was a young boy, an
exceedingly unprecocious ad-
olescent by today's standard.
I remember her with spontan-
eous fondness, because she
was so pretty, frankly, yet
another retrograde symptom
I'm unlikely to shirk. And
I was aware of the "turmoil"
over her marriage to the Gov-
ernor of New York. I recall,
very clearly, that I did not 
share in that judgment. Even
then, I supposed I was sup-
posed, to feel threatened by 
a betrayal of children, even
if I was not yet in any posi-
tion to denounce her on other 
"moral" grounds.

I just knew enough then, to
be certain that custodians of 
children should love each oth-
er, and not demand the same 
from the innocents. In this
way they discover and believe
in beauty, and whether they
discover it or not, in love.

Margaretta Fitler
  at Shipley, ca 1942

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dutifully padding about the temples of gastronomy

      And yet she loved all things 
      French, loved being in France.
      When we went there en famille
      after the war she exclaimed
      continuously on its marvelous
      Frenchness, everything was just
      as French as she remembered it -
      'Look,' she said, as we drove
      away from the boat through Cal-
      ais, 'the very streets - the 
      cars, a Citroën, James! - oh,
      a gendarme, and there, the lit-
      tle outside lavatory, they're
      called pissoires, and you see
      the wine shops - James, see the
      windows! all that wine - and the
      pavement cafés and there's a pâ-
      tisserie' - she said the word
      with such a French flourish -
      'you boys have never tasted a
      real French pâtisserie - do stop,
      James, and we'll have a pâtisser-
      ie, the boys can have their first
      tarte aux pommes!'

      James stopped, and she led us
      to the little shop, its open
      counter just off the pavement
      laden with cakes, fruit tarts,
      &c, the smell of their recent
      baking hanging in the warm air,
      and it's certainly true that
      Nigel and I had never seen such
      a display, not smelt such smells
      - 'peach, pear, apple,' she said,
      'apricot, fraises, framboises -
      and that's the one I'll have' -
      she gestured at it, one of her
      grand gestures - 'the black-
      berry!' and a swarm of flies
      rose up from it, leaving not a
      blackberry but a plain custard
      tart - ...


Simon Gray
The Last Cigarette
Granta, 2008©

This volume in the
"Smoking Diaries"
was nominated by
the Head Master
of Eton for Hey-
wood Hill's List
of 100 Something-
or-Other. Fright-
ening to consider,
one could have
missed it.

Fionn Creber