Category: Politics

On the Steps of the Jefferson Memorial

The simplest poems can be amongst the most profound. On the Steps of the Jefferson Memorial We invent our gods the way the Greeks did, in our own image—but magnified. Athena, the very mother of wisdom, squabbled with Poseidon like […] 

Bent to the Earth

Here is a scene of violence and inhumanity that feels torn from the front page of the newspaper or a report on the latest immigration raid outrage. But this is the kind of news that stays news because it keeps […] 

At The Bomb Testing Site

Jerry Harp’s commentary in the Kenyon Review brought this poem back to mind. Always good to be reminded of William Stafford. At The Bomb Testing Site by William Stafford At noon in the desert a panting lizard waited for history, […] 

About Those Daffodils

So there I was, wandering about, Strolling the gardens, minding my own business The way one does on an April afternoon Unencumbered by seder or service, Thinking random simple thoughts  *** About the world and its ways. A frog at […] 

A Ballad on the Taxes

We pay though the nose for subjecting of foes. Abroad we’re defeated, at home we ‘re cheated. The ideas of April are upon us and that means taxes. Just read this astoundingly relevant piece of tax outrage. It provides some […] 

Epitaph on a Tyrant

Epitaph on a Tyrant by W. H. Auden Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after, And the poetry he invented was easy to understand; He knew human folly like the back of his hand, And was greatly interested […] 

What Kinds of Times are These

What Kinds of Times are These by Adrienne Rich There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted who disappeared […] 

Art and Treason: War Crimes and Responsibility

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual […] 

Before Disaster

“Fool and scoundrel guide the State.” That’s true enough. In the early 1930’s when this was written speeding traffic on a Californian freeway was still something new and probably pretty scary to many. Just as the rise of fascism was […] 

Stalin’s Heirs

Stalin’s Heirs by Yevgeny Yevtushenko Mute was the marble. Mutely glimmered the glass. Mute stood the sentries, bronzed by the breeze. Thin wisps of smoke curled over the coffin. And breath seeped through the chinks as they bore him out […] 

Poem (I lived in the first century of world wars)

Muriel Rukeyser wrote this in 1968. Read it and tell me it doesn’t feel like she is writing for this moment in history.  How many mornings recently have you been “more or less insane” as the news pours out of […] 

Shirt

March 25th marks the anniversary of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire. In Shirt Robert Pinsky weaves in the Triangle Factory fire as he broods over the purchase of a shirt. He dwells with careful loving attention on the technical terms […] 

Consumed by Hate

Imagine being so consumed with racial hatred that you travel all the way from Maryland specifically on a mission to kill black people. This is what seems to have happened last Monday night when Timothy Caughman suffered a brutal sword attack […] 

The #Resistance is #TheMajority

One of the great pleasures of the age of instant and ubiquitous access to information is being able to re-connect with thinkers you once read but have lost touch with. Instead of remaining that-person-who-wrote-that-book-you-liked it’s possible to continue the connection […] 

Treasons Greetings: The Ghosts of Happy Holidays Past

It’s politically incorrect to say Happy Holidays these days. We must all say Merry Christmas. No word on the acceptability of Treasons Greetings so I’ll play it safe and stick to Christmas. Religious freedom – it’s a wonderful thing. Just […] 

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