Tag Archives: Archibald MacLeish

The Ballad of the Corncob and the Lie, Archibald MacLeish circa 1960

Will Faulkner, Will Faulkner,
You are to blame my friend
Telling of a maiden
Brought to no good end,
Raped but with a corn-cob,
Raped but with a lie:
They’ve learned to rape the country
With a corn-cob and a lie.

They’ve learned to rape the country
Though rape is past their power,
They’ve learned to have her virtue
Though feeble to deflower:
To soil her lovely thinking,
The freedom of her mind —
They’ve learned to do it winking
With a corn-cob from behind.

Will Faulkner, Will Faulkner,
They’ve learned those lying arts:
They’ve had her in her freedom
And Oh, it breaks our hearts!
The impotent that could not —
That leered with letching eye,
They’ve learned to rape the country
With a corn-cob and a lie.

[For five years MacLeish was Librarian of Congress, a post he accepted at the urging of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[2] From 1949 to 1962, MacLeish was Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University. MacLeish was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes for his work.]

As nearly as I can find, this poem has never found its way to the Internet.   So, since I’m an admirer of MacLeish poetry, and since I’ve posted a number of his other [better] poems here, I add this to the mix.

 

 

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Something time forgot

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Back in the 1960s browsing around book stores a person used to find 33 1/3 LP records of poets reading their own poetry.  I bought several and always enjoyed listening to Robert Frost, TS Eliot, Archibald MacLeish and several others.  Those poor old LPs were awfully scratchy and beat up by the time cassette tapes came along and I converted those I could.

But toward the end of LP-days along came Rod McKuen and I suppose made everyone a bit shy about admitting they listened to poetry.  I’m telling you now I listened to part of a Rod McKuen LP once, so shoot me for a dumbass.

Anyway somewhere back there my tapes ran away with a fancy machine designed to play them and it’s been a long time since I’ve heard Frost, MacLeish, Penn Warren, or TS Eliot, among others.  Missed it considerable.

But here in my dotage in Olathe, KS, there’s a lady who works at the County Library who was once an English Major.  She takes delight in getting me whatever the library has on almost anything.  I’ve consumed books on low sodium cooking, for instance, and am currently reading some new Terry Pratchett.

So lately when I got hankering to find some MP3 recordings converted from those mentioned naturally she was my database.  The bad news is a lot of it is still in libraries somewhere on vinyl, never converted even to tape.  You can find my favorite MacLeish on Amazon on LP for $4.77 used, but nothing even on tape.  Or you can get it Interlibrary loan from NY Public Library on LP.

Anyway I got Frost converted from CD to MP3, along with an assortment of other CD anthologies and spang sent them back to the library, ordering more.  And today I’ve got another stack  she brought home last night.  TS Eliot and The Spoken Arts Treasury Volume 1 [6 CD] of a large variety of poets reading their own poetry if they were still alive when recording devices were invented.

I also have a 2 CD set of the Mills Brothers, 1931-1968 I’ll be converting to MP3.  Truly looking forward to hearing it.

But the technology is moving so fast by the time I get them on MP3 probably something will come along assuring they’ll be lost to history some other way.  Heck, there aren’t enough people interested in Archibald MacLeish, Carl Sandburg, to justify someone commercially to preserve them.  Not anyone after cassette tapes came along.

Ezra Pound spent the years of his life after WWII in confined exile because he got so enthusiastic about Italian fascism, entirely because Il Duce supported the arts.

If poor old Ezry had recorded all those endless cantos he penned from 1945 until he died I suppose it would be one hell of a treasury to convert to MP3.  I’m probably the only person on the planet who wouldn’t listen to it.

Old Jules

MIA – Permanent Mouse Patrol – Niaid

Missing a couple of  days now.  Hopefully she's just on an extended adventure, but she's got Hydrox and me missing her a lot.  Last time I saw her, night-before-last I was noticing she was losing a lot of weight, skin and bones under all that fur.  But she rested on my chest purring and demanding affection an hour-or-so during the night, ate heartily, drank a lot of water. Not a bad final approach to the active runway out of here.  Jack

Missing a couple of days now. Hopefully she’s just on an extended adventure, but she’s got Hydrox and me missing her a lot. Last time I saw her, night-before-last I was noticing she was losing a lot of weight, skin and bones under all that fur. But she rested on my chest purring and demanding affection an hour-or-so during the night, ate heartily, drank a lot of water.
Not a bad final approach to the active runway out of here. Jack

The Cat in the Wood – Archibald MacLeish

The cat in the wood cried farewell cried farewell
Farther and farther away and the leaves
Covered her over with the sound of the leaves
And the sound of the wood O my love O my love
Farther and farther away and the sound
Of leaves overhead when I call to you
Leaves on the ground.

Socorro, NM, 1996 - 1997 On loan from Mel to provide company for Hydrox, her litter-mate.  Beginning the long road home.

Socorro, NM, 1996 – 1997 On loan from Mel to provide company for Hydrox, her litter-mate. Beginning the long road home.

Naiad sunset placitas