Tag Archives: poetry

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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The thorny ethics of silence – Philosophy by limerick

This is Stormy. Her reputation was ruined when the president broke their non-disclosure agreement and gabbed to all his evangelist buddies. Now her phone rings day and night and she can’t get a moment of quiet rest.

The porn-star named Stormy was nice
And of course everything has its price
Including discretion
And public confession:
The ethics aren’t all that precise.

Old Jules

Nobody said it would be – Philosophy by limerick

Locomotive Rock located on the Laguna Rez a few miles north of Acoma.

Stopping a train just ain’t easy
The methods are bloody and sleazy
But changing direction
Requires a correction
More solid than whiney and breezy.

Old Jules

The Genius MBA – Philosophy by Limerick

Made his money the hard way, inherited.
Went to Yale where he struggled and merited
Every cent that he earned
With his MBA; spurned
Do-nothings with slogans he parroted.

Old Jules – July 31, 2012 blog entry

 

 

Higamus Hogamus

There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since Dorothy Parker wrote that poem. And there’s been a lot even since I posted it on this blog the first time. But that just goes to prove Parker captured a universal truth. And was never recognized, acknowledged or acclaimed. Never canonized as a saint of the literati.

So Far From Heaven

All this feral swine talk reminded me of one of the most succinct, philosophical, psychological, sociological, sexy and romantic poems I’ve ever read.  Dorothy Parker authored it sometime back in the ’50s, I think:

Hogamus higamus men are polygamous.
Higamus hogamus, women monogamous.

Inspiring, thought-provoking and titillating.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Old Jules

 

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The Bivouac of the Dead – [Thank you for your service wasn’t enough]

 

cemetery poem sign 6

cemetery poem sign 3

cemetery poem sign 1

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I’ve visited a lot of National Cemeteries over the years, along with a lot of private and State cemeteries where the remains of military personnel and veterans who served over the past centuries are planted.   I used to attend Memorial and sometimes Veterans Day ceremonies at the National Cemetery at Santa Fe when I lived in New Mexico.

One thing I’ve always appreciated about National Cemeteries, even Arlington, was the tasteful, somewhat understated and even egalitarian approach by the caretakers to those burial sites.

But that was before the presidential wars of the 21st Century and the need to glorify the whole idea of those who served in the military.   Suddenly, post-9-11 a surprisingly large piece of the population was singing the song of the spanking new fad, “Thank you for your service!”    Pretending all those who served were heroes, had dodged bullets of some enemy who wished only to rob us of our freedoms.   We veterans ‘fought’ for the freedoms, rights, something else ambiguous, courageous, praiseworthy.   Although it’s between wars and the fad is declining somewhat, it’s still out there to a limited degree, waiting for the need that will come from the next presidential war to spark public outrage against some group politicians declare are enemies and need killing.

But I’ve digressed.    What I was going to write about are the signs that have appeared during the past couple of decades in the National Cemeteries.    It wasn’t enough to have the public beating the drums and parroting thankyouverymuch to veterans.   Some bright light in the National Cemetery management system decided to make us all Chargers of the Light Brigade by hindsight.

Evidently they couldn’t find any 20th Century poets who expressed mawkish enough sentiments to satisfy their needs.    So they rode their lofty mounts back to the times between the Mexican War and the Civil War to Theodore O’Hara and his poem, The Bivouac of the Dead.    And they sure as hell found a level of absurdity and theater there to bring the 90% of the dead vets who never saw a day of combat right up there with fixed bayonets and bloody comrades.

So, even though VA hospitals across the country appear to have a lot of difficulty providing services to veterans legally eligible to receive health care services and the historical buildings are falling apart, the residue of synthetic heroism still resides across the hill in the graveyard,  The National Cemetery managed to afford somewhere between 10,000 and 38,000 Christmas wreaths made of real pine to place on those stones.

National Cemetery background

National Cemetery Christmas

But at least they didn’t allow the affluent mothers of young men killed in the last couple of presidential wars to put their helmet-bayonet-fixed-rifle-and combat-boot memorials in the National Cemetery.    Nope, they made them put those up by the front gate to the Medical Center.

Levenworth med entrance6

There are seven of those up there to ponder, along with a couple of empty block of granite in place for more if the moms and pops lose one and want to remember their son in such a way.

We Americans are such patriots, we are.

Thanks for the visit..

Old Jules

 

 

 

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