"Truth," said a traveller,
"Is a rock, a mighty fortress;
"Often have I been to it,
"Even to its highest tower,
"From whence the world looks black."
"Truth," said a traveller,
"Is a breath, a wind,
"A shadow, a phantom;
"Long have I pursued it,
"But never have I touched
"The hem of its garment."
And I believed the second traveller;
For truth was to me
A breath, a wind,
A shadow, a phantom,
And never had I touched
The hem of its garment.
from Black Riders and Other Lines
Monday, December 30, 2013
Friday, December 27, 2013
He, who before was the money owner, now strides in front as capitalist; the possessor of labour power follows as his labourer. The one with an air of importance, smirking, intent on business; the other, timid and holding back, like one who is bringing his own hide to market and has nothing to expect but--a hiding.
--Karl Marx, from Capital
Thursday, December 26, 2013
|(Image Credit: Charles Bernstein/PennSound)|
In front of the craft shop,
a small nativity,
mother, baby, sheep
made of white
and blue balloons.
Pick out the one
that doesn't belong.
close to nothing
everything has come.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
|(Fishing Alone. Wu Zhen, from here)|
Winding out of the hills,
the small stream enters the river.
It began coming down
long before these trees arrived.
In his boat the fisherman waits
like the hills along the stream
for what will be brought to him
and what will be taken away.
After the painting by Wu Chen
--Wendell Berry, from An Eastward Look
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel
"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
|(Image credit: Richard Brown)|
I love to go out in late September
among the fat, overripe, icy, black blackberries
to eat blackberries for breakfast,
the stalks very prickly, a penalty
they earn for knowing the black art
of blackberry making; and as I stand among them
lifting the stalks to my mouth, the ripest berries
fall almost unbidden to my tongue,
as words sometimes do, certain peculiar words
like strengths or squinched or broughamed,
many-lettered, one-syllabled lumps,
which I squeeze, squinch open, and splurge well
into the silent, startled, icy black language
of blackberry eating in late September.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
|(Image Credit: Duncan Rawlinson)|
It is only in folk tales, children's stories, and the journals of intellectual opinion that power is used wisely and well to destroy evil. The real world teaches very different lessons, and it takes willful and dedicated ignorance to fail to perceive them.
--Noam Chomsky, from a talk given at Tufts University in 2001
Friday, December 20, 2013
|(Glade jul, Viggo Johansen, 1891)|
Christmas Tree Lots
Christmas trees lined like war refugees,
a fallen army made to stand in their greens.
Cut down at the foot, on their last leg,
they pull themselves up, arms raised.
We drop them like wood;
tied, they are driven through the streets,
dragged through the door, cornered
in a room, given a single blanket,
only water to drink, surrounded by joy.
Forced to wear a gaudy gold star,
to surrender their pride,
they do their best to look alive.
Source: Poetry (December 2001).