Category Archives: Blog

Syria

The wonderful Julie Lenarz (via her Facebook page) sums up what I think about Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

I can’t think of a convincing reason why it’s smart to withdraw troops from Syria. But I also can’t think of a reason why Obama officials think they have a right to complain. They had 8 years to do good in Syria and they royally screwed up.

And this is all so terrible for the Kurds.

If ever something were going to make me believe Putin has something on Trump, abandoning Syria to Russia, Assad and Turkey is it.

“Villanelle” for Vera Brittain

Beautiful poem written by Roland Leighton for Vera Brittain. It was April 1915 and he was serving in France. He was killed by a sniper eight months later. (I dearly wish I had some of my uncle’s poems to his fiancee, Christine, but any letters she received, of course, stayed with her. If she kept them, perhaps her children have them – I have a hope one of her kids will see my other site and contact me, but it is possible she may never have told them about Norman.)

Violets from Plug Street Wood,
Sweet, I send you oversea.
(It is strange they should be blue,
Blue, when his soaked blood was red,
For they grew around his head:
It is strange they should be blue.)

Think what they have meant to me –
Life and hope and Love and You
(and you did not see them grow
Where his mangled body lay
Hiding horrors from the day;
Sweetest, it was better so.)

Violets from oversea,
To your dear, far, forgetting land
These I send in memory
Knowing you will understand.

“Anti-Zionism” (Cough)

Yeah, so many of my relatives need to read this column. Here’s a snippet:

Anti-Zionism is ideologically unique in insisting that one state, and one state only, doesn’t just have to change. It has to go. By a coincidence that its adherents insist is entirely innocent, this happens to be the Jewish state, making anti-Zionists either the most disingenuous of ideologues or the most obtuse. When then-CNN contributor Marc Lamont Hill called last month for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and later claimed to be ignorant of what the slogan really meant, it was hard to tell in which category he fell.

D.H. Lawrence’s “Mountain Lion”

This poem is magnificent. Why did we have to read Lawrence’s novels at university, but not his poems? I could have lived without the former, but surely would have appreciated — even loved — the latter.

Mountain Lion

Climbing through the January snow, into the Lobo Canyon
Dark grow the spruce-trees, blue is the balsam, water sounds still unfrozen, and the trail is still evident

Men!
Two men!
Men! The only animal in the world to fear!

They hesitate.
We hesitate.
They have a gun.
We have no gun.

Then we all advance, to meet.

Two Mexicans, strangers, emerging our of the dark and
snow and inwardness of the Lobo valley.
What are they doing here on this vanishing trail?

What is he carrying?
Something yellow.
A deer?

Que’ tiene amigo?
Leon-

He smiles foolishly as if he were caught doing wrong.
And we smile, foolishly, as if we didn’t know.
He is quite gentle and dark-faced.

It is a mountain lion,
A long, long, slim cat, yellow like a lioness.
Dead.

He trapped her this morning, he says, smiling foolishly.

Life up her face,
Her round, bright face, bright as frost.
Her round, fine-fashioned head, with two dead ears;
And stripes in the brilliant frost of her face, sharp, fine dark rays,
Dark, keen, fine rays in the brilliant frost of her face.
Beautiful dead eyes.

Hermoso es!

They go out towards the open;
We go out into the gloom of Lobo.
And above the trees I found her lair,
A hole in the blood-orange brilliant rocks that stick up, a little cave.
And bones, and twigs, and a perilous ascent.

So, she will never leap up that way again, with the yellow flash of a mountain lion’s long shoot!
And her bright striped frost-face will never watch any more, out of the shadow of the cave in the blood- orange rock,
Above the trees of the Lobo dark valley-mouth!

Instead, I look out.
And out to the dim of the desert, like a dream, never real;
To the snow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the ice of the mountains of Picoris,
And near across at the opposite steep of snow, green trees motionless standing in snow, like a Christmas toy.

And I think in this empty world there was room for me and a mountain lion.
And I think in the world beyond, how easily we might spare a million or two humans
And never miss them.
Yet what a gap in the world, the missing white frost-face of that slim yellow mountain lion!