Saturday, August 31, 2013

Burrow the Coil

  • Actually there is three more requirements of holiday weekend bleggalgazing traditions to uphold: first, the acknowledgement on the futility of blogging on holiday weekends, the second to point out that there are numerous new members of blogrolls left and right, please check them out, third to thank you for reading, if you are Kinding me but me not you please let me know.
  • This week in water.
  • Since I botched the link yesterday and though it's fixed now, on the distinction between scifi and fantasy, for those of you who do one or the other or both.
  • Coetzee's new novel reviewed by Joyce Carol Oates.
  • Seamus Heaney interview.
  • Some Heaney poems. Walked up to the Fifth Floor stacks yesterday, the rereading has commenced.
  • A poem on Heaney's death.
  • Serendipitously to the already planned Coil cascade I opened one of the books and read the poem typed out below. All praise to Serendipity.
  • Casualty.
  • Now (from the Truth Game)


Seamus Heaney

I returned to a long strand,
the hammered curve of a bay,   
and found only the secular
powers of the Atlantic thundering.

I faced the unmagical
invitations of Iceland,
the pathetic colonies
of Greenland, and suddenly

those fabulous raiders,
those lying in Orkney and Dublin   
measured against
their long swords rusting,

those in the solid
belly of stone ships,
those hacked and glinting
in the gravel of thawed streams

were ocean-deafened voices
warning me, lifted again
in violence and epiphany.
The longship’s swimming tongue

was buoyant with hindsight—
it said Thor’s hammer swung
to geography and trade,
thick-witted couplings and revenges,

the hatreds and behind-backs
of the althing, lies and women,   
exhaustions nominated peace,   
memory incubating the spilled blood.

It said, ‘Lie down
in the word-hoard, burrow   
the coil and gleam
of your furrowed brain.

Compose in darkness.   
Expect aurora borealis   
in the long foray
but no cascade of light.

Keep your eye clear
as the bleb of the icicle,
trust the feel of what nubbed treasure   
your hands have known.’


  1. cowardly launching cruise missiles

    Give that political officer a rifle, he'll show them how real Americans fight!

    1. Heh. A friend of mine, one of only two or three leftist in Illtophay's overwhelmingly conservative govt dept, says US policies in the Islamic world generate the anti-US hate but it's the coward's use of drones and cruise missiles that generates the contempt and that it's the contempt that drives the hate not the other way around.

    2. I'm way inclined to agree with that leftist friend of yours.

    3. Then by all means, fight Islamists on their own terms, where men are men and chop off each others' rapetools with curved swords, and by God let the winners have at the virgins. Way to gin up dumbass straw either/or's just for the sake of hating on the President. Oops! We don't do either/or's! Binary options don't exist! There are really cool alternatives like candy unicorns and drum circles! I'm sorry, did I miss your reality-based (and really, I'll settle for not rhetoric-based) alternative? Go on, hit me with it. I'll back down from calling you a politruk.

      I'm not sure why you're calling people cowards, other than you like saying it. There's not really a rational or factual reason. Essentially, Obama's choices are to be called a coward (by you and other...Jeebus, I just can't bring myself to call people I love the E-word, as much as I dig the coinage), a brute (if he uses conventional military force--a label he'd deserve, by the way), a coward (if he takes no military action), a wimp (if he does nothing, and it would be true--he'd also be a complicit war criminal), or a failure (if he sticks with diplomacy, which in view of the cultural and religious divide would almost certainly fail, and given our complete lack of understanding of that gap, might well make things worse). The namecalling, of course, shouldn't guide his decisionmaking about a bunch of awful and likely unsuccessful choices.

      And your thing about drones and cruise missiles just falls on its ass when compared to the risk to humans in the military. Good thing you don't know anyone in the military. I do. I'd rather they fought from a distance, thanks. I'll feel even more that way when it's maybe my kid in 3 or 4 years. Feel free to call me a coward, then or now. I'll take it happily.

      And don't fucking pretend I'm advocating military action against Syria, either.

      And yeah, fine, too bad I don't have my own fucking blog. But this time my beef really is with you, so I think this is where it belongs.

      Immeasurably happier things: did you see they moved the Moreno game against Gax to the Saturday? It means Ilse can be there. And we don't have a 5 PM Sunday game. Although we do have the traditional 4 PM swelter against Gax. I want to Tivo the CSN feed to get Tino's comments. Heh.

    4. I'm not going to pile on because Landru said much that I agree with. (He's the more conservative between the two of us so I would just make things worse.) But once again I'd love to know what you, Mister BDR WOULD do about Syria. Saying everything is bad is just too easy.

    5. No, I don't think you were advocating military action v Syria. Databoy is talking about joining the military? I'll be careful to watch what I say should it ever come up when around him.

      But yes, bombing with no risk to self strikes me as cowardly. Why I care about it is something I need to think about. And I do think my friend is right about his opinion on the perception of those on the receiving end of the bombing.

      Candy unicorns - do female ones have holes in their foreheads? (Sorry, folks, that's deep inside baseball.)

      We're going to be in Ohio the weekend of the Gax game unless she tells us not to visit. The first few days of CAing - last night was her first on drunk patrol, lordy - suggest she'll welcome the free dinner.

    6. And it's all moot because Obama will become the first president in forever to do the Constitutional thing and ask the Congress. I'll be waiting for the complaints.

    7. Bummer about that weekend. Planet, I love you beyond compare, but please take one for the team.

      I'm sorry. I didn't express agreement with the complex evolution of anti-U.S. feeling. Sure, contempt leads to hate leads to the dark side. Whatever. There's hate, there's contempt, there's violence. It's traceable to U.S. behavior.

      And honestly, at a generic level, if you hold me in contempt for bombing you for bombing me? Uhm, fuck you, you lying motherfucker. Yeah, feel free to return the sentiment, but seriously, fire burns both ways. What fucking retard doesn't get that? Again: not suggesting that our political overlords are Gandhi.

      Martha Washington Monument! Favorite tourist joke ever, way better than the Jefferson Slavetit or Lincoln's Potty Chair. Honestly, it takes some of the smart ones 10-15 seconds to get it, and it's too awesome to tell to the dumb ones. Go back to Iowa, you traffic-clogging fucks. I'll take Constitution Avenue at about 80 mph to encourage you.

    8. What have I learned today? That if I'm typing a reply to one comment and someone else posts a comment to moderation before I finish my reply to the first person and then I enable the other person's comment it looks like my reply is to the other person's comment not the person I was replying to. Fine metaphors abound.

      Anyway, in reply to Sasha's latest, regardless of his motives (which of course I don't trust), Obama bringing in Congress is a politically canny move. He either gets a pass or gets an out and buys him time either way.

      There's a chance the Boyfriend will ask to switch his weekend from next to the one after, so I may be in town for Gax and in Ohio next weekend. I'll let you know when I do. And the invoice for next season came in the mail twenty minutes ago in a folder with the Kitchen on the front. $574 each.

    9. Well, it's fast and furiousical.

  2. 1)my own congressman john delaney didn't sign barbara lee's letter either - i used his website comment form to tell him i wished he had, with a link to a copy of the letter -

    donna edwards, who used to be my congressman, did sign barbara lee's letter - i've lived in three different congressional districts while in moco while staying in the same house

    2)would Obama be facing as strong a public pushback against cowardly launching cruise missiles from a boat hundreds of miles from danger into a civilian population if the NSA stories hadn't broken in the past two months? i don't think so

    3)thank for seamus heaney poem and links

    1. I'm not sure how much and on what conscious level the revelations contributed, but yes, I think it's a factor too. Still thinking about it.

    2. dr. mistah charley, while our Congressman John Delaney is a fucking diseased troll, I'm no longer convinced that his primary opposition (over whom he clearly and unmistakably bought the election), would've been significantly less of a jackass. Though I'd certainly like to think it. And he might have been just enough less. Next time, write in Landru. As Sasha says, I'm probably more conservative than you'd like about some things, but at least I'm up front about it, and I'm not gonna sell your women to Jesus or your brown folk to Bob Ehrlich.

  3. I tried to embed the most recent FB post from Humans of New York but the comment thingy won't take it. If you can go here and check out the Seamus Heaney admirer and poem.

  4. Ahh, the Seamus Heaney that I tried to point to is now available on the HONY web site.

  5. obama's tossing of the ball to congress was a smart move - my respect for him just went up - although he claimed the divine right of kings to order mass murder at the same time as he said he wanted congress to chime in - as to the long-term consequences, it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future

  6. Thanks for the link to my poem. Much appreciated.