Open Menu: for just about anything, really…


Juliania’s heart-warming icon depicting ‘Saint Francis and the Wolf’; she said that the wolf is promising not to eat the sheep, and the
rabbit is looking a bit worried.  :-)

My offering is a poem by Tomas Tranströmer, who received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Half-Finished Heaven

Despondency breaks off its course.
Anguish breaks off its course.
The vulture breaks off its flight.

The eager light streams out,
even the ghosts take a draught.

And our paintings see daylight,
our red beasts of the ice-age studios.

Everything begins to look around.
We walk in the sun in hundreds.

Each man is a half-open door
leading to a room for everyone.

The endless ground under us.

The water is shining among the trees.

The lake is a window into the earth.

Tomas Tranströmer: “The Music Says Freedom Exists”

34 responses to “Open Menu: for just about anything, really…

  1. apropos maybe of earlier comments on Mandela, i endured a little celebration of Thurgood Marshall Sunday. hardly in the same category as obama, except the careerism, hardly as important as a world-historical figure as mandela. we really need these people to be superheros, don’t we? it was good for me to be reminded that T.M., esp. in younger days, lived in fear of his life & that of his family’s. unlike obama, w/mandela & t.m., there was some something there at some point. However, if i’d said at the fete, you know he collaborated w/JE Hoover to purge pinkos from the NAACP? and asked what principles was he keeping by becoming Solicitor General of the US? careerism & self-promotion? omg…or, skipping over that atrocious failure, that crime on his & the NAACP’s part, and the tokenism he represents (put a few blacks in positions of power and the rest in jail) to ask, well, what is his legacy today? why is Brown v Brd of Ed essentially meaningless right now? why are civil rights generally speaking going backwards (let’s not get into LGBTQX)? the incarceral state, etc., etc. can’t be mentioned as we bask in the warm glowing warming glow of the black guy who made big.

    i may have mentioned this before here, but i was working about half a mile from the national mall during the 2009 inauguration. it was one of the saddest moments of my life as i knew and i knew i was right, the celebratory energy & expectations of the tens of thousands of african-americans here on the mall would be flushed down the toilet in his 1st microsecond in office and this was just a mammoth $^#*% unbelievably cynical con job.

    • i suppose it’s not odd that i hadn’t known those damning things about marshall, but ‘heroes with clay feet’ is the rule,not the exception, as far as i know. and to me, having heroes: there be dragons there.

      i’ll admit that his onstage performance at (was it?) coors field, actually brought a tear or two to mine eyes, whether in hope that such acclaim that the multitudes, in their hope, could ‘make him do it’ as he always echoed FDR, iirc? but i remember watching his nominating speech for lurch kerry in 2004, telling mr. wd: yeppers, that’ll be next dem prez nominee.

      when i’d popped in david corriea’s tweet about bernie and first american ‘allegiances’ & promises, ‘to what end’ or close, under the tweet were many bernistas saying thing’s he’d allegedly said on the pine ridge rez, like ‘honor broken treaties’. presto: the lakota get the black hills back!!!

      but what i really heard was O going to the dineh capital at window rock, making heady speeches, and the navajo making him an honorary tribal member, fer chrissake. oh yes, he helped them by settling the (reportedly lost accounts) ndian minerals trust accounts for pennies on the dollar. so…promise them anything…but give them a smothered merde sandwich; they’ll be grateful as all giddy-up for being able to die in their gravy spills.

      • ‘they’ll be grateful as all giddy-up for being able to die in their gravy spills.’
        grand slam. white man (yes, obama) comes bearing beads…

        yeah on heros w/feets of clay.

        TM gave a speech at Coors field?!? oh, the other guy. can’t say i’m sorry i missed that one.

        there’s some action in the real world. shut down the transportation sector…some americans need to follow suit.

        • buffy has a way with the truth, doesn’t she? ‘bearing beads’, yes. the Trinket Grifter. no, it was O who gave his nomination speech in denver, mile high, i guess it was.

          wow, the french are serious, and good on them. someone at naked capitalism wished US labor could do the same. well, that’s why they have union bosses in the Bigs: to keep workers penned in, to agree to two-tier pay scales, and keep them voting Dem. so much like the trotskyite author wrote:

          “The union bureaucracies themselves are longstanding political instruments of the same ruling class and political establishment against which the working class is mobilizing in struggle.” alleged socialist leaders in europe have sold out sooooo much. their austerity drives and anti-worker polices are driving voters to support folks like marine le pen, and who was the uber-right wing austrian who almost beat the green candidate for the presidency?

  2. The poem and music are beautiful, wendye.

    “. . .Each man is a half-open door
    leading to a room for everyone. . .”

    For some reason, that sent me back to Plato’s dialogue, ‘The Symposium’ – because I half-remembered the tale about humans having been divided in half and thereafter forever seeking the other half, as we still fondly refer to our mates today.

    Well, my memory was a tad simplistic, as it is Aristophanes who gives that speech, and he’s eager for it to be considered a comedic effort, even though at the end of the evening, Socrates will ‘prove’ that the same man can be both a comedy writer and a tragedian – but that’s by the board. So, instead, let me extract from the speech of Socrates the following tale, given to him by ‘a Mantinean woman called Diotima’:

    “. . .On the day of Aphrodite’s birth the gods were making merry, and among them was Resource, the son of Craft. And when they had supped, Need came begging at the door because there was good cheer inside. Now, it happened that Resource, having drunk deeply of the heavenly nectar – for this was before the days of wine – wandered out into the garden of Zeus and sank into a heavy sleep; and Need, thinking that to get a child by Resource would mitigate her penury, lay down beside him and in time was brought to bed of Love. So, Love became the follower and servant of Aphrodite because he was begotten on the same day that she was born, and further he was born to love the beautiful since Aphrodite is beautiful herself.
    Then again, as the son of Resource and Need, it has been his fate to be always needy, nor is he delicate and lovely as most of us believe, but harsh and arid, barefoot and homeless, sleeping on the naked earth, in doorways, or in the very streets beneath the stars of heaven, and always partaking of his mother’s poverty. But secondly, he brings his father’s resourcefulness to his designs upon the beautiful and the good; for he is gallant, impetuous, and energetic, a mighty hunter, and a master of device and artifice – at once desirous and full of wisdom, a lifelong seeker after truth, an adept in sorcery, enchantment, and seduction. . .”

    • yes, aristophanes tale: beings with four arms, four legs cartwheeling about, and Zeus and friends having decided they just might wish to decent the heavens…and who knows what challenge to the gods they might bring?

      on one hand, it was used as a ‘soul mate’ narrative, and also a tale about the greek understandings of mixed genders. and as i remember it, his satire was often in aid of mocking democracy, which advent was centuries later, iirc.

      now i’ll need to read your ‘Mantinean woman called Diotima’ more times, because it pinged some other blends for me, dickens for one, of course.

      but it’s spring, and we have the incredible privilege of watching the mating rituals of birds, jackrabbits (‘hares’, mr wd discovered), and the new bucks with unusual antler configurations, rather fat and short, this year), and their tests among themselves. but of course all of it is relevant to Life, reproduction, and the ‘designs’ of resource and need.

      the dances of love, mating, almost seem proscribed, in a way. i preen; you act with nonchalance and turn away. you approach, i hunker in the grass as invisible, and so on. now the deer during rut are not at all nonchalant. it’s my wont to call to the exhausted, constantly chased/pursued does: ‘just sit down!’

      and thank you kindly for allowing me to use your wonderful saint peter icon,

      • i’d been musing about the best sort of love, and decided (again) that both lover and beloved should cherish one another over themselves; the same for one’s children. so i went back to my link, remembered to enlarge the font for squintless reading, and found:

        “And in this way, Socrates, the mortal body, or mortal anything, partakes of immortality; but the immortal in another way. Marvel not then at the love which all men have of their offspring; for that universal love and interest is for the sake of immortality.”

        I was astonished at her words, and said: “Is this really true, O thou wise Diotima?” And she answered with all the authority of an accomplished sophist: “Of that, Socrates, you may be assured;-think only of the ambition of men, and you will wonder at the senselessness of their
        ways, unless you consider how they are stirred by the love of an immortality of fame. They are ready to run all risks greater far than they would have for their children, and to spend money and undergo any sort of toil, and even to die, for the sake of leaving behind them a name which shall be eternal. Do you imagine that Alcestis would have died to save Admetus, or Achilles to avenge Patroclus, or your own Codrus in order to preserve the kingdom for his sons, if they had not imagined that the memory of their virtues, which still survives among us, would be immortal? Nay,” she said, “I am persuaded that all men do all things, and the better they are the more they do them, in hope of the glorious fame of immortal virtue; for they desire the immortal.”

        a far too self-referencing sort of love by my lights. the final paragraph’s prose on the eternal contemplation of beauty is lovely, and seems to offer a cautionary tale to listeners about platonic love (or not) of young, beautiful males. dunno.

        • i hear you. there’s a contradiction there: love of (“personal”?) immortality via children vs. via fame/honor/glory. most of the “successful” people in our (our) society *think* they have negotiated this “children vs. accomplishment” herculean fork-in-the-path kind of dilemma b/c of their enormous capacity to be seduced by what flatters their reputation and ignores Obvious Threats. and pays, of course. and allows them to put their kids in good schools, to, in theory, carry on the cycle of biological & intellectual reproduction of the smart people & cool rich kids. all very tied in to a word wd hit a few times: possession. does not the president of Monsanto (Bayer?) have kids? if the russkies lurv their chitlins too, as sting said! the symposum tries to harmonize the imperatives of “biological” immortality ( via children) and “cultural” immortality (via accomplishment). hey, there’s a great force that unifies all human impulses, called Amor/Cupid/Eros. ok, i’m cool w/that.

          so, in our present moment, whither dick cheney? sorry, obama? and and and…

          and in a very patriarchal, homosocial world…Diotima. why diotima?

          • yeah, i know plato believed in rule by philosopher kings and all, but still…i reckon few of the citizens would have bought that particular sort of immortality theme. for me? i confess i’ve never thought of our kids as carrying on for us. and when they’ve fucked up, we just love them regardless. okay, they’re adopted, but the same thing would apply to biological chirren, as i’d hope it would for any non-elites in this society.

            yanno, even though the sting is so dated, i’m going to fetch it. i wonder what he sees now about the russians, eh? so dramatic, so passionate, but a bit enigmatic..

    • very nice. mind telling which translation you are using? or, mayhap, is it your own?
      another classic invocation of Amor, from Roma, the opening of Lucretius:

      • i really like the lucretius, jason, and discovered that he was one of the most revered epicurians, may he rest in poetic power.

        i especially liked:
        “For thee the daedal Earth bears scented flowers,
        For thee waters of the unvexed deep
        Smile, and the hollows of the serene sky
        Glow with diffused radiance for thee!”

        but as with ‘The Half-Finished Heaven’ and “The water is shining among the trees; The lake is a window into the earth.” water IS the unconscious for me, and very healing as well.

        tomas played the haydn up yonder with only his left hand, and said that after a black day, he imitates a man looking calmly at the world. the music says freedom exists. for me, i can hear poetry better when it’s set to music, which is part of the reason that this café is about ‘soul food and freedom music’.

        after reading your bard scene a few times while listening to some realplayer tunes, i wondered if i might find a favorite love song. at least at the times, the ones that moved me the most were more by way of unrequited or broken love. i heard a chain of stone poneys songs from my youth, not this one, but it reminded me a bit of aristophanes’ jests.

        • funny you posted that…a good friend of mine is dealing w/his own & his & her family’s christiany baggage re their marriage. “is it true it’s just one for one as i’ve been told?” how difficult it makes it to ask if i’m being deceived about or have misunderstood the so-called “Monogamous Ideal.” and everybody else knows he’s supposed to do.

          • oh & the lucretius is great. one of the most beautiful passages in latin lit. we are lucky his text survived. mars succumbs to venus. let’s hope so.

    • after a couple more readings, i was about to say that diotima might be speaking more of Lust than Love, as in males’ need for procreation and the need for treachery, deceit. it also occurred to me that male/male love was said to be the purest form in their society, no?

      but curious, i found more of the tale, and it’s not just love of beauty, but soul beauty she’s speaking about, and she maintains that man wants to ‘possess’ the beautiful, then replaces the beautiful with ‘the good’, and that all men…love the good, the beautiful. stay away from the deformed, that is not in accordance with the divine. oh my.

      all in all, i’m not a fan of socrates’ diotima’s teachings of Love, i think. ;-) but i do like the passage you quoted, especially Need being on of Love’s parents. that also made me muse about the differences of male v female needs for love, not that one need buy into the ‘men are from mars, women from venus’ duality, of course, nor do i remember what families were like in those days. iirc, women were second-class citizens in their time.

  3. The Beauty of the WordSmith when it comes to crafting poetry, always impresses me, no matter what. On the other hand, my Being, the Slinger of Words, also attracts my attention, as well. and perhaps, a self-conceit on display. Therefore, I contribute my effort to this attention-grabbing effort for the Human Endeavor. Enjoy.

    A Chicano’s Representative Example of Undocumented Immigration Deportations

    If you’re a Spanish-speaking person from the Southwest, and in particular, a person from here in my wonderful Sonoran Desert, our daily example is in having a neighbor or two that are undocumented immigrants, and subsequently or eventually the conversation will revert to immigration reform and on this ‘impact’ that this federal policy, whether elicited by Democrats or Republicans, leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many undocumented immigrants, as well as the bad taste found amongst us, we, the Chicano and Native American military vets.
    And here’s why?

    National public stats are predicated on whether there are 11 million or 7 million undocumented immigrants “surviving and living” here in the United States, and yet, the reasons are few as to why these persons relocated to the United States, and of course, the two major categories are “lack of jobs” and “corruption,” a corruption that is premised on drug cartels and the implicit and actualized violence within their local communities and prior to this migration.

    Therefore, the vast majority of undocumented immigrants residing in the United States have been here for many years, and subsequently, each family will consist of two, three, or even four children that have been born here in the United States, and thusly, these kids are citizens. And substantively, should these undocumented immigrants become ensnared into this impending national fiasco will become further exacerbated with the parents demanding that their American-born children be deported with them, and which poses the additional fiasco that arrives shortly after this deportation begins to take place.

    Take, for example, should the parent and the three or four children be deported to Mexico, will Mexico take a public policy route and take into consideration of the humanitarian functionality for the acculturation and assimilation of these children born here in the United States? Will Mexico transition its spending behavior onto these new arrivals while knowing that these federal pesos are much-needed elsewhere? Or perhaps, our federal government will utilize the “wealth” or “monies” currently embedded for the nation-state that is Israel, in our “foreign aid” category and thusly, be utilized to “assist” these children to successfully continue their education as well provide the appropriate housing facilities and medical care while preventing a destitution that is in the making from an increase of 25% to Mexico’s existing population? Or will the drug-oriented violence that comes come governmental and the private sector “corruption” become so overwhelming to these families that the United States and Congress will resolutely refuse to address this pending human fiasco? Of course, the questions are many, and there are no answers to be found. And Trump isn’t talking “policy” until after he is elected to the Oval Office.

    And for these past 20 years, our public policy agenda has consisted of 1) Jobs, 2) More Jobs, and 3) Comprehensive Immigration Reform. With this in mind, we fully understand that President Obama inherited the Great Recession from President Bush and his legacy for the Era of Gross Incompetence, has moved our America’s Culture War backwards, and yet, the job market has been slowly increasing for these past seven years. Therefore, and as we continue to ‘assess’ the presidential candidacies of either Trump or Clinton, our decision will focus on Clinton’s attention to furthering Comprehensive Immigration Reform, and which means that Trump will not succeed in this political endeavor, according to our votes being cast and counted.
    However, we are not of the pundit class that prognosticates a Trump presidency.

    Further, we, too know that should Trump achieve the Oval Office and “listens” to the political class that surrounds him and which is determined to “deport” anywhere from 17 million to 27 million persons from our United States, all hell will break loose. And despite our history for the simple-minded reason that we don’t tolerate political violence or condone political violence when we measure ourselves by the yard stick that evolved long before the 1960s when civil rights and human rights were at the forefront for civil disobedience, and to include the extent of our political advocacy and the attendant activity that we publicly espoused and have for all these many years. This too could change! Thus, the notional for political violence must be rejected, otherwise our Optimism that is found in America’s future becomes a much larger dilemma that could take generations to re-establish.

    Regardless, Trump misbelieving that Congress will give him unlimited support for deporting 27 million persons within a time frame of 18 months, would require Congress to accept the responsibility and duty to dump the Posse Comitatus Act to the curb and thusly, have the U.S. Army implement this scenario on deportation, defies ours and our nation’s Common Sense.

    Additionally, Trump’s deportation scenario will be seen by Hispanics as just another “disenfranchisement” vehicle beneficial to the Republicans. And equally important, the 15 million American-born children would be perceived as a bulwark of “lost votes” for Hispanic candidates seeking public office or even to serve as Appointed Officials in a variety of governmental capacities. And yet, as these children achieve their voting maturity, they would definitively and overwhelmingly be casting their votes in the highly-focused direction of the Democratic Party.

    In closing, Trump’s perceived rationale for deporting 27 million persons, would equate to a human rights fiasco for the United States and a fiasco for Mexico, and requiring Mexico to spend an enormous amount of resources for delivering educational opportunities, housing facilities and systemic medical care that Mexico could ill-afford, demonstrates that Common Sense is not a Trump virtue when it comes to our nation’s public policies and for Trump, in particular, his ill-advised approach to more Criminal Stupidity, effectively demonstrates that he knows no boundaries when it comes to Self-Restraint.


    Note: Word-Slinging on important topics, is my vice. :-)

    • dayum; why didn’t i think to add ‘except Frump’?

      sorry to disagree wholeheartedly with your sentence about O inheriting the great recession; O made it worse by an order of magnitude. we’ll just have to disagree on that one, i fear. but they don’t care for that candidate in ABQ much.

      david correia was there. someone on his account pointed out how many brown people O has deported.

  4. Plato is close to the Eastern Orthodox mindset, which saw its center, Constantinople under siege from western Christianity, and had an apophatic (love that word) vision of God, that of Gregory the Theologian chastising those eager to philosophize on esoteric elucidations of who is or is not a heretic – admonishing them rather to look closely at the people themselves, their faith.

    Everything begins to look around.

    There was a Russian movie about a young war ‘hero’ granted a furlough to visit his mother – he takes a long train trip beset with difficult encounters and finally only has a moment to embrace her before he has to catch another train back. That movie has stayed with me since college days – I don’t remember the name of it; the ‘hero’ is called Alyosha.

  5. “Water, water everywhere,
    and all the boards did shrink.
    Water, water everywhere,
    and not a drop to drink.”

    Zeitgeist alert: this week has seen a bump in articles about the potential conflict from coming water shortages. Besides the article about the new bases in Argentina, an article on India’s water problems made the same argument. And Der Spiegel reprorted on the miserable performance of the “home” team in the recent NATO exercises in Eastern Europe, claiming that it was the result of — wait for it — budget cuts.

    Meanwhile, stories about Flint, the consequences of fracking in the Dakotas and Montana, and coverage of the Fort McMurray wildfire in the shale oil wastelands of Alberta point to how we destroy the water resources that we have.

    Meanwhile the farmland-to-suburban conversion marches own, few “Superfund” water pollution sites are continuing to be cleaned up and worst of all, multiple wars damage water quality as well as infrastructure.

    And President Obama went to lecture Vietnam about whatever, neglecting to notice that the United States tried to eradicate Vietnam’s vegetation with Agent Orange, which never has been evaluated for its effects on Vietnam’s water supply, and likely not cleaned up.

    And then there are the continuing effects from the 30-year failure to deal with global climate change.

    Too busy building weapons and beating on hornets nests to do what rally could have reduced the risk of wars — and moved toward having sufficient potable water available for the future.

    Watch to see if this new zeitgeist flowers into a new mandate for the US military or is just a spring fling for bored journalists.

    • thank you for the zeitgeist update; i get a bit tunnel-visioned now and again. yes, people speak often of the food wars, but water’s the thing. corps filing on non-existent river water rights in the west (judges will decide, of course), the CA central valley has lost an epic amount of altitude due to increasing well permits, the ogalla aquifer is low, low, and poisonous with ag chemicals, and who knows what radioactivity is in the water anywhere close to the hanford site continual leaks?

      but one piece of good news is that the hood county voters rejected nestle’s
      water grab in a landslide. but those fights will continue, won’t they, as well as increasing privatization of water anywhere they’re able.

      lord luv a duck; i never even thought about agent orange and viet nam’s water. my terrible bad.

      i’m out for the night; the pace here in RL is ferocious, and i have miles of communications and chores to go before i sleep.

  6. ” And she answered with all the authority of an accomplished sophist:”

    Oh, I would love to know what the original Greek says there. My translation reads,

    “Of course I am, she said with an air of authority that was almost professorial.”

    Here I would say, no, that philosopher king thing is somebody’s interpretation of Plato, as is the theory of forms – you can’t really say what Plato believes, as it all takes place in dialogue. Does Socrates really believe, as he says he does, what Diotima has so emphatically insisted upon? Here’s how he begins:

    “I don’t mind telling you the truth about Love, if you’re interested; only, if I do, I must tell it in my own way, for I’m not going to make a fool of myself, at my age, trying to imitate the grand manner that sits so well on the rest of you. . .”

    He then proceeds to interrogate (and refute) the host of the gathering, concluding:

    “No, no, dear Agathon. It’s the truth you find unanswerable, not Socrates. And now I’m going to leave you in peace, because I want to talk about some lessons I was given, once upon a time . . .”

    If the first quotation above actually says ‘sophist’ in the original Greek, and if ‘the truth’ is simply what Socrates has brought Agathon to realize – that would be a clue not to take everything the good lady is saying in her lessons to be as true as that brief dialogue between Agathon and Socrates. And perhaps in what follows, the latter is doing what he said at first he would not do, (give an eulogy) – indeed that’s his conclusion:

    “So, you may call this my eulogy of Love, Phaedrus, if you choose; if not, well, call it what you like.”

    I’d call some of it a bit tongue in cheek. As Alcibiades says, “He spends his whole life playing his little game of irony, and laughing up his sleeve at all the world.” Of course, Alcibiades only gets it half right.

    • those are very different translations, aren’t they? i guess i’l have to yield to your expertise on plato, as i took one, count ’em ONE course on plato, and that was when i was sixteen. but i have to say that the baffling ideas on ‘thought forms’ stayed with me all this time, so it’s jarring to read your words.

      i did my term paper on ‘the symposium’, and i reckon the prof found it pretty naive altogether. but how not at that age, eh?

      “he’s even wearing shoes” was excellent!

      • Wow, good on you ‘at that age’, wendye! I sure wish I understood Greek better, just an amateur (fitting, eh?) I’ve always felt the dialogues needed to be considered as written, all ‘incidentals’ included; so things like a casual comment that Socrates was all spiffed up attending the soirée, including shoes, set the tone for that one.

        I was excited to find online at analysis that – as much as I can understand (which is very limited) significantly points out underlying themes for the dialogues as an entire opus. The author is Bernard Suzanne, and his ‘overview of tetralogies’* blew my mind a few years back, still does. His recent essay, ‘Can we see the sun?’ will take me a few years to digest, paragraph by paragraph – but I’m gonna do it, I swear!

        * ‘tetralogies’ are groupings of four dialogues, and according to Monsieur Bernard there are seven such – can be viewed at the link above.

  7. By the way, Socrates has come to the party all spiffed up – he’s even wearing shoes!

    • socrates & his eironeia. i rather enjoyed getting a bit reacquainted w/the symposium. there are things about it, misogyny, elitism, etc., that are amenable to some of Plato’s worser ideas.

      this is generally believed to be by the bard in the co-authored Two Noble Kinsmen, (scene 5, act 1, about line 32ff), maybe the last thing he wrote. the knight palamon prays to his patron deity Venus before a dueling joust to win Emilia; (the story itself is from Chaucer, the Knight’s Tale, per wiki). yes there are some issues here too (90 & 14 yr old? uh uh), but i read this & think that Plato did not know a thing about love, at least love as romantic attachment to another actual human being.

      Hail, sovereign queen of secrets, who hast power
      To call the fiercest tyrant from his rage,
      And weep unto a girl; that hast the might,
      Even with an eye-glance, to choke Mars’s drum
      And turn th’ alarm to whispers; that canst make
      A cripple flourish with his crutch, and cure him
      Before Apollo; that mayst force the king
      To be his subject’s vassal, and induce
      Stale gravity to dance; the poll’d bachelor,
      Whose youth, like wanton boys through bonfires,
      Have skipp’d thy flame, at seventy thou canst catch,
      And make him, to the scorn of his hoarse throat,
      Abuse young lays of love. What godlike power
      Hast thou not power upon? To Phoebus thou
      Add’st flames, hotter than his; the heavenly fires
      Did scorch his mortal son, thine him. The huntress
      All moist and cold, some say, began to throw
      Her bow away, and sigh. Take to thy grace
      Me thy vow’d soldier, who do bear thy yoke
      As ’twere a wreath of roses, yet is heavier
      Than lead itself, stings more than nettles. I
      Have never been foul-mouth’d against thy law,
      Nev’r reveal’d secret, for I knew none—would not,
      Had I kenn’d all that were. I never practiced
      Upon man’s wife, nor would the libels read
      Of liberal wits. I never at great feasts
      Sought to betray a beauty, but have blush’d
      At simp’ring sirs that did. I have been harsh
      To large confessors, and have hotly ask’d them
      If they had mothers; I had one, a woman,
      And women ’twere they wrong’d. I knew a man
      Of eighty winters—this I told them—who
      A lass of fourteen brided. ’Twas thy power
      To put life into dust: the aged cramp
      Had screw’d his square foot round,
      The gout had knit his fingers into knots,
      Torturing convulsions from his globy eyes
      Had almost drawn their spheres, that what was life
      In him seem’d torture. This anatomy
      Had by his young fair fere a boy, and I
      Believ’d it was his, for she swore it was,
      And who would not believe her? Brief, I am
      To those that prate and have done, no companion;
      To those that boast and have not, a defier;
      To those that would and cannot, a rejoicer.
      Yea, him I do not love that tells close offices
      The foulest way, nor names concealments in
      The boldest language. Such a one I am,
      And vow that lover never yet made sigh
      Truer than I. O then, most soft sweet goddess,
      Give me the victory of this question, which
      Is true love’s merit, and bless me with a sign
      Of thy great pleasure.

      Here music is heard; doves are seen to flutter. They fall again upon their faces, then on their knees.

      O thou that from eleven to ninety reign’st
      In mortal bosoms, whose chase is this world,
      And we in herds thy game, I give thee thanks
      For this fair token, which being laid unto
      Mine innocent true heart, arms in assurance
      My body to this business.—Let us rise
      And bow before the goddess. Time comes on.

      • I’m glad you enjoyed it, jason – I do think we have been led astray by the imperialists when it comes to understanding Plato – he’s not present in his dialogues any more than Shakespeare is present in his plays – the two are very much related. One can argue that Socrates is Plato’s hero, but even then, what does Socrates present except to challenge other people’s beliefs? Which he is doing all through the dialogues. Because each has other participants besides Socrates (except for the Apology in which it is Socrates giving his own defense – nothing about forms I might add!) each has a mode of address that relates to those other participants and things are happening under the surface of the argument – it’s why Plato is different from Aristotle, who just says ‘this is how it is.’

        Athens in the time of Socrates’ final years was corrupt and corrupting; the ironic thing is that Socrates was trying to do just what folk are trying to do on this good website – cause us to seek the better angels of our individual and collective natures! I think Plato loved him for that – not for any misogeny or whatever (I can’t even spell it.) ;) He was after disabusing individual characters of their prejudices, training them to think, in order to become better citizens. And disabusing them about what a god should be. They killed him for this.

        And I love them both for these things. Without Plato we wouldn’t know Socrates. He was quite an amazing human being. I can’t emphasize enough that in a time of slavery he uses a slave boy to point out that all humans have the capacity to think and an innate ability to make rational deductions – Aristotle didn’t! Aristotle thought some men were natural slaves. No wonder empiricists prefer him.

        Yes, the hymn is about creation – Psalm 102. I loved on your link how you can follow along the separate voices for the piece. Thank you again. And notice – a woman sings the main part! The soul is feminine in Greek – psyche -dusha moya in Russian. (I’ll make you Orthodox yet – but my kind of Orthodox) :)

        • i’m not sure about all this. yes on the dramatic irony (cf kierkegaard.) in his questioning of received stories, plato/socrates deserves immense credit. and at times, plato does create a most compelling figure in socrates, incl. the symposium (socrates as a satyr, etc., etc.) but then he/plato proceeds to trash that image. a la The Laws, or counterbalance the “beautiful” w/the truly “awful.” just one other example: the socrates of the Apology is an incredible, unbelievable hero. dazzling. on many levels. but the arguments he (or plato) adduces in the apology he/plato proceeds to trash forthwith in the subsequent Crito (“the state is our mother, so we must obey her.”) the *person* of socrates, esp. in his noble death and manner of teaching, perhaps presented plato w/problems plato could not resolve. and maybe no one can. i mean, what do you say about the person who turned the delphic oracle’s “socrates is is the wisest human in all the world” into such a devastating statement both of personal modesty & humiliation of intellectual pretentiousness (“the wise man knows he knows nothing”)? or the man who came up w/that story, if not socrates? pretty genius.

  8. dancingrabbit

    Apologies for dropping a comment the other day then disappearing on y’all. Dog ate my homework, et cetera.

    I have been following recent developments in Israel — even cobbling together (letter-by-letter on my handy-dandy spyphone) what might be my first ever post on the nets if I can find a suitable home for it and figure out how to do it — when I came across Uri Avnery’s most recent column, one of the more interesting observations I’ve read in some two years now of ‘interesting times.’

    What rough beast, indeed . . .

    • apologies either accepted or not necessary dancingrabbit. i’ll look at avnery’s essay tomorrow; too hard a road after a long day here.

      i’m not sure but what you might want to be granted authorship privileges here, but it would require inviting you by email. as my last four emails to you have gone unanswered, i’m not sure how to proceed.

      i was about to embed agoodnight ong,but after flipping through my rolodex of such songs, don’t ask me why…but this popped into my silly noggin. mr. wd used to offer to pay me cash money not to attempt my facsimile yodeling as i performed it. ;-)

      let it serve as a cowboy lullaby if you and others can.

  9. Running down the links on naked capitalism, I came to a link to this random site Signs of the Times. The article was ho-hum, but this caught my attention.

    So the primordial interest of the United States over which for a century we have fought war, the first, second, and Cold War has been the relationship between Germany and Russia because united they’re the only force that could threaten us, and to make sure that doesn’t happen. — STRATFOR Founder, George Friedman

    If this is true, and I take George Friedman with a huge dose of scepticism, it would explain the close to scramble to restart a Cold War in response to China’s New Silk Road infrastructure initiative. And why the encirclement of Russia and China is seen as a priority. In losing Europe economically because neoliberal policies have created a huge mess and internal political unrest in Europe, Europe might find economic alternatives in trade partners and also depart from the neoliberal fold. Tighter economic bonds through the New Silk Road overland trade could cause loosening political connections with the US and damage what trade the US currently has to European markets.

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