Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Dust Bowl

From the March 2023 Print Edition

—After photographs by Dorothea Lange taken in the Texas Panhandle Alone, a woman stands in black and whitesurveying a discolored sky aboveand nothing on the earth around her, savea windmill, with its blades congealed on film, vain, futile. Pride has not deserted her,her stance proclaims; but . . . . Continue Reading »

Dinner at Gautreau's

From the December 2022 Print Edition

I’m seated at Gautreau’s, uptown, with Laine,fine student, now good friend. Obliged to bookan early hour—few choices in this bane,the Covid sequel—we take time to look at wine lists, menus, chatting; appetite’saroused thereby, and memories. How wellshe wrote, with industry and her . . . . Continue Reading »

Saint Gertrude

From the February 2022 Print Edition

The patroness of those beset by miceand rats, she stands before red tapestry.Blue floor tiles feature her preferred device:crude mousetraps, set to spring. Her sanctityis symbolized in halo, shepherd’s crook,the habit of an Augustinian nun,and downcast eyes, to read her open book.Still, mice will . . . . Continue Reading »

Saint Lucy

From the January 2022 Print Edition

She is already what she will become.In crimson cape, her neck pierced by a sword,she holds the palm of peace and martyrdom— both suffering and glory, her reward. The striking textile pattern, a rosette, recurs in hues of amethyst and jade, suggesting jewels, perhaps an amulet for Christians. . . . . Continue Reading »

Saint Vincent of Saragossa

From the May 2021 Print Edition

His attributes are few—a book, a rodwith three large hooks. But it cannot conveythe tortures, multiple, endured for God—the rack, a gridiron, burnt flesh wrenched away. Portrayed in deacon’s vestments, Vincent showsno fear. He does not see the butterfliesthat form the border. Why the . . . . Continue Reading »

Street Piano

From the Aug/Sept 2016 Print Edition

The movers get it out—a Steinway grand,half-rolled, half-carried to the street. A crowd,molecular, implicit, is at handalready. Music hovers meanwhile, proudto weave into the day its ideal strand.A pianist appears, hirsute and browedlike Rubinstein. Who would not understandthis may be Art? He . . . . Continue Reading »

A Summer Idyll

From the October 2013 Print Edition

We’re superannuated now, no doubt. Impossible to overlook the facts: age blotches skin, puts muscle tone to rout, winnows our hair, and gives us cataracts. Pat’s doctors rule. No whisky, gin, or wine; he should not take long flights nor go abroad; he eats rat-poison pills (hardly benign). These . . . . Continue Reading »