The Lost Modernist

David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poetby thomas dilworthcounterpoint, 432 pages, $39.50 The Sleeping Lord and Other Fragmentsby david jonesfaber & faber, 112 pages, £15.99 Epoch and Artistby david jonesfaber & faber, 320 pages, £17.99 The Dying Gaul and Other Writingsby david jonesfaber & . . . . Continue Reading »

The Crown

The Prince, the Beloved,Upon whom God’s favor rests,Scourged to the point of death,Can we truly call Him blessed? Bloodied, beaten, battered,Spat upon, punched and bullied,Bearing it passively,His pride was never sullied? Collapsed in a corner,There wearing His new made crown,The thorns they tore . . . . Continue Reading »


In India the housewives kill themselves:a crop of twenty thousand every year.Some eat narcotics off their medicine shelves;some hang themselves. Some, long past feeling fear,self-immolate. Many are children still,whose nightmares have become their daily life.They hope to wake; they dream that if . . . . Continue Reading »

To a Decorative Dwarf in the Garbage

Perhaps you’ll find a home in some back yardBeneath a poplar, or beside an ash;How could those soft suburban hearts grow hardAnd leave you stranded in the morning trash? Perhaps someone will pick you up and seeThose qualities your owners didn’t notice:Your hunchbacked stoop, your gnarled and . . . . Continue Reading »

McAuley Beyond Despair

James McAuley had a gift for overcoming first impressions. Manning Clark, the future ­doyen of Australian historians, met the twenty-five-year-old poet in the crowd at an Aussie Rules game. McAuley was blind drunk, full of wild slogans about art and politics, and looked wrecked even by the usual . . . . Continue Reading »


Walking on water, i.e., in the streets of Venice,I read its history in churches—Gothic,Baroque and Neoclassical, one marbleglory after another, sometimes hearing the whisper of dead Catullusreminding me that the sun that sets tonightwill rise again, but when my light has setthere will be no . . . . Continue Reading »

To a Certain Controversial Public Personality

Insulting social conventionHas been your stock in trade,But I doubt you’ll be forgivenThe scandal you’ve now made. Iconoclasm’s brought you fameBut now you’ve gone too far.Your days may well be numberedAs a multi-media star. You’ve sailed close to the wind before,You’ve cut it mighty . . . . Continue Reading »


“I only desire to find out knowledge . . . which may instruct me how to die well and how to live well.”—Michel de Montaigne “Life Skills”—the mindless high-school class that knocksInto our callow heads the way to doThe forms we face whenever something newRequires our consent: a . . . . Continue Reading »

You’ve Raised a Missionary
(for Max)

At Louis Armstrong Airport, Jason takesMy black-clad arm as we approach the gatesWhere no Saint Peter stands as guard, and slakesMy cheerlessness. The Czech Republic waits.My son—the one departing—jokes, and makesMe laugh through tears. “You’ve raised a missionary,”My husband says, . . . . Continue Reading »

Wasted Time

You’d think that after New Year’s boozy kisses,Back-slapping, and effusions in confetti,The last hors-d’oeuvres and passes at the Mrs.Beneath the hanging cardboard amoretti, Time would relax, agree to stay a while,Hang up his sandals, lay aside his shift,And sleep it off until the . . . . Continue Reading »