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Christmas Party

One more dead party, and, off to the sideAmong the knick-knacks and the curios,In a blue blazer you assume the poseOf one whose patterned noose is loosely tied,Of one belonging here, one clearly meantFor artificial lights and merriment. The revelers, snug in their ugly sweaters, Swill booze and . . . . Continue Reading »

Beneath the Glass

An arching bridge that spans a crystal streamAttracts attention. People tend to pause,To gaze beneath the surface and to dreamTheir silent dreams: a knight without a cause;A painter who has put away her brush;An old philosopher. The waters rushUnceasingly across the sun-flecked bedOf sunken leaves, . . . . Continue Reading »

August Into Autumn

August is the silent time.Caroline Dormon, Bird Talk (1969) It happens every year almost the same And always late in August when we pause Just long enough to see what time has done,Sly changes nearly imperceptible Moment to moment holding us at lastWhile molting birds gone quiet watch the . . . . Continue Reading »


I read R. R. Reno’s charitable words on Karl Barth with great interest (“Karl Barth,” May) and would like to offer my own remarks as a ­supplement. At the Protestant Theologicum in Tübingen (1974–5), I spent a year sharing an office with Reno’s mentor, Ronald Thiemann. Ron’s background . . . . Continue Reading »

Civics after Midnight

Imagination is a monarchy;They cannot rule where they cannot decree.Just think of Solzhenitzyn underground,His manuscripts in danger, not his mind.Trust not in princes is for poets too;To order what’s within is up to you.They’ll never rule where they cannot decree—Imagination is a . . . . Continue Reading »

Sticks and Stones

Some say it like a charmin the face of words heavy as stone,or a riddle of subtle pebbles thrown,each sticking point like a firearm.As if the saying would erase the harm.Raging fire or cold as ice, we’ve knowntoo well where words can send us.Words can cut us to the boneand even end us. . . . . Continue Reading »

List for Confession

Avarice—Quite a bit.Lust—Not so much these days.Envy—I’ve never saidMuch in a rival’s praise.Pride can be kept in line.Wrath leads to evil ends.But Gluttony and Sloth?Oh, welcome in, dear friends! —Gail White Image by Fondazione Cariplo via Creative Commons. Image . . . . Continue Reading »

Father’s Day Hieroglyph

In a wall relief at the shrine of Hathor,goddess of love and joy, Thutmose III,Napoleon of Egypt, conqueror of Syria holds a ball in one hand and in the othera stick, “striking the ball for Hathor, foremostin Thebes.” Seker-hemat, batting the ball. The king’s priest plays the field, . . . . Continue Reading »

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