Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Great Regulars: One young witch, dancing in an under-slip

too short for her, so impresses the farmer that he shouts, "Weel luppen, Maggy wei' the short sark!"--with the result that the demonic crew rounds on him and gives furious chase. In the poem, [Robert] Burns changes the witch's name to Nannie Dee, and gives her an inspired nickname, having the irrepressible Tam call out "Weel done, Cutty-sark" ("Well-done, Mini-skirt!" in rough modern translation).

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Poem of the week: Tam O'Shanter by Robert Burns


There's a logical problem here that a child could point out: it's not only America but the world which has one sky, one sun, one moon. The unity that pulls diversity together and gives everyone hope is an ideal rather than the reality being urged on us. The imaginative possibilities run down until there's really nothing to say, except the unexceptional: ". . . all of us--/facing the stars/hope--a new constellation/waiting for us to map it,/waiting for us to name it--together."

The writing's not always this tired.

from Carol Rumens: The Guardian: Richard Blanco's inaugural poem for Obama is a valiant flop


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