Poem of the day

To Amy
by J. Gordon Coogler (1865-1901)

To Amy I will drink to your health, sweet Amy,
      For there’s nothing in this cup, I fear,
That would be suggestive of sorrow
      For my own sweet Amy, dear.

May your heart be pure and noble,
      And your arm be firm and strong,
And your hope be like the rainbow,
      Beautiful, bright and long.

May your life, like the rose of summer,
      Be fresh, and remain in its bud,
As I never was partial to whiskey, Amy,
      I’ll toast you in Congaree mud.

Poem of the day

Gunga Din
by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1935)

You may talk o’ gin and beer
When you’re quartered safe out ’ere,
An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ’im that’s got it.
Now in Injia’s sunny clime,
Where I used to spend my time
A-servin’ of ’Er Majesty the Queen,
Of all them black-faced crew
The finest man I knew
Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.
⁠         He was “Din! Din! Din!
⁠   “You limping lump o’ brick-dust, Gunga Din!
⁠         “Hi! slippery hitherao!
⁠         “Water, get it! Panee lao,
⁠   You squigy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din.”

The uniform ’e wore
Was nothin’ much before,
An’ rather less than ’arf o’ that be’ind,
For a piece o’ twisty rag
An’ a goatskin water-bag
Was all the field-equipment e’ could find.
When the sweatin’ troop-train lay
In a sidin’ through the day,
Where the ’eat would make your bloomin’ eyebrows crawl,
We shouted “Harry By!”
Till our throats were bricky-dry,
Then we wopped ’im ’cause ’e couldn’t serve us all.
         ⁠It was “Din! Din! Din!
⁠“You ’eathen, where the mischief ’ave you been?
⁠         “You put some juldee in it
⁠         “Or I’ll marrow you this minute
⁠“If you don’t fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!”

’E would dot an’ carry one
⁠Till the longest day was done
⁠An’ ’e didn’t seem to know the use o’ fear.
⁠If we charged or broke or cut,
⁠You could bet your bloomin’ nut,
⁠’E’d be waitin’ fifty paces right flank rear.
⁠With ’is mussick on ’is back,
⁠’E would skip with our attack,
⁠An’ watch us till the bugles made “Retire,”
⁠An’ for all ’is dirty ’ide
⁠’E was white, clear white, inside
⁠When ’e went to tend the wounded under fire!
⁠         It was “Din! Din! Din!”
⁠   With the bullets kickin’ dust-spots on the green.
⁠         When the cartridges ran out,
⁠         You could hear the front-files shout,
⁠   “Hi! ammunition-mules an’ Gunga Din!”

I shan’t forgit the night
⁠When I dropped be’ind the fight
⁠With a bullet where my belt plate should ’a’ been.
⁠I was chokin’ mad with thirst,
⁠An’ the man that spied me first
⁠Was our good old grinnin’, gruntin’ Gunga Din.
⁠’E lifted up my ’ead,
⁠An’ he plugged me where I bled,
⁠An’ ’e guv me ’arf-a-pint o’ water-green:
⁠It was crawlin’ and it stunk,
⁠But of all the drinks I’ve drunk,
⁠I’m gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.
⁠         It was “Din! Din! Din!”
⁠   “’Ere’s a beggar with a bullet through ’is spleen;
⁠         “’E’s chawin’ up the ground,
⁠         “An’ ’e’s kickin’ all around:
⁠   “For Gawd’s sake git the water, Gunga Din!”

⁠’E carried me away
⁠To where a dooli lay,
⁠An’ a bullet come an’ drilled the beggar clean.
⁠’E put me safe inside,
⁠An’ just before ’e died:
⁠”I ’ope you liked your drink,” sez Gunga Din.
⁠So I’ll meet ’im later on
⁠At the place where ’e is gone—
⁠Where it’s always double drill and no canteen;
⁠’E’ll be squattin’ on the coals,
⁠Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,
⁠An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!
⁠         Yes, Din! Din! Din!
⁠   You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!
⁠         Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
⁠         By the living Gawd that made you,
⁠   You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

Game of the week

Both sides had their chances in this struggle of a piece vs. three pawns.

Treasonable noticing of seditious facts

Paul Krugman in NYT: “The first thing you need to know about the very rich is that they are, politically, different from you and me. Don’t be fooled by the handful of prominent liberal or liberal-ish billionaires; systematic studies of the politics of the ultrawealthy show that they are very conservative, obsessed with tax cuts, opposed to environmental and financial regulation, eager to cut social programs.

“The second thing you need to know is that the rich often get what they want, even when most of the public want the opposite. For example, a vast majority of voters — including a majority of self-identified Republicans — believe that corporations pay too little in taxes. Yet the signature domestic policy of the Trump administration was a huge corporate tax cut.”

Yes, the rich have too much political influence.

Poem of the day

The City in the Sea
by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.

No rays from the holy heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently—
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free—
Up domes—up spires—up kingly halls—
Up fanes—up Babylon-like walls—
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers—
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Whose wreathéd friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.

Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.

There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol’s diamond eye—
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass—
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea—
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.

But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave—there is a movement there!
As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide—
As if their tops had feebly given
A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow—
The hours are breathing faint and low—
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence,
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones.
Shall do it reverence.

Poem of the day

The Old Familiar Faces
by Charles Lamb (1775-1834)

Where are they gone, the old familiar faces?
I had a mother, but she died, and left me,
Died prematurely in a day of horrors—
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have had playmates, I have had companions,
In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days,
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have been laughing, I have been carousing,
Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies,
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I loved a love once, fairest among women;
Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her—
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man;
Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly;
Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces.

Ghost-like, I paced round the haunts of my childhood.
Earth seemed a desert I was bound to traverse,
Seeking to find the old familiar faces.

Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother,
Why wert not thou born in my father’s dwelling?
So might we talk of the old familiar faces—

How some they have died, and some they have left me,
And some are taken from me; all are departed;
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

Poem of the day

Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College
by Thomas Gray (1716-1771)

Ye distant spires, ye antique towers
         That crown the watery glade,
Where grateful Science still adores
         Her Henry’s holy shade;
And ye, that from the stately brow
Of Windsor’s heights th’ expanse below
         Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among
Wanders the hoary Thames along
         His silver-winding way:

Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shade!
         Ah, fields belov’d in vain!
Where once my careless childhood stray’d,
         A stranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales that from ye blow
A momentary bliss bestow,
         As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to soothe,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
         To breathe a second spring.

Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen
         Full many a sprightly race
Disporting on thy margin green
         The paths of pleasure trace—
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm, thy glassy wave?
         The captive linnet which enthral?
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle’s speed
         Or urge the flying ball?

While some on earnest business bent
         Their murmuring labours ply
’Gainst graver hours that bring constraint
         To sweet liberty:
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign
         And unknown regions dare descry:
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in every wind,
         And snatch a fearful joy.

Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,
         Less pleasing when possest;
The tear forgot as soon as shed,
         The sunshine of the breast:
Theirs buxom health, of rosy hue,
Wild wit, invention ever new,
         And lively cheer, of vigour born;
The thoughtless day, the easy night,
The spirits pure, the slumbers light
         That fly th’ approach of morn.

Alas! regardless of their doom,
         The little victims play;
No sense have they of ills to come,
         Nor care beyond to-day:
Yet see how all around ’em wait
The ministers of human fate
And black Misfortune’s baleful train!
Ah, show them where in ambush stand,
To seize their prey, the murderous band!
         Ah, tell them they are men!

These shall the fury Passions tear,
         The vultures of the mind,
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
         And Shame that skulks behind;
Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
Or Jealousy with rankling tooth
         That inly gnaws the secret heart,
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-visaged comfortless Despair,
         And Sorrow’s piercing dart.

Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
         Then whirl the wretch from high
To bitter Scorn a sacrifice
         And grinning Infamy.
The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness’ alter’d eye,
         That mocks the tear it forced to flow;
And keen Remorse with blood defil’d,
And moody Madness laughing wild
         Amid severest woe.

Lo, in the vale of years beneath
         A griesly troop are seen,
The painful family of Death,
         More hideous than their queen:
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That every labouring sinew strains,
         Those in the deeper vitals rage;
Lo! Poverty, to fill the band
That numbs the soul with icy hand,
         And slow-consuming Age.

To each his sufferings: all are men,
         Condemn’d alike to groan—
The tender for another’s pain,
         Th’ unfeeling for his own.
Yet, ah! why should they know their fate,
Since sorrow never comes too late,
         And happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their Paradise.
No more;—where ignorance is bliss,
         ’Tis folly to be wise.

Poem of the day

Kings
by Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

The Kings of the earth are men of might,
And cities are burned for their delight,
And the skies rain death in the silent night,
⁠      And the hills belch death all day!

But the King of Heaven, Who made them all,
Is fair and gentle, and very small;
He lies in the straw, by the oxen’s stall—
⁠      Let them think of Him to-day!