The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner (1893)
by William Butler Yeats
Although I shelter from the rain
Under a broken tree
My chair was nearest to the fire
In every company
That talked of love or politics,
Ere Time transfigured me.
Though lads are making pikes again
For some conspiracy,
And crazy rascals rage their fill
At human tyranny,
My contemplations are of Time
That has transfigured me.
There’s not a woman turns her face
Upon a broken tree,
And yet the beauties that I loved
Are in my memory;
I spit into the face of Time
That has transfigured me.
by Brian Christian
In America, redeye planes fly east from Los Angeles to New York between sunset and sunrise, collapsing the night. The flights west from New York to Los Angeles predominate during the day, stretching it open.
The mass of the American air fleet leaps at the sun, west as the sun heads west, and east as the sun, beneath them and over Asia, resets to east again.
Northern birds slosh down from the pole to the equator in the late months, while southern birds are sloshing from the equator down to the south pole for their spring.
We humans have made, with all our fires and all our fuels, the longitudinal version.
Looking at the earth from above, centering over the north pole, watch night and day sweep around. See (Fig. 1) the planes winging helter-skelter around the rim. Now fix the line of dark against light steady and let the land and water circle beneath it. Watch (Fig. 2) the planes, in a continual flow to sunrise from sunset, like two hands cupping the earth from her sides.
A friend of mine makes a hundred grand a year optimizing the algorithms that arrange flight plans. In contrast, Helianthus annuus doesn’t know it twists its florets in the Fibonacci sequence. Our economy bristles with efficiency, with individual wills building and buying, collaborating and competing by the millions. But from the long view—and just as base, just as elegant—a field of sunflower buds, craning for light.
Editorial: Helianthus annuus. Fibonacci sequence.
Filed under Poems, Sureness
La leçon de catéchisme (1890)
Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie de Besançon
oil on canvas
Editorial: We are giving catechism a go. I have reservations that are admittedly abstract. The word itself is unfortunate– to sound down to. And while I like the idea of studying doctrines intellectually (in this case Christian doctrines), the thought of indoctrinating our daughter is rather off-putting. I am accepting the skepticism and discomfort as part of the process itself, which is why for now we are leaning in.