Don’t worry if you like it. Decide whether it is good.
Category Archives: Expectancy
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.
Editorial: My six-year old daughter saw two turtles mating at a science museum and mentioned offhandedly that they were making baby turtles. We have not talked with her all that much about procreation but the Zeitgeist does have a way of seeping everywhere—even into the minds of Kindergarteners. My friend who was standing next to my daughter agreed that the turtles were probably making baby turtles and that was that. Then just the other day my daughter and I were waiting on the curb at a crowded NYC bus stop when a double-long city bus pulled up with this exact Sundance advertisement plastered along its side. If you have been in this spot before then you know what it feels like to have a huge, high-gloss advertisement like this one take over your entire field of vision. As we shuffled towards the door of the bus and passed the shirtless gentleman with the high-tops and blindfold (sic) my daughter stopped dead in her tracks, gazing at the larger-than-life image. When we finally boarded the bus a focused conversation began about who tends to like whom in this world. My daughter reported that in her Kindergarten class “like” between her classmates went in four directions: Girls who like Girls (common); Boys who like Boys (also common); Girls who like Boys (somewhat common); Boys who like Girls (not common at all). She then fell silent for a moment before making this point about the advertisement: Papa, the boys who like boys in that bed are going to need help from the girls to make babies.
Thanks, Zeitgeist, for taking care of this one. Persistence seems to be your best technique.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
by Robert Frost
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
from The Seven Lamps of Architecture
by John Ruskin
It might be at first thought that the whole kingdom of imagination was one of deception also. Not so: the action of the imagination is a voluntary summoning of the conceptions of things absent or impossible; and the pleasure and nobility of the imagination partly consist in its knowledge and contemplation of them as such, i.e. in the knowledge of their actual absence or impossibility at the moment of their apparent presence or reality…. It is necessary to our rank as spiritual creatures, that we should be able to invent and to behold what is not; and to our rank as moral creatures, that we should know and confess at the same time that it is not.
To a worm in a horseradish, the whole world is a horseradish.
To be a mass tourist, for me, is to becmoe a pure late-date American: alien, ignorant, greedy for something you cannot ever have, disappointed in a way you can never admit. It is to spoil, by way of sheer ontology, the very unspoiledness you are there to experience, It is to impose yourself on places that in all non-economic ways would be better, realer, without you. It is, in lines and gridlock and transaction after transaction, to confront a dimension of yourself that is as inescapable as it is painful: As a tourist, you become economically significant but existentially loathsome, an insect on a dead thing.
From “Consider the Lobster” in Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays, Back Bay Books, New York, 2006.
Editorial: I read this essay whilst traveling in Venice during the New Year. Enough said.