Thursday, June 30, 2016

Poetry is Not - poem

Lawrence Hall

Poetry is Not

Poetry is not

The unacknowledged legislation1 of


Poetry is a forest footfall soft
Not heard, but sensed somehow, in autumn’s leaves

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Come Laughing Home at Twilight - Beaumont Hamel, 1916

Lawrence Hall

Come Laughing Home at Twilight

Beaumont-Hamel, 1916

And, O! Wasn’t he just the Jack the Lad,
A’swellin’ down the Water Street as if –
As if he owned the very paving stones!
He was my beautiful boy, and, sure,
The girls they thought so too: his eyes, his walk;
A man of Newfoundland, my small big man,
Just seventeen, but strong and bold and sure.

Where is he now? Can you tell me? Can you?

Don’t tell me he was England’s finest, no –
He was my finest, him and his Da,
His Da, who breathed in sorrow, and was lost,
They say, lost in the fog, among the ice.
But no, he too was killed on the first of July
Only it took him months to cast away,
And drift away, far away, in the mist.

Where is he now? Can you tell me? Can you?

I need no Kings nor no Kaisers, no,
Nor no statues with fine words writ on’em,
Nor no flags nor no Last Post today:
I only want to see my men come home,
Come laughing home at twilight, boots all mucky,
An’ me fussin’ at ‘em for being’ late,
Come laughing home at twilight.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Smoking is Bad for Your Feet - column

Mack Hall, HSG

Smoking is Bad for Your Feet

In childhood our parents often cautioned us against any sort of forceful leader with “So if he told you to jump off a cliff would you do it?”

They didn’t mention the hot coals, though.

According to ABC and other news sources a fellow in Dallas talked thousands of people into giving him money for a motivational exercise in walking barefoot on hot coals.

Cold coals simply don’t enjoy the cachet of hot coals.

Casualties so far are given as dozens.

Welcome to the Trump University Class of 2016. Or maybe the United States Congress.

One might as well say that telling people to put their fingers into lamp sockets is an exercise in team-building.

First of all, walking across hot coals, shod or not, is illogical. Why would anyone do that?

Second, if someone does want to walk across hot coals, why doesn’t he dump his Fourth of July barbecue over after the wienies and burgers have been cooked and then walk on his own coals? Then he can burn his feet down to the quality of his brain for only the price of a bag of charcoal.

The Motivator reigned over a flock of crystals ‘n’ essential oils believers during a three-day sheep-shearing called “Unleash the Power Within.” One supposes that after three days there was nothing left to be unleashed from the credit cards of the faithful.

Just what power was on a leash was not made clear, except for the power to walk on hot coals, and, yeah, like that’s going to make the individual or the world better. And does a power owner walk into a pet store and ask for a leash for his power? Is there a leash for walking on hot coals and a different one for walking across the street against the light?

The Motivator’s program avers that walking (he says “storm”) across hot coals will help the…um…participant "overcome the unconscious fears that are holding you back." The illogic is that fear of being burned is a conscious fear, not an unconscious one, and is not symbolic of anything except the possession of the survival skills expected of a six-year-old.

Some folks don’t need to own hot coals without a background check and lessons with a certified instructor.

All others need to be on a no-fry list.

On his site The Motivator presents as a handsome man with a fine set of teeth, the usual chin-fuzz, and the now-requisite pimple-on-a-wire microphone, and adored by thousands of cheering followers. He says stuff. He has more money than you. He must be right. Obey him.

To paraphrase the old song, here’s your hot coal.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Calendars, Alligators, and Hipsters - column

Mack Hall, HSG

Calendars, Alligators, and Hipsters

How curious that according to the mechanistic Gregorian calendar the 21st of June is the beginning of summer, while in a wiser folk tradition it is midsummer, as in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the far north, where the sun doesn’t complete disappear on St. John’s Day, people stay up all night – or, rather, day – to party.

Far south of the equator the sun is mostly absent, and in New South Wales folks shiver in the cold rain and short days of summer.

The sun is as far north as it goes, and now begins its voyage south. Those who have occasion to drive roads laid out on an east-west axis can note the changes as well as those ancients who built Stonehenge for the same purpose.

A ten-year-old boy probably knows best – summer begins on the Monday after school lets out, and ends in August when classes resume. Summer is bare feet and a cane fishing pole, and later watching the afternoon clouds build up to thunderstorms while herding the cows home to the barn for the evening milking. The other seasons are but not-summer, limited to the horizon of a board at the front of a classroom, once black or green for chalk and now likely to be instructive flashes of colors beamed from a gadget programmed by the Texas Legislature and its British master Pearson Publishing.

+ + +

The small boy fishing with a cane pole is increasingly endangered by the false but legislated ideology that millions of large, carnivorous reptiles constitute an endangered species and so must be protected, while children may with ecological approval be sacrificed to horrible deaths in the claws and teeth of dinosaurs privileged by Molochian laws.

+ + +

Rome has elected the first-ever woman mayor, Virginia Raggi, an attorney who wants to eliminate corruption and Mafia influence in the city. Now it is Caesar’s husband who must be above suspicion.

+ + +

Last Sunday 65,000 Okinawans demanded that American Marines and sailors leave. Every American Marine and sailor agreed. On the same day China began measuring Okinawa and the rest of Japan for new curtains.

+ + +

The Irish national police, the Garda, have been instructed to conduct raids only during the work day out of consideration for the suspects. One hesitates to suggest that this courtesy is, well, a very English thing to do.

Would the ban include traffic stops after 5:00 P.M.?

+ + +

Adolf Hitler was a self-obsessed drug user, non-drinker, non-smoker, wannabe artist, socialist, and diet faddist who wrote a book all about himself and his feelings, shacked up with his squeeze, had his horoscope cast every day, and wore funny clothes and funny hair. Aren’t we pretty much talking about a hipster?

The Austrian government wants to tear down the apartment building in which Hitler was born lest crazy people make a shrine of it. Yes, but then they’ll make a shrine of the parking lot or fast-food restaurant that will replace it because no one can eliminate geographical co-ordinates.

Are there any alligators in Austria?


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Watch List - poem

Lawrence Hall

Watch List

Bulova, Caravelle, and Hamilton
Gaudy Rolex and sturdy Omega
Humble Timex and Comrade Citizen
Tag Heuer measuring Switzerland’s slopes

Caravelle, Movado, and Ingersoll
Longines, Wittnauer, Elgin, and Eberhard
A Dunhill pretending to be Big Ben
Elgin and Gerard-Perregaux (mais oui!)

Ticking the hours ‘til civilization
Tocks its escapement motionless at last

Summer solstice - poem

Lawrence Hall

Summer Solstice

Apollo seems to pause his passages
His constant celestial orbitings
And gaze upon the north; he may not fly
Beyond his long-appointed limitings

Thus now he seems to stop awhile and rest
Above this earthly altar of repose
Until the bonfires of our good Saint John
Remind him to resume his pilgrimage

His solar voyage to December’s south -
Apollo seems to pause his passages

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

No-Fly List - poem

Lawrence Hall

No-Fly List

The ostrich cannot fly; the emu’s still
The penguin waddles on his icy hill
The kiwi stays in place, as does the rhea
As for the Campbell teal’s flight, no way-a

The auk and steamer duck are out of luck;
Extinct they are, and buried in the muck
The cassowary (always feathers, never hairy)
Can only envy its cousin, the canary

A flightless bird - like you, it seldom moves -
One hopes, comrade, your attitude improves

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Icarus, Dude! - poem

Lawrence Hall

Icarus, Dude!

Young Icarus worked late in his stable
Laying out feathers on an old table
A dreamer of dreams by olive oil light
This visionary with an idea of flight

All scorned his wax wings, but he wasn’t mute:
“Oh, no; I’ve got a golden parachute
I’m boxing outside the think, don’t you see:
Science for the fourth century B.C.!”

He showed them all, and flew to the sun
(His landing, alas, wasn’t much fun)