Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Housman light (1)

THE ELEPHANT, OR THE FORCE OF HABIT
A tail behind, a trunk in front,
Complete the usual elephant.
The tail in front, the trunk behind,
Is what you very seldom find.

If you for specimens should hunt
With trunks behind and tails in front,
That hunt would occupy you long;
The force of habit is so strong.


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I'm surprised

I'd never seen this ee cummings before; from 1931, after all -

E. E. Cummings1894 - 1962

         XXX

i sing of Olaf glad and big 
whose warmest heart recoiled at war: 
a conscientious object-or 

his wellbelov├ęd colonel (trig
westpointer most succinctly bred)
took erring Olaf soon in hand; 
but--though an host of overjoyed 
noncoms (first knocking on the head 
him) do through icy waters roll 
that helplessness which others stroke
with brushes recently employed 
anent this muddy toiletbowl, 
while kindred intellects evoke 
allegiance per blunt instruments--
Olaf (being to all intents
a corpse and wanting any rag 
upon what God unto him gave) 
responds,without getting annoyed 
“I will not kiss your fucking flag”

straightway the silver bird looked grave
(departing hurriedly to shave)

but--though all kinds of officers 
(a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride) 
their passive prey did kick and curse
until for wear their clarion  
voices and boots were much the worse, 
and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease 
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat--
Olaf (upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
“there is some shit I will not eat”

our president, being of which
assertions duly notified  
threw the yellow sonofabitch
into a dungeon,where he died

Christ (of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see; and Olaf,too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was 
more brave than me: more blond than you.

That line
responds,without getting annoyed 
with stresses different from everywhere else in the poem bothers me extremely, like tripping on an unnoticed step. Which has little relevance to the meat of the poem.


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