Friday, November 16, 2012


(Original Verse By The Bard of Murdock)

I strode into the public square
To politick the throng.
I hoped to get a hearing there,
But found that I was wrong.

I spoke of freedom to achieve,
By labor well applied.
But multitudes would sooner reave*
Than have the gilt subside.

I spoke to them of wrong and right,
Of evil and of good.
But greed and envy, hate and spite
Were all they understood.

I spoke to them of sacrifice,
Of temperance and restraint.
But welfare was their asking price,
And Marx their patron saint.

Perhaps a generation hence
The spell that Marx has cast,
Will yield to truth and common sense
And virtue’s reign at last.

And thus, returning to the square,
I politick the crowd.
I hope to get a hearing there;
Defeated, but unbowed.

~ § ~

* reave - to plunder and despoil


  1. Sometime ya gotta give the people what they want.

    It falls into the "careful what you wish for" category...

  2. I love the Bard of Murdock!

    His political verse is outstanding.

    "Our" Emily wrote a wonderful poem about hope. I'm sure that you can recite it from memory, FT.

  3. Here are words from Robert Frost I just discovered that seem to evoke a spirit of abject hopelessness.

    Acquainted with the Night

    I have been one acquainted with the night.
    I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
    I have outwalked the farthest city light.
    I have looked down the saddest city lane.
    I have passed by the watchman on his beat
    And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
    I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
    When far away an interrupted cry
    Came over houses from another street,
    But not to call me back or say good-bye;
    And further still at an unearthly height,
    O luminary clock against the sky
    Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
    I have been one acquainted with the night.

    ~ Robert Frost

    It so reminds me of a recent encounter with a young derelict who had a perfectly beautiful boxer dog with him. He at age 24 looked like the wrath of God -- a truly frightening face -- a mouth full of teeth that looked unnaturally sharp because his gums and teeth had eroded from malnutrition. He might have been handsome had he been able to prosper. His devotion to the dog, however, was palpable and unbearably touching. The animal was old and suffering from exhaustion, yet it was very friendly and obviously loved and decently fed. The look of trust and adoration for her master in that dog's eyes was enough to tear your heart out.

    I wanted so desperately to do something that would change their luck, but felt powerless. I had no cash with me, but cash wouldn't have helped much.

    I have to admit the young man frightened me. I felt I ought somehow to provide for him, but realized with a sinking heart that I didn't have sufficient means.

    I talked with him -- mostly about the dog, whose name was Vicky, and petted the sweet animal. I told him how good it was that he cared for his friend so beautifully despite their situation. I told him I was sorry I had no money in my wallet. I even showed it to him so he'd know I was telling the truth.

    He said he didn't want money, he just wanted to find work of some kind.

    Finally, because I could think of nothing else, I offered to buy some Chinese takeout for him -- we were right near my neighborhood Chinese place -- but he respectfully declined.

    I didn't know what to do. We talked a little while longer, and then I reluctantly took my leave.

    This happened nearly two months ago, and the feeling of painful sadness I got from the incident will not leave me.

    Surely in these United States of America scenes like this ought not to occur.

    If I had the kind of wealth possessed by the likes of George Soros, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and the cadre of unknown elites who fancy themselves Masters of the Universe, I would build a nationwide chain of hostelries to provide clean, decent, private shelter, communal dining, spiritual counseling if desired, group therapy sessions, classes on life-coping techniques, and opportunities to learn marketable skills.

    Whatever I did in this fantasy project it would never EVER involve accepting one thin DIME from the GOVERNMENT.

    ~ FreeThinke

  4. Hope is a subtle Glutton --
    He feeds upon the Fair --
    And yet -- inspected closely
    What Abstinence is there --

    His is the Halcyon Table --
    That never seats but One --
    And whatsoever is consumed
    The same amount remain --

    ~ Emily DIckinson (1830-1886)

    I have a feeling this may not be the poem of which you were thinking, AOW, but it's worthwhile all he same. It's full of mysterious implications a characteristic of many of Emily's works.

    The one of her "hope" poems begins Hope is the thing with feathers that perches upon the soul or something very like that. I'm afraid it's not one the ones I've committed to memory.

    ~ FT

    ~ FT

  5. FT,
    How many young men like the one you mentioned are milling around in America? Or sleeping in someone's basement? Or sleeping in a shed? Like something Steinbeck could have penned in The Grapes of Wrath.

    I am reminded of the words "leading lives of quiet desperation." We all lead such lives of "quiet desperation" to a certain extent, I think.

  6. AOW -- and others -- were you aware the Robert Frost piece about the night, which reads at first glance almost like a piece of free verse piece, is a perfectly constructed sonnet in traditional iambic pentameter?

    I have to admit I didn't notice it, myself, because I was too engrossed in the emotional implications of the images.

    When a poet is able to adhere to the strict discipline required by a highly limiting form without letting it be obvious he is doing so, you have fine literary art.

    Knowing that the plays of Shakespeare some of which most of us feel we know, were for the most part written in blank verse -- i.e. non-rhyming iambic pentameter -- makes their broad, powerfully expressive range and multitude of colorful, brilliantly delineated characters seem all the more miraculous.

    In a good performance one is seldom-if-ever aware of the metrical underpinnings, but their subtle presence adds to the power of the drama and gives the plays their flow and remarkable musical quality.

    With great stuff like Shakespeare and Bach, the more closely one analyzes their material, the greater and more remarkable it appears.

    The twentieth century playwright, Maxwell Anderson, who achieved greatness in much of his work wrote Winterset in verse, but to witness a fine performance you'd never be aware of it, unless informed beforehand, and even then it's hard to detect.

    How little we discern when intelligence is starved for worthwhile stimulation and ears are permitted to remain ignorant and untutored!

    ~ FT

    ` FT

  7. Hmmmmmm! Can't think why I keep signing things twice. Sorry about that. It may be trivial, but it denotes a type of sloppiness I dislike in others, and feel chagrined when it appears in my own remarks.

    ~ FT

  8. Beautiful illustration, FT. You have wonderful taste in artwork. This is always great lookng blog.

    Helen Highwater

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