Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In Honor of the Victims 
of the Horrible Events at 
The Boston Marathon

_______ A Meeting With Despair ________

As evening shaped I found me on a moor
Which sight could scarce sustain:
The black lean land, of featureless contour,
Was like a tract in pain.

"This scene, like my own life," I said, "is one
Where many glooms abide;
Toned by its fortune to a deadly dun ––
Lightless on every side.

I glanced aloft and halted, pleasure-caught
To see the contrast there:
The ray-lit clouds gleamed glory; and I thought,
"There's solace everywhere!"

Then bitter self-reproaches as I stood
I dealt me silently
As one perverse –– misrepresenting Good
In graceless mutiny.

Against the horizon's dim-descernèd wheel
 A form rose, strange of mould:
That he was hideous, hopeless, I could feel
Rather than could behold.

"'Tis a dead spot, where even the light lies spent
To darkness!" croaked the Thing.
"Not if you look aloft!" said I, intent
On my new reasoning.

"Yea –– but await awhile!" he cried. "Ho-ho! ––
Look now aloft and see!"
I looked. There, too, sat night: Heaven's radiant show
Had gone. Then chuckled he. 
~ Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) - 
Wessex Poems and Other Verse (1898)


  1. My favorite poem was written by Thomas Hardy. Is there hope for us?

    The Darkling Thrush

    I leant upon a coppice gate
    When Frost was spectre-grey,
    And Winter's dregs made desolate
    The weakening eye of day.
    The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
    Like strings of broken lyres,
    And all mankind that haunted nigh
    Had sought their household fires.

    The land's sharp features seemed to be
    The Century's corpse outleant,
    His crypt the cloudy canopy,
    The wind his death-lament.
    The ancient pulse of germ and birth
    Was shrunken hard and dry,
    And every spirit upon earth
    Seemed fervourless as I.

    At once a voice arose among
    The bleak twigs overhead
    In a full-hearted evensong
    Of joy illimited;
    An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
    In blast-beruffled plume,
    Had chosen thus to fling his soul
    Upon the growing gloom.

    So little cause for carolings
    Of such ecstatic sound
    Was written on terrestrial things
    Afar or nigh around,
    That I could think there trembled through
    His happy good-night air
    Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
    And I was unaware.

  2. Thank you, Andie, for that beautiful contribution -- a poem (one of far too many!) with which I was not familiar.

    Most Americans in their manic quest to be Happy! Happy! Happy! all the time have lost sight of the consoling beauty and valuable insights to be found in prayer, quiet contemplation, and solemn celebrations of soulful beauty such as the two Hardy poems each of us have cited in response to the terrible events in Boston.

    Pain and sorrow are a necessary part of living. Just as we must feel hunger in order to enjoy good food, and fatigue in order to benefit from rest and sleep, we must suffer a good deal in order to know true joy.

    Of course there is hope for us. It's naive and immature to cling to a belief that everything must always be just what we want it to be in order for us to find enjoyment and fulfillment in life.

    Thomas Hardy did celebrate a sense of Inevitable Impending Doom and Despair in his novels and much of his poetry, but he did it with empathy and an awareness of the elegiac beauty and emotional catharsis to be found in tragedy. He was not possessed by the demons of Envy, Anger and Contempt, so his work transcends the sadness, and depressing elements he chronicles so poignantly.

    Thank you for visiting. I'm always glad to see you here.

  3. May God grant me the serenity
    To accept the things i cannot change
    The power to change what I can --
    And the wisdom to know the difference.

    Serenity -- i.e. ACCEPTANCE -- eases suffering, and must, perforce, be good for our hearts, minds and souls.

  4. I am so grateful that -- so far -- no one from any of numerous factions has attempted to gain political leverage from this horrific event.

    I take that as a healthy sign.

    We seem united in grief for the victims, which is far better than being polarized in pursuit of some perceived "enemy" to blame.

    If there could be anything good to come from this dreadful thing, that just might be it.

    If nothing else, at least it has acted as a wake-up call to renewed awareness of our common humanity.

  5. http://www.mediaite.com/online/the-10-absolute-worst-media-reactions-to-the-boston-marathon-bombings/#0

    Hedda Hayer

  6. Yes, SilverFiddle, but you knew it was bound to happen -- espeshawee fwum dweadfoo Demokwat extwemists wike Bonnie Fwank. (:-x

    Hedda's link provided a few examples of outrageous jumpings to conclusions from several more extreme members of the right wing -- most of whim dislike and distrust each other.

  7. Not sure if I should comment on the poem, the Boston Marathon blast so I'll go with remembering my first trip to Boston almost 40 years ago in the mid 1970's.

    After arriving on a sunny Saturday afternoon, not knowing much about Boston or having any clue on where we were, other than someplace in downtown Boston, we parked the car and started walking down the street. Within less than a block my path was blocked by a large American-Indian type claiming to be from Arizona and needing some money. I rarely give handouts to these type of people—then or now. So when I told him I had just arrived in town from Canada, he wasn't phased. This may well have been street theatre in Boston, since it wasn't long before a crowd had gathered to watch what was happening. Not much more, as the gentleman decided he was going to carry on to another sucker, I guess.

    Later after finding a hotel to check into, if I remember correctly, The Bradford, which turned out not to have been the best choice. Not sure if it was the area or the timing but that night the noise on the street below was too much. People yelling, swearing and fighting made comfort and rest impossible. When I asked what that was all about the next day, turns out it was some problem with school busing being an issue and the fine folks below were showing their displeasure as described including people hanging out of car windows swinging fists at others on the road.

    I got the message, Boston's a tough town or was it 'Don't mess with Boston'. The pictures of the Boston Marathon blast drive this message home to me ... what goes round comes round, I guess.

  8. Interesting comments I read in a reputable national newspaper from an eyewitness to the blast. Her husband was running in the marathon. She remarked that after the blast that the police didn't seem to know what to do or how to direct people to get away from the chaos they had encountered. How much money has been spent of "security", and apparently those that should know, still don't know the drill?

  9. The Bradford, Waylon?

    Talk about karma, Ho Chi Minh washed dishes at the Bradford way back in the day.

    But your description doesn't resemble the Boston I know. Although the number of homeless on the streets thanks to The Full Ayn Rand is growing daily.

    Nice of you to harp, Silver and it's true that Barney was spouting a bit of nonsense.
    ... most of the marathon workers are volunteers.
    The ambulance services were private.
    The two dozen plus trauma surgeons at Tufts, Beth Israel, Brigham & Women's and Mass. General are private sector.

    The investigation will be Federal and I have some confidence but don't get ahead of yourself.

    You must have been away from home for some time Barney not to know that Patriots Day brings out the full scope of Boston and shows us at our best.
    Bad, bad Barney.

    So Waylon, what did you do while you were in town? Take in a Sox game (pitching is a surprise this year)?
    Maybe a concert at the Gardner (I heard a great performance of the Dvorak sextet Sunday)?
    There's a real off beat exhibit of samurai armor at the MFA. Did you hit any of the museums.

    Relax on a ride on the swan boats. Enjoy the public gardens?

    Drop a few Harpoon IPAs at the pubs
    Maybe grab a cannoli at Mike's up in Shaw's territory.

    Sorry, Waylon I love my town and your bad mouthing after a day of such tragedy is rather arch. Your comments about the response of the emergency teams after the blast is absolute bullshit.

    What to do, eh Freethinker. Pains me that someone would commit that kind of evil at a time when my town was at its most hospitable and open. Just pure evil that will be identified and prosecuted.

    Meanwhile, I've been listening to Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations. I imagine you'll disagree but I think it the best piece Bach wrote.

  10. Sorry, Waylon I love my town and your bad mouthing after a day of such tragedy is rather arch. Your comments about the response of the emergency teams after the blast is absolute bullshit.

    Calm down, man. I'm just citing an eye witness report not expressing an "arch" opinion.

    “I watched the bomb go off,” said Maria McDonald, vice-president of advertising sales at the National Post, who lives in Etobicoke, Ont.

    She was just past the finish line on the same side of the street at the moment of the explosion, waiting to reunite with her husband Kevin, who had just crossed the finish line, and his cousin Chris, from Milton, Ont., who was about 500 meters behind.

    Chris McDonald, 37, was approaching the finish line, 500 metres away, where he saw and heard the first explosion ahead, then the second.

    “I was still racing,” he said. “I just turned around. People kept running. They didn’t understand… I went the exact opposite way of the finish line, immediately. My life’s in danger, is what I’m thinking.”

    Mr. McDonald said he was “disappointed” in the police reaction, none of whom had any idea what to do or what to tell people to do.

    “I was surprised that they didn’t have some kind of plan, or knew how to go about this. They had no clue,” he said. “We just kept walking,” he said in an interview by cellphone from a park, after stopping in at some restaurants that were gracious to runners.

    “No one knew what to do,” he said. “It was chaos.”


    Now as far as recalling what I did on that trip to Boston, I have to say nothing else stands out for some reason. Back then I might have been interested in baseball, but today I consider it slow and boring, actually it bores me to tears. Hasn't it been taken over by teams of dollar chasing whiners who consider a hangnail an "injury". Must be the Full Ayn Rand influence in MLB, eh?

  11. Shut up you pathetic moron.

    Now you can believe an anecdotal statement from one racer or you can believe the head of the Mass. General trauma unit.
    His statement is that the response was so well orchestrated that many people were within four or five minutes of death and their lives were saved.

    Now go crawl under your rock and read "Atlas Shrugged" or whatever you do in your spare time.

  12. Head off to Fenway park, dickhead. Maybe your "boys of summer" can win a game if they don't fold up with too many hangnails.

    Obviously you have a bit of a problem here asshole. First responders aren't usually eye witnesses. I simply reported what somebody reported and I'd say it comes from "reliable sources".

    Can'r stand reading that police are hamstrung by bureaucracy in Beantown and don't even know which way to turn, Jesus you're a fucking idiot.

    I've read Atlas Shrugged" Once. Have you, dickhead?

  13. "No tax cut will help us deal with this or help us recover"...

    Nor apparently will 20 Trillion dollars!

    Just sayin.

  14. Ducky posted these remarks at Progressive Eruptions. I thought what he was was worthwhile, so with his permission I'm reprinting them here:

    I think Juan Cole has an instructive post.

    Let's assume these bombs were planted by a Muslim in some mangled sick sense of revenge. What about a drone that kills a number of Afghani children? It has certainly happened.

    Or even if this were an anarchist or a right winger striking at "liberal" Boston out of some mad political agenda, does it matter who did it.

    An eye for an eye till we go blind.

    I'm going to think of mangled limbs every time I go past the Boston Public Library and wonder how we can turn this into some sort of moral growth.

    Just still terribly saddened and yes, angry. But you're right, FT, the anger serves little purpose.


    Ducky, when you're good, you're good. When you're bad, you call fellows poster "you pathetic moron."


  15. BINGO, Finntann! Bravo! Point well taken.




We welcome Conversation
But without Vituperation.
If your aim is Vilification ––
Other forms of Denigration ––
Unfounded Accusation --
Determined Obfuscation ––
Alienation with Self-Justification ––


Gratuitous Displays of Extraneous Knowledge Offered Not To Shed Light Or Enhance the Discussion, But For The Primary Purpose Of Giving An Impression Of Superiority are obnoxiously SELF-AGGRANDIZING, and therefore, Subject to Removal at the Discretion of the Censor-in-Residence.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.