Friday, August 30, 2013

Seamus Heaney, 1939 - 2013

An Afterwards (1979)

She would plunge all poets in the ninth circle
And fix them, tooth in skull, tonguing for brain;
For backbiting in life she'd make their hell
A rabid egotistical daisy-chain.

Unyielding, spurred, ambitious, unblunted,
Lockjawed, mantrapped, each a fastened badger
Jockeying for position, hasped and mounted
Like Ugolino on Archbishop Roger.

And when she'd make her circuit of the ice.
Aided and abetted by Virgil's wife,
I would cry out, 'My sweet, who wears the bays
In our green land above, whose is the life

Most dedicated and exemplary?'
And she: 'I have closed my widowed ears
To the sulphurous news of poets and poetry.
Why could you not have, oftener, in our years

Unclenched, and come down laughing from your room
And walked the twilight with me and your children
Like that one evening of elder bloom
And hay, when the wild roses were fading?'

And (as some maker gaffs me in the neck)
'You weren't the worst. You aspired to a kind.
Indifferent, faults-on-both-sides tact.
You left us first, and then those books, behind.'

Monday, August 19, 2013

The CIA Admits Role in Overthrow of Iran's Freely Elected Prime Minister -- But We Knew That!

The CIA has released documents which for the first time formally acknowledge its key role in the 1953 coup which ousted Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadeq.
CIA Documents Acknowledge its Role

Excerpt from The Lion and the Sun:

Conte remembered meeting Anatoly Balakirev for the first time at this reception. He wore the dark blue Parade uniform of a USSR Air Force officer, with epaulettes, a gold sash at the waist, and calf-high black leather boots. His chest was covered in medals, only a few of which Conte recognized, including medals for combat service, and for bravery. By comparison, Conte’s black Air Force mess dress uniform was drab, and Conte wore only a few medals, including the Air Force Cross, the Purple Heart, a National Defense Service Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal.
Balakirev was direct with this new American, who seemed so sure of himself. The Russian blamed Britain and America for the overthrow of Iran’s elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mosaddeq in 1953, claiming that the US was threatened by Mosaddeq’s plan to nationalize oil and acted accordingly.
Conte was very familiar with the CIA’s botched operation to overthrow Mosaddeq, but pointed out to Balakirev the Communist’s role in undermining Mosaddeq. Conte told Balakirev that he was sure the USSR was behind the Tudeh Party’s subversion. Balakirev countered that the USSR’s only interest in Iran was to aid a developing nation and create a future trading partner. This sparring was in reality cover for each trying to determine what the other was really up to in Tehran at that critical time in the Shah’s rule. But it was true. The seeds of discontent in Tehran today had been planted by the CIA and the British SIS in 1953, and before that, the occupying forces of the USSR in 1946.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

On Seeing Cirrus Clouds Over Amon Basin

Feathery clouds fanned out across the sky
Like an Indian Chief’s headdress
A soft steady wind washed down Amon Creek
And whispered through the birch lining its banks
Leaves shimmered silver and green and gold

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What do women do with their handbag

What do women do with their handbag
when they jump off a bridge?
There is no chair back to hang the bag over
No booth to place the bag on
so that sliding out will require picking it up

It’s a nightmare

Leaving the handbag
at the checkout counter
Having it plucked out of the shopping cart
Leaving it on the adjoining seat
in the movie theater

It is filled with everything she needs
Three different colors
Screwed to the max
Hair brush
She keeps meaning to clean it
Eight pens
None the same
Nail file
Both pieces
are in there somewhere
Breath mints
A lighter
A white plastic spoon
from Wendy’s
Dark glasses
She can’t wear them
Makeup compact
the mirror is broken
Cell phone

With pictures of her children
Her identity is in there
It could be stolen
A two Euro coin

Or she could leave the bag
in the rental car
at Orly
Upset after he told her
On the same bridge
Where she stands now
Wondering what to do
with her handbag

It's a nightmare

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dievs Rides

Dievs rides
fierce across fields of ice and fire
His horse plunges through snow and flame
He rides
Gray cloak billowing behind

He raises a silver sword
And slashes open cosmic dust
To create worlds
Making the world we know
the world of which we are a part
the world we now decimate

Dievs rides
Sword raised
And in one violent thrust
Obliterates that which would
obliterate earth
this human blight

Thursday, August 1, 2013

On the closing of US Embassies

US State Department Press Briefing
QUESTION: Just because, presumably, if a U.S. citizen needs to go to an embassy and you’re not willing to disclose that the embassy is closed, and then they show up and the embassy blows up --

MS. HARF: Right, and of course, we would --

QUESTION: -- that doesn’t seem very fair.