Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

American Cultural Icons: since 1795


pencil
American Cultural Icons: since 1795
Copyright 2018 the Artist

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 25 June, 2018

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Filed under: art, Arts, history, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

American Cultural Icons: Life magazine


American Cultural Icons Life magazine
American Cultural Icons: Life magazine
Copyright 2018 the Artist

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 25 June, 2018

Filed under: art, Arts, Current Events, history, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Reprehensible or not: James Comey: ‘You stare at children crying – what kind of people are we?’


Reprehensible or not: James Comey: ‘You stare at children crying – what kind of people are we?’

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 21 June, 2018

Filed under: art, Arts, Current Events, history, Literature, Media, Memoir, politics, stories

F. T. Prince – Soldiers Bathing


The sea at evening moves across the sand
Under a reddening sky I watch the freedom of a band
Of soldiers who belong to me. Stripped bare
For bathing in the sea, they shout and run in the warm air;
Their flesh worn by the trade of war, revives
And my mind towards the meaning of it strives.

All’s pathos now. The body that was gross,
Rank, ravenous, disgusting in the act or in repose,
All fever, filth and sweat, its bestial strength
And bestial decay, by pain and labour grows at length
Fragile and luminous. ‘Poor bare forked animal,’ (*)
Conscious of his desires and needs and flesh that rise and fall,
The sweetness of his nakedness: letting the sea-waves coil
Their frothy tongues about his feet, forgets
His hatred of the war, its terrible pressure that begets
A machinery of death and slavery,
Each being a slave and making slaves of others: finds that he
Remembers his old freedom in a game
Mocking himself, and comically mimics fear and shame.

He plays with death and animality;
And reading in the shadows of his pallid flesh, I see
The idea of Michelangelo’s cartoon
Of soldiers bathing, breaking off before they were half done
At some sortie of the enemy, an episode
Of the Pisan wars with Florence. I remember how he showed
Their muscular limbs that clamber from the water,
And heads that turn across the shoulder, eager for the slaughter,
Forgetful of their bodies that are bare,
And hot to buckle on and use the weapons lying there.
–- And I think too of the theme another found
When, shadowing men’s bodies on a sinister red ground
Another Florentine, Pollaiuolo,
Painted a naked battle: warriors, straddled, hacked the foe,
Dug their bare toes into the ground and slew
The brother-naked man who lay between their feet and drew
His lips back from his teeth in a grimace.

They were Italians who knew war’s sorrow and disgrace
And showed the thing suspended, stripped: a theme
Born out of the experience of war’s horrible extreme
Beneath a sky where even the air flows
With lacrimae Christi. For that rage, that bitterness, those blows,
That hatred of the slain, what could they be
But indirectly or directly a commentary
On the Crucifixion? And the picture burns
With indignation and pity and despair by turns,
Because it is the obverse of the scene
Where Christ hangs murdered, stripped, upon the Cross. I mean,
That is the explanation of its rage.

And we too have our bitterness and pity that engage
Blood, spirit, in this war. But night begins,
Night of the mind: who nowadays is conscious of our sins?
Though every human deed concerns our blood,
And even we must know, what nobody has understood,
That some great love is over all we do,
And that is what has driven us to this fury, for so few
Can suffer all the terror of that love:
The terror of that love has set us spinning in this groove
Greased with our blood.

                                                  These dry themselves and dress,
Combing their hair, forget the fear and shame of nakedness.
Because to love is frightening we prefer
The freedom of our crimes. Yet, as I drink the dusky air,
I feel a strange delight that fills me full,
Strange gratitude, as if evil itself were beautiful,
And kiss the wound in thought, while in the west
I watch a streak of red that might have issued from Christ’s breast.

F.T. Prince – Soldiers Bathing

Malcolm D B Munro
SaatchiArt.com/malcolmdbmunro
Monday 18 June, 2018

 * from King Lear by William Shakspeare

Filed under: art, history, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Roy Campbell – Luís de Camões


Camões, alone, of all the lyric race,
Born in the black aurora of disaster,
Can look a common soldier in the face:
I find a comrade where I sought a master:
For daily, while the stinking crocodiles
Glide from the mangroves on the swampy shore,
He shares my awning on the dhow, he smiles,
And tells me that he lived it all before.
Through fire and shipwreck, pestilence and loss,
Led by the ignis fatuus of duty
To a dog’s death—yet of his sorrows king—
He shouldered high his voluntary Cross,
Wrestled his hardships into forms of beauty,
And taught his gorgon destinies to sing.

Roy Campbell – Luís de Camões

Malcolm D B Munro
SaatchiARt.com/malcolmdbmunro
Monday 18 June, 2018

Filed under: art, history, Memoir, Music, poetry, songs, stories

Luís de Camões – Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads)


Canto I

As armas e os Barões assinalados
Que da Ocidental praia Lusitana
Por mares nunca de antes navegados
Passaram ainda além da Taprobana,
Em perigos e guerras esforçados
Mais do que prometia a força humana,
E entre gente remota edificaram
Novo Reino, que tanto sublimaram.

Luís de Camões – Os Lusíadas

Malcolm D B Munro
SaatchiArt.com/malcolmdbmunro
Monday 18 June, 2018

Filed under: art, history, Literature, Media, Memoir, poetry, songs, stories

John Donne – Batter my heart, three-person’d God


Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labour to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

John Donne

Malcolm D B Munro
SaatchiArt.com/malcolmdbmunro
Monday 18 June, 2018

Filed under: art, English poetry, history, Literature, Media, Music, poetry, songs, stories, , , , , , , , , , ,

John Donne – Death be not proud


                                The Holy Sonnets
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
Malcolm DB Munro
SaatchiArt.com/malcolmdbmunro
Saturday 16 June, 2018

Filed under: art, English poetry, history, Literature, Media, poetry, stories, , , , ,

Gerard Manley Hopkins – The Windhover


                                     To Christ our Lord
 
I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
    dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
    Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
    As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
    Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
 
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
    Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
 
   No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
    Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.
ro
Gerard Manley Hopkins –  The Windhover
 
 
Malcolm DB Munro
SaatchiArt.com/malcomdbmuno
Saturday 16 June, 2018
 
in the public domain

Filed under: art, English poetry, history, Literature, Media, poetry, songs, stories, , , , , , , ,

Rise of the machines: has technology evolved beyond our control?


Rise of the machines: has technology evolved beyond our control?
Friday 15 June 2018, Thomas Brindle, The Guardian

Filed under: art, Current Events, history, Media, politics, stories

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