Sunday, October 28, 2012

Times like these I wish my old friend Christopher Cook Gilmore were still here

A Mandatory (mandatory evacuation order) in force from tomorrow, the 28th.  I plan on going out only for batteries, maybe peanut butter.  No one allowed to go off or onto the island after 4.p.m., downbeach in lockdown.   Stocked up on bottled water, non-perishables.  Flashlight, since electrics will doubtless go off at some point.  Still, it would be nice to have a DVD of Key Largo.  No tellin' when you will be permitted to return if you leave - 3 nights maybe longer, who knows.  For the moment, I'm goin' nowhere.  Too out-of-it to make the 60 mile drive to hotel in Philadelphia (or some motel along the route) as I did last year during the Mandatory when Irene came ashore. Casino Hotels in Atlantic City closed.  Interesting how nary a seagull can be seen now on the beach.  Ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in exciting times." 

(Margate, NJ, October 28th. 12:30 a.m. - 2 a.m.)

"Same Day, Later"

Time to give thanks to Vince, in the Phila. suburbs, for checking in to find out how I'm doing, and to my oldest friend, Len, who e-mailed from out there in Wisconsin where he is Emeritus in Jurisprudence at the law school.  Perhaps he can explain to me how the then "liberal" majority on the Court, could have arrived at the decision they did in Kelo vs. City of New London, Connecticut.  I shake my head in bemused disbelief to find myself agreeing with Justice Thomas's concurring dissent. Sandra Day O'Connor wrote the minority opinion.  Because of this decision your land and your home can be expropriated not simply because it is in the public good or "purpose" but now also in the economic good - even if the developers are private, even if they are foreign corporations.  This allows the "travesty" (as one geologist in Oklahoma called it) of the Canadian oil pipeline through Oklahoma and Texas, and the oil out for export, not even using American workers or parts manufactured in the U.S.  This is of course even before approval for the pipeline from Canada through Nebraska.    And permits fracking even if access by the owner is denied.  And moutain-top removal strip mining for coal.


Most who are going to other places or homes, have left.  Some are staying.

Sorry no snaps (or video)  of ocean waves since I have no digital camera, or in fact any working camera except a Brownie Hawkeye sans film. 

Now it's evening.  High tide soon, Sandy due for landfall on Monday.  24 hours of rain to follow.  Power outages, if they happen, are always a drag at the very least.  Hopefully the pine trees outside my windows will survive the wind.

Well, I'm all in favor of better safe than sorry, but Govenor Soprano's mandatory evac order doesn't help the people of Atlantic City many of whom do not have the money to just go away for 3 days. Many are sent to Atlantic City with a one-way bus ticket from some misbegotten and doubtless uncaring social service outside of the area.  Some have to ride it out.  There are shelters of course, and Absecon Island emergency services are usually very good.  They could set up shelters in Trump's 2 casinos of course.  That'll be the day. 

High tide now passed.  Nothing exceptional happening here yet.  Poet Ketan Ben Caesar called from Philly.  Judy (  from Oregon with an e-mail.  Paul, now on Buffalo Avenue, Ventnor, checking in with a call, monitoring things, looking after his elderly father, and with his girlfriend.  Then Nechama, my Israeli friend in Philadelphia, phoned to ask after me.  She and her partner, Eli, a bit concerned if their electrics go out since everything is electric where they live on the 11th floor in center city.  My cousin here in a condo down the road, also on the 11th floor, and everything electric there too,  Still, this isn't Syria, with random bombs. 

All these calls - sometimes I go a whole week or more without conversation except to ask to get a refill please on the coffee.  As old and as hearing-impaired as I am, I reckon it is still Romantic here in a storm.  Not a monster one though heading right for New Jersey.  Winds up to Cat. 1, the news now reports. Tomorrow morning through evening is the big day they say.....   

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rupert Brooke (1887 - 1915)

There's Wisdom In Women

"Oh love is fair and love is rare;" my dear one she said,

"But love goes lightly over."  I bowed her foolish head,

And kissed her hair and laughed at her.  Such a child was she;

So new to love, so true to love, and she spoke so bitterly.

But there's wisdom in women, of more than they have known,

And thoughts go racing through them, are wiser than their own,

Or how should my dear one, being ignorant and young,

Have cried on love so bitterly, with so true a tongue?

(June 1913)

The  first new edition of The Collected Poems Of Rupert Brooke in almost 100 years was published in 2010 by The Oleander Press (Cambridge, England), with an Introduction by Lorna Beckett (Chair, The Rupert Brooke Society).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

poem by R.S. Thomas

A Peasant

Iago Prytherch his name, though, be it allowed,
Just an ordinary man of the bald Welsh hills,
Who pens a few sheep in a gap of cloud.
Docking mangels, chipping the green skin
From the yellow bones with a half-witted grin
Of satisfaction, or churning the crude earth
To a stiff sea of clods that glint in the wind -
So are his days spent, his spittled mirth
Rarer than the sun that cracks the cheeks
Of the gaunt sky perhaps once in a week.
And then at night see him fixed in his chair
Motionless, except when he leans to gob in the fire.
There is something frightening in the vacancy of his mind.
His clothes, sour with years of sweat
And animal contact, shock the refined,
But affected, sense with their stark naturalness.
Yet this is your prototype, who, season by season
Against siege of rain and the wind's attrition,
Preserves his stock, an impregnable fortress
Not to be stormed even in death's confusion.
Remember him, then, for he, too, is a winner of wars,
Enduring like a tree under the curious stars.