Don’t cheer, damn you! Don’t cheer!
Silence! Your bitterest tear
Is fulsomely sweet to-day. . . .
Down on your knees and pray.
See, they sing as they go,
Marching row upon row.
Who will be spared to return,
Sombre and starkly stern?
Chaps whom we knew – s0 strange,
Distant and dark with change;
Silent as those they slew,
Something in them dead too.
Who will return this way,
To sing as they sing to-day.
Send to the glut of the guns
Bravest and best of you sons.
Hurl a million to slaughter,
Blood flowing like Thames water;
Pile up pyramid high
Your dead to the anguished sky;
A monument down all time
Of hate and horror and crime.
Weep, rage, pity, curse, fear –
Anything, but . . . don’t cheer.
Sow to the ploughing guns
Seed of your splendid sons.
Let your heroic slain
Richly manure the plain.
What will the harvest be?
Unborn of Unborn will see. . . .
Dark is the sky and drear. . . .
For the pity of God don’t cheer.
Dark and dread is their way.
Who sing as they march to-day. . . .
Humble your hearts and pray.
– Robert Service
"Search thine own heart. What paineth thee
In others in thyself may be;
All dust is frail, all flesh is weak;
Be thou the true man thou dost seek!"
– from "The Chapel of the Hermits" by John Greenleaf Whittier
A recent post by a friend of mine brought back a painful memory.
"When I was 14, just a little over two months before [Rob] would have graduated from high school, he was killed. I hadn’t talked to him for some time when I just had this overwhelming need to call. His mom answered the phone and told me that earlier that day he had gone out to buy a motorcycle. As he was driving it home, he somehow lost control and wrapped himself around a telephone pole. I was frozen and utterly speechless."
My best friend in high school was pulled off a platform by a passing train and died. Getting that phonecall from my dad was one of the worst moments of my life. Anyhow, I know other folks have lost loved ones unexpectedly. We’re connected by a terrible bond, but we can use it to help each other. At the lowest points of my life I’ve found writing poetry to be very theraputic. I thought perhaps folks still mourning a loss would appreciate this poem that I wrote when my best friend died.
I’ve been doing a little thinking about the current immigration debate. The two main lines of argument that seem to be dominating discussions are as follows (in broad strokes).
Illegal immigrants are hard workers who just want a piece of the American pie and are willing to do jobs that Americans aren’t willing to do. Leave them alone.
Illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes and heavily burden America’s educational and medical services. They’re also a security risk. Kick them out.
I think both are right and both are wrong.
haven’t received my free
ESV Bible yet, but I thought I’d get the review ball rolling
anyhow. I’ll start off with something easy – Psalm 51. It’s my favorite
psalm and may even be my favorite bit of Scripture. I’ll review the
lexical and grammatical choices made in translating this chapter. Below
is the psalm from the RSV (my favorite translation), the ESV, and the
NAB (the officially endorsed Catholic translation in the U.S. and a
example of banality raised to an artform).