Sunday, September 30, 2007

Four Strong Winds

Today remains Sunday, 30 September 2007.

Herewith, an HH Talks Puppies moment, with, granted, a strong hint of melancholy.

And yes, I realize the video is a bit off the beat of the music.

Hey, it's Neil, The Real, The Surreal, Young, singing "Four Strong Winds". The song was penned by Ian Tyson, of Ian and Sylvia. Literally about transient agricultural workers following the crops, the deeper text concerns the nature of human relationships.

The Tragedy of Indonesia

Today is Saturday, 30 September 2007.

On this date in 1965, a coup began in Jakarta, the capitol of Indonesia. Many of the military high command were kidnapped by a faction of the armed forces and killed. Major General Suharto, commanding the Strategic Reserve, conveniently survived, and his troops subsequently suppressed the coup and seized power. (He would not be driven from his position as dictator until 1998.)

The story given out by the Suharto gang: the coup was staged by elements of the military controlled by the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI). This story was spread by propaganda agencies of the American and British governments, and accepted as gospel for many years. (In my library is a copy of The Smiling General, a fawning biography of Suharto, complete with a card indicating it was the gift of an American oil company.) Within the last decade, however, the truth has emerged.

The coup issued from factional infighting within the military high command. Given the fact that Suharto mysteriously survived, it is entirely possible that he instigated the coup to remove his rivals, and then murdered those who had done his bidding. In any case, Suharto, aided by the Central Intelligence Agency, launched a purge of PKI supporters and other political rivals, resulting in the murders of some 1,000,000 Indonesians.

(Many of the dead had no connection to politics. As is usual in such revels of mass destruction, bearing false witness against one's neighbor was an efficient, permanent, and satisfying tool to settle scores.)

Under Suharto, Indonesia boasted one of the most corrupt governments in history. Everyone who wished to open a business was required to give a share to a member of the military, in order to acquire the necessary licenses. The larger and more profitable the enterprise, the higher-ranking the military partner required. (Transparency International estimates that Suharto and his family alone embezzled some $15 to $35 billion.)

The military dictatorship essentially continues. From 1998 to 2004, two weak civilian presidents served as a fig leaf. In 2004, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was elected president. He spent most of his life in the military, retiring as lieutenant general. During the genocidal conquest and occupation of East Timor, troops under his command committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. (Readers will recall that President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger led the USA/USE in supporting the conquest and genocide.) Prior to his election, he was Minister of Security.

American support for the Indonesian dictatorship continues, now under the guise of the “Global War On Terror” (GWOT).

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sorrow Is A Wound Fresh

Today remains Saturday, 29 September 2007.


by: Thomas Dekker

"The month of May, the merry month of May,
So frolic, so gay, and so green, so green, so green!"

Joseph, same name of him of many coloured coat, was a dearest friend when I lived in New York City, and my wife’s best friend there. Something there is of each of us which perished in his death, and has not, thus far, revived.

Yes, it was, on the first day of the merry month of May, in 1991, when, upon the afternoon, upon entering his hospital room, for what I thought was a not unusual visit, as my wife and I had visited at least every other day since January, when Joe was last hospitalized, and today [sic, you see the sorrow is a wound fresh] I came this afternoon by myself, a special circumstance to be explained below, certain Joe was on the road to recovery, well, not recovery, in those days, from AIDS, but long-term stabilization.

I had, at the time, aged 39, already too full experience of friends and strangers death and dying, and I, that moment, that afternoon, seeing Joseph, knew Joe was marked swiftly for the end.

And the next night, around 7 p.m., when Joe had been peacefully sleeping, and suddenly shot bolt-upright in bed, screaming, “Mommy save me Mommy save me I don’t want to die” and wildly convulsing, and his life-partner and I spread ourselves across his limbs, and tenderly held him, his limbs madly battering us, until the resident arrived with a needle, and he shortly slept.

In Memory: The Slaughtered Jews of Babii Yar

Today is Saturday, 29 September 2007.

On 29-30 1941, Nazi Einsatzgruppen murdered some 34,000 Jews in the forest of Babi Yar, outside of Kiev, Ukraine, consigning their bodies to a ravine. During the Stalinist and neo-Stalinist period in the Soviet Union (from the death of Lenin to 1985), the dead were referred to as “Russians”, and the fact that they were murdered because they were Jews was suppressed.

In 1961, Yevgeny Yevtushenko published one of his most significant poems, “Babii Yar”, an act of no little courage.

Later today, I may add some commentary, and perhaps another translation.

Babi Yar

Translated by Ben Okopnik

No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone.
I am afraid.
Today, I am as old
As the entire Jewish race itself.

I see myself an ancient Israelite.
I wander o'er the roads of ancient Egypt
And here, upon the cross, I perish, tortured
And even now, I bear the marks of nails.

It seems to me that Dreyfus is myself.
The Philistines betrayed me - and now judge.
I'm in a cage. Surrounded and trapped,
I'm persecuted, spat on, slandered, and
The dainty dollies in their Brussels frills
Squeal, as they stab umbrellas at my face.

I see myself a boy in Belostok
Blood spills, and runs upon the floors,
The chiefs of bar and pub rage unimpeded
And reek of vodka and of onion, half and half.

I'm thrown back by a boot, I have no strength left,
In vain I beg the rabble of pogrom,
To jeers of "Kill the Jews, and save our Russia!"
My mother's being beaten by a clerk.

O, Russia of my heart, I know that you
Are international, by inner nature.
But often those whose hands are steeped in filth
Abused your purest name, in name of hatred.

I know the kindness of my native land.
How vile, that without the slightest quiver
The antisemites have proclaimed themselves
The "Union of the Russian People!"

It seems to me that I am Anna Frank,
Transparent, as the thinnest branch in April,
And I'm in love, and have no need of phrases,
But only that we gaze into each other's eyes.
How little one can see, or even sense!
Leaves are forbidden, so is sky,
But much is still allowed - very gently
In darkened rooms each other to embrace.

-"They come!"

-"No, fear not - those are sounds
Of spring itself. She's coming soon.
Quickly, your lips!"

-"They break the door!"

-"No, river ice is breaking..."

Wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar,
The trees look sternly, as if passing judgement.
Here, silently, all screams, and, hat in hand,
I feel my hair changing shade to gray.

And I myself, like one long soundless scream
Above the thousands of thousands interred,
I'm every old man executed here,
As I am every child murdered here.

No fiber of my body will forget this.
May "Internationale" thunder and ring *3*
When, for all time, is buried and forgotten
The last of antisemites on this earth.

There is no Jewish blood that's blood of mine,
But, hated with a passion that's corrosive
Am I by antisemites like a Jew.
And that is why I call myself a Russian!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Blood of Burma

Today is Friday, 28 September 2007.

It is, of course, too tragically late to know how societies such as Burma, the Philippines, Iraq, the Congo, Rwanda, etc. would have developed, had it not been for the violent imposition of European colonialism. What is obvious is that European colonialism so distorted these societies as to make it inevitable that, after independence, they would suffer decades of military oppression and economic disaster.

European colonialism conquered its victims by military means, and then viciously exploited them economically under the threat of further military violence. When the colonial powers withdrew, they left their colonies to the tender mercies of indigenous elites created in the European image, and the result was foregone: the new elites used military means to loot their own peoples.

In Burma, a bloodthirsty British elite was succeeded by a bloodthirsty Burmese elite. Just as the American power elite profited from supporting military dictatorships in Latin America and elsewhere, the Chinese power elite now profits from the uniformed gangsters of Burma.

The Museum of the Bourgeois hopes against hope that the current rebellion in Burma will succeed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In Memory: Smith and Bartok

Today is Wednesday, 26 September 2007.

The Queen of the Blues, Bessie Smith, died on this date in 1937 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, as the result of injuries suffered in an auto accident.

For many years it was accepted that her injuries were not necessarily life-threatening, and that she died because a) the white-driven ambulance dawdled on the way to the crash scene, or b) the nearest hospital, whites only, refused her admittance, and the ambulance drove for miles to the nearest Black hospital.

(There is reason to believe this may be legend, not fact. For example, the white and Black hospitals in Clarksdale are only a mile apart.)

Herewith, "Careless Love Blues":

The great Hungarian composer Bela Bartok died in New York City of leukemia on this date in 1944. I particularly admire the six String Quartets and the Sonata (1926).

Herewith, from the Sonata:


Bessie Smith Bonus Track that I couldn't resist:

Monday, September 24, 2007

In Memoriam: Brunner and Marceau

Today is Monday, 24 September 2007.

Two notes of loss and appreciation today.

The British novelist John Brunner was born on this day in 1934; he died on 25 August 1995.

I was in high school when I realized why I rejected the elitist and backward division of writing into “literature” and “genre” categories.

The moment of my epiphany came when I realized the similarities between the compromises made by novelists and playwrights who wished to be published in Stalinist Russia, and the compromises made by playwrights in the Elizabethan age (including Shakespeare) who wished to see their works widely performed under the Tudor dictatorship. The Russians were toadies to Stalin; the English were toadies to Elizabeth.

The difference is not between “high” and “low”, but between works which merely fill (and waste) time, and works which speak to the mind and heart (which latter will vary from person to person and age to age).

Three of Brunner’s novels in particular fit the latter bill. The Sheep Look Up (1972) is a portrait of the ecological disasters that homo technologicus is preparing for posterity, and whose fruit we are now gathering. The Shockwave Rider (1975) is a prescient examination of the effects of computing (and origin of the term “worm”.)

His masterpiece is Stand on Zanzibar (1968). It is distinguished by what were then radically experimental forms for a novel (which now seem commonplace). I will not summarize and spoil it for those who haven’t read it. Suffice it to say: you will recognize the contours of our present foundering world in Brunner’s imaginary world.

I suppose I can give no higher recommendation than to note that my first American edition has been read so many times that the internal binding has split at page 14.

The great reviver and master of mime, Marcel Marceau, died on Saturday last. Jewish and French, he served in the Resistance, assisting children to escape the dragnet of the Holocaust. Admirers have posted many fine examples of his work on YouTube; I have chosen the following:

The Museum of the Bourgeois mourns the loss of these great artists and persons.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Strange Fruit

Today is Sunday, 23 September 2007.

Fifty years ago this date, nine Black students, under police (and later military) protection integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. They endured widespread vilification and death threats.

These days, in certain parts of the “Olde South”, in response to the events in Jena, Louisiana, the noose is making a comeback. Apologists say it’s just a “joke” or a “prank”.

A prank is calling a phone number at random and asking, “Is your refrigerator running?” A prank is the old burning-sack-of-turds on the porch trick.

The noose has only one meaning, and it’s no joke: murder Blacks. At the least, the noose is intimidation by threat of violence. At the most, the noose is a clarion call for lynching.

The noose is not free speech. The noose is a hate crime and an incitement to assassination. When whites display the noose in any context other than anti-lynching, it should be prosecuted as a hate crime.

Herewith, Billy Holiday:

Lest We Forget

Today is Saturday, 22 September 2007.

On this date in 1980, Iraq, led by the Ba’athist dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, invaded Iran.

The Reagan-Bush One regime, after coming to power in 1981, and operating on the notion that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, joined forces with Iraq, providing more than $3 billion in direct aid, plus satellite and other intelligence data the Iraqi military used to target Iranian military and civilians (as well as Kurdish civilians) with poison gas.

Given that the Reagan-Bush One regimes piled up deficits which swelled the USA/USE national debt from $1 trillion to $4 trillion, the American taxpayer is still paying off the debt incurred to support Saddam Hussein, and will undoubtedly continue to do so until the demise of the Republic. “Chemical Ali” will soon be executed for supervising the poison gas murders, but we the American taxpayer helped put the weapons in his hands.

Curiously, this war has come to be known as the “Iran-Iraq War”, which seems to subliminally suggest that Iran, not Iraq, was the aggressor. It should be known as the Iraqi-American War of Aggression Against Iran. Not so snappy a brand name, but truthful.

By the by: by the time the war concluded in August of 1988, well in excess of 1,000,000 Iranian and Iraqi civilians and combatants had been killed or wounded.

Lest we forget

Friday, September 21, 2007

News from Venus

Today is Friday, 21 September 2007.

Long after megalomaniacs such as W. Bush and Osama bin Laden, Vladimir Putin and Hu Jintao, and their necessary accomplices, the masses of pointlessly over-consuming callous First Worlders, have accomplished their dreams of grinding the human and animal populations of Earth into dust, and are forgotten, the planets will continue their crisscross dances in the sky.

I was put in vivid mind of this by the circumstance that Venus, as the Morning Star, is currently situated in its orbit such that it currently shines as brightly as it ever does. Look to the eastern sky beginning, say, two hours before sunrise, and you’ll see what I mean. (Binoculars should enable one to discern a crescent shape.)

You are looking at an object more than 26,000,000 miles distant.

To see the relative position of Earth and Venus, visit Solar System Live at

This site is a marvelous resource, featuring an interactive orrery. You may recall the mechanical version of the orrery from science classes: a tabletop model of the Solar System, operated by a crank and gears, showing the movement of the planets around the Sun. The site has many other astronomical treats as well.

In 1914, H.G. Wells published The World Set Free, a novel about a cataclysmic global war between all the Great Powers. Based on his extrapolations from the atomic physics of his time, he speculates on an atomic bomb:

“Certainly it seems now that nothing could have been more obvious to the people of the earlier twentieth century than the rapidity with which war was becoming impossible. And as certainly they did not see it. They did not see it until the atomic bomb burst in their fumbling hands. Yet the broad facts must have glared on any intelligent mind.

All through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the amount of energy that men were able to command was continuously increasing. Applied to warfare that meant that the power of inflict a blow, the power to destroy, was continually increasing. There was no increase whatever in the ability to escape.

Every sort of passive defence, armour, fortifications, and so forth, was being out-mastered by this tremendous increase on the destructive side. Destruction was becoming so facile that any little body of malcontents could use it; it was revolutionizing the problems of police and internal rule.

Before the last war began it was a matter of common knowledge that a man could carry about in a handbag an amount of latent energy sufficient to wreck half a city.

These facts were before the minds of everybody; the children in the streets knew them. And yet the world still, as the Americans used to phrase it, “fooled around” with the paraphernalia and pretensions of war.”

The heavens at night are so beautiful. When will humanity revolt, and cease making a hell of Earth?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Extermination of Pennsylvania

Today is Wednesday, 19 September 2007.

How many Iraqis have died violent deaths as a result of the American invasion, conquest, and occupation?

According to the results of an AP poll last February, Americans believe a median of 9,890 have died.

Main stream media outlets such as The Washington Post often use a figure of 75,000 to 80,000.

A rigorous scientific study, The Human Cost of the War in Iraq: A Mortality Study 2002-2006, by the Bloomberg School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University, determined that at least 600,000 have died.

A new study by the Opinion Research Bureau in the United Kingdom, based on a survey of Iraqis, concluded that approx. 1.2 million have died, or approx. 4.4% of the total population.

Were the same percentage of Americans to die violent deaths, it would be roughly 13,000,000, or roughly the entire population of the state of Pennsylvania.

(By way of comparison: the violent deaths perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia were approx. 1.7 million.)

The blood of 1.2 million Iraqis drowns their land and America.

Today’s column is the 500th since the debut of this blog. Today is also the 50th anniversary of the first completely-contained underground nuclear bomb test at the Nevada Proving Grounds.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

In Memory: Birmingham Sunday

Today is Saturday, 15 September 2007.

On this date in 1963, at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, terrorists from the Ku Klux Klan exploded a bomb, assassinating four children. They were Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley.

The Museum of the Bourgeois honors their memories, and the memories of all other victims of white racist violence.

"Birmingham Morning", a song by Joan Baez, may be found at:,,47086-1538024-WMLO,00.html

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Today is Wednesday, 12 September 2007.

Trust me (if not, read up on it): it’s often difficult to know exactly what happens to someone when they are seized by Political Police (e.g., KGB, FBI, CIA, Gestapo, BOSS [Bureau of State Security in the former racist Union of South Africa], etc.).

But the facts are certain in the case of Steve Bantu Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977).

On or about 18 August 1977, Steve Bantu Biko, a leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and key founder of the Black Consciousness Movement there, was kidnapped at a Political Police roadblock.

On or about 10 September 1977, he was several times thrown headfirst into a cinderblock wall at a police station. Though his skull was cracked open, he was chained and left for the night. He was then driven by Political Police some 750 miles to the “nearest” hospital.

Biko arrived DOA.

It was then 12 September 1977.

For the record: “apartheid” was the white racist supremacist regime in South Africa which was supported for decades by, to the shame of the country in which HH lives, the USA/USE.

“You can blow out a candle, but you can’t blow out the fire.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Of History, Memory, Memorial

Today is Tuesday, 11 September 2007.

In 1973, on the first 9-11, a coup, largely funded and encouraged by the CIA, on orders from the Nixon-Kissinger regime, overthrew the democratically-elected government of Chile, and installed a terrorist military dictatorship.

In the 1980s, on orders from the Reagan-Bush One regime, the CIA lavishly funded the Afghan resistance to the Soviet occupation, turning it into a powerful terrorist jihad with a flourishing sideline in the heroin trade.

In 2001, on the second 9-11, a jihadist group spawned by the Afghan resistance movement attacked American targets.

In 2003, using the false pretext of a connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, the Bush Two-Cheney regime conquered Iraq.

In 2007, as the Bush Two-Cheney regime occupation of Iraq founders, having created the necessary conditions for a murderous civil war, the regime is desperately funding several sides of same and preparing the stage for ever-greater carnage.

So, in a manner only-too-familiar to anyone who has read The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Bible, or all too many other religious texts, or Shakespeare or Tolstoy, violence begets violence begets violence, and death summons death summons death.

Surely the victims of both 9-11s deserve a better memorial than bloodshed piled upon bloodshed.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

No Logical

Today is Saturday, 8 September 2007.

1966 - Star Trek debuts.

1974 -- Ford pardons Nixon.

1979 --- FBI harrasment drives Jean Seberg to suicide.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Thašųka Witko

Today is Friday, 7 September 2007.

A day late and a dollar short, for the more-or-less anniversary of the death in 1877, 5 or 6 September, of Crazy Horse, the Lakota freedom fighter properly known as Thašųka Witko.

And, as the man says, the students murdered in China in 1989, and the students murdered in Mexico City in 1968, and the dead, and the dead, and the dead:

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

My Guitar Is Old As Father Time/This Machine Kills Fascists/This Machine Surrounds Hate With Love and Forces It to Surrender/Solidarity Forever!

Today remains Wednesday, 5 September 2007.

I know Josh White would be glad that I, as it were, step on his lines with this supplement.

Today many taxi drivers in New York City, those knights of the yellow cabs, begin a two day strike.

Sure, many of them make almost a decent living off their often 12 hour shifts. But they don’t need the Mayor Billionberg mandated extra expense of installing credit card readers, GPS tracking systems (“so the fares can see where they are” … ??? … look out the window, fool), and seatback advertising systems (just what I always wanted, pitchpersons in the backseat, so I can’t converse with the drivers, who always have more interesting stories than soap commercials).

So, were I still living in The Big Apple, I wouldn’t be taking any taxis today or tomorrow. I got legs.

Here, in solidarity, from the great Harry Chapin’s last concert (ironically, he died a few months later in a traffic accident on the Long Island Expressway):

My Guitar Is Old As Father Time

Today is Wednesday, 5 September 2007.

Ain’t it a caution.

Confusion exists as to the death dates for both Josh White, the immortal blues singer, and for Crazy Horse, the immortal Lakota freedom fighter. In both cases, some sources say 5 September, some say 6 September.

Josh White today, Crazy Horse tomorrow.

Check out the Josh White biography on Wikipedia, pretty much accurate.

So, dig the music:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tourists in Hell

Today is Tuesday, 4 September 2007.

In 1920, the playwright and social critic Karl Kraus saw a newspaper advertisement offering guided tours of the Great War battlefield of Verdun. One sentence of his response, Tourists in Hell, captures the whole of his moral outrage.

“You will enjoy lunch at the best hotel in Verdun, including wine and coffee (tips included), near the exact spot where 1,500,000 human beings bled to death in useless agony.”

I was reminded of this essay when I learned yesterday of the latest vacation in Iraq of W. Bush and his henchpersons.

The White House protests that this was an essential mission for the faux President to investigate the facts on the ground in advance of the upcoming regime report to Congress.

Bush spent less than a full working day hiding on an Air Force base in the middle of nowhere. Pray tell: what facts could he find in such a setting, that he couldn’t find at Andrews Air Force Base, in The White House bunker, or while clearing brush in Crawford?

It was simply another taxpayer-funded romp of propaganda and photo ops.

It’s significant the visit occurred in Anbar Province, where the US military is conducting a curious experiment.

The resistance to the American occupation in Anbar, a predominately Sunni area, is various: former Ba’athists, tribal-based militias, and al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which claims to derive its inspiration (though obviously not its operational orders) from Osama bin Laden. The situation has grown more complicated since al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia announced that it alone formed the core and foundation of a new “Islamic” state in Iraq. The tribal leaders, of course, will have none of this, conceiving themselves as the rightful rulers, subordinate to none.

Those leaders have largely welcomed the twist in US policy which now furnishes them with money and guns with which to destroy their erstwhile competition. Thus, the American taxpayer is now allied with and funding precisely those tribal militias which, a short time ago, were killing American soldiers. There is every reason to believe that, once they have subdued the competition, the tribal militias will return to armed struggle against the American imperialists, only now strengthened by the infusion of American treasure and guns.

This prospect is emblematic of the desperate and muddled state of the Bush-Cheney regime’s policy, which is now funding and arming both sides in the Shiite-Sunni civil war. Meanwhile, the “Surge” continues to flounder. Total 2007 American combat deaths continue to exceed those of 2006. Civilian deaths are made to seem diminished only by the duplicitous expedient of counting only those dead found individually, and excluding from the casualty toll those killed in mass settings, such as suicide bombings.

Meanwhile, W. Bush continues to lark around the globe, staying the difficult course of his latest all-expenses-paid vacation.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

End? Beginning? Continuum?

Today is Sunday, 2 September 2007.

On this date in 1945, the Empire of Japan surrendered to the United States Empire, ending the Great Pacific War.

Also on this date, the independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was declared from the French Empire.

Analysis forthcoming.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Undo the Folded Lie ... Show an Affirming Flame

Today is Saturday, 1 September 2007.

On this day in 1939, began, with the Nazi invasion of fascist Poland, the Second Great Pan-European War.

"1 September 1939"
W.H. Auden

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism's face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
'I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,'
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Compare and contrast this anthem by Billy Joel. I'm very heartened by the dense historical texture of the references in this song.


Herewith, the lyrics, for your analytic pleasure:

"We Didn’t Start The Fire"
Courtesy, Billy Joel

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye

Eisenhower, Vaccine, England's got a new queen
Maciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dancron
Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev
Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge On The River Kwai

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkwether, Homicide, Children of Thalidomide
Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia
Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichman, Stranger in a Strange Land
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex
J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law
Rock and Roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it .