Magazine | September 7, 2009, Issue

The Pure Gift

In Memoriam LME

On the hottest day that summer, a rainbow

Arced over the clock-tower of the brick pile

We call The Rotunda, a dying shopping mall

With a wilting grocery, a druggist, a flower stall,

A dozen half-lit vacant retail stores

And a crafts gallery. I had just bought

A jewel box, the lid a parquet braid

Of spruce and rosewood artfully inlaid,

With a comb of music teeth to play a tune

For one who might never open it to listen.

 

There is a clear-cut purity in the gift

Purchased with love that may not be returned.

I walked out into twilight holding the treasure

The clerk had gift-wrapped in white paper

And bound with ribbons, silver and turquoise

All cunningly curled. Then I looked up 

And saw the rainbow against the violet sky

Late in the rainless day, bold and unbidden.

No gold anchors the generous bridge of heaven.

–DANIEL MARK EPSTEIN

 

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Direction, Anyone?

Republicans are looking for a leader. Go to any right-leaning gathering, and at some point the conversation will turn to the party’s potential presidential nominee in 2012. Republicans were less ...
Politics & Policy

Blue Dog Blues

Honesdale, Pa. – If you want to understand better why President Obama’s heath-care agenda has foundered, consider the story of Rep. Christopher Carney, a Democrat who represents the district that includes ...
Politics & Policy

A Matter of Scale

A common liberal talking point is that, based on the historical record, reducing greenhouse gases should be fairly easy. After all, acid rain was once a terrible problem, but government ...
Politics & Policy

Hillary’s Innocence Abroad

Hillary Clinton’s eleven-day trip through Africa was an odd affair. The proximate reason for it was that Obama’s election awakened wholly unrealistic expectations throughout Africa that the new president would ...
Politics & Policy

Bear Right

Clad in a black jacket over an open-necked black shirt, speaking directly into the camera against the backdrop of a summer coastline, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev looked every inch the ...
Politics & Policy

Town Hall Summer

The Chinese go nuts once every 50 years or so. The last time was around 1966, when the country erupted into something called the Cultural Revolution, and leading political and ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Rubio Rising

Florida governor Charlie Crist is running for the Senate, and he isn’t supposed to lose — let alone lose in the Republican primary. He enjoys a high approval rating, has ...
Politics & Policy

Why the Stimulus Failed

Conservatives have correctly declared President Obama’s $787 billion “stimulus” a flop. In a January report, White House economists predicted the bill would create (not merely save) 3.3 million jobs. Since ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Bernanke’s War

David Wessel’s new volume on the Federal Reserve’s response to the financial crisis is the sort of book that Bob Woodward usually writes about U.S. presidents: a character-driven, sometimes novelistic, ...
Politics & Policy

This Is How It Flops

Grant Ginder’s lightly satirical novel about the young, wealthy political set in Washington, D.C., is a shallow, clichéd, and not particularly likable book about shallow, clichéd, and not particularly likable ...
Politics & Policy

Film: Inner Space

The next time you read about the money that’s been poured away bringing some lame, unnecessary science-fiction spectacular to life — the $200 million that Michael Bay spent making the ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Defining ‘Conservative’ For the most part I agree with Tod Lindberg’s review of The Conservatives, by Patrick Allitt (“The Deepest Roots,” August 10), and I certainly look forward to reading the ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ New left-wing slogan: Dissent is the highest form of tastelessness. ‐ Congressmen’s town-hall meetings on the president’s health-care plan have caused a backlash of un-American fury. It comes from liberals, ...

Most Popular

U.S.

Supreme Court Mulls Citizenship Question for Census

Washington -- The oral arguments the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday will be more decorous than the gusts of judicial testiness that blew the case up to the nation’s highest tribunal. The case, which raises arcane questions of administrative law but could have widely radiating political and policy ... Read More
White House

Another Warning Sign

The Mueller report is of course about Russian interference in the 2016 election and about the White House's interference in the resulting investigation. But I couldn’t help also reading the report as a window into the manner of administration that characterizes the Trump era, and therefore as another warning ... Read More
Film & TV

It’s the Deep Breath before the Plunge

Warning. SPOILERS are ahead. If you don’t want to know anything about episode two of the final season of Game of Thrones, stop reading. Now. One of my favorite moments in Peter Jackson's outstanding adaptation of Lord of the Rings happened in the final movie, The Return of the King. On the eve of Mordor's ... Read More