Magazine November 2, 2009, Issue

‘The Last Right-Wing Intellectual . . . ’

Detail of a photograph of George Orwell (1943) (Wikimedia Commons)

Orwell called T. E. Lawrence; not a bad epithet
Coming from him, although a far cry
From lionhearted or grey-eyed Athena.

Still, a plausible phrase for one smart man
Trying to get a handle on another. Labels
Give leverage, a life’s work in a long book

Becomes moveable, a portable impression
Lifted out of print into the mind’s library
Of never-forgotten phrases. Biodata

A Stanford prof calls her CV, listing
Papers read and books published, even
A few poems. From Abelard to Zombie

Is the range of Stanford’s Encyclopedia
Of Philosophy. Alpha to Omega?
Orwell was an underground optimist,

He stopped at the last name he thought of
When the 1920s came to mind, the writer
Who …

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