Magazine October 18, 2010, Issue

Poetry

THE MILESTONE CARVER

(With thanks to John Dominic Crossan)

I sent it down the whole Galatian road:

“The Imperator Caesar, Son of God . . .”

Junias took it from me load by load,

On limestone slabs, in all four hundred odd.

“Son of God, and the Chief of all the Priests . . .”

Not a bad life we’ve had here since the war.

We got a mason’s guild with monthly feasts,

And a bathhouse, too, with pictures on the floor.

“Of all the Priests, made this Augustan Way . . .”

No, it was nice beneath the awning’s shade,

My strokes more automatic day by day,

The breeze, the singing of the fuller’s maid.

“Augustan Way, which work was overseen . . .”

It would have been enough just to forget,

To think of stone, and each day’s blue and green,

To think of silences as each sun set.

“Was overseen by Marcus Aquila . . .”

But when I wrote the last mile, I was shaken

To feel a god’s work ending. But I saw,

Of course, that everything is overtaken.

“By Marcus Aquila, who governed here.”

Where did it come from, then, this echoing pain

To have an endless day, an endless year,

To overtake the overtaking rain?

Sarah Ruden’s most recent work is a translation of Augustine’s Confessions.

In This Issue

Articles

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Benedict in Britain

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Features

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Rogue States

In this season of resurgence, conservatives have goals more ambitious than ending bailouts or cutting federal spending: They seek a constitutional restoration. They believe that today’s bloated federal government is ...
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The Believer

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Professor Ahab

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Books, Arts & Manners

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Summa Economica

In this occasionally fascinating, occasionally maddening new book, John D. Mueller, whose work often illuminates the pages of this magazine, has set himself a formidable task: to reassert, convincingly, the ...
The Straggler

A Sea of Glass

What a place it is, this world we humans have made! It has such variety, such abundance of skills and knowledge, so many aspects one never thinks of from one ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE MILESTONE CARVER (With thanks to John Dominic Crossan) I sent it down the whole Galatian road: “The Imperator Caesar, Son of God . . .” Junias took it from me load by load, On ...
Athwart

Plan 9 from Turtle Bay

The Hubble telescope spots it first; the astronauts on the International Space Station watch in stunned silence as it glides past the moon and enters our atmosphere. It is an ...
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Letters

Still an Enigma I was just rereading National Review’s Dec. 29, 2008, cover story, “Vision, Honor, Action,” by Mark Steyn. I see that on that date, he wrote, “George Bush is ...
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The Week

‐ Even his economic advisers can’t hold on to their jobs. ‐ Obama supporters are in a classic midterm funk. The ideologues are baffled to find that enacting their agenda has ...
The Long View

Dear Former Congressperson

Dear Former Congressperson: Welcome Back! We’re all thrilled to have you back among us, and we hope your transition back “home” has been as trouble-free as possible. By now, you’ve had a chance ...

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