Magazine | December 17, 2012, Issue

Poetry

LONG TRAIL

You can spot the better hikers by

the lightness of their steps, and how their packs

seem much too small. They’ve learned they shouldn’t try

to carry their whole lives upon their backs.

Inside their tidy rectangles they keep

the minimum they need to make their homes.

They eat two protein bars and fall asleep,

snug inside their instant nylon domes.

Though I go hiking several times a year,

I always carry much more than I need:

outside, my pack is hung with cooking gear,

inside, the books I probably won’t read;

and when I raise my tent, unwelcome guests

crowd a cluttered mind that never rests.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Wife and Soldier

Over the course of 40 years, Natalia Solzhenitsyn worked hand in hand with her husband, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He died in 2008, at almost 90. Mrs. Solzhenitsyn continues to work. She ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Against Empathy

Just before the election, the Washington Post fluttered about what it described as “Barack Obama’s empathy edge.” The equally hardboiled reporters at Psychology Today pondered: “Is Obama empathetic to a ...
Politics & Policy

Fighting for Words

In September, a rather crude video titled “Innocence of Muslims” provoked riots across the Muslim world, resulting in several deaths, many more injuries, and considerable property damage. Almost seven years ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

A Political Man

Thomas Jefferson is not in vogue. His Democratic descendants long ago abandoned his philosophy of limited government, Republicans rarely invoke him, and scholars tend to focus on the gulf between ...
Politics & Policy

The Final Roar

Very many Americans came to admire Winston Churchill through the first two volumes of William Manchester’s The Last Lion series, namely Visions of Glory (1983) and Alone (1988). They were ...
Politics & Policy

Why Caravaggio?

The announcement this July of the discovery of nearly 100 hitherto unidentified paintings by Caravaggio caused an international stir. The paintings, stored for centuries in a castle in Milan, where ...
City Desk

Stormy Monday

Old maps show what the city was like before man got to work on it. The islands on which it rests were ringed with coves, marshes, beaches, and the mouths ...

Sections

Happy Warrior

Who Are We?

In my last column, I argued that culture trumps politics, since when many readers have demanded to know what exactly I meant. Well, look no further than the very first ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Winning the Middle Class I happened across “The Party’s Problem,” by Ramesh Ponnuru (December 3), while browsing online articles about the recent election. I am a lifelong liberal Democrat (68-year-old Caucasian male) ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ The First Scold must be secretly pleased about the demise of Hostess: Wicked Witch, the Ding-Dong is dead. ‐ As the fiscal cliff draws nearer, with its automatic tax increases ...
Athwart

The Unisex Child

A Swedish toy catalogue has made a decision to go “gender neutral” for Christmas: boys with baby dolls, girls with guns. Possibly hermaphrodites with Magic 8 Balls that say only ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

LONG TRAIL You can spot the better hikers by the lightness of their steps, and how their packs seem much too small. They’ve learned they shouldn’t try to carry their whole lives upon their ...

Most Popular

World

EuroTrip

Dear Reader (Especially everyone who got ripped off ordering that giant blimp online), Imagine an alien race that built its civilization on the fact it literally defecated highly refined uranium, or super-intelligent and obedient nano-bots, or simply extremely useful Swiss Army knives. Now imagine one of ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Rise of the Abortion Cheerleaders

Is abortion a sad and unfortunate reality — regrettable, as we are sometimes told, but often necessary — or is it a breezy nothingburger, completely “normal,” and something to be giddily celebrated like a last-minute NFL touchdown?  For a long time, the abortion lobby has had difficulty deciding. This ... Read More
World

‘The Warning Lights Are Blinking Red Again’

One of President Trump’s outstanding appointments has been Dan Coats, his director of national intelligence. Coats is a former House member, former senator, and former ambassador to Germany. He is a Hoosier (i.e., from Indiana). Whether he plays basketball, I don’t know. At Wheaton College, he played soccer. ... Read More
World

It’s a Really Bad Idea to Meet Alone with Putin

I’m not opposed to an American president meeting with Putin, so long as the conditions are right and we are clear what we think we are going to accomplish. That doesn’t seem to apply here, and it’s a really bad idea for Trump to meet alone with Putin and possibly make some sort of statement that Putin ... Read More