Magazine | March 11, 2013, Issue



She had a studious-sprightly walk, this wren,

this girl ahead of me, she on the way

to the brick, and so, to her eyes, alien

library, nearly empty that weekend day.

She didn’t hear me behind her, and suddenly

she jumped, as nimble as a browsing doe,

and grasped a sheaf of leaves on a small tree,

caressing them a bit as she let go.

She did the same at the next tree — an oak

again, I saw — and as she stopped for the light

I drew beside, glanced at her, almost spoke,

but she looked down, surprised, chagrined no doubt,

and, more, an Asian, Taiwanese I guessed,

that campus had so many, most of whom

were wary of strangers in the smiling West.

When the light changed, I walked ahead and home.

There, my computer told me that oaks, yes,

grew in Taiwan. I think not mere impulse

had made her jump for leaves, not mere jeunesse:

oak leaves, like home. Like home, so little else.

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

Benedict’s Legacy

History will most likely treat Pope Benedict XVI more kindly than his chattering-class contemporaries, who held him in barely disguised (or undisguised) contempt, caricaturing him as a former Hitler Youth ...


Politics & Policy


In 1691, Thomas Neale was given a 21-year concession on postal services in Their Majesties’ prospering American colonies. Neale never set foot in the New World and was an epically ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

The Empty Cradle?

Jonathan Last has just added one more cloud to the darkening sky that many conservatives see on America’s horizon. To growing conservative concerns about an entitlements crisis, fiscal ruin, soft ...
Politics & Policy

Take the Noir Pill

Steven Soderbergh has been making movies lately at a pace that feels almost compulsive, and his recent announcement that his latest film will be his last should probably be understood ...


Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ In a delicate operation, Hugo Chávez was removed from a cancerous tumor. ‐ The 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling included an across-the-board cut to planned spending on defense ...
The Long View

News Clips from the Past

From the Manchester Poste, January 1774: . . . after a muche learned and complikated discourse, Mr. John Adams of Bostowne took a small breathe, and pursuant to continuing in his ...

Put Down the Controller!

We need to have a national conversation about national conversations. There aren’t any guidelines. Do arguments in our heads with people who have different opinions count? Does “conversation” actually mean ...
Politics & Policy


OAK LEAVES She had a studious-sprightly walk, this wren, this girl ahead of me, she on the way to the brick, and so, to her eyes, alien library, nearly empty that weekend day. She didn’t ...
Politics & Policy


A Fighting Chance In “The Right to Bear Arms and Popular Sovereignty” (February 11), Charles C. W. Cooke reports that the Second Amendment was designed to protect the right of the ...

Most Popular


Encouraging Signs in Iraq

Last year, relations between the Iraqi central government and the Kurds reached what was possibly an all-time low when the Kurds held an independence referendum in which 93 percent of voters opted to secede. The timing was no coincidence: Iraqi forces had retreated from Kurdish territory in 2014 as the Islamic ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Do Not Congratulate

Do you want some good news out of the gargantuan budget bill now making its way through Congress? Buried among the mountains of pork and assorted unmentionables, there is one random provision I really like. It requires the Congressional Research Service -- which does a huge amount of very valuable policy research ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Top Trump Attorney Resigns

John Dowd, the lead attorney representing President Donald Trump in the special-counsel investigation, resigned Thursday, two sources briefed on the matter told the New York Times. [jwplayer PCWBu1GF-wKJ9CRQU] Dowd, who began leading Trump's legal team last summer, has repeatedly floated the idea of ... Read More

Thursday Links

It's William Shatner's birthday: Here he is in 1978 'singing' Rocket Man, plus a Star Trek/Monty Python mashup. Sold: Isaac Newton’s Notes on the Philosopher’s Stone. It was a long time before anyone admitted that he was interested in alchemy. High-tech forgery: Computer-generated 'Rembrandt' ... Read More
Film & TV

Superannuated ‘Idol’

In the pilot episode of Fox’s American Idol, Simon Cowell defined the show’s thesis: “We are going to tell people who cannot sing and have no talent that they have no talent. And that never makes you popular.” The show’s producers and its three judges -- Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson -- kept ... Read More