Magazine | February 23, 2015, Issue

Poetry

THE MESSENGER

This blind matter troubleth my wit.

                                                             Everyman

We waited for the messenger all night,

A mixed report though certainly it shocks,

When summoning what little souls we have

He drums them like dumb echoes from the rocks.

What tidings from the visible horizon?

What signs before the sunrise is outspent?

Fire, earth, and waves that ride the air —

The hurl and plummet of their last ascent.

The arc of noon commemorates no triumph.

Shadows shorten, stand, and start to yield.

A cry goes up, “The truth! We want the truth!”

But nothing more than silence is revealed.

What tidings from the visible horizon?

What signs before the sunlight is outspent?

Fire, earth, and waves that ride the air —

The hurl and plummet of their last ascent.

Above the ocean’s face the sun expands

And overflows us like the tears of Christ,

And all await the word, the final word,

To know if this much suffering has sufficed.

What tidings from the visible horizon?

What signs before the sunset is outspent?

Fire, earth, and waves that ride the air —

The hurl and plummet of their last ascent.

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

A Hand Withheld

It’s rare for a president to conclude a State of the Union address with a long passage noting that his presidency “hasn’t delivered” on one of its central promises. President ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Foreign Policy by Map

George W. Bush left office with his activist foreign policy in disrepute. Fast-forward six years: President Barack Obama has pursued, in some respects, the opposite approach, and yet he has ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Midcentury Mores

Edward Mendelson is one of our mandarin humanistic intellectuals — Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities at Columbia, literary executor of the estate of W. H. Auden, an expert on ...
Politics & Policy

Bloody Crossroads Redux

There have been two great political wars this Oscar season, and both have involved American liberals’ complex relationship with the movies. What makes this relationship complicated is that liberals have ...
City Desk

The City, from Afar

The road follows the right angles of everything out here, farms, townships, counties, states. On either side, fields showing stubble. Thick gnarly trees mark homesteads and cemeteries. Where the land ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE MESSENGER This blind matter troubleth my wit.                                                              Everyman We waited for the messenger all night, A mixed report though certainly it shocks, When summoning what little souls we have He drums them like dumb echoes ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Contraception, Continued Robert VerBruggen agues that pro-lifers should support the promotion of contraceptives that sometimes may act as abortifacients (“On a LARC,” December 31). The death rate for unimplanted embryos is ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Vaccines seem to do strange things to the mind — at least for politicians. ‐ Wisconsin governor Scott Walker took an early, if narrow, lead in a poll of Iowa Republicans. ...
Athwart

Lifespan Liberalism

There’s no shortage of studies that attempt to show how liberals and conservatives are different species who happen to share hominid form. Liberals are conveniently revealed by Cold Science to ...

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Yes, They Are Coming for Your Guns

At the Democratic-primary debate in Houston last night, Beto O’Rourke formally killed off one of the gun-control movement’s favorite taunts: The famous “Nobody is coming for your guns, wingnut.” Asked bluntly whether he was proposing confiscation, O’Rourke abandoned the disingenuous euphemisms that have ... Read More
White House

Politico Doubles Down on Fake Turnberry Scandal

It's tough to be an investigative reporter. Everybody who feeds you a tip has an axe to grind. Or, alternatively, you find yourself going, "I wonder if . . . ?" You put in your research, you talk to lots of people, you accumulate a huge pile of information, but you still haven't proved your hypothesis. A wise ... Read More
Culture

Four Cheers for Incandescent Light Bulbs

It brought me much -- indeed, too much -- joy to hear of the Trump administration's rollback of restrictions on incandescent light bulbs, even if the ban will remain in place. The LED bulbs are terrible. They give off a pitiable, dim, and altogether underwhelming "glow," one that never matched the raw (if ... Read More