Magazine | September 7, 2015, Issue

Poetry

ORPHAN

What was I looking for in that room

Crowded with old books, shelves so full,

It seemed they could not hold another title,

Except where in places a weary volume

Leaned upon its neighbor’s crooked spine?

Some dimly remembered novel or poem

I once read and loved, or dreamed of?

Either a real book or the book of dreams

A friend once advised me to record:

Write upon waking, the dreams will come

If you wait and listen, word for word.

And night and day must be reconciled

Like mother and father, parent and child,

Brother and sister, lovers who have quarreled.

Although I never did as I was told,

I have met the morning every day I could,

Shaken the darkness, come to the table,

Truly grateful for what fare was offered,

Bran or manna, ambrosia or bread,

A sentence, a tragedy, or a kind word.

And now, almost sixty and an orphan –

As nature would have it — I am the age

My father was when he died. Every day

Seems to me it might be the final one.

Pressed for time to make peace with the past,

I look for a book so broad-backed and strong

That it will stand up on the shelf alone.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Cruising Speed

It’s striking that the five Mission: Impossible films, made across two decades in an ever-changing Hollywood, have all starred Tom Cruise. Even in this age of franchises and costumed stars, ...
Politics & Policy

Found Wanting

In a country in which fewer and fewer people serve in an ever-shrinking all-volunteer military, it can be difficult to make a comprehensive case to the civilian public about the ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Poetry

ORPHAN What was I looking for in that room Crowded with old books, shelves so full, It seemed they could not hold another title, Except where in places a weary volume Leaned upon its neighbor’s ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Is Puerto Rico Back from the Brink? Writing in the Week (July 20), National Review’s editors incorrectly characterize Puerto Rico governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla. Their unfair portrayal of his efforts to ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Hillary has been wearing orange pantsuits. Someone’s been planning ahead. ‐ In a speech at American University defending his Iran deal, President Obama accused its Republican opponents of making “common ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

ABC Chief Political Analyst: GOP Rep. Stefanik a ‘Perfect Example’ of the Failures of Electing Someone ‘Because They Are a Woman’

Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst for ABC News, suggested that Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) was elected due to her gender after taking issue with Stefanik's line of questioning during the first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday. “Elise Stefanik is a perfect example of why just electing ... Read More
White House

Trump vs. the ‘Policy Community’

When it comes to Russia, I am with what Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman calls the American “policy community.” Vindman, of course, is one of the House Democrats’ star impeachment witnesses. His haughtiness in proclaiming the policy community and his membership in it grates, throughout his 340-page ... Read More
Law & the Courts

DACA’s Day in Court

When President Obama unilaterally changed immigration policy after repeatedly and correctly insisting that he lacked the constitutional power to do it, he said that congressional inaction had forced his hand. In the case of his first major unilateral move — “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” which ... Read More
White House

Impeachment and the Broken Truce

The contradiction at the center of American politics in Anno Domini 2019 is this: The ruling class does not rule. The impeachment dog-and-pony show in Washington this week is not about how Donald Trump has comported himself as president (grotesquely) any more than early convulsions were about refreshed ... Read More
Books

A Preposterous Review

A   Georgetown University professor named Charles King has reviewed my new book The Case for Nationalism for Foreign Affairs, and his review is a train wreck. It is worth dwelling on, not only because the review contains most of the lines of attack against my book, but because it is extraordinarily shoddy and ... Read More