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

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 ...
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, ...

Sections

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 ...
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 ...

Most Popular

Elections

In Defense of the Electoral College

Senator Elizabeth Warren has joined a growing chorus within the Democratic party in calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. Speaking at a forum in Mississippi on Monday night, Warren said that she hoped to ensure that “every vote matters” and proposed that “the way we can make that happen is ... Read More
Elections

Stick a Fork in O’Rourke

If, as I wrote last week here, Joe Biden may save the Democratic party from a horrible debacle at the polls next year, Beto O’Rourke may be doing the whole process a good turn now. Biden, despite his efforts to masquerade as the vanguard of what is now called progressivism, is politically sane and, if ... Read More
National Security & Defense

In Defense of the Iraq War

Today is the 16th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Twitter is alive with condemnations of the conflict -- countered by precious few defenses. Yet I believed the Iraq War was just and proper in 2003, and I still believe that today. When Donald Trump condemned the war during the 2015 primary campaign and ... Read More
Elections

Beto-mania and Our Cult of Personality Politics

Robert “Beto” O’Rourke’s biggest fans and supporters insist he is a forward-thinking, future-oriented visionary, but no contender for the Democratic nomination feels more familiar than the former three-term congressman from El Paso. That’s because he has the highest combined score in both déjà vu ... Read More