You rise from dry meadowgrass
          With a laborious flutter, more
Wing-action than the shortness of your flight
           Would seem to call for

And so it seems obvious
           Flying for you is a steep effort
Nature exacts, though not without amends,
           Bobolink, reedbird;

The wiry tones of your song
           Set forth a waltz in clear whistles
At first, so well-sustained! But then you break
           Down the bars, stampede

Your notes into a reckless
           Song fantasia piped at lightning speed
No one can follow — not the barn swallow
           Who soars with such grace,

Not the bird-watcher stalking
           The field, not blind Tom with all his skill
At sound-catching, his passion for filling
           Darkness with music.

Ricebird, reedbird, bobolink,
           Your song is the strained apology
For all of the weak-winged, condemned to sing,
           Because we cannot fly.

July 9, 2012    |     Volume LXIV, No. 13

  • President Obama may not ignore laws he dislikes.
  • Voters should hold the administration accountable for its dangerous disclosures.
  • Why Mitt Romney should run against our 43rd president.
  • Pennsylvania is a Democratic state, but Romney could win it.
  • Three myths about the beating that changed the world.
  • Does technology make a post-bulls**t world possible — or desirable?
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Jay Nordlinger reviews Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick, by Peter Collier.
  • Tracy Lee Simons reviews Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction, by Allen C. Guelzo.
  • Kevin D. Williamson reviews Alger Hiss: Why He Chose Treason, by Christina Shelton.
  • Florence King reviews Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir, by Anna Quindlen.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Prometheus.
  • Richard Brookhiser considers the sidewalk shed.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .