art editing writing free speech Poetry Uncategorized

I Hoed and Trenched and Weeded by A.E. Housman

No one has ever written better about depression, futility, and ending it all than A.E. Housman. (internal link)

All of us question the Meaning of Life at times and wonder whether it is worth going on.

Housman’s heartbroken or doomed characters argue bitterly and resentfully and eloquently that it is not.

This rarely heard point of view is strongly discouraged and censured. You must go on. Life gets better.


Housman’s popularity rests with giving poetic and powerful voice to the darker thoughts that all of us have but cannot express in words. At least, not in public.

From A Shropshire Lad by A. E. Housman (1859–1936)


I Hoed and Trenched and Weeded

I hoed and trenched and weeded,
And took the flowers to fair:
I brought them home unheeded;
The hue was not the wear.

So up and down I sow them
For lads like me to find,
When I shall lie below them,
A dead man out of mind.

Some seed the birds devour,
And some the season mars,
But here and there will flower
The solitary stars.

And fields will yearly bear them
As light-leaved spring comes on,
And luckless lads will wear them
When I am dead and gone.


art Poetry Thoughts on writing Uncategorized

Love is Not All (Sonnet XXX) by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love doesn’t do much good. And it isn’t worth much. Still, tonight, I’m not selling.

Love is Not All (Sonnet XXX)

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

art editing writing Poetry Uncategorized

“John Kinsella’s Lament for Mrs Mary Moore” by W.B. Yeats

The best Irish poetry is always longing. Often melancholy.

Yeats is most famous for “When You are Old,” a Thomas Kinkade painting put into words.

When You are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

[Thomas Kinkade, Candlelight Cottage, 1996. Thomas Kinkade Studios]

But Yeats could go beyond the indulgent and borderline saccharine with a poem like Lament. There’s nothing saccharine about a prostitute or a mistress. But we have longing.

What shall I do for pretty girls
Now my old bawd is dead?

John Kinsella’s Lament for Mrs Mary Moore

by W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)

A bloody and a sudden end,
Gunshot or a noose,
For Death who takes what man would keep,
Leaves what man would lose.
He might have had my sister,
My cousins by the score,
But nothing satisfied the fool
But my dear Mary Moore,
None other knows what pleasures man
At table or in bed.
What shall I do for pretty girls
Now my old bawd is dead?

Though stiff to strike a bargain
Like an old Jew man,
Her bargain stuck we laughed and talked
And emptied many a can;
And O! but she had stories,
Though not for the priest’s ear,
To keep the soul of man alive,
Banish age and care,
And being old she put a skin
On everything she said.
What shall I do for pretty girls
Now my old bawd is dead?

The priests have got a book that says
But for Adam’s sin
Eden’s Garden would be there
And I there within.
No expectation fails there,
No pleasing habit ends,
No man grows old, no girl grows cold,
But friends walk by friends.
Who quarrels over halfpennies
That plucks the trees for bread?
What shall I do for pretty girls
Now my old bawd is dead?

Read by Tom O’Bedlam


This Video Always Makes Me Happy


I Needed To Talk

Poetry Uncategorized

A Space in the Air by Jon Silkin

“Our rose-linked dissolution.” Indeed.

A Space in the Air by Jon Silkin (1930 to 1997)

The first day he had gone
I barely missed him. I was glad almost he had left
Without a bark or flick of his tail.
I was content he had slipped

Out into the world. I felt,
Without remarking, it was nearly a relief
From his dirty habits. Then, the second
Day I noticed the space

He left behind. A hole
Cut out of the air. And I missed him suddenly,
Missed him almost without knowing
Why it was so. And I grew

Afraid he was dead, expecting death
As something I had grown used to. I was afraid
The clumsy children in the street
Had cut his tail off as

A souvenir of the living and
I did not know what to do. I grew afraid
Somebody had hurt him. I called his name
But the hole in the air remained.

I have grown accustomed to death
Lately. But his absence made me sad.
I do not know how he should do it
But his absence frightened me.

It was not only his death I feared,
Not only his but as if all of those
I loved, as if all those near me
Should suddenly go

Into the hole in the light
And disappear. As if all of them should go
Without barking, without speaking,
Without noticing me there

But go, and going as if
The instrument of pain were a casual thing
To suffer, as if they should suffer so,
Casually and without greatness,

Without purpose even. But just go.
I should be afraid to lose all those friends like this.
I should fear to lose those loves. But mostly
I should fear to lose you.

If you should go
Without affliction, but even so, I should fear
The rent you would make in the air
And the bare howling

Streaming after your naked hair.
I should feel your going down more than my going down.
My own death I hear everyday
More or less

But your death would be something else,
Something else beyond me. It would not be
Your death or my death, love,
But our rose-linked dissolution.

So I feared his going,
His death, not our death, but a hint at our death. And
I shall always fear
The death of those we love as
The hint of your death, love.

Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing by others

The Going by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy was a poet and writer. He penned the novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles along with much verse such as The Going.

He was a Victorian Englishman. White.

His work is now out of favor by politically correct modern poets who do not possess a tenth of Hardy’s writing power and acumen.

The Going

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Why did you give no hint that night
That quickly after the morrow’s dawn,
And calmly, as if indifferent quite,
You would close your term here, up and be gone
Where I could not follow
With wing of swallow
To gain one glimpse of you ever anon!

Never to bid good-bye
Or lip me the softest call,
Or utter a wish for a word, while I
Saw morning harden upon the wall,
Unmoved, unknowing
That your great going
Had place that moment, and altered all.

Why do you make me leave the house
And think for a breath it is you I see
At the end of the alley of bending boughs
Where so often at dusk you used to be;
Till in darkening dankness
The yawning blankness
Of the perspective sickens me!

You were she who abode
By those red-veined rocks far West,
You were the swan-necked one who rode
Along the beetling Beeny Crest,
And, reining nigh me,
Would muse and eye me,
While Life unrolled us its very best.

Why, then, latterly did we not speak,
Did we not think of those days long dead,
And ere your vanishing strive to seek
That time’s renewal? We might have said,
“In this bright spring weather
We’ll visit together
Those places that once we visited.”

Well, well! All’s past amend,
Unchangeable. It must go.
I seem but a dead man held on end
To sink down soon. . . . O you could not know
That such swift fleeing
No soul foreseeing—
Not even I—would undo me so!


Fiction and Non-Fiction Writers

It’s easier and more interesting for me to describe something that does exist rather than describing something that does not exist.

I can’t imagine penning 300 pages on something that is only alive in my mind. I’m glad others can but it is something I cannot do.

My chief interest has been to explain more simply what other writers put in a more complicated fashion. As when I was writing about the law or telecommunications. I don’t get much chance to do this writing anymore.

Today is more about today.

Thurber would identify with today’s bloggers,

“Your short-piece writer’s time is not Walter Lippmann’s time, or Stuart Chase’s time, or Professor Einstein’s time. It is his own personal time, circumscribed by the short boundaries of his pain and his embarrassment, in which what happens to his digestion, the rear axle of his car, and the confused flow of his relationships with six or eight persons and two or three buildings is of greater importance than what goes on in the nation or in the universe. He knows vaguely that the nation is not much good any more; he has read that the crust of the earth is shrinking alarmingly and that the universe is growing steadily colder, but he does not believe that any of the three is in half as bad shape as he is.”

This is or was the province of the columnist. These were short-form non-fiction writers who usually had to produce 600 or 700 words every day for a newspaper. The best columnists were syndicated and appeared in dozens to hundreds of different newspapers across the country. Not many columnists or newspapers left anymore.

But there are still outlets online and off line that demand a writer come up with daily cares and concerns. Politically unconcerned writers live in their own world, describing what is in front of them. You can imagine a columnist being part of the gang in the television show Seinfeld.

Thurber again,

“Enormous strides are made in star-measurement, theoretical economics, and the manufacture of bombing planes, but he usually doesn’t find out about them until he picks up an old copy of “Time” on a picnic grounds or in the summer house of a friend. He is aware that billions of dollars are stolen every year by bankers and politicians, and that thousands of people are out of work, but these conditions do not worry him a tenth as much as the conviction that he has wasted three months on a stupid psychoanalyst or the suspicion that a piece he has been working on for two long days was done much better and probably more quickly by Robert Benchley in 1924.”

Indeed. The world rolls on. And I have never run out of ideas to explore or explain. I’ve never needed to come up with a world of my own as with a fiction writer. But bully for them.


Totally The Wrong Answer

David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia is on YouTube. I have the best link below.

I once read the biography of an early bodyguard of Winston Churchill. He and Winston travelled to the Mideast around the time of World War I. They met Lawrence and went throughout the countryside.

He said the film did not reflect the true impact Lawrence had on the Arabs.

He said people would come from great distances just to gather around the man and perhaps touch his cloak.

Although a work of fact and fiction, the film remains an outstanding achievement that will never be duplicated.

The script includes brilliant dialog like this:

I’m promoting you Major.

I don’t think that’s a very good idea.

I didn’t ask you.

I want you to go back…

…and carry on the good work.

No. Thank you, sir.

– Why not?

– Well, I, it’s…

Let me see now…

I killed two people.

I mean, two Arabs.

One was a boy.

That was…


I led him into a quicksand.

The other was a man.

That was…

…before Aqaba, anyway.

I had to execute him with my pistol.

There was something about it

I didn’t like.

– Well, naturally.

– No. Something else.

That’s all right.

Let it be a warning.

No. Something else.

What, then?

I enjoyed it.

Poetry Uncategorized

“You’re An Idiot, Babe. It’s A Wonder That You Still Know How to Breathe.”

On Robert Frost, “He is the only straight white man on this list and you should take my recommendation of a straight white man really heavily because you know he really had to do something good to get on this list.”

That’s terribly racist and discriminatory. From a twit who pretends to be open and enlightened.

Martin Luther King Jr. once wrote, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Some say white folk can be discriminated against since they wield the levers of power. Not necessarily. Color does not guarantee power or prevent discrimination. White skin did not save seven million Jews from being slaughtered in Nazi death camps.

Perhaps 100 million white people in today’s America vehemently disagree with the white people now in power. Their whiteness can’t change the past election, the presidency, congress, or senate.

White people are the only race that it is now safe to joke about, particularly those from Appalachia or the Ozarks. Hill people. Rural folk.

Other races may think this payback for past transgressions but your enemy isn’t a West Virginia coal miner or a Missouri dirt farmer. If you do have any enemy aside from a need to blame others for your own shortcomings.

Discrimination at two o’clock in the afternoon today is as evil as it was the day before. Yet these woke peasants practice themselves what they complain about others doing to them.

What these people want is revenge (and probably a check), not equality and justice. Because equality is now only for them.

Okay, then, we know what you are all about.

Hate and vindictiveness and pettiness that is now drowning the whole world. They are like vandals who scrawl graffiti which represents the ugliness they feel inside.

People like this woman view everything through the distorted lens of race, gender, and sexual orientation. They stare at Twitter all day, eagerly hoping to find something to offend them.

Idiots like this have killed intellectual criticism in the arts and letters.

It isn’t Big Brother we should worry about. It’s Big Sister.

Enough of that.

May 25, 2021 Update:

The YouTube creator of this bilge has now made her video private. Probably a good thing. That’s why the link no longer works.

The URL to this video is or was []