Poetry Friday

Well, this has been quite the week, hasn’t it? It has left me feeling completely drained, and more than a bit despondent.

 

Maybe it’s just me, but my mind goes to poetry at these times, and Wiliam Butler Yeats describes it well:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
I noted from reports that Joe Biden called loudly for unity the other day, as he did more work than he has in a decade to undo the work of his predecessor. In fact, he wasn’t calling for ‘unity’ he was calling for ‘submission’ which he’ll get neither from the conservatives who have come to respect President Trump because he lived the words he said in the campaign against Hilary Clinton when we would have voted for pond scum instead of her. What we blindly voted for was a patriot and a man of his word, Not a perfect man, by any means but only the third President in my lifetime that I willingly would vote for again. The other two are Eisenhower (yes, I was too young by quite a bit, but looking back would) and Ronald Reagan. In truth, I think Trump surpassed both and was the best president since Calvin Coolidge, a full century ago.
So, no, Slow Joe, there’s not going to be any unity to be had, and in four years we will have a new president if you last that long, if you’re unlucky, you might be remembered like Buchanon, the man whose administration brought us to the brink of civil war.
But it’s also possible that he will suffer the fate of Benjamin Harrison, who arguably stole the election of 1892 against Grover Cleveland and was subsequently defeated by him in 1896. History has a habit of rhyming like that.
Have you seen this?
Somehow, I don’t think either American conservatism or Donald J Trump are quite to the end of the road yet. I have no idea what the names of the teams will be going forward, but there are many innings left to play. Made me think of another poem, in fact, From an American, writing in England, of the English. T.S Elliot’s Little Gidding

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter’s afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always–
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

Losing a friend

I asked my friend, what will we do when there are no more rallies? I guess we have years to figure it out.

I have never felt this way at the changing of the guard. But we’ve never had a president like Trump, either. Bold, decisive, and stubborn. I am not one of the people who think he’s just short of Jesus but I liked him very much. He is the epitome of what New Yorkers are like – it’s an easy-going friendliness; everyone’s your buddy. A lot of his humor (and why so many people didn’t understand him) is New York type humor. I ‘got it’ because I was born and raised in Queens.

President Trump’s farewell address was a good one. He mentioned all that he had been able to accomplish in four years of the most contentious presidency ever. It’s impressive. He’s impressive. Great smile and hide like a rhinoceros. He is the unique combination of a rich man and ‘everyman’; it’s very attractive in a ‘down home with the family’ kind of way.

As he and Melania walked toward Air Force One for the last time, a reporter shouted, “What do you regret about your presidency?” and our boy just kept on walkin’. He doesn’t have to tolerate that crap anymore. Hey! Reporter! ‘read between the lines’. Those of you of a certain age will understand the ‘lines’ thing.

Covid actually gave us one blessing. The Republican National Convention. It was stellar. And moving. And classy. And very American. Just our neighbors from around the country telling us about their America and the impact Donald Trump had on their lives. There’ll never be another convention like that one – it was a one time treasure to behold.

Now he’s back to being my down south neighbor. He’s home again. But you know what they say, you can never go home again. I’m feeling that way today. Home is where the heart is and for every American, the White House is home. But it will never be my house again; too much has and will change. I feel like that picture of the little kid, walking alone down a dirt road, my belongings tied up in a bandana tied to a stick.

There’s no solace in conservative news – they have started the same crap the liberals did to President Trump and that’s just stupid. It’s wasted effort. It doesn’t make anything better, it doesn’t change anything. It’s just the flip side of the last four years and I don’t know if I can go through it again. I have always been the person who, being warned about someone, decided I’d wait and see for myself. Who knows? Maybe something good will happen. In any event, we’re stuck with whatever this new term becomes.

But in my heart … I feel like I’ve lost a good friend.

 

Rowan’s Way: 7 Evensong

The next month or so taught Ryan a lot about dating a vicar. May, June, and July are the busiest months of the year for weddings, so the idea of a Saturday afternoon spent at the beach, one he often floated, was knocked on the head. Sunday, with seven churches to cover, even with help, was pretty exhausting, and by the time Monday came, I was pretty well flat out with fatigue. It must have been fairly serious from his point of view I thought, as he kept coming round.

My favourite of all the churches was Little Linstead. It had originated as a chapel of ease and had somehow survived the steep decline in congregations since the 1960s. I suspected this was because it was on the Surtees estate and his lordship liked having his own church, even if he and the family were not the most assiduous attenders. It felt like the orphan of our Deanery, as it got only one Communion service and one evensong a month.

I had always loved evensong, not the choral evensong so beloved of so many Radio 3 listeners, but the plain spoken evensong of the Book of Common Prayer. There may only have been myself, Miss Bennet and her companion, and Mrs. Rooke there, but you could feel that God was there too. As I gave the final blessing, I felt an air almost of elation. Miss Bennet smiled as we shook hands:

“You seem very happy Miss Topham. I have to say, as you know, I was not in favour of ordaining women back in the nineties, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Susan and yourself do us very well.”

I thanked her. Her sentiment was not uncommon in this backwater. It was nice to hear, and as I disrobed back in the vestry, I reflected how lucky I was.

One of the things I loved about Little Linstead was that I could walk it. There was a footpath from the Old Rectory across the wheatfields straight to the Church. It was half an hour if I dawdled a little, and on this beautiful summer’s evening, why wouldn’t I? I loved the swoosh of my cassock against the wheat as I walked. God was in His Heaven and all was right with the world. I stood and listened to the birds.

High overhead murmurations flew. The quietness enveloped me.

As I came to the wooden footbridge across the ditch I became conscious of a noise from beyond the hedge. Who on earth could be walking that way of a Sunday evening? There was no barking dog, so that ruled out the usual suspects. The sun was low now on the horizon and dazzled my eyes, so all I could see as I approached the bridge was a tall, imposing figure, silhouetted by the light.

“Rowan, finished early I see!”

It was Ryan.

For a moment I was overwhelmed, so much so that I yielded to the cliché – and fell into his arms. For a moment the word was as dead to me as I was to it; all that existed was the beating of our hearts. He held me for seemed forever (and must, in fact, have been all of five minutes). The warmth and the safety were infectious, and I felt for a moment as though all I wanted to do was to rest like this.

“Well, madam, this will never do,” he joked, pulling away with every show of reluctance. “We need to get you back to the Old Rectory where Cook has supper on the go.”

As I had been anticipating a scratch supper of whatever was not too out of date in my fridge, this was indeed welcome news, and I held his hand tight as he guided me across the wheatfields to the Old Rectory.

It was warm enough, and light enough, for us to dine out. He was charm itself, and I began to relax.

“Must you go back?” He looked at me quizzically.

I knew what answer I would give, but was tempted for a moment.

“You know the answer,” I told him.

“Can’t blame a man for asking,” he jested.

The kiss he gave me as he dropped me off home took my breath away. This, I reflected as I stripped off my clericals, was getting to be like one of those books my step-mother used to read. The phone went. Who on earth?

“Rowan here,”

“Is that the vicar?” The voice at the other end sounded anxious. I confirmed it was and asked how I could help.

“It’s difficult,” said the voice, “I need to talk about something confidential with someone who isn’t the police.”

“I would be happy to talk. Do you want to talk on the phone, or would face to face be better?”

“I don’t live far away, I can be with you in ten minutes.”

“Can I ask what it’s about?”

“Yes, yes, of course, it’s about my employer’s son, Ryan Surtees.”

The line went as silent as my heartbeat. The buzz of the broken line echoed through the room.

What is it about women?

My dearest Alys sent me a clip from a favorite movie – I haven’t even seen the movie yet but I cried at the clip’s ending. She said it’s one of her favorites and always makes her cry. Ask just about any woman her favorite movies and dollars to a donut, it’s the ones that made her cry. Men think it’s because we’re tender-headed, lol, but we know it’s because we’re tender-hearted. Emotional things don’t scare us because – well – once the hormones set in at puberty, we pretty much have soft spongy hearts. Little things make us cry. Big things make us cry. The stuff in the middle makes us cry. Folks living in Florida will remember Publix (supermarket) ads for Thanksgiving – they would make me cry! You know I had to get the Snowman and Wife salt and pepper shakers. Mrs. Snowman arrived a little cracked but that just seems appropriate…

This song is true, too.

Every ‘hen party’ turns into a discussion about husbands/boyfriends. Not a bashing, really, more like comparing notes on the level of craziness he displays; it’s no surprise to any adult that men and women react differently to the same event and that’s the sort of conversations we have amongst ourselves. We laugh; we try to outdo each other ( “If you think THAT’S bad, this is what he did when …. ” ). Here’s a little hint, gents – look at their eyes when they’re sharing this stuff; unmistakable love shining through. We love your lunacy even when it drives us nuts. Because you’re ours, our one and only.

Inauguration Week; or Something

So we are apparently going to try something new – the House has decided to impeach a former president. It’s almost certainly unconstitutional, and probably since there is no there penalty, imposes an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder, because it only penalty is imposing a restriction on a supposed action in the future, even if the Senate, in its folly, did convict which is almost unimaginable, idiots like Romney and Sasse notwithstanding. In short, it’s Pelosi’s supposed revenge against Trump, but it reminds me of that old cartoon gun that shoots the person firing it. Why?

Because the real loser in the affair is none other than Joe Biden. Half the populace already considers him an illegitimate president, who gained the office by fraud. It no longer matters whether that is true or not. He also follows a president who did more to restore respect and well being to more Americans than any other, and he does so with a program that promises to return to the abysmal Obama record, or maybe worse. His greatest day in the presidency will no doubt be inauguration day or would have been. This is what Nancy Pelosi stole from him. The (very) liberal Chicago Tribune says this.

[…] But rushing to impeach a president who has only seven days remaining in his term is itself an affront to our democracy. Impeachment is meant to be a last resort means of expelling a president, not a political weapon. There has not been a serious probe of what happened that terrible day, how the rioting was organized and by whom. Timelines and social media accounts show that the breaching of the Capitol took place even as Trump was still speaking to the large crowd of followers, and that the organizers may have plotted out the event in advance, mainly on Twitter and Facebook.

Democrats have no patience for a sober assessment of what went wrong; they want to humiliate a president who provoked and embarrassed them for four years, and who has accomplished much despite their incessant resistance.

Had they voted to censure Trump, they might have brought Republicans on board. As it is, only 10 Republicans in the House voted to impeach; 197 sided with the president. Democrats risk creating a martyr who will continue to have significant influence and who will bedevil them for the foreseeable future.

That’s true, they’ve thrown away whatever goodwill the right might have shown him as was done with Obama, he enters office as an enemy and he will leave the same way.

And something else, Toni Williams over at Victory Girls has been looking at something else about this inauguration, specifically the security. She also reminds us that

The Inauguration of Joe Biden has been scaled down, mostly due to Covid-19 fears, not to mention the fact that he can’t draw flies. The House and Senate and guests will be there and probably quite of few of the permanent class of D.C. will attend. That’s about it.

She also links to The Intrepid Reporter who did the digging and says it’s up to 30,000 National Guard troops. Wow, but he tells us who, and I’m going to steal his list.

The entire Washington, DC national guard (Camp Guards when I was at Gitmo in 06)
56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team (Pennsylvania Bloody Buckets… lots of combat tours… ‘heavy armor’ if you consider Stryker trucks to be ‘heavy’)
Troop B of the 102nd Cavalry Regiment (negative info on them… wiki sez they’re a No-Go at any real deployments.)

1-114th Infantry Regiment (Joisey Guard, No-Go no deployments)
508th Military Police Company (Another No-Go Joisey Unit)
229th Military Police Company (Kuwait Defense 1990, doubt if any of them are still there… a No-Go Virginia unit)
153rd Military Police Company (Delaware NG, A single tour in 07-08 in Iraq)
102nd Military Police Battalion (NY NG…a No-Go unit w/zero deployments)
104th Military Police Battalion (NY Guard, No-Go NY no deployments)
229th Brigade Engineer Battalion (Virginia Guard, lots of deployments, in a non-combat role)
160th Engineer Company (Delaware Guard, construction, couldn’t find intel on deployments… thin k these are the guys doing the fencing/blockades)
261st Theater Tactical Signal Brigade (Command and Control unit, one tour at my old base Victory in Iraq in 08-09)
198th Expeditionary Signal Battalion (Delaware NG, VSAT and comms unit…one company in South Carolina which DID deploy once in 13-14 to Kandahar)
1049th Transportation Company (Aviation trans… couple here’n there… ass and trash)
262nd Component Repair Company (you break it, they fix it, No-Go on deployments… to me, this means they expect to need to repair shit right then and there as opposed to waiting til they get home)
108th Wing (Refueling and Air-Recon Unit, multiple deployments)
177th Fighter Wing. (Air to Air F-16 Air defense… what the fuck do they need them for?)
105th Airlift Wing (Air Trans)
174th Attack Wing (Drones… lots and lots of drones… Predators, intel-gatherers… BAD juju)
166th Security Forces Squadron. (Security for the planes, lots of deployments)
That’s 20,000  plus troops, not counting DC and federal cops. It’s also more troops than we have had in Afghanistan in a long time, maybe ever.
But the real kicker here even beyond the number is that these guys are almost all newbies, very few have seen the elephant if any. Newbies always screw up, you know that, I know that and the military is no different in that.
What happens when soldiers screw up? Yeah, people die.
Can you say Kent State, I knew that you could.
If you’re in the east, Keep your ass down your head up, and check six. And stay the hell away from DC this week!

Sunday Funnies, Coup

Getting prophecy right

False Flag or FBI sting?

Welcome to Masada

And of course, Ginger herself.

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