We are the hollow men We …

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
we whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As win in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

T. S. Eliot’s The Wastelands


And they are dancing, the…

And they are dancing, the board floor slamming under the jackboots and the fiddlers grinning hideously over their canted pieces. Towering over them all is the judge and he is naked dancing, his small feet lively and quick and now in doubletime and bowing to the ladies, huge and pale and hairless, like an enormous infant. He never sleeps, he says. He says he’ll never die. He bows to the fiddlers and sashays backwards and throws back his head and laughs deep in his throat and he is a great favorite, the judge. He wafts his hat and the lunar dome of his skill passes palely under the lamps and he swings about and takes possessions of one of the fiddles and he pirouettes and makes a pass, two passes, dancing and fiddling at once. His feet are light and nimble. He never sleeps. He says that he will never die. He dances in light and in shadows and he is a great favoorite. He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.

Blood Merdian by Cormac McCarthy

Day and night cannot dwel…

Day and night cannot dwell together. The Red Man has ever fled the approach of the White Man, as the morning mist flees before the morning sun. However, your proposition seems fair and I think that my people will accept it and will retire to the reservation you offer them. Then we will dwell apart in peace…. It matters little where we pass the remnant of our days. They will not be many. A few more moons; a few more winters and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit, will remain to mourn over the graves of a people once more powerful and hopeful than yours. But why should I mourn at the untimely fate of my people? Tribe follows tribe, and nations follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend with friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We will see….

…And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children’s children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. At night when the street of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will thron with the returning hosts that once filled and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.



Chief Seattle’s Speech Delivered in 1854 to the Governor of the Washington Territory; Variations Available in the Public Domain

It’s savory scholar-squ…

It’s savory scholar-squirrel stew time again! Or, to be precise, one scholar-squirrel and one plump publicist pigeon for the pot. So, as the pot boils and I chop this pile of footnotes fine, let me explain to both pigeon and the no doubt bemused readers of these pages why…

Gore Vidal was a man already too old for his times. An essayist when only novelists are granted the highest literary honors he was not only before his time on so many issues but he was beyond it. The day he could walk was probably the last day he should’ve lived, if what he wanted was not only greatness but universal acclaim. Sadly, he only recieved the former and not the latter. My hat goes off to him. 

My favorite quote, in a reply in the New York Times Review of Books.