Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Dance Of The Macabre Mice"

I do my best to keep politicians out of my consciousness.  The admixture of self-importance and childishness is laughable and breathtaking, but vexing.  (Particularly in heads of state.)   However, you cannot avoid them entirely.  The best that you can do is keep them in perspective and in their place.  As follows.

               Dance of the Macabre Mice

In the land of turkeys in turkey weather
At the base of the statue, we go round and round.
What a beautiful history, beautiful surprise!
Monsieur is on horseback.  The horse is covered with mice.

This dance has no name.  It is a hungry dance.
We dance it out to the tip of Monsieur's sword,
Reading the lordly language of the inscription,
Which is like zithers and tambourines combined:

The Founder of the State.  Whoever founded
A state that was free, in the dead of winter, from mice?
What a beautiful tableau tinted and towering,
The arm of bronze outstretched against all evil!

Wallace Stevens, Ideas of Order (1936).

                         Eliot Hodgkin, "Chiswick Park in the Fog" (1948)

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