Now winter nights enlarge The number of their hours, And clouds their storms discharge Upon the airy towers. Let now the chimneys blaze, And cups o’erflow with wine; Let well-tuned words amaze With harmony divine. Now yellow waxen lights Shall wait on honey love, While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights Sleep’s leaden spells remove.
This time doth well dispense With lovers’ long discourse; Much speech hath some defence, Though beauty no remorse. All do not all things well; Some measures comely tread, Some knotted riddles tell, Some poems smoothly read. The summer hath his joys And winter his delights; Though love and all his pleasures are but toys, They shorten tedious nights.
It was an exciting thing for a guy like him to become a clown overnight. For a while, he was quite a success. You wouldn’t believe how many people saw him. Only he didn’t know any games or funny things to say. He would just show up at kids’ parties looking weird and sit there.
Last month, we announced our third Best American Poetry Poem Challenge, for which poets were invited to write an inaugural ode. We received many strong poems and thank all of the poets who took time to compose a poem and enter it here. Our winning poem "This is the Dream," comes to us from Gerald Greland of Bronxville, NY. Of Greland's poem our judge Mark Strand writes, "The overall elegance of "This Is a Dream," its formal grace, the subtlety of its argument, seemed to me exceptional and certainly worthy of first place." Congratulations, Gerald, and thank you.
This Is the Dream
At the creation of the new, there is always a myth of division – day from night, light from dark, dawn delivering from the threat of shadows disrupting rest. True exchange
would turn away from the “from” of malaise or discontent toward an “and” of hope to unite this fractured land. We must form anew, forget what we have feared, honor the entire range
of our American experience. Integrity lays in a whole greater than its parts: one bright blazing union forging ahead without regret or rancor. Today, let us move past estrange-
ment and distrust. We hold within us new ways of seeing each other, working as one to ignite a reaction across this great nation, again to set our spacious skies shining by this sea of change.
-- by Gerald Greland
Line from a poem in the Best American Poetry 2008: From “Threshing” by Louise Glück: “This is the dream.”
You can hear Greland read his winning poem and David Lehman read R.S. Gwynn's "An Inaugural Prayer" on Boston's WBUR radio here: Download Hereandnow_1225 Or follow thislink.
Life goes on and so does finance! It's Christmas day and the middle of Chanukah, but money takes no holidays. So here's part two of our talk with Scrooge McDuck about the Bernard Madoff affair. (Feh, feh! "Beets should grow in his belly!")
MS: There was a long article in the New York Times entitled, "In Madoff scandal, Jews feel an acute sense of betrayal." Scrooge McDuck: Yeah, that's a big load of horse shit. I'll admit there have been times in my life when my faith has wavered, but never again. This Madoff incident is a supreme metaphysical gift. Once and for all, it has really made me believe in G-d.
MS: What a strange thing to say! Scrooge McDuck: Well, let me put it differently. It's made me believe in intelligent design. You see, the whole Madoff thing could not possibly have happened by accident. It's just too fantastic. Consider the name "J. Ezra Merkin." This was one of Madoff's chief money conduits, the man who got Madoff the endowment funds from Yeshiva University. No ordinary human could have come up with the name "J. Ezra Merkin."
MS: Isn't a "merkin" a pubic hair wig? Scrooge McDuck: Exactly. Only G-d could think of that name. Or if not G-d, then some hyperintelligent, supremely creative life form sitting at a computer terminal somewhere in the tenth dimension playing games with us. Isaac Singer once compared G-d to a writer of pulp novels, "page turners," and now I see that this is not just a metaphor. It's literally true! If you want to know G-d, don't waste your time with Gershom Scholem or Martin Buber or any other eggheads. You've got to read Jackie Collins and Danielle Steele. You've got to deeply understand "The Other Side of Midnight," by Sidney Sheldon. Above all -- and I'm hardly the first to say this -- you've got to study "The Godfather," both the book and the first two movies. And also the Bible itself, of course.
MS: You're saying "The Godfather" reveals the secrets of life? Scrooge McDuck: I'm saying it reveals the mind of God, and the Madoff scandal does the same thing. But we'll have to stop now. For me, speaking of these matters brings an on an irresistible urge for Torah study. There will be more time for Madoff later.
MS: "More Time for Madoff" would be a good name for a television show. Scrooge McDuck: It's playing right now in the Upper Worlds!