Image Vs. Reality

Anyone in a mood for some more poetry applicable to modern politics?  One of the authors who write with power and insight is W. H. Auden.  He was a magnificent writer and even those who don’t read poetry probably know at least Funeral Blues from the film Four Weddings and A Funeral.

My favorite poem of his The Shield of Achilles.  You can read the whole thing on the link, but the basic premise is the ideal desired against the reality that appears.  It shifts back and forth from myth to outcome and from ancient past to modern-day.  The beautiful Thetis, mother to Achilles, commissions a shield for her son to carry into battle.  She expects all the glories of patriotism and noble ideals to be celebrated by joyous participants.  What she gets is very different.

The hardest stanza for me to read is the one about what war (or for that matter crime and poverty) does to children:

That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him, who’d never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.

Whether it is the middle east, Ferguson, or just politicians making promises they can’t keep, always remember there will be unforeseen consequences.



About Jamie

Retired Writer Editor - Loves Books, Musical Theater, politics for a good argument, genealogy, Scotland and owls
This entry was posted in Poetry, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Image Vs. Reality

  1. Tony says:

    patd says:
    11 March 2016 at 3:46 am (Edit)
    not a raging endorsement, but at least and at last he’s back to being open minded
    Yes, that’s one way to look at it.. I don’t think any of us who support Hillary ignore her so-called “baggage” that comes from years of assaults by Republican’s. Still we soldier on. Trump has baggage as well.. I definitely don’t think a Hillary vs Trump election will be an easy win for Hillary.. Most Republicans will fall in line and vote for Trump.. Can Democrats get turnout up enough to win?


  2. Tony says:

    Only the Voters Can Stop Trump Now
    Eugene Robinson
    ” Can Republicans really stomach such a thing? Do they watch those Trump rallies, with protesters being roughed up by angry mobs, and feel proud? Do they agree with his call to reinstitute torture? Do they really believe that Mexico will pay for the wall?

    The GOP allowed Trump to get this far and seems powerless to stop him. In November, it appears, voters will have to do the job.”


  3. Tony says:

    The Lurking Menace of a Trump Rally
    An undercurrent of violence courses through Trump’s events ​and speeches. In North Carolina, it erupted into the open.
    David A Graham
    “It’s no novel claim to say that racial and ethnic resentment have played a central role in the Trump campaign. But talking to supporters in the Crown Coliseum produced two striking, and contradictory, impressions. First, there were a lot of racist comments. One man referred, without a second thought, to the executive mansion as “the Black House.” A woman spoke at length about her distaste for Muslims. A man complained about Chinese and Indian doctors at Veterans Affairs hospitals.”


  4. Tony says:

    Republican Threats and the Supreme Court
    NYT Editorial board
    “For a while, Republican leaders were saying that delaying the nomination until after a new president takes office would respect the “people’s voice” on this critical appointment. Now some, like Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, are admitting that it would be “a different situation” if a Republican were currently in the White House. “Let’s face it,” he said in a radio interview on Thursday morning, “I don’t think anybody’s under any illusion. President Obama’s nominee would flip the court from a 5-to-4 conservative to a 5-to-4 liberal-controlled court, and that’s the concern.”


  5. Tony says:

    Trade and Tribulation
    By Paul Krugman
    “And anyone ragging on about those past deals, like Mr. Trump or Mr. Sanders, should be asked what, exactly, he proposes doing now. Are they saying that we should rip up America’s international agreements? Have they thought about what that would do to our credibility and standing in the world?”


    • Jamie says:

      There is so much empty rhetoric and lack of thought in these things that there are times I just put my head in my hands and want to cry. The level of ignorance on the issues and knowledge of history puts the nation at risk.


      • Tony says:

        Exactly. It’s easy to blame trade deals for all are problems but Krugman’s brilliant knowledge here should give us pause.


  6. Tony says:

    Elizabeth Warren Says The GOP Has Only Itself To Blame For Donald Trump
    “They are paying the price for their own extremism.” Video


  7. Tony says:

    Florida Governor Rick Scott Embarrasses Himself, And America, On National TV
    Watch him dodge a question about Donald Trump and Muslims over and over again.
    Oh yes, this creepy guy is my Governor.. Always evades and never answers.. Republican’s really do go for the low hanging fruit..


  8. jamie- your post at tm was fabulous. please post here- know tony would love it. thank you. craig liked it too. 😉 your above comment is pretty damn clear too.


    • Jamie says:

      What I said: 🙂

      I’ll stay where I am for the time being. My problem was never that others opposed Hillary Clinton, but rather the assumption of “baggage”. When what is dredged up is nothing more than the supposition, accusation, invention, and speculation of 30 years of right wing TV and radio, it isn’t “baggage”; it is believing the empty memes of political enemies.

      When all of the above amounts to either visiting the sins of the husband on the wife or unequally applying to a woman what you would never even vaguely demand of a man, then it is wrong.

      Look at all the men on offer and then realize we have a chance to elect a dedicated, brilliant, hard working and apparently warmly affectionate woman. You may disagree with her political positions, but it just isn’t going to get any better for the nation.


  9. Tony says:

    Pantsuit Up! Caucusing for Hillary in Kansas
    Jeffrey Ann Goudie
    “Last weekend hundreds of us lined up to enter the gym in central Topeka, Kansas, where my now 33-year-old daughter attended middle school. My long line of already registered voters was not nearly as long as the parallel line of young people registering to vote, and erstwhile Republicans switching to the Democratic Party to caucus for Bernie Sanders.

    The young man ahead of me sported a beard and a slouchy hat. I asked him if he was caucusing for Bernie. “Was it the hat or the beard or my age that gave it away?” he laughed.

    I told him I was there to caucus for Hillary, but if Bernie were the nominee, I would support him, of course. He made me no such promise for Hillary.”


  10. rebelliousrenee says:

    Hi everyone… I am reading every comment… both here and at TM. After finally getting sick and tired of the constant sour stomach that coffee causes me, I have given it up. But right now I’m going through caffeine withdrawal… headachy and tired. I’ll be back to my usual chipper self in a few days.

    Jamie… loved your post to Craig on TM.

    Jack… I’ve always looked forward to your posts. I hope you keep them coming at least over here if not at TM.


  11. omg, i can’t believe it is happening again! Trump TV strikes again- nonstop all channels!


  12. renee mornings are weird without coffee. have been drinking green tea 😦 tried chai, very easy on tummy-caffeine free oregon chai- comes in a box and mix with your choice of milk. delish.


  13. tonyb39 says:

    At Trump University, Students Recall Pressure to Give Positive Reviews
    Michael Bombardier and Steve Eder


  14. Jamie says:

    News shows this morning commented on Trump “hugging the third rail” with positions diverging from GOP orthodoxy such as supportive of Social Security. The only problem with all this “hugging” is that he would still be running on the GOP Platform written at the convention. What happens the first time someone asks if he agrees with various provisions in that platform?


  15. Tony says:

    ‘Mothers Of The Movement’ Explain Why They’re Voting For Hillary Clinton
    “She’s been fighting for a long time with these issues,” Eric Garner’s mother said.


  16. Jamie says:

    Cross posted on the Trail this part of the Nancy funeral. Even in the Old Testament, women were really really good at running things.

    Who[a] can find a virtuous[b] wife?
    For her worth is far above rubies.
    11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
    So he will have no lack of gain.
    12 She does him good and not evil
    All the days of her life.
    13 She seeks wool and flax,
    And willingly works with her hands.
    14 She is like the merchant ships,
    She brings her food from afar.
    15 She also rises while it is yet night,
    And provides food for her household,
    And a portion for her maidservants.
    16 She considers a field and buys it;
    From her profits she plants a vineyard.
    17 She girds herself with strength,
    And strengthens her arms.
    18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
    And her lamp does not go out by night.
    19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
    And her hand holds the spindle.
    20 She extends her hand to the poor,
    Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
    21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
    22 She makes tapestry for herself;
    Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
    23 Her husband is known in the gates,
    When he sits among the elders of the land.
    24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    And supplies sashes for the merchants.
    25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
    She shall rejoice in time to come.
    26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
    27 She watches over the ways of her household,
    And does not eat the bread of idleness.
    28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    Her husband also, and he praises her:
    29 “Many daughters have done well,
    But you excel them all.”
    30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
    But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
    31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    And let her own works praise her in the gates.


  17. Flatus says:

    Was the Cardinal there? Should be if there is to be a hasty beatification.


  18. whskyjack says:

    OK, all that and it ends “she needs to know her place”
    For some reason I don’t think Nancy ever feared any being, God or man
    A bit like HRC in that regard.


  19. Tony says:

    “She’s a f**king liar”: Trump-supporter Caitlyn Jenner unloads on Hillary Clinton
    Jenner blames “everything happening in the Middle East” on Clinton and says Trump would be “very good” for women VIDEO
    OMG, if you watch the video you will just want to explode.. What a hateful person.. Perfect Republican, definitely nasty.. Trans people need a better spokesperson..


  20. Flatus says:

    Jack, my tacky remark was uncalled for. I apologize.


  21. Travis says:

    Hi Jamie – I somehow missed that poem in all my reading. It’s quite powerful.


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