Thou In Our Wonder and Astonishment

black robe in Oxford.jpg
Albert Einstein in Academic Robes at Oxford, England

“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will only have a generation of idiots.”

Albert Einstein

A Scholar

Pro captu lectoris habent sua fata libelli

by Don Paterson

The light is dying, and the clock has died;
the page succumbs to the atrocious care
that disinters the things not wholly there
by which your solemn field is justified.
You burnish them until they bear the shine
of common knowledge, knowing one black skill
is yours alone: before the greater will
all text is dream, and takes on the design
of what was sought there.  Thus your word is god.
This grammarie electrifies the gate;
none pass but such as you initiate.
The students hurry by you in the quad
attending to their feet.  What can you say?
You know your Shakespeare would have walked that way.

I could not bear to watch the Kavanaugh hearings.  It didn’t matter the political stripe of the news organization broadcasting the senate chambers, it all was just ugly theater. What little I did see, was like a car wreck – my focus uncontrollably drawn to it before I could avert my eyes. I came away thinking Ford was believable and genuine and Kavanaugh unfit for the Supreme Court in which he is being considered. But I am guessing no one’s mind was swayed that will actually vote on the matter, so ingrained is the political trenches that Republicans and Democrats find themselves today, that actually thinking for oneself no longer occurs in the modern warfare we call democracy.

I instead chose to mostly read about it afterwards, admittedly selecting op-eds that probably leaned towards my liberal bias. I wonder what the great minds of past centuries would think about our modern communication? What would Lincoln have done to deal with the 24/7 news cycle of CNN and Fox news during the civil war? What would Franklin Roosevelt thought about Twitter during the height of the depression? What would Shakespeare have put out on Instagram as a 16 year old that would come back to haunt him professionally? What would John Milton have posted on Facebook? I am guessing the answer in each case is nothing that would have added to their greatness and legacy.


On Shakespeare. 1630

by John Milton

What needs my Shakespeare for his honoured bones,
The labor of an age in pilèd stones,
Or that his hallowed relics should be hid
Under a star-ypointing pyramid?
Dear son of Memory, great heir of fame,
What need’st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thyself a live-long monument.
For whilst to th’ shame of slow-endeavouring art,
Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book
Those Delphic lines with deep impression took,
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
And so sepúlchred in such pomp dost lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.

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A Sonnet Obsession

I am a life-long Minnesotan who resides in Minneapolis. I hope you enjoy my curated selection of sonnets, short poems and nerdy ruminations. I am pleased to offer Fourteenlines as an ad and cookie free poetry resource, to allow the poetry to be presented on its own without distractions. Fourteenlines is a testament to the power of the written word, for anyone wanting a little more poetry in their life.

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