If Rudy* is a “hand grenade”*
Why did Bolton* send his aide
To disarm the whole charade
While Bolton lounges in the shade?

Well, that is how his wars are made:
From the safety of Bolton’s brain.

 

Note: *Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of NYC serving as President Trump’s personal attorney and covert diplomat in Ukraine. *John Bolton was the former National Security Advisor who referred to Giuliani as a *”hand grenade” regarding efforts to force the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son. 

Here are three poems by a neglected (some would say deservedly so) Wisconsin born and raised American poet– Ella Wheeler Wilcox, whose late 19th and early 20th Century verse is full of rhyme and meter and “sentimental” Victorian optimism, the very thing the Modernists rebelled against. And yet many of her poems have a witty, whimsical forthrightness about them. Even the strident activism of her feminist and pacifist poems is not without a musical moral force that is bracing when compared to, say, Whitman’s paternal, prosy patriotism and Dickinson’s slanted inner obsessions. Let’s not disparage and discard what is best in Victorian verse.

Ella_Wheeler_Wilcox,_Custer,_1896,_frontispiece
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox (text), photographer unknown, 1896, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
 

A short autobiography of Wheeler Wilcox can be found here, courtesy of the Ella Wheeler Wilcox Society. And though the NY Times has recently been trying to make amends for failing to publish obituaries of many prominent women, here is the NY Times’s obituary for the “prolific versifier” dated Oct. 31, 1919.

 

How Like the Sea by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

How like the sea, the myriad-minded sea,
Is this large love of ours: so vast, so deep,
So full of myseries! it, too, can keep
Its secrets, like the ocean; and is free,
Free, as the boundless main. Now it may be
Calm like the brow of some sweet child asleep;
Again its seething billows surge and leap
And break in fulness of their ecstasy.

Each wave so like the wave which came before,
Yet never two the same! Imperative
And then persuasive as the cooing dove,
Encroaching ever on the yielding shore—
Ready to take; yet readier still to give—
How like the myriad-minded sea, is love.

 

Camouflage by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Camouflage is all the rage.
Ladies in their fight with age–
Soldiers in their fight with foes–
Demagogues who mask and pose
In the guise of statesmen–girls
Black of eyes with golden curls–
Politicians, votes in mind,
Smiling, affable and kind,
All use camouflage to-day.
As you go upon your way,
Walk with caution, move with care;
Camouflage is everywhere!

 

Disarmament by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

We have outgrown the helmet and cuirass,
The spear, the arrow, and the javelin.
These crude inventions of a cruder age,
When men killed men to show their love of God,
And he who slaughtered most was greatest king.
We have outgrown the need of war! Should men
Unite in this one thought, all war would end.
Disarm the world; and let all Nations meet
Like Men, not monsters, when disputes arise.
When crossed opinions tangle into snarls,
Let Courts untie them, and not armies cut.
When State discussions breed dissentions, let
Union and Arbitration supersede
The hell-created implements of War.
Disarm the world! and bid destructive thought
Slip like a serpent from the mortal mind
Down through the marshes of oblivion and soon
A race of gods shall rise!. Disarm! Disarm!

 

[poems obtained from poets.org and the Ella Wheeler Wilcox Society]

Because no one will pay to build His WALL–
Not Mexico, not Congress, not even the Wall

Street Journal or Faux News, not anyone
The PRESIDENT will send soldiers with guns

To make sure Mexico does not invade.
Nat. Guard will guard the desert (without shade)

As long as Trump proclaims that they will stand
On rattlesnakes and in the Rio Grande.

And who will pay to build this Human Wall?
We humans who don’t need this wall at all.

By John Kaufman

PEN International is profiling four poets on World Poetry Day now being held either in prisons or under house arrest for dissenting against injustice through art and/or journalism:

Aron Atabek of Kzakhstan,

Liu Xia of China,

Amanuel Asrat of Eitrea,

Dareen Tatour detained by Israel.

To see what you can do to help, click on this link to learn more about each poet and his/her work and where to write in their support.

[JFK: Here’s a poetic perspective on politics some may call cynical, some may say stoic. Jeffers referred to his philosophical distance from people as “inhumanism.” This should not, however, be confused with inhumane-ism. Jeffers built a house of stone in Carmel, CA overlooking the Pacific in the days before Carmel was a haven for wealth and tourists. My favorite lines are “the cold passion for truth/Hunts in no pack.” It’s a comforting poem in its way.]

By Robinson Jeffers

 

512px-Robinson_Jeffers_Hawk_Tower,_Tor_House,_Carmel,_CA_2008_Photo_by_Celeste_Davison
 Robinson Jeffers Hawk Tower, Tor House, Carmel, CA 2008 Photo by Celeste Davison at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
 

Be Angry at the Sun

 

That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those warriors.
This republic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them gesticulating,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the passionate
Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Catullus, you know,
To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You are far
From Dante’s feet, but even farther from his dirty
Political hatreds.

Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.