The Raven (Coleridge)

I ran into this poem the first time reading “The Diamond Age”  by Neal Stephenson. It is in many ways a dark and subversive poem, especially for, as self titled, a “Christmas story”. While I already had a fondness of Kiplings short stories, my love of poetry (and history) owes less to my english teachers …

Myths we Tell Ourselves

The following is from the excellent Terry Pratchett novel Hogfather, and is an excerpt from a conversation between Death, and his granddaughter (long story) Susan. “All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.” REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY …

Sterret’s Sea Fight

This wasn’t consciously planned, but this weeks selection, while relatively plain and bloodily straight-forward, is a fitting pean to the sailors and crew who fought with Sterret in the war with Tripoli, which is also the source of the line “to the shores of Tripoli” in the Marine anthem. As Kipling reminds us, they are not plaster …

The Charge of the Light Brigade

This poem leaves me torn. It speaks to both the honor and bravery to follow impossible orders into the jaws of death, trusting that there is a purpose and your lives are not simply being thrown away, and the tragedy and stupidity of pointless death when a leader screws up. Yes, there is glory, but …