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Tag: poet

New York Times reports will consist of a sentence.

Wednesday, 1 April, 2015 0 Comments

Yes, it is April 1st, but this is not a Fool’s Day prank. The New York Times has developed an app to provide news reports for the Apple watch, which will consist of a sentence. “Readers can swipe through these stories and get a quick glance, if they only have a few seconds and want to get caught up,” said Andrew Phelps, a senior product manager at the newspaper.

BTW, he could have saved a word by using “catch up” instead of “get caught up” there.

Wikipedia disapproves: “One sentence does not an article make.” And the NYT should note that the one-sentence discipline is a tough one: “After nine years, I’ve decided to shut down One Sentence,” wrote the proprietor of One Sentence, 3,1932 minutes ago.

Finally, long before the Apple Watch was imagined at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, the Roman poet, Horace, warned: Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio (“I struggle to be brief, and become obscure.”)

Apple Watch


Ozymandias, perhaps

Sunday, 10 November, 2013 0 Comments

The arrival in London in 1821 of a colossal statue of Ramesses II, acquired for the British Museum by the Italian adventurer Giovanni Belzoni, is said to have inspired Percy Bysshe Shelley to compose Ozymandias. The central theme of the sonnet is the contrast between the inevitable decline of all empires with the lasting power […]

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Kofi Awoonor, victim of Islamism

Thursday, 3 October, 2013 0 Comments

There’s a page on Wikipedia that lists “mortalities from battles and other individual military operations or acts of violence, sorted by death toll.” When it comes to the section titled “Terrorist attacks,” we can see that eight of the top 10 life-destroying atrocities are attributed to “Islamism”. With 67 victims, the 21 September massacre in the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi doesn’t make the top 100, but it is attributed to “Islamism” and among the victims was Kofi Awoonor, the Ghanaian poet and author who was attending a literary festival in Kenya at the time. These lines from his Songs of Sorrow are tragically prescient:

I have wandered on the wilderness
The great wilderness men call life
The rain has beaten me,
And the sharp stumps cut as keen as knives
I shall go beyond and rest.
I have no kin and no brother,
Death has made war upon our house;

When death, in the form of Islamism, made war upon the house of civilization in Nairobi and claimed the lives of children, women and an old poet from Ghana, the liberal elite could not bear to call out the culprit. The perpetrators cannot be called “terrorists”; we must use “militant” instead and rather than blame their religious perversion, the absurd Simon Jenkins writing in the Guardian claimed that shopping malls are responsible for their murderous hatred:

“The modern urban obsession with celebrity buildings and high-profile events offers too many publicity-rich targets. A World Trade Centre, a Mumbai hotel, a Boston marathon, a Nairobi shopping mall are all enticing to extremists. Defending them is near impossible. Better at least not to create them. A shopping mall not only wipes out shopping streets, it makes a perfect terrorist fortress, near impossible to assault.”

Followers of Islam must finally confront and denounce the extremists who kill in the name of Allah. Until that happens, innocents will continue to suffer. Blaming shopping malls, hotels and marathons for the actions of the jihadists offers a cowardly fig leaf for terrorism and insults the memory of Kofi Awoonor, who once wrote: “On such a day who would dare think of dying? So much Freedom means that we swear we’ll postpone dying until the morning after.”


Earless and eyeless and perfectly voiceless

Sunday, 1 September, 2013 0 Comments

Mushrooms Overnight, very Whitely, discreetly, Very quietly Our toes, our noses Take hold on the loam, Acquire the air. Nobody sees us, Stops us, betrays us; The small grains make room. Soft fists insist on Heaving the needles, The leafy bedding, Even the paving. Our hammers, our rams, Earless and eyeless, Perfectly voiceless, Widen the […]

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Another Day

Monday, 1 July, 2013 0 Comments

Emerson “Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day is all that is good and fair.
It is too dear, with it’s hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 — 1882)


February chameleon bike

Sunday, 24 February, 2013 0 Comments

“It is all kind of lovely that I know what I attend here now the maturity of snow has settled around forming a sort of time pushing that other over either horizon and all is mine in any colors to be chosen and everything is cold and nothing is totally frozen.” February by Jack Collom

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