Saturday, June 2, 2007

Same as it Ever Was


Today I sold an elegant little collection of poems about the author's life as a newspaperman and printer: Bulldogs and Morning Glories, by John Edward Allen (Brooklyn, NY: Linotype 1945) and almost felt like canceling the order with bookseller's remorse. The verse is doggerel but it is an interesting and well made volume that I coveted once someone else wanted it. My consolation is that it is going to an excellent home.

Here is one of the author's poems to enjoy. It seems politicians never change their stripes. They only wear them from time to time:

Psalm to Politicians

"Again a flood of hackneyed words
Comes pouring from the noisy throats
Of many office-seeking birds
Who promise, in exchange for votes,
To dedicate their massive brains
(And strictly gratis, understand!)
To ridding us of social pains
And making this the Promised Land!

They spout-and many lumber-jacks
Stride about again among the spruce
To ply the peavy and the ax
For paper mills that must produce
The newsprint that the papers need
To keep their presses on the go
That bunk-demanding saps may read
The platitudes of So-and-So!

They squawk--and mining men reduce
Vast stores of coal and copper ore
That power plants may shoot the juice
Required to make the presses roar,
The Linotypes produce their stuff
And reading-lamps illumine homes
That yearning boobs may read the guff
That emanates from brainless domes!

They rave--and many idle men
Return to plant and mine and loom
To soothe their minds to sleep again
With thoughtless motions toward the tomb
As they were wont to do in days
When war-time profiteering gents
Enveloped hem within a haze
Of adjectives devoid of sense!

But let's not chloroform the yaps
Who strut about from stage to stage
Releasing balderdash for saps
To gobble from the printed page.
For, while their blatant spiels resound
With third-rate tommy-rot and cant,
They help our dizzy world zip round,
Despite themselves. So let them rant!"

-John Edward Allen

The French have a nice phrase for this phenomenon: "Plus c'est la meme chose, plus ├ža change" (The more things change, the more they stay the same).

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