Tuesday, April 29, 2008


"Slum Lords"

by John Updike, from Americana: and Other Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001)

The superrich make lousy neighbors—
they buy a house and tear it down
and build another, twice as big, and leave.
They're never there; they own so many
other houses, each demands a visit.
Entire neighborhoods called fashionable,
bustling with servants and masters, such as
Louisburg Square in Boston or Bel Air in L.A.,
are districts now like Wall Street after dark
or Tombstone once the silver boom went bust.
The essence of superrich is absence.
They like to demonstrate they can afford
to be elsewhere. Don't let them in.
Their riches form a kind of poverty.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Tell all the Truth but tell it slant

Emily Dickinson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Cirrcuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Here's a wonderfully warm and thoughtful quote from that crusty and cranky old curmudgeon of an American Founding Father, John Adams. To his son (and later President) John Quincy, he wrote: "I have been called lately to weep in the chamber of my birth over the remains of a beautiful baby of your brother's, less than a year old. . . . Why have I been preserved at more than three quarters of a century, and why was that fair flower blasted so soon, are questions we are not permitted to ask."