tanka ’18 (at the tech conference)


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Note: A tanka is a Japanese short poem form akin to a haiku, but with a five line structure built of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. The spirit of these sentiments were wonderfully anticipated by Walt Whitman in 1865 with his ‘When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer’, though I consider the contemporary picture to be far more hellish. ( Whitman’s poem and a decent recitation ).

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What Arnold Saw at Dover Beach

In a short piece titled “God is Dead; So What?”, Richard Ostrofsky, an acquaintance of mine, lays out his overview of the present culture wars from a perhaps characteristically atheist perspective. He cites Matthew Arnold’s poignant 1867 poem ‘Dover Beach’, which I’d not thought about for over 30 years, and happily revisited. But we subtly disagree about the meaning of the cultural impasse this poem intuits, and about exactly what Arnold sensed over 150 years ago, gazing one night out to sea.

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