Bookworm

Conclusive proof that virtue is its own reward

If I had realized in advance that I would be taking a two-week break from blogging I would have posted something to let you all know. But every day that I didn't blog, I thought to myself, "Well, tomorrow I'll post. Tomorrow I'll visit my blog friends, whom I've missed very much." And tomorrow was as busy as today.

Anyway, my conclusive proof regarding virtue is the great joy I got from following my New Year's resolution.

My resolution this year was to read the Atlantic Monthly magazine from cover to cover every month. We already subscribe; it's just a question of actually reading it. The Jan/Feb issue arrived yesterday. Of course I haven't read it cover-to-cover yet, but I did flip open to the table of contents, where something instantly caught my eye: "The Anthem: If famous poets had written 'The Star-Spangled Banner,'" by Garrison Keillor. Oh ha ha ha!

Want a sample? Here's Emily Dickinson, complete with em-dashes:

The Banner—that we watched in Air
So Proudly as it Gleamed
Was Proven by the Rocket Glare
Or so to us it Seemed—

And so we waited for the Dawn
To see if it still flew
Or if—in Tatters—it is Gone—
As happened once—with You.

I woke up—at the Matin Bell—
A vast and empty Bed—
The Pillow bore—the slightest smell
Of Oil—from your Head.

A fleeting Phantasy—perhaps—
The Ghost of—Not to be—
And Postmen—in their Crimson Caps—
Aim their Artillery.

And here's e.e.cummings:

She being brand
New he threw
A flag over h
Er & began
The bombard
Ment & was soon
Rocketing
A (long) & feeling
Braveandfreeand(proudly)perilous
Can you see? Said he
Oui oui, said she
And it was love and it was
Spring and roses and it was
Dawn &
He
B
U
R
S
T
Into song.

And what the heck, here's William Carlos Williams:

This is just to say
I have taken
The flag
That was
Flying

And which
You probably expected
To see
This morning

Forgive me
It was beautiful
So free
And so brave

I'm not going to type up the whole long Robert Frost version; suffice it to say that the first line is "Whose flag this is I think I know" and it's very very funny. Also featured: Walt Whitman, Gary Snyder, Billy Collins.

Heh, heh, would anyone like to contribute one? I bet Shakespeare would've written a doozy!

12 Comments:

  • I am so excited to know that a) you too are an Atlantic Monthly subscriber, and b) mine arrived a week sooner than yours!

    It takes a lot of time to read each issue cover-to-cover, and I am currently bogged down in "The Year of Two Popes," which has so much detail it could be a mommy-blog! I see "The Anthem" is on the pages following: it will be my reward.

    posted by Blogger Savtadotty on 4:37 PM  

  • Those are funny! I've never heard of the Atlantic Monthly and it sounds to be very intersting!

    posted by Blogger Adrienne on 11:13 AM  

  • I know so little poetry that I'm chuffed to be able to recognize the allusions!

    posted by Blogger Suzanne on 8:32 PM  

  • I've read this before but it's been ages--soooooo funny. My favorite is W. Carlos W. Response to e-mail forthcoming.

    posted by Anonymous Laura on 11:04 PM  

  • I'll bet "L" at Random_Speak could do a fabulous job with Shakespear! You ought to give her the challenge!

    posted by Blogger Rhodent on 1:29 PM  

  • Welcome back. I'm glad I was part of the reason you were away. :)

    posted by Blogger Fred on 2:33 PM  

  • Terrific post!
    "AM" used 2 of my fave poets (ED and EEC).

    posted by Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) on 10:29 PM  

  • Lol! I love it.

    posted by Blogger mrsd on 11:08 PM  

  • Those are funny. Its fun to take a look at things from someone else's point-of-view once in a while. Guess that's why blogging is so fun!

    posted by Blogger Heather Smith on 12:41 PM  

  • Now I have Yellow Rose of Texas in my head.

    posted by Blogger Running2Ks on 2:36 PM  

  • Dang. running2ks beat me to it. Maybe we should change the National Anthem tune... more people could sing it better if it were set to the Yellow Rose of Texas rather than that impossible Scotch drinking song. :)

    posted by Blogger Melissa on 2:52 PM  

  • oh say can you see
    by the dawn's eawwy wight
    what so pwoudwy we haiw
    just wike a staw in the sky

    and the wockets wed gwawe
    the bombs buwsting thwoughout the aiw
    gave pwoof thwough the night
    that ouw fwag was stiww thewe
    oh say does that staw spangwed bannew yet wave?
    fow the wand of the fwee
    and the home of the bwave

    ---Elmer Fudd
    Twentieth Centure Poet

    posted by Blogger Bhakti on 8:54 PM