Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Awarded the Chair of Poetry - poem (he said without irony)


Lawrence Hall


Awarded the Chair of Poetry at a Leafy Rural Tree


Among its ancient gifts are acorns and leaves

But the most generous stipend is peace

Oh, sure, we have our academic rivalries –

Just last night a raccoon occupied the chair


And the cardinals and jays squawk a bit

Mostly about seeds, seldom about verse

For arguing with Keats and Yevtushenko

Is my great pleasure and duty, not theirs


Who knew –


That an old steel chair dragged onto the lawn

Could be a center of civilization?

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Moo. Herd Immunity. Moo. - poem (of a sort)


Lawrence Hall


Moo. Herd Immunity. Moo.


"I don't know what herd immunity is, but when you add that to the people who have acquired immunity, it looks like it could be very close to herd immunity.”


-Texas Governor Greg Abbott,

as quoted by the Washington Post via The Houston Chronicle



Moo. Herd immunity. Moo. Simple math.

Moo. Very close. Moo. Vigilant. Moo. Proactive.

Moo. Efficacy. Moo. Calculation.

Moo. Dashboards. Moo. Trackers. Moo. Asymptomatic.


Moo. 70% Moo. 80%.

Moo. Fourth surge. Moo. Waves. Moo. Gaps. Moo. Pockets.

Moo. Complications. Moo. Misunderstandings.

Moo. Factors. Moo. Threshold. Moo. Duration


Moo. Emerging. Probable. Moo. Data.

Moo. Equation. Moo. Very close. Moo. Died.


“I don’t know what herd immunity is…”





Texas governor says state is 'very close' to herd immunity. The data tells a different story. (

Monday, April 12, 2021

Our Antikythera Mechanisms - poem


Lawrence Hall


Our Antikythera Mechanisms


Chariots of the odds and ends of life

Wooden boxes of bronze mechanisms

By which we navigate the memories

Of all the golden islands of our youth


The hidden anchorages of lost love

And barefoot beaches of youth’s innocence

Beneath bright sunlit hills of wild must grapes

That taste of our desires in dreaming hours


All lost, alas, fallen into the sea

The sea of remembrance, eternally

Sunday, April 11, 2021

On the Necessity of Merry Old Scoundrels - weekly column


Lawrence Hall, HSG


On the Necessity of Merry Old Scoundrels


Whenever the topics of England or the royal family arise, newsies with limited vocabularies are sure to employ two of the most tiresome and pointless fillers, “fairy tale” and “across the pond.”


The English monarchy is arguably 1500 years old. There have been dynastic changes and of course the interregnum of that genocidal maniac Cromwell, but always the monarchy continued. Even those New Men, those Progressives, those Men of Destiny, those Modernists Napoleon and Hitler, with all their up-to-date engines of destruction, could not topple the purportedly out-of-date monarchy. The continuance of stable government against satanic evil is not a fairy tale.


Further, the Atlantic Ocean is hardly a pond, and the metaphor sank into the depths of obscurity long before the Titanic.


In sum, fairy tales are for Disney, and the pond is out back (watch out for the snakes).  Adult reporters should know these things.


The loss of Prince Philip is very real – he was a survivor of national and family instability in his youth (it’s never good when your grandfather is murdered and your father barely escapes a death sentence), a hero of the Second World War, a patriot, and, essential to all of this, he was a right merry old soul.


Any institution needs a merry old soul, and they feature in most of Shakespeare: Bottom the Weaver, Falstaff, the Prologue in Henry V, Macbeth’s doorkeeper, the cobbler and the soothsayer in Julius Caesar, Constable Dogberry and the lads in Much Ado About Nothing, and others. Prince Philip’s great sense of incorrect fun, which never degenerated into mere buffoonery, added a bit of spice to the necessary seriousness of the monarchy. And he was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather upon whom all in his life depended.


Harry could have learned all this from his grandfather, and could have taken his needful place as Jolly Old ‘Arry, a bit of scandal and naughtiness around him, but always kind and loving and loyal to the nation and his family.


But he didn’t.


The difference is that Prince Philip chose a life of duty to his Queen, his family, and his nation, and despite a good beginning Harry has not yet found anything more interesting than his own self-pity.




On Divine Mercy Sunday - poem


Lawrence Hall


On Divine Mercy Sunday


Above all, don’t lie to yourself.


-Father Zossima in The Brothers Karamazov


On Palm Sunday a shortage of palms

On Divine Mercy a shortage of mercy

An onion, a candle, a moment, a prayer -

We’d better give something of ourselves away

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Squirrels Without End, Amen - poem


Lawrence Hall


Squirrels Without End, Amen


Whenever I take my book to the front-yard oak

The squirrel stretched from the feeder to the trunk

Flees in a seed-strewn panic across the lawn

To a farther tree, free of human menace


This is a young squirrel; its predecessor

Arched from feeder to trunk in exactly the same way

But held its ground, or, rather, its rough old tree

And chittered defiance in contempt of me


By summer’s end this squirrel too will stare me down -

I wonder what Pasternak wrote about squirrels

Friday, April 9, 2021

A Doom of Impending Sense - poem


Lawrence Hall


A Doom of Impending Sense


When you are driving away for the daily run

Of errands, appointments, disappointments

You know you’ll enjoy the company of your MePhone –


Which you have left upon your desk at home


You buy a magazine in the checkout line

Or find a book in some cold waiting room

Or read an editorial in the local wipe

Or remember a poem from seventh grade


You glory in words, words and images dense

And feel a doom of near, impending sense

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Every Poem is a Translation - poem


Lawrence Hall


Every Poem is a Translation


Wordsworth considered his rainbow up on high

And what he saw and felt through it, he wrote -

Translating an arc of refracted light

Into a transcendent vision of life


But his considerations through paper and ink

Are but darkness and silence without readers

Because the rainbow needs our vision, our joy

Without which there is no rainbow at all


We open the book, the page, the words, the light

To find the rainbow that he wrote to us