"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

2.29.2008

yeah, you!

Hey, lurkers! I know some of you are still out there who still haven't entered our little contest. Reveal yourselves! Time's a ticking.

carpe, carpe


Today is a free extra day! What are you doing with it?
(I am finishing a big section of my dissertation, teaching two classes, picking up my no-longer wrecked car from the shop and going camping!)

with-an-a

I am not a morning person. By any stretch of the imagination. So it's particularly unfortunate that I teach at 9am this semester. The vagaries of transportation in Austin being what they are, that means I need to wake up at 6:30 and be out the door by 7:45. Which is really, really painful for someone who prefers to stay up late, sleep until 9, and work 10-7. By the time I stumble onto the UT shuttle in a stupor, I'm generally not much more awake than I was when I hit snooze three times earlier that morning.

Today, however, this full-page ad from Moveon.org in the Daily Texan woke me up right away:
I'm all for getting the kids to vote. But that is klassy-with-a-k klassy.

2.28.2008

texariffic, part deux

You knew this was coming. Check out the spectacularly awful fashion:

true story

Last night after another rousing night of GA's, I took the girls whose parents are in choir out to the playground for childcare. This is a weekly task. Twin #2, who is just too cute for words these days (and who apparently now speaks German), usually runs over and gives me a hug. So last night, I collected my hug from Twin #2, and started back into the church when I heard a little boy yell, "[Charley] is peeing on the fence!"

Sure enough. We sent over the male childcare worker to collect him, then [Charley] got to have a talk with Mrs. Elizabeth, the childcare coordinator. When she started to fuss at him, he looked up at her with his pure, innocent blue eyes and said, "But my daddy does it on the golf course!"

What do you say to that? At least this guy wouldn't have a problem with it.

God's country

Well, the second most important day of the year is almost here. That's right, Sunday is Texas Independence Day! Longtime Texas in Africa readers know that we like to make a big deal out of the anniversary of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

Since I'll be spending most of the weekend camping at one of the best places in Texas, I thought we'd start the obnoxiousness early this year. And what better place to start than with one of the best songs about Texas out there?

don't fence me in

Fencing off your borders never works. It may work for a little while, but it won't hold forever. And no matter how long it takes to fix this boondoggle, it ain't gonna work.

you know, legally

Ouch, says she who was just pricing Klean Kanteens on Monday.

2.27.2008

"that does not rule out the possibility..."

Election spoiler!

a contest

Gentle readers, I am WAY busy today. But here's a fun inspiration: could you sum up your life in six words?

Readership at Texas in Africa has increased a lot in the last few weeks. I'm not really sure why, but welcome to all new readers. I think this presents a great opportunity for you people to reveal who you are, as well as for longtime readers to show us a little about themselves. So, since I don't have time to write a thoughtful post today, we're going to have a contest to see who can write the most amusing/thoughtful/interesting summation of your life in six words in the comments section. There will be prizes of a to-be-determined sort.

So put on your thinking cap. Here's my entry:

Texas, Tennessee, Texas, Connecticut, Texas, Africa.

Ready? Go!

that kind of day

ps

It turns out that Bill Clinton speaking about fifty yards from your desk creates a big ole pain when it comes to getting around. I wonder if the Secret Service will kick us out later. Or if there will be snipers on our roof.

be a wise voter

Election Day is less than a week away, and although I'm sure many Texas in Africa readers have already cast their ballots in early voting, those of you (like me) who prefer to go to the polls on Election Day are still making decisions. Remember, this isn't just about the presidential primaries; there are tons of other offices on the ballot. If you're in liberal Travis county, the Democratic primary functions like the general election for many offices, including District Attorney and several judgeships. (Don't get me started on the fact that we pick our judges via popularity contest.)

Anyway, if you, like me, don't have time to do the research on this, the League of Women Voters is always there to help with their non-partisan voter guides. They ask all the candidates exactly the same questions, then give them 75 words to respond. (If the response is longer than 75 words, they get cut off mid-sentence. It's awesome.) You can link to both the Texas state guide and your local guide here.

must be the money

Even Westlake loves Obama.

2.26.2008

it is austin, though

D'oh!

heavenly day

The sky does not do this in Austin:

"town hall" is kindof a euphemism

Well, if you're up for a very early Thursday morning and some more Obamamania, the man himself is having a town hall meeting in Austin on Thursday. You have to have a ticket; here's the info on that.

another burrito

You've gotta love it when the candidates try to appeal directly to Texans. Especially when they realize that our high holy day is two days before the primaries. Here's what I've learned so far:

Hillary Clinton works as hard as my granddaddy did. Sure, she may not actually be bailing hay or driving a truck, but being a lawyer and a politician is pretty much exactly the same:


March 4 is apparently as significant as the Battle of San Jacinto. And Mike Huckabee is Jim Travis. Except for the dying-at-the-Alamo part:

crazy eights

Amy tagged me:

8 Things I'm Passionate About:
1) Biblical justice
2) the country of Africa
3) teaching
4) whitewater rafting
5) travel
6) writing
7) finishing my dissertation
8) adventures

8 Things I Want to do Before I Die:
Um, so I have a list that cannot possibly be limited to eight.

8 Things I Say Often:
1) Okay?
2) Right?
3) Be sure your name is on your paper.
4) Africa is not a country.
5) I read it on the intertubes.
6) The syllabus clearly states that there are no makeup exams.
7) She has very high standards.
8) The miracle is in the message.

8 Books I've Read Recently (Honestly, I don't know; some of these I'm in the middle of):
1) No Refuge: the Crisis of Refugee Militarization in Africa
2) Justice in the Burbs
3) The Congo Wars, Thomas Turner
4) The Fall of Yugoslavia
5) Mixed Blessings, Barbara Brown Taylor
6) Officers and Gentlemen, Evelyn Waugh
7) Lines in the Sand, Steve Bickerstaff
8) Secrets in the Dark, Frederick Buechner

8 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over:
1) Walt Wilkins, "A Little Farther West"
2) Shaver, "Live Forever"
3) Guy Clark, "L.A. Freeway"
4) Wilco, "Via Chicago"
5) Ryan Adams, "La Cienega Just Smiled"
6) Townes van Zandt, "At My Window"
7) 2Face Idibia, "African Queen" (oh, yeah!)
8) Kelly Willis, "Not Forgotten You"

8 Things that Attract me to my best friends:
1) sense of humor
2) honesty
3) similar ideas of what constitutes "fun"
4) not being exactly alike
5) similar faith
6) just,
7) you know,
8) stuff

8 People I Think Should Do Crazy 8's:
I am stopping this vicious cycle right here. :)

stupid dissertation

I am so tempted to go watch the chaos that is about to ensue at one of the three Starbucks that are a five-minute walk from my home. T-minus seven minutes...

oh, well

Well, McCain is sweeping through Texas in advance of next Tuesday's Republican primary, but apparently he'll mostly be speaking to business groups. I could make a crack about that being appropriate, but I really wanted to hear him speak in Austin. Boo to only going to Dell.

baptist politics

It's official: Randel Everett will be the new Executive Director of the BGCT. I know very little about Rev. Everett, but I'm glad he's a native Texas Baptist; at least he knows what he's getting into. Our prayers and wishes of good luck are with him.

better than nothing

For a bunch of reasons (chief among them that they AREN'T COMING TO CENTRAL TEXAS), I'm not getting to see Wilco's current tour. Sigh. Anyway, thank goodness NPR will be airing their sets at the 9:30 Club tonight. It ain't the same, but it helps.

texas politics at the forefront

Wow. Someone at the New York Times wrote a coherent, even prescient, piece on the Texas Democratic primary.

In other news, that 20,000 people were at Friday's Obama rally is far from clear. Apparently nobody really knows, beyond the fact that there were definitely 6,000 people in the area where we were.

I couldn't see very well on Friday night, but my estimate then was somewhere between 10-15,000. Who knows?

2.25.2008

stand up, stand up for Jesus

I'm laughing so hard that I'm actually crying. You have to go watch this. And read the commentary.

fractured from a fall



It's been, what six months? I love this song more every time.

i'm not sure how i feel about this

Someone just friended me on Facebook because he thought I was married to a famous preacher.

Just to be clear, I'm not.

saving my sanity this spring break

Sold!

local news

This is hands-down the stupidest headline I've ever seen.

obamaniacs

Some pictures from Friday's Obama rally:
Crowds estimated at 20,000. We were in the secure zone, but those people on the hill were not.
Some seriously bright lights. This was well after one of the bands sang a song called "Obamalujah." I'm not making that up. The rest of the pre-Obama recorded music was pretty fun, though. Lots of what can only be described as Soul Train-esque 70's funk, and he departed to classic Stevie Wonder with "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." If that's what's on Obama's ipod, he may swing me. :)
The speech was Obama's standard stump speech. It lasted about 50 minutes and was pretty much the same as the one in Houston last Tuesday that was televised. Still, I was glad to see Obama when he was "on," especially since the last time I saw him speak was so disappointing.
This little boy's grandmother was determined that he would see Obama and understand what was going on. At one point, the kid said, "Is he white or brown?" "He's brown, like you," said his grandmother.

wicked fun

Stuff White People Like is one of the funniest satirical blogs on the internet. Some of my favorite posts include:
  • Traveling ("This is when they venture to...Africa. Some do it so that they can one up the white people who only go to Europe.")
  • Study Abroad ("Then there is the conversation killer of studying abroad in Africa. If you studied in Africa, it is usually a good idea to keep it quiet, it will remind white people that they were too scared to go and they will feel bad. Use this only in emergencies.")
  • Standing Still at Concerts ("Remember, at a concert everyone is watching you just waiting for you to try to start dancing. Then they will make fun of you.")
  • Japan ("...all white people either have/will/or wished they had taught English in Japan.")
  • Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops ("White people need organic food to survive, and where they purchase this food is as important as what they purchase.")
  • The Sunday New York Times ("deep down, all white people are desperately trying to make their life seem like an ad for a Sub Zero refrigerator")
  • Indie Music ("If you mention a band you like and the other person has heard of them, you lose. They own you. It is essential that you like the most obscure music possible.")
  • Wes Anderson movies ("If a white guy takes a white girl to a Wes Anderson movie on their first date, and neither of them have seen it, they will immediately commence a relationship that is reflected in songs by Ryan Adams and Bright Eyes.")

music monday: great love songs

Today's Music Monday theme is great love songs. Much to my total disbelief, Guy Clark's "Magnolia Wind," the love song I think is one of the best ever, is not available as a video on the interwebs. But you can go over here and listen to a sample at Yahoo! Music. I'm just going to let the lyrics speak for themselves:


"I'd rather sleep in a box,
Like a bum on the street,
Than a fine feathered bed,
Without your little ol' cold feet.

I'd rather be deaf,
Dumb and stone blind,
Than to know that your mornings
can never be mine.
I'd rather die young,
Than to live without you.
And I'd rather go hungry,
Than to eat lonesome stew.

You know it's once in a lifetime,
And it won't come again.
It's here and it's gone,
Like a magnolia wind.

I'd rather not walk
through the garden again,
If I can't catch your scent
On a magnolia wind.

If it ever comes time
When it comes time to go,
Sis, pack up your fiddle,
Sis, pack up your bow.
If I can't dance with you,
Then I won't dance at all.
I'll just sit this one out
With my back to the wall.

I'd rather not hear pretty music again,
If I can't catch your fiddle
On a magnolia wind.
If I can't catch your scent
On a magnolia wind.
-Guy Clark

yes!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just bought a ticket for the coolest spring break plans ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And here I thought I'd be in Austin, writing my dissertation and going to SXSW films all week. The one sad thing is that the Librarian and I won't be able to complete our long-delayed trip to Brenham. :(

Details to follow.

the God gap

Amy Sullivan has a thoughtful essay on the role of politically liberal Christians in politics and the Democratic party.

2.24.2008

i am awesome

Because I won my Sunday School class Oscar pool, with 11 correct guesses. Woo-hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is just a taste of the March Madness goodness to come, baby!

(BTW, how funny is it that the Coen Brothers now have a sketch for Roderick Jaynes?)

This concludes my bout of ungracious gloating. Until the tournament starts. Because my bracket is always the best.

calm down, people

Lord of mercy, the internets are mad at me. I had no idea any of you cared so much about my personal political preferences. Is this what it's like to be a swing-state voter? I don't really feel like I need to justify myself (this is a silly blog that 200 people read, for goodness sakes), but I was trained in debate, so it's an instinct to respond.

Let's consider a few points:


  1. I am not a Democrat. I lean liberal, but I am a moderate, independent voter. I have never been a member of any political party, and I almost always vote a split ticket. I have never voted in a primary election, precisely because I don't want to be a member of a party. (There was a Texas Democrat bumper sticker on my car for a year or two, but that was primarily just to be obnoxious concerning the 2004 election.) The Republican party scares me, but the Democrats strike me as often irrational and a little bit silly. That I am even planning to vote in the primary this year is a big deal for me, because it means I have to commit to being on their mailing list for the next four years.
  2. I NEVER SAID that a high level of enthusiasm among young people about the campaign or candidates is a bad thing. Do not accuse me of that. I teach hundreds of apathetic college students about our government every year. I spent a significant percentage of class time trying to convince my students that voting is worth their trouble. I am not one to discount the importance of their involvement in the political process, and I am glad that a higher-than-average number of young adults seem to be interested this year.
  3. I also NEVER SAID that I would not support a candidate because he/she inspired young people.
  4. What I did say is that I do not like being accosted while I'm chatting with a friend. If I say, "no, thank-you" when someone offers me a flier, it means that I want to save a tree, or that I already know about the event in question, or that I'm doing something else at the moment. I do not appreciate being delivered long lectures on the subject of how my undecided status means that I'm not fully participating in democracy, or that not voting for Hillary is a betrayal of feminism, or that Obama is the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ himself (or at least of Robert F. Kennedy).
  5. I know exactly what is at stake in this election, which is why I take this decision seriously.
  6. I do think Obama has good judgment on foreign affairs issues. And I appreciate Obama's work on the Congo legislation. But I also think there are some things that can only be learned through experience. And I don't want the office of the vice presidency continuing to be more active than it's supposed to be.
  7. As much as I think the Iraq war was a mistake (and it should be noted that, like Obama, I thought it was a mistake before it started), we're stuck there. That's why they call it a quagmire. Obama can't win the nomination without saying that he's going to get us out of there within sixteen months. I also think he knows that that it is virtually impossible for us to pull out in a responsible way. Iraq is not ready to govern itself because Iraq cannot secure its own territory. Setting a date for American troop withdrawal in late 2009 creates a classic exit dilemma. If we do that, extremists only have an incentive to stockpile weapons and wait for chaos to begin. Again, I think Obama knows this. The challenge of finding a way to exit the country that won't result in civil war and attempts at ethnic cleansing is immense. I want a candidate who will be honest about that challenge.
  8. I teach my students that nobody changes Washington. Any president who goes there with a promise of change learns very quickly that he or she is going to have to fight 535 other egotistical, power-hungry politicians to get anything done. The culture there is what it is. This is true by design. The founders set up our system to make it impossible for anybody to accomplish an agenda without considerable trouble. They wanted to encourage compromise, so they structured our government to force ambitious people to compete with one another. Because of that, no individual or group can really change the way things work in D.C. Believing this to be true does not make me cynical or lacking in hope. It makes me a realist.
  9. When I heard Obama speak at the DNC in 2004, I thought, "I'd like to vote for him someday." I really do like him. I would love to see an African-American become president. It would do so much to help our standing in the world, and it would show that the promise of America is open to everybody.
  10. I don't think that's enough of a reason to vote for anybody.

There. You can hate me if you want. The beauty of America is that we all get to think what we want to think and say what we want to say. Having lived in countries where that is not the case, I am profoundly grateful for the fact that we can disagree.

don't mess with tejas


Can Obama win a state like Texas in the general election?

The question that Texas political scientists and political practicioners have been dancing around since 1994 is whether Texas is now a Republican state, or whether it's a George W. Bush state. If it's a George W. Bush state, then the possibilities for a Democratic takeover sooner rather than later are real. But if it's a conservative, Republican state, then it will be another twenty years or so before the soon-to-be Hispanic majority starts to dominate Texas elections. (Hispanics are important in Texas voting cycles now, but turnout in heavily Hispanic areas tends to be low. This will likely change as Hispanic voters realize their power, and as second and third generation Mexican-Americans grow up learning about their rights and privileges in the voting booth.)

Nobody really knows the answer to this. There's no question that white Texas is quite conservative, and given that it's no longer really possible to be a conservative Democrat in this state, I don't see Democratic dominance becoming reality any time soon. We teach students that Texas is a one-party state; one party tends to dominate our politics for a very long period of time.

Paul Burka at Texas Monthly, however, has some different thoughts. He sees overwhelming early turnout in the Democratic primary as a sign that Texas could go Democratic this fall. And there are some bizarre things going on that suggest he might be right; Collin County (Plano) has had almost 7,000 early voters in the Democratic primary so far this year. By this point in 2004, that number was just over 500.

I respect Burka's opinion more than anyone else in the sphere of people who know Texas and her politics. But even if he's right about this fall, I don't think that points to any long-term trend. Texas is conservative, and it's going to stay conservative until the sleeping giant of Hispanic voting power awakens. It may well be that Texas votes for Obama this fall (although I still think it's a long shot - he ain't gonna play well in rural east Texas), but I don't see this pointing to a real realignment.

Meanwhile, we Texas women will continue to make our own decisions, regardless of what the rest of you think.

let it blow

Here's a great story on wind power in West Texas. Put it this way: those turbines may not be so pretty, but if someone offered to pay me $900,000 a year to keep turbines on some flat West Texas property, I'd sure be willing to talk. And it seems that's just what's happened down in Sweetwater.

2.23.2008

62-45 and OU sucks

Well. That was fun.

And neither PhSquared nor I have ever seen this much pep on one bball court:

it's high noon, and ou still sucks!


Well, if this is the case, then I guess it's decided.

Seriously. I am somewhat surprised (and amused) by the strong reactions to my I'm-not-yet-convinced-by-Obama confession. And I will have some thoughts on that, plus coverage of last night's Austin rally, later. But for the moment, I have other priorities.

the banality of humor


Someone put this up in our lounge at work. Regardless of how you feel about Al Gore, I think we can all agree that it's pretty much totally awesome.

2.22.2008

sicness

Well, it's official: Baylor will not be the home of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Let's thank God for tender mercies.

Seriously. I know a lot of Baylor folks had their hearts set on this from the beginning, but I can't say I'm sorry in the least. Bush's foreign and domestic policies have not represented the Christian worldview that Baylor attempts to project. It would be embarassing for a moderate Baptist university to have a public policy school named after someone who flagrantly violated the tenets of just war theory, which is the closest the Great Tradition gets to a uniformly "Christian" view of public policy. In the long run, Baylor is much better off without this burden.

what i really want

So, you might not know it from reading my blog, but I am still very much undecided about the presidential race, especially when it comes to the general election. Obama fascinates me, but I'm not convinced that he has the national security experience to be president (and goodness knows we need someone who knows what he or she is doing this time around). I don't trust Hillary, and I'm a little afraid of McCain. (I'm also - genuinely - afraid of McCain's age issue. The presidency ages people at an alarming rate, and I'm not sure he can handle 4 years. He already looks so tired from the campaign.) So here I find myself, in the middle, trying to make a decision about for whom to vote and whether to do the primary thing or not. (To be clear: I think I will vote in the Democratic primary in Austin, because that's the election for a lot of local races, including District Attorney and several judges. I'm just not 100% sure about the presidential primaries.)

Anyway, I'm trying to be open-minded and give everyone a chance, and also to see as many of the candidates as possible. But I have to say: the Obama messianic stuff creeps me out a little. The other day I linked to a quip Melissa Rogers found that was to the effect that, "This is a race between a New York Senator who was born in Illinois and an Illinois Senator who was apparently born in a manger."

Exactly. I'm all for enthusiasm about the democratic process, but this is getting a little out of hand. Poster setups like the one above creep me out a little. A and I walked to lunch on the Drag today and were acosted by supporters of both HRC and Obama. The Obama kids are everywhere, trying to drum up attendance at tonight's rally. And if you say, "no, thank-you," when they try to hand you a flier, you get a lecture about this primary making a real difference for the first time in twenty or thirty years.

I get it, kids, I get it. You're excited about your candidate. Good for you. But for goodness sakes'. Tonight should be interesting for those of us who aren't yet committed to a candidate. I wonder if we'll get witnessed to?

politics this weekend

Valedictions notwithstanding, it sure doesn't sound like Hillary is going to give up.

In other political news, it looks like Ralph Nader may enter the race this weekend.

A bunch of us are meeting at the Iglesia at 6 to walk down to the Obama rally. Feel free to join us. And it appears that I will not get to see Ron Paul this weekend, as he's speaking 30 minutes before gametime. It figures.

2.21.2008

the debate

Well, that was some change you can Xerox.

I want to know why Major Applewhite gets tickets before I do. Seems my job at the University of Texas at Austin is, you know, slightly more related to the matter at hand than is his. Given that I TEACH the kids about American government. Whatever.

You all missed getting to hear the Librarian sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" during HRC's benediction. Too bad for you.

spin arrives in austin



Well, since I'm not one of the three lucky people I know who get to go to tonight's debate (one is in the FRONT ROW), I decided to pop by the debate site and see what's going on.
Oh, my word. There is some serious crazy out there. And serious obsession with posting posters on every available surface. The kids were yelling and singing and banging on buckets and generally creating a spectacle for the few tv cameras that were already out there.
Of the 60 or so people who were out at 2:30, I'd say about 40 were Obama supporters and 20 were Hillary supporters. The Obama group was definitely the more diverse, although Hillary apparently has a lock on the women in comfy shoes vote in Austin.
The debate is going to be something, that's for sure. Check it out tonight at 7 on CNN and en Espanol on Univision.

yes we can hook 'em

Barack Obama is one smart politician.

love will keep us together

The New Baptist Covenant website now has the song list from the week up. I'm sure everyone else has been waiting for it with baited breath as I have.

politique amangi

There will be an Obama rally in Austin tomorrow night at 9 at 11th and Congress. This will be the definition of "pure chaos." Seriously. I'm guessing 25,000 in attendance.

Who's in? My goal is to see as many candidates as possible. Ron Paul's Saturday rally at UT is conflicting with the UT/OU basketball game. No word on Austin rallies for Clinton, Huckabee, or McCain yet.

2.20.2008

welcome, bill

Only in Austin...

texas crazy is a special kind of crazy

So the more I learn about Texas Senate candidate Larry Kilgore, the more intrigued I am. He has a blog. On which he has posted this Thanksgiving sermon. The topic of which is Squanto. And in which the pastor manages to reference a Jon Mohr (who was a member of my childhood church) song. And in which the pastor never actually mentions Squanto by name. It is one of the most remarkable things I've ever skimmed.

Plus, Kilgore is endorsed by Pro-Life Richardson. Longtime readers of Texas in Africa will recall my fascination with this former Idaho gubenatorial candidate who not only legally changed his name to "Pro-Life," but who also names all of his children (and there are many), "Pro-Life." In my book, the only thing better would be an endorsement from Byron (Low-Tax) Looper, but apparently he's still in prison.

But I digress. Let's stick to the issues. And, wow, does Kilgore have issues. He apparentely believes (among other things) that:
  • women who have abortions should be executed.
  • we should cut off funding for HIV/AIDS victims overseas, and
  • funding public schools is tantamount to "promot[ing] the tenth plank of the communist manifesto."

But of course, the best part of Larry's campaign is his support for Texas Independence (it's the solution to every problem we have, apparently). The logic as to how this series of events will ensue is really remarkable. Apparently he had the pleasure of attending a seccessionist convention in Chattanooga last fall, and, well, he also thinks Alaska deserves independence. And Vermont. And Hawaii.

My word, I love this country. Both of 'em. Larry has posted his phone number on his website. Who else thinks it would be fun to give him a call? I have some questions about the Squanto thing...

congo watch

That Congo ceasefire? Yeah, it's going swimmingly. And apparently some Tutsi rebels were busy hacking 30 Hutus to death while their leaders were negotiating the peace deal.

Sigh.

a thought for wednesday

"Whether you play on the main stage of the world or you toil in obscurity, believe me, you have the gift to create community with your song, with your dance. Don't sell it short. Get people to gather around, and understand that we are us, and we become us through art by hearing about who we used to be, who we are, and, in some cases, who we should be - or who we're going to be." - Wynton Marsalis

debate decorum

Well, it appears I didn't get tickets to the debate either. I only know one person who's going, and she is very well connected with the Texas Democratic party.

Anyone want to go be in the Obama and/or Clinton visibility pit before tomorrow night's debate? Or should we have a watch party?

2.19.2008

just a hunch

I think it's over for Hillary Clinton. The Toyota Center in Houston is full of people who wanted to hear Obama speak tonight. Full. In Houston. In a concert setup, the center holds over 19,000. In Houston.

Of course, 5,000 showed up to see Bill Clinton at Lubbock High on Saturday afternoon. (Who knew there were 5,000 Democrats in Lubbock?)

My students voted last week on who they wanted our in-class debates to be between. Of course, their preferences for that aren't necessarily an indication of their actual voting preferences, but I don't attribute too high of a level of political sophistication to the kiddos, either. And on the Democratic side, in both classes, the vote was overwhelmingly for Obama.

Add the clear momentum with the fact that, due to the vagaries of Texas Democratic Party delegate distribution rules, heavily Hispanic districts that had low Democratic turnout in 2004 and 2006 have fewer delegates, I don't see how Hillary can win Texas. And if she can't win Texas, it's over.

I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong. But I think he's got it.

diamond in the wilderness

hahahahahahahaha!


Nation Of Andorra Not In Africa, Shocked U.S. State Dept. Reports

Thanks to my sister for the tip!

found your candidate?

A student alerted me to the existence of this Senate campaign. The candidate's primary positions are restoring Texas' independence and enacting "Biblical Law."

Who'd've thought someone could make Cornyn look like the reasonable choice?

so much for chains

Ew.

Ew, ew, ew.

cultural clash?

Awesome.

2.18.2008

drivin' away these miles

it's what i know

Clemens' haikus.

and i dream about home...


I am fascinated to no end by the forests of windmills that have sprung up in West Texas in the last five years. You know all those farmers think the businessmen are crazy for paying them good money for their wind. But if there's one thing West Texas has in abundance...

cotton fields forever

Ah, Lubbock, the only place in America where Republicanism takes the form of a giant cube.

My weekend on the High Plains was both fantastic and utterly surreal. Driving up Friday night took 8 hours (it should be 5 1/2) because of storms, ice, snow, and an unfortunate, black ice-induced wreck on a dark road south of Sweetwater. (I'm okay; my car, not so much, but it's still driveable.)
Other than that, though, the weekend was lots of fun. My friend Mark Not the Methodist is a new professor at Texas Tech, and we had a great time hanging out in the city of my birth. We saw the Red Raiders lose to OU at the beautiful United Spirit Arena, and marvelled at what less than $200,000 will buy in Lubbock as opposed to the places our other colleagues are trying to buy houses. I also stopped by to see the woman who played matchmaker for my parents 35 years ago, and she invited over one of my youth ministers (the interim one we had in 9th grade or so) and his wife to reminisce, and I had a fun lunch with a friend from Austin.
The best part, though, was just getting to be in West Texas for a few days. My sister has a theory that you always feel the most "at home" in the place where you lived when you were three or four years old. I am lucky to have gotten to travel all over the world, and I have seen many beautiful places, but I think my sister's theory is right. For me, there's nothing like driving up onto the Llano Estacado and seeing mile after mile of cotton fields wrapped under the blanket of the huge Texas sky. When I'm there, it just feels safe, like home. And that's worth a little trouble in getting there.

outcast and stranger

Haha!!

it's like, out there

Well, here's a story you don't see very often.

my word

Steve the Lawyer just quit The Worst Job in American Government and moved to Kosovo on Saturday.

He's always had impeccable timing.

in print

I have a column (an actual column!) up on the future of the New Baptist Covenant at Ethics Daily today. Check it out.

2.17.2008

flatter than a tabletop

And I miss it already...

2.15.2008

west texas wind

I'm off to God's country for the weekend. See you back on the intertubes on Monday.

friday afternoon

Lots of random stuff:

tgif

I can't think of a better way to waste time than playing Battleship against Martin Luther. Except possibly throwing a Reformation Day party using these.

too cool for school

Thanks to Cool People Care for picking up my post on the Bread for the World Offering of Letters.

If you're not familiar with Cool People Care's daily "Five Minutes of Caring" features, definitely check out the site. Each day features an easy tip for helping to save the world. Thanks, Sam!

2.14.2008

shock us into reality


Justice

Disturbing God,

When we forget that you created each person in your image,
shock us into the reality of your justice for all people.

When we impose our own will over those already oppressed,
shock us into the reality of your justice for all people.

When we increase the volume of self-serving speech while others have no voice,
shock us into the reality of your justice for all people.

When we are silent in the presence of enemies of peace,
shock us into the reality of your justice for all people.

When we fail to make room for the needs of others in our familiar places,
shock us into the reality of your justice for all people.

When we turn our backs on the pain of others rather than walk with them toward their healing,
shock us into the reality of your justice for all people.

Disturb us with your unguarded compassion until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

- Sharlande Sledge in Prayers & Litanies for the Christian Seasons
(photo: AH, Masisi, DR Congo, 2006)

debate details

Here's the place to try to get one of those 100 tickets to next week's Democratic Debate in Austin. Good luck with that.

(Hint: tell them you're undecided.)

for today

tremblement de terre bukavu nouvelle update 14.2

Another earthquake hit Bukavu this morning, with an epicenter in Lake Kivu near Idjwi Island. Most of the damage in Bukavu was concentrated this time on the western side of town in the Bagira commune. It was a 5.5 on the Richter scale, and is considered an aftershock of the February 3 quakes by authorities at the volcanic observatory in Goma.

There are 44 injured, at least four of them seriously, and an estimated 4,500 homes were damaged in Bagira alone. Bukavu's residents are sleeping under the stars again tonight, in fear of aftershocks.

Please keep this city in your prayers. Of all the things Bukavu doesn't need, this is it. And, of course, any type of seismic activity makes everyone nervous about the volcanoes in Goma. Sigh.

hmmmm

This isn't a bad idea.

2.13.2008

hottest tics in town

So...maybe you can get a ticket to the debate. But your odds aren't good. At all.

(As for the UT invites, I don't have an in. Yet. Sometimes our department gets invites to stuff like this, but I'm not counting on it.)

ick

This is my least favorite night of the year.

Yes, it's that time again, time for the GA Valentine's Cookie Bake Sale. Our girls decorate hundreds of sugar cookies, then sell them to the Wednesday night crowd to raise money for our missions fund. Throughout the year, the girls choose projects and missionaries to support. Last year we bought an animal for the Heifer Project, purchased school supplies for children in Kenya, and chose a family to buy Christmas presents for through Angel Tree.

I don't dislike the cookie sale because it's a good cause, far from it. It's a great lesson to teach the girls that they can help others by doing something creative and fun.

No, what I hate is the stress. And the hygiene issues.

See, it's gross. They're little girls. They don't always think about things like picking their noses, or touching their hair, or licking their fingers. And sometimes they sneeze all over a tray of completed cookies, or let their hair drag through the icing without realizing it. While we watch carefully to make them go wash their hands when they do those things, there's no way we catch it all.

Ew.

Anyway, this year went okay. I missed the first half of the cookie decorating because several of us shared about our experiences at the New Baptist Covenant. And when we got in there, B realized that she had made one of her Texas cookies backwards (We are so sick of hearts that we decided to use our Texas cookie cutters this year. B also has an armadillo!). I decorated it thusly:

And the girls raised lots of money for our missions fund. (No one can say "no" to their cuteness.) This means that we will be able to help families all over the world learn about God's love by helping them in practical ways.
But I still don't have to like cookie night.

way to win over the kids, hector

The debate will be by invitation only. Instead, the politicos get to attend. I'm a little surprised that they're not including any students at all, but not really. Welcome to cold, hard reality, Austin.

what's going on

Re: next week's Democratic debate at UT, we have a location, but still no info on who's going to be allowed to attend. My guess is that it will be some combination of UT students and undecided, registered Texas Democrats. There must be a doozy of a fight on this one.

Student this morning: "Can you get us an in?"
Me: "Talk to the University Democrats."

2.12.2008

kenya watch

The crisis in Kenya is obviously hurting the country's economy. Not only are the tourists not coming, but as Sam pointed out last week and the AP covers today, the violence there is creating some challenges for Kenya's cut flowers industry, smack dab in the middle of the most important season of their year. Those red roses aren't grown in Amsterdam in the middle of winter, kids, and Kenya desparately needs to hold its economy together.

we're having a REAL primary!

Well, I just saw my first Obama/Texas commercial (it's about health care), so I guess the onslaught is ours for the next three weeks or so. People are scheming like crazy to get into the debate at UT next week (no, I don't have an in). The kids are doing the math in earnest. 200 Obama staffers have shown up in Austin. And it's going to be a madhouse.

By the way, any presidential candidate who wants to come speak to my Intro to American Government class of impressionable, young undergraduates at UT is more than welcome. The topic will be what it's like to campaign/be an elected official. Consider this an open invitation.

2.11.2008

congo benefit results

Total raised at Friday night's benefit to build a home for Congolese orphans and abandoned children: $1,651. And this money was raised by college kids, $5 at a time. Little by little, they are making a huge difference. I am so amazed at their passion and effort and how much they care for children they have never met, I am proud to have been one of their teachers, and I am excited to see what incredible things they are going to do down the line.

The students who organized this effort really want to get that number up to $2,000 to help give the kids pictured above (with C & E) a home. If you're interested in helping with this effort, shoot me an email.

72-69


Rock, chalk, wha?

All I know is that the Bad Historian and I had the best seats in the arena, for free, for the Longhorns' takedown of the Kansas Jayhawks. Not only could we see every single play of the game with a completely unobstructed, half court view, we could also watch VY, Aaron Ross, and DKR's every move. And the cameraman let us "be on ESPN" (in HD!) at the half.

What a great game!

love letters from the congo

So, as I've mentioned before, I get lots of love letters from various correspondents in the eastern Congo. And I feel like someone else needs to share in enjoying the contents of these emails, considering that they are all from men with whom I had, at most, 30 minutes to an hour's interaction. (In other words, they are all from perfect near-strangers.) Is that wrong? Does anyone care?

Here's the latest:

"We met in the Congo there where your American brother [my "Brother"] did an internship and there I have had so much love and I have rested my heart with you until now. Have you finished your studies already?"

This would be the first time I've heard from him since our apparently fateful meeting in 2005.

i think i just got sick

Worst. Attempt. To. Appeal. To. The. Kids. Ever.

kenya watch

Here's a story about the effect of Kenya's post-election violence on the country's growing middle class. Imagine what your life would be like if you had to dodge rock-throwing mobs on your daily commute or while picking up your kids from school and you'll start to get an idea of what they're going through.

Peace negotiations really get going in Kenya today. Sam is very hopeful that these will result in a stronger society. He also points out that the possibility of being banned from travel to Western cities by Western governments should serve as a very powerful motivator to keep everyone involved in and committed to the talks.

Please pray that this week's negotiations will result in a real peace, and that the settlements will address the underlying causes of this conflict, which have very little to do with ethnicity and everything to do with inequality in land and distribution of wealth.

take that!

Obama wins...a Grammy. And he beat out Bill Clinton for it.

music monday: guilty pleasures

This week's theme on Music Monday is Guilty Pleasures.

Now. I actually own a copy of a cd entitled, "Guilty Pleasures," aka, "the cd that the Attorney and the Librarian made the weekend they discovered you could buy single tracks online." And it is a doozy. It's got everything from Ronnie Milsap's "Smoky Mountain Rain" to "Xanadu" by Olivia Newton-John to Prince crooning "When Doves Cry" to Poison doing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."

I can't top that. I can, however, offer you this classic 1991 track, "Love of a Lifetime," by Firehouse. The girls in my carpool thought this was the absolute most romantic song ever (and was even cooler because K's then-boyfriend who she was gonna marry's ex-girlfriend had DATED THE LEAD SINGER OH MY GOSH), it was the awkward slow song at many a junior high Model UN dance (which were all we had, as they had banned dances at FJHS before we got there), and I remember being significantly less enthralled by it six months later when my cousin used it as the music to the slideshow at her wedding. Learning that it was written while C.J. Snare was playing at a Holiday Inn just makes it that much more special.

Oh, the memories:

2.10.2008

the reality of AIDS

Really wish I'd known about this before tonight. If you have time on Monday to stop by the World Vision Impact AIDS exhibit at Gateway Church, please do so.

congo watch

Given that two major earthquakes struck Bukavu last week, it seems extra-awesome that the governor of Sud-Kivu would pick this weekend to resign.

There have been, shall we say, some issues with the governor's rule, but I hadn't heard anything recently. Anyone know the back story?

2.09.2008

one letter at at time


Thanks to everyone who came out to last night's Congo Benefit. We raised over $1000 to help fund the construction of an orphanage in Goma.

Speaking to the mostly college-aged crowd last night, I was reminded of how overwhelming the world's problems can seem, especially to someone who's encountering the reality of extreme poverty and suffering for the first time. It's easy to feel like you can't make a difference that will really change things. So one thing I always encourage groups to do is to find a way that they can make a small difference. It's true that no individual can "fix" a place like the DRC's problems, but it's also true that any of us can make a huge difference in one person's life, through something as simple as donating $1 to prevent an infant from contracting HIV from his or her mother at birth.

That said, though, I still believe that most of world poverty is based in structural issues. A child can't take advantage of educational opportunities if she can't afford to go to school. A farmer can't keep his family healthy and fed if he can't get a fair global market price for his produce. A country can't rebuild its economy without debt forgiveness, which cripples workers and makes it almost impossible to escape poverty.

This spring there's a great opportunity for all of us who are interested in attacking problems of global poverty from both a personal and a structural standpoint. Bread for the World is sponsoring its annual Offering of Letters, an effort to get people of faith to write letters to their elected officials in support of a poverty reduction goal. This year's focus is increased American support for the Millenium Development Goals (MDG's), a broadly agreed-upon set of targets for global poverty reduction. The MDG's include things like reducing child mortality, ensuring that all children have the chance to get a primary school education, and combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases like malaria.

The idea behind the Offering of Letters is that churches will organize their members to write letters to their elected officials advocating for these goals. To make that easy, Bread has organized a series of training workshops for lay leaders and ministers who want to guide their congregations through this effort.

The Austin workshop is this coming Tuesday evening, February 12, at St. David's Episcopal Church, at 7th and Trinity downtown. I'll be speaking briefly at this event, both about my experiences in the Congo and as a Senate intern. Those letters, you see, really do make a difference - Congressional offices keep tallies on the subjects of communications they receive, and if an issue is important to constituents, it often has a way of becoming important to a member of Congress who's seeking re-election.

These workshops are a great opportunity to learn more about advocating for the poor. They are held all over the country. If you're interested in attending the free Austin workshop, RSVP here. To find a workshop near you, check out this calendar.

What can one person do to effect structural change? More than you might imagine. Consider being part of Bread for the World's 2008 Offering of Letters, and make a difference for billions of people who live in poverty worldwide.

fill in the blank

For the first time since approximately 1990, Texas in Africa...

...has bangs.

Seriously. I don't know what to think. It's been eighteen years, and the bangs I had as a twelve-year-old look nothing like the ones Fabulous Grady gave me on Thursday. I look like such the indie kid, which I am not. Last night after the benefit, we old people went to Mars, where you could hardly take a step without tripping over a Dallasite. But the bangs totally fit in. I feel like I should be standing on the patio at Mohawk or Beauty Bar, listening to a Norwego-Japanese post-punk jazz fusion act and silently judging everyone I see.

Bangs...

2.08.2008

free stuff!


Did I mention that there will be free snacks and drinks at the benefit tonight? Because there will be free snacks. And drinks. And possibly pipe-cleaner glasses, if that's your thing. Get out your boots and come two-step to help build these kids a place to call home.

Benefit for the Congo
featuring Rooftop Cigar and The BackStory
Friday, February 8, 2008
7:00pm - 11:00pm
Austin City Church (ACC)
1700 S. Lamar
$5 minimum donation

All proceeds go to the Hope for the Helpless building fund.
Be a part of the construction of an orphanage in eastern Congo.
Visit http://hopeforthehelpless.org

it's a miracle!

Today is the day that I am giving the first midterm exam of the semester to both of my classes. This semester, I've instituted a somewhat harsh make-up exams policy: unless you have a university-related absence (eg, a game or a debate) that you tell me about in advance, you can't make up the exam. Instead, the weight of that exam is applied to your final exam.

Is this a fair policy? Maybe not, but I don't care. I've gotten so tired of students lying to me about why they didn't show up (there's one with a sketchy story almost every exam or other due date), and it's a huge pain to come up with another exam for absent students.

But here's an interesting side effect: today, for the first time in I can't remember how long, none of my students have had a grandparent suddenly pass away right before the exam. That's right: my no make-up exams policy is saving lives. Glory!

tonight, tonight

Some of the kids in this picture will benefit from the construction of a new orphanage/children's center in Goma, DR Congo. Austinites, you can help to build this facility by coming out to dance tonight:

Benefit for the Congo
featuring Rooftop Cigar and The BackStory
Friday, February 8, 2008
7:00pm - 11:00pm
Austin City Church (ACC)
1700 S. Lamar
$5 minimum donation

All proceeds go to the Hope for the Helpless building fund.
Be a part of the construction of an orphanage in eastern Congo.
Visit http://hopeforthehelpless.org/

Hope to see you there!

2.07.2008

oh. my. word.

Well, Romney went out just like he campaigned: as a tool.

Seriously. I try to be nice to everybody. But saying that continuing his campaign would only help lead America towards surrendering to terrorists (the apparent consequence, in Romney's mind, of electing Clinton or Obama) is just over the line. Way, way over the line. Even when you're speaking to a group as crazy as CPAC.

Thank-you, Lord, for saving us from four years of this.

fill in the blank...

For the first time since approximately 1990, Texas in Africa ________________.

another one bites the dust

Romney's out.

latinos at the nbc

Laura the Elder has a fantastic piece in Ethics Daily today. She writes about the challenge of being a Latina Baptist, and wonders whether there is truly room for all Baptists at the table of the New Baptist Covenant. It's a great piece (her first), and I encourage you to check it out.

While it's no secret that I think the NBC was a great opportunity for reconciliation, it was hard not to notice how few Hispanic Baptists were in attendance at the meeting. If the movement coming out of the NBC is to be truly relevant in our increasingly diverse society, we need to be sure that everyone is included, from the beginning.

2.06.2008

tremblement

Aftershocks continue in Bukavu...

The Day

Today is, of course, the Most Important Day of the Whole Year.

No, not because of Super Tuesday.

Or even Ash Wednesday.

Oh, no. Today is The Day.

from dust you come

Ash Wednesday
T.S. Eliot

I
Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessèd face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.


II
Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to sateity
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been contained
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled
Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying
Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
Under a tree in the cool of day, with the blessing of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.

III
At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was dark,
Damp, jaggèd, like an old man's mouth drivelling, beyond repair,
Or the toothed gullet of an agèd shark.

At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene
The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of the mind
over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.


Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy

but speak the word only.

IV
Who walked between the violet and the violet
Whe walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the springs
Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour,
Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing
White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.
The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed but spoke no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

And after this our exile


V
If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.



O my people, what have I done unto thee.


Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and deny the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and season, time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose


O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks
In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered apple-seed.



O my people.


VI
Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.
Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.