Essential Reading No 11-The New York Review of Books


Excellent Post by the Arch Druid on the notion of 'irredentism' and the fate of the deep southern American states.

The Archdruid Report: On The Border: The topic of last week’s post, the likely fate of Israel in the twilight years of American empire, makes a good example of more than one co...

Slavoj Žižek at his apartment in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2010



Sunday Poem-The Ballad of Ned Kelly

I sent a copy of this to Peter Carey but he was clearly too busy to reply-Fucker!  Anyway Ned is truly one of my heroes and this poem was inspired by Carey's great novel 'The True History of the Kelly Gang.'

The Ballad of Ned Kelly

For Peter Carey

All I can say is she gave me a grievous wound,
but of such wounds it seems to me the wounded
take a goodly part. To be begrudged
of such an injury
would seem to stop
with clay and wattle,
the breathing hole of the soul

I know this:
A man’s true measure is
to stand foursquare and true
to his brief and vital calling.

Let the wild dogs run
upon the sun-bleached hill.
Let them run the pump
of their own rich hearts
down all the long days.

This rusty webley resting
in my bloodstained hand
gives me little comfort
in these dust blown days
when my heart creaks
like new boots.

That black-eyed devil
stallion kicking against
his hobbles runs me to the
range, the outer ring
of all my days.

I have lived
with a true heart
in this world of
false men.

My mother
I have honoured
down the long seam
of years binding her
to shameful death.

Your shame, you
strutting English hens and cocks!

I curse you for
the weasel scum you filth
upon the dusty plains
you whipping boys
of powerful men.

Come not near
on your wandering English horse
you who patrol the water’s edge.

This Irish boy will
fill your mouth with dirt
that you may
trot the faster
to your doom.

...and when these times have blown
into some gentle history
and I, a legend, populate the valleys
with the wind of my becoming.

Thus speaks the widow’s son:

I’ve done time in the dusty lowlands
sweating out a living.
Been through high mountain passes
searching for some meaning.

Heard the banshee wail
in the dark hour
before the dawning.

Fell for a sweet Irish girl,
took her for my wife;
lost her too,
when I stood up for something
more than living.

Stood upon a scaffold
straight and true,
noose-necked as wild men are
by outlawry and the
wiles of crooked politicians:
Noses snuffling in their
little trough of power.

Some might say:
A tale of bloody banditry!

Others: A flame raging
through the wild bush
or a son seeking love
from the stony places of
his father’s heart.

A dish of bloody revenge
and strife perhaps?

Let this be my last word
upon this adjectival world.

Such is life.