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World Magazine Blog

Psalt and light
Given all the poems today, it was providential to come across this Slate piece on a new translation of the oldest poetry anthology in the history of Western Civilization: namely, The Psalms. Growing up in the church, having been exposed to this thing called The Bible for all my life, my reading of scripture can quickly become cliched and boring, where I don't really read with open eyes. I too easily fall back on conventional understandings, on dead metaphors of meaning, and I am no longer impressed or moved by the figurative language of Holy Scripture. This is a problem of reading and one that must be combated with all the good tools of crticism and language and translation. So I enjoy reading other people's interpretations of scripture, including non-believers, who, while casting much in shadow, also stumble across new light from time to time. Robert Alter (what a great name for a translator of poetry, especially Biblical poetry) says this:The poetry of Psalms draws on a traditional and even formulaic repertory of images, but on the whole it is remarkable for its powerfully succinct and intense passion about God and human existence, and for the way it anchors the...
Sunday poem (on Saturday)
One final poem to last the fall. "The Months" by Linda Pastan September Their summer romance over, the lovers still cling to each other the way the green leaves cling to their trees in the strange heat of September, as if this time there will be no autumn. October How suddenly the woods have turned again. I feel like Daphne, standing with my arms outstretched to the season, overtaken by color, crowned with the hammered gold of leaves. November These anonymous leaves, their wet bodies pressed against the window or falling past I count them in my sleep, absolving gravity, absolving even death who knows as I do the imperatives of the season. December The white dove of winter sheds its first fine feathers; they melt as they touch the warm ground like notes of a once familiar music; the earth shivers and turns towards the solstice....
Saturday poem (on Saturday)
Another poem for the fall. "The Finality of a Poem" by Michael Anania (after Albert Cook) All day, that is forever, they fall, leaves, pine needles, as blindly as hours into hours colliding, and the chill rain what else do you expect of October? spilling from one roof to another, like words from lips to lips, your long incertain say in all of this unsure of where the camera is and how the light is placed and what it is that's ending....
Friday poem (on Satuday)
Today is really Saturday, and it is cool in Savannah for the first time in a long time, and I am feeling like three poems today. O you haters of poems, your comments are unwelcome. Away with you! These are all poems of fall. "A Sunset of the City" by Gwendolyn Brooks Already I am no longer looked at with lechery or love. My daughters and sons have put me away with marbles and dolls, Are gone from the house. My husband and lovers are pleasant or somewhat polite And night is night. It is a real chill out, The genuine thing. I am not deceived, I do not think it is still summer Because sun stays and birds continue to sing. It is summer-gone that I see, it is summer-gone. The sweet flowers indrying and dying down, The grasses forgetting their blaze and consenting to brown. It is a real chill out. The fall crisp comes. I am aware there is winter to heed. There is no warm house That is fitted with my need. I am cold in this cold house this house Whose washed echoes are tremulous down lost halls. I am a woman, and dusty, standing...
Where have you gone, George W?
Marvin Olasky this week wonders what happened to the George Bush who stood up to bureacrats:My first close look at Governor Bush in action came in 1995. That's when Texas state officials tried, with bureaucratic nincompoopery, to shut down an evangelical organization, Teen Challenge of South Texas, that had helped to free hundreds of young men from alcoholism and drug addiction. I wrote columns in WORLD and The Wall Street Journal about the attack and soon received a call: Could I meet with the governor and suggest ways out of the mess? Sure and Bush responded right away with an order to his bureaucrats to shut up and sit down. He also convened a citizens' task force that recommended legislative changes to keep officials from circumscribing religious freedom.So why isn't W standing against the feds' hare-brained new prison library plan?...
He loves me not?
"I had been awake since 1 a.m., which is earlier by two hours than my usual waking time. It was the last stretch of a 32-hour fast in concert with a friend, we petitioning for the sleep that has become a stranger to my bed since March of 2005. God's response: silence and less sleep." This week, Andree Seu grapples with unanswered prayer....
When 48 divided by 2 equals 26
In his column this week, WORLD founder Joel Belz updates readers on big changes coming at the magazine:In our issue dated July 14, I used this space to tell you about some radical increases that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has just thrown our way. Our postage bill was jumping by $1,000 a day for the coming year! And from some reliable sources, we were warned to be ready for still more increases next year. Yet I told you readers bluntly that retreat was not an option. No way were we going to cut editorial content, move WORLD exclusively to the web, or print fewer pages. I asked you instead in my column that week: What if we could find a way to send you a better, thicker, more comprehensive magazine but to send it every two weeks instead of on our present schedule? What if we sent you 26 jumbo issues a year instead of 48 issues of the current standard size?I know we posted that question here, too. Click here to find out what more than 5,000 readers said....
In Isaiah 1, God offers a stark choice... Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Isaiah 1:18-20...
Whirled Views
Happy Saturday! Today's movie line: "And our bodies are earth. And our thoughts are clay. And we sleep and eat with death."...
Rudy on religion
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani compared critics of his personal life to the scribes and Pharisees who brought the adulterous woman before Jesus (John 8:1-11). "I think there are some people that are very judgmental," he told CBN's David Brody. Giuliani went on to say: "I have very, very strong views on religion that come about from having wanted to be a priest when I was younger. ... It's an area I know really, really well academically. ... So it's a very, very important part of my life. But I think in a democracy and in a government like ours, my religion is my way of looking at God, and other people have other ways of doing it, and some people don't believe in God. I think that's unfortunate. I think their life would be a lot fuller if they did, but they have that right."...

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