Elegy for the Tank Man

June 5, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, PETER'S WRITING, POLITICS |

[Tiananmen Square, Peking, 5 June, 1989] — A stand-off in the liquid heat of Tiananmen Square Caused Deng’s conga-line of tanks to begin rolling there. They rumbled down the avenue… Scoping tired students; waiting for their cue. — Suddenly a man appeared and stood before the ranks, Armed only with shopping bags – He defied the tanks, The lead tank turned and tried to pass, the man moved in its way; Then firing came, a soldier yelled but still he chose to stay. — He clambered on a tank and knocked, no friendly answer came, And finally the cameras stopped…

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Art Deco

April 15, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, LIFE, PETER'S WRITING |

What a Waste The Burial of Art Deco (With apologies to T. S. Eliot) Art Deco is the cruellest style, breeding High tech out of a dead hand, mixing Memory and elegance, stirring Dull wood with sprightly lacquer. Opulence kept us warm, covering Earth in sleek geometric stylized forms, A magpie greed with décoratifs. Le Corbusier surprised us, waging war on decor* With its many forms and guises; we stopped in the colonnade, And went on in sunlight, into midtown Manhattan And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. “The elegant display of surplus labour in privileged objects.”** And when…

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Rembrandt

March 23, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, PETER'S WRITING |

(15 July 1606 / 7 – 4 October 1669) A man from Leiden sallied forth, Though plain of face, he ventured north; From callow youth to grand old age He shows himself at every stage, An autobiography in paints Along with sundry sinners and saints. [His light and shade: His stock in trade: Full in control Of workings of the soul – And mysterious light: Enigmatic sight: All of human thought In his canvas caught.] After long life, after his last breath, He was a pauper at the death, Forgotten then his splendid skill And the phosphorescent thrill Viewing the…

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What

March 16, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | PETER'S WRITING, POLITICS, Ulalume |

(with apologies to Rudyard Kipling) What can you keep when everyone around you     Is hysterical and blaming all on you, “What the dickens,” is the way they sound you     Out, and stipulate the new taboo; What the devil is the endless queuing,     The waiting by the door we see, surprised, What went down when everyone was booing,     When emerged one, no longer disguised:                              — What you dream you are is often vaster;     Than the actual world…

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Parody # 10: Australia, 2021

February 11, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, PETER'S WRITING |

(with apologies to William Wordsworth)   Tony Abbott! thou shouldst be with us at this hour: Australia hath need of thee: she is a swamp Of stagnant waters; dust, and rising damp, Our wealth for toil and sea-girt bower Have lost strength, their inner steel doth cower – We now are selfish, addled, multi-gendered dopes: Please raise us up, do restore our hopes; Let us not scare easily with each passing shower.   Thy words could quite embarrass, yet ring clear; But never weasel words, never insincere                          …

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