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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Night Lines from Matthew Arnold

"For we are here as on a darkling plain,
Swept by confused alarms of struggle and flight,
While ignorant armies clash by night."

Too terribly true. The US armed forces pride themselves on how effectively they can operate in the dark, with their infra-red (?) goggles. These lines have a peculiar hold on my mind. I often voice them mentally. I guess they're perfect. So much of modernist and postmodern poetry is disappointing. Samuel Johnson defined literature as "Human experience in human language," a view that has been massively and disastrously overlooked--particularly by the profoundly overrated E. Pound. How often have I picked up a poetry journal and not found ONE poem I can relate to.

These lines are the ending to "Dover Beach."

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