'On Religious Liberty: Selections From the Works of Roger Williams' Edited by James Calvin Davis (Harvard University Press, 288 pp., $19.95) I. Religious difference drives otherwise sane people crazy. The fact that some of my neighbors pursue salvation in a way that differs from my own is hard to contemplate without anxiety. Could it be that they are right and I am wrong? If I am right, as I think I am, shouldn't I try to save them?
The crow feather I found was not an idea.The crow feather was a black slash on the green lawn.It was a way of counting. One. One. The crow feather seemed to be waiting for me.It rested, abided, as though placed just sofor the one time I would walk to its threshold. I believe the crow feather when it is in my hand.I know that it is a feather in my hand,black quill, inkless, for writing out the gospel. Subscribe to The New Republic for only $29.97 a year--75% off cover price! By Michael Chitwood
Long before daybreaknone of the birds yet awakerain comes down with the soundof a huge wind rushingthrough the valley treesit comes down around usall at the same timeand beyond it there is nothingit falls without hearing itselfwithout knowingthere is anyone herewithout seeing where it isor where it is goinglike a moment of greathappiness of our ownthat we cannot remembercoasting with the lights off --W.S. Merwin Subscribe to The New Republic for only $29.97 a year--75% off cover price! By W.S. Merwin
Fleabane again and I have another yearto take up its redness and what the wayside is likewith or without it and I have another yearto charge across the wooden bridge and shake itagain and take on the animals and fightthe stupid bikes and the bikers who ride acrosswith their legs spread out instead of walking their bikesso we didn't have to be pushed against the rails,they are so dumb and their bikes have so many dumband useless gears like a dumb idiot boxwith 2,000 stations, only dumb ancientboxing and ancient movies worth anything,Jack Johnson or Marciano, evenOrson Welles too much, give me t
CLAY SANSKRIT LIBRARY New York University Press Toward the end of the Sakuntala, the most famous of the three surviving plays by Kalidasa--the poet usually considered the finest in ancient India--the hero Dushyanta offers this poignant self-analysis: Like someone staring at an elephantwho says, "There is no elephant here,"and who then, as it moves away,feels a certain doubtand later, seeing its footprints,is certain: "An elephanthas been here"--such are the subtleworkings of my mind. Or of any mind--the rueful king speaks for all of us. We almost always miss the elephant in front of us.
Oily, wily.Whip-tailed. Fairy-handed, reaching into skim the soul's fat. Rat in the mouth of the manwho calls you niggeras we exit the cab. Making its nest of shreds in my bellyas I scream back. Whiskered, feverish.Or maybe winged, maybe beaked--ravening over the suffering, glad for the shiny scraps, gleeful.Self-lovely thrill of the higher reaches of air-- then getting beyond even pleasure.Just doing the necessary work of creating(mite-riddled, death-mottled) the hell down there. --Kim Addonizio Subscribe to The New Republic for only $29.97 a year--75% off cover price! By Kim Addonizio
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us) By Tom Vanderbilt (Knopf, 403 pp., $24.95) Few if any man-made contraptions have shaped America as much as the internal combustion engine. Eighty-seven percent of American workers drive to their jobs, either alone or in a carpool. Eighteen percent of the average American family's spending goes to transportation, mostly for cars and gasoline.
The open shed on the lawn's far side stinks of gasfrom the hateful mower that pulls me where it wantswhen I mow, which is seldom. I rip up grass.Humid night's moon's nothing-halo; the lawn pretendsto candy floss. Black-white dud roses dead since June,alive enough to scratch my bare legs. I'm wearing nothingbut underpants, flipflops. Arms full, I stumble out,flashlight in my mouth, turn my head to choosewhat's lit. Inside the dirt-floor shed, I fill bowls:Dry bits, tuna slop.