A Fine Synthetic Brogue

When Dymphna died, she took almost all of the Irishness of this blog with her, since I have no more than a wee dram of Irish blood in my veins. However, to honor her memory and keep up the traditions, here’s a small St. Patrick’s Day post.

I’ve posted this poem before, but it’s been (I think) fourteen years, so it’s time for an accord of repetition. It’s by the late great Ogden Nash, who I suspect was no more Irish than I am. But still, he did a good job of poking a finger in the eye of the modern commercialized cult of St. Paddy’s Day:

It’s a Grand Parade It Will Be, Modern Design

by Ogden Nash

Saint Patrick was a proper man, a man to be admired;
Of numbering his virtues I am never, never tired.
A handsome man, a holy man, a man of mighty deeds,
He walked the lanes of Erin, a-telling of his beads.
A-telling of his beads, he was, and spreading of the word.
I think that of Saint Patrick’s Day, Saint Patrick hadn’t heard.

The saint was born a subject of the ancient British throne,
But the Irish in their wisdom recognized him as their own.
A raiding party captured him, and carried him away,
And Patrick loved the Irish, and he lived to capture they,
A-walking of the valleys and a-spreading of the word.
I think that of Saint Patrick’s Day, Saint Patrick hadn’t heard.

He defied the mighty Druids, he spoke them bold and plain,
And he lit the Easter fire on the lofty hill of Shane.
He lit the Easter fire where the hill and heaven met,
And on every hill in Ireland the fire is burning yet.
He lit the Easter fire, a-spreading of the word.
I think that of Saint Patrick’s Day, Saint Patrick hadn’t heard.

Saint Patrick was a proper man before be was a saint,
He was shaky in his Latin, his orthography was quaint,
But he walked the length of Ireland, her mountains and her lakes,
A-building of his churches and a-driving out the snakes,
A-building of his churches and a-spreading of the word.
I think that of Saint Patrick’s Day, Saint Patrick hadn’t heard.

But the silver-tongued announcer is a coy, facetious rogue;
He ushers in Saint Patrick with a fine synthetic brogue,
He spatters his commercials with macushlas and colleens,
Begorras, worra-worras, and spurious spalpeens.
I hope one day Saint Patrick will lean down from Heaven’s arch
And jam the bloody air waves on the Seventeenth of March.

A Bundle of Daffodils

I mentioned a few days ago that a good friend of mine has died. Her death has been very hard for me, but nothing like it has been for her husband, who was my college roommate. They had been together for almost fifty years.

She was the same age as me, so you can’t really say that she died before her time, but it still feels that way. It prompted me to dig out this poem by Michael Roberts, a between-the-wars British poet who died in 1948 at the tender age of 46, and is no longer well-known. He had a terminal illness, and wrote the poem when he knew the end was near.

A side note: he joined the Communist Party in the 1920s, but was expelled from it. That little biographical detail endears him to me.

His poem is light and humorous, a good one to be remembered for (raccourci means “shortcut” in French):

Already Said My Host

by Michael Roberts

‘Already’, said my host. ‘You have arrived already?
But by what route, what ingenious raccourci?
I half expected you, it is true,
But I expected someone a little older,
Someone rather less arrogant and impulsive,
Someone a little embittered and despondent,
Someone, in short, not quite you.
And now you arrive by some unfair expedient,
Having neglected, no doubt, to pay proper attention to the view:
You arrive a little dazed and flushed,
And you find me hardly ready to receive you, hardly able to cope.
It was inconsiderate of you to die so suddenly,
Placing me in this ridiculous quandary.
I had predicted a great future for you,
A future without happiness or hope:
I had prepared a suitable mausoleum for your reception:
And now you arrive with a bundle of daffodils, a fox terrier,
And a still unfinished smile.


One of my very best friends died at noon today. She was the wife of another of my very best friends, who was my roommate during my senior year in college and has remained a close friend ever since.

His wife had been struggling for several years with a particularly nasty form of cancer. These last few weeks have been grim, as her condition grew progressively worse. A few days ago they had to take her off IV fluids because her veins could simply no longer handle it. She just lay there asleep, beyond even the twilight sleep that had been her lot for the preceding week. Then she just slipped away.

Old people mostly tend to die in the middle of the night, but she was an exception. Her personality was full of sunshine, and she died at midday.

In my age group (ultra-geezer), deaths among my cohort are becoming increasingly frequent. But this one has hit me particularly hard, because she truly was one of my very best friends. She was so kind and helpful to me during those awful months right after Dymphna died — I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without her.

I’m sort of acting as the communication hub on behalf of her husband, to make it easier for him during this horrible time when he has so much to deal with. I’ve spent most of the afternoon making phone calls and writing emails, and there will be more later. As a result, posting may be a bit light.

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The title of this post is borrowed from a poem with the same title by William Cullen Bryant. I don’t find the poem itself that notable, but I like the title.

A more appropriate epitaph for my friend would be the well-known Sonnet #73 by William Shakespeare:

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The Betrayal of Europe

The following poem by Michael Copeland from 2016 is relevant to the story of Luna, the little Swedish girl who was raped and turned into a quadriplegic by a culture-enriching “youth”.

The Betrayal of Europe

by Michael Copeland

By the cultural Marxist Quisling traitor elites
Our countries are flooded with migrants instructed to hate us —
More than a million militant muslim males,
Who are told they’re the best of peoples raised up for mankind.

They’re turning our streets at night into danger zones.
By rape after brutal rape they stake their claim,
Displacing our nations’ laws with rules of their own,
As repeatedly told in their menacing hostile mosques.

“A woman without a scarf is asking for rape”,
“Their women are yours to take. Why don’t you enslave them?”
“The kuffar are filthy, …the offspring of apes and pigs”,
“You all have to hate them, …and punish their unbelief”.

Yet all this time our leaders are in denial,
Again and again they repeat what they did before.
People who try to object are roundly blackened,
Their motives smeared, their views belittled and scorned.

The inadequate mainstream media shares the blame,
Routinely omitting to cover the problem news.
Between them they lay the way for conflict to follow,
Blithely ignoring the warnings, to everyone’s doom.

For previous essays by Michael Copeland, see the Michael Copeland Archives.

Requiem for a Culture, Part 1: The Sentinel

Requiem for a Culture

Part 1: The Sentinel

The past is never dead. It’s not even past.

— William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun, Act I, Scene III (page 80 in the Vintage paperback edition)

I first read the above quote more than four decades ago, and in the years since then I have always associated it with the Civil War. However, upon looking it up while preparing this post, I noticed that the context is the personal history of one of the main characters, and refers to events in the early to mid-20th century. Nevertheless, the Recent Unpleasantness is woven into the fabric of the novel, so that relating it to the war seems appropriate.

For a Virginian whose family was caught up in the struggle, the 157 years since the surrender at Appomattox is a short time indeed. Generations in my mother’s family were long, so that I heard family stories about 1865 from a relative who heard them from an aunt who was alive at the time and witnessed the events herself. So that’s not really far back at all.

The past is never dead. It’s not even past.

Back in the 1990s I wrote a poem entitled “Mason Dixon” that concludes with these lines:

How can one forget? Millennia hence,
when English is just the language of the scholiasts
or the key to ancient software, Gettysburg
will mean no more than Thermopylae does to us,
and Jackson’s tactics, like Hannibal’s,
will be studied by commanders
training for the galactic wars.

Then Appomattox will no longer appear on any map,
with Bull Run just a vague rumor,
a place somewhere off to the east
of the Blue Ridge Islands.

The War Between the States is something that one never quite comes to terms with. It is the wound that will not heal.

When you cross into Appomattox County, Virginia from one of the adjacent counties, you are greeted with a sign that reads: “Welcome to Appomattox County, Where Our Nation Reunited”.

To an unreconstructed Southerner, this upbeat sentiment seems inaccurate. A more apposite greeting would be: “Welcome to Appomattox County, Where Sovereignty Was Destroyed, and the Southern States Became Vassals of the Federal Behemoth”.

But I guess that’s too long and wordy to be euphonious.

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I’ve been trying to write this post for almost three months. I kept thinking of new things I wanted to say, and amassed more material than would readily fit into a single essay. I’ve decided to break it up into bite-sized chunks to make it easier to write, and easier for the reader to digest.

This introduction to the topic concerns the proximate cause of my decision to finally become an official member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans: the removal of the Confederate rifleman who had stood sentinel for almost 120 years in a little park on High Street in Farmville, Virginia. There was never a referendum on whether the town’s inhabitants wanted the statue taken down, and the city council’s decision to do so was taken behind closed doors, with no public input.

I asked one of the members of the local SCV camp what prompted the council’s action, and he said, “Some a**hole at Longwood [University] complained about it.”

The removal of the statue occurred during the height of the George Floyd craze, when monuments, Confederate and otherwise, were being taken down all over the country. Farmville’s Confederate fared better than many others, which were broken up and/or melted down (presumably so that George Floyd statues could be cast from the metal).

Last year the Sentinel was relocated to the Confederate cemetery just across the Appomattox River, where he is safely out of sight of everyone except those who choose to visit the site to pay their respects to the 300-400 Confederate fallen who are buried there in unmarked graves.

Back in May I posted about the Memorial Day observance organized by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans in that same cemetery. Last year the Sentinel was relocated there, and stands on his reconstructed plinth behind the honor guard in the photo below:

Those who attended the ceremony came to honor the soldiers who died defending Virginia in the Civil War, and their ancestors who fought in the conflict.

I say “defending Virginia”, because Virginia was understood to be a sovereign state until 1865, when state sovereignty was overthrown, and modernity began. And also because Virginia was invaded. In 1861 a hostile foreign force invaded the Commonwealth from the north and the east, intending to capture Richmond and put an end to the nascent Confederacy. Thanks to the skill, determination, and courage of the forces commanded by Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, inter alia, that final reckoning was put off for four years, after which the former Confederate states were reduced to poverty and vassalage under the federal government of the United States.

The photo below shows Appomattox Courthouse being guarded by Union soldiers:

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Eyeballing It

I went to the retinal specialist’s office this afternoon to get the latest in a series of periodic injections in my left eye, to treat the chronic condition of wet macular degeneration. As a result, my blogging activities will be somewhat subdued this evening. However, I expect to get at least one additional post up before I do the news feed.

As a matter of interest, my eye seems to be doing very well. It has been stable for the past eighteen months or so, and the horrible splotch that marred the center of my vision has receded. It’s still there, but I don’t notice it very much, and I experience “white-outs” less frequently. The overall acuity in the eye is still quite bad, but as long as it is fairly uniform, the right eye can do all the important work, and I don’t experience significant discomfort.

My condition has made me more aware of the fragility of vision, so that I tend to spend a lot of time just looking at things, soaking up the beauty of the colors and patterns while I still can.

For example, first thing this morning I went out to look at the morning glories growing over the side porch adjacent to the sun room:

I planted them there in honor of Dymphna, who used to grow them in the same location. She put them where they could grow over the lilac, one of the rose bushes, and the Fig Tree o’ Doom.

She always planted Heavenly Blues, but I prefer the multicolored variety.

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Mass Invasion Not Requested

In addition to his regular essays about sharia and Islamization, Michael Copeland occasionally writes verse on the same topics. Below is his latest contribution.

Mass Invasion Not Requested

by Michael Copeland

Mass invasion not requested.
Population not consulted.
Strong objections left unheeded.
Local people quite outnumbered,
Left beleaguered and betrayed.

Older persons daily harassed.
Youngsters driven to deep depression.
Schools and housing dislocated.
Teachers tired at tether’s end.
Home employment devastated.

Native culture denigrated.
Even street signs now replaced.
Traditional festivals overridden.
Health provision stretched to breaking,
Rape and sex-crimes headlines making,
Teenage schoolgirl sex-slave-taking.
Law enforcement blind eye turning.
Social Service silence keeping.
Critics swiftly charged with crime.

Massive carnage bombings planned.
Buildings soon on Greenbelt land.
Welfare costing astronomic.
Government debt not economic.
Borrow for fifty years’ duration,
Children’s children’s generation.
Silent currency debasing.
Cynical contrived inflation.

Over-reaching work taxation,
Subsidised un-occupation.
People blank with lack of hope,
Drowning cares in telly’s soap.

For previous essays by Michael Copeland, see the Michael Copeland Archives.

The Wonderful Land of Odd

Long-time readers will remember JLH as the tireless volunteer who over the years has translated hundreds of thousands of words in German for Gates of Vienna. However, he is also known for writing whimsical verse, in the tradition of Edward Lear and Ogden Nash. Below is his latest offering.

The Wonderful Land of Odd

by JLH

Oh, come with me to the Land of Odd,
Where everything’s Green, even if it’s not.
Where mighty turbines harness the gale
And create great power, unless they fail.

And if they, frozen, come crashing down,
Strewn like corpses on the ground,
They testify to the might of Man,
And everything he thinks he can.

Great solar panels with solar blaze,
Transmogrified before our gaze,
Send volts and watts through stubborn amps
To light up many hundred lamps.

So if they fry a few hundred birds,
The only laments will be from nerds,
Who follow the birds with cameras high,
To record their flight across the sky.

Mother Nature cannot avert,
What’s happening under her very skirt.
Global Warming is undeniable.
The science, we know, is quite reliable.

The Antarctic will be a swimming pool.
The Arctic will not be quite that cool.
The sea will swallow the coasts of the world.
Where children once frolicked tides will swirl.

But fear not, friend, we have your back.
Fixing it takes a simple hack.
Get rid of coal and oil and gas
And other things that will not last.

And if wind and sun no longer serve
To flatten the climatological curve,
Go out in the woods and pick,
When need is great, a bunch of sticks.

They’ll make a fire to warm and cook—
A little smoke we can overlook.
Renewable resource is now what matters.
Ignore the bacon when it spatters.

But save the grease to fry the eggs,
And do not throw away the dregs.
We’ll mix them into our pancake dough
And what comes next, you never know.

Lest We Forget

As most of you know, I joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) a while back. Given the current cultural climate here in the Nation Formerly Known as the United States of America, it’s about the most politically incorrect organization I could belong to. I suppose the Klan would be worse, but to the progressive mainstream it’s undoubtedly “Klan, Sons of Confederate Veterans — same thing.”

Many years ago I wrote a poem entitled “Mason Dixon” that began with these lines:

The central obsession of our federal estate
is the bloody conflict that divided it.
Thirteen decades later its veterans’ reunions
and widows’ pensions are no more,
but the dead still rest uneasy
in their ordered rows.

The sleep of the Civil War dead is even more disturbed these days. If the woke brigades get their way, every last Confederate soldier will be dug up from his final resting place and — What? Burned? Thrown in the swamp? Shipped to Devil’s Island?

We who are descended from Confederate veterans are expected to repudiate our ancestors. The new politically correct regime is determined to wipe their collective memory from our culture and replace it with a Snidely Whiplash version which is all about slavery and the cruel, evil slave-owners who were righteously vanquished by the virtuous Union armies.

Slavery was an abomination, but the war was about a lot more than just slavery. Here in Virginia it was about being invaded — in 1861 the Union army came down the Shenandoah Valley west of the Blue Ridge, torching farms and crops, and taking prominent citizens hostage to be held against the good behavior of the rest of the community.

There were hardly any slaves in the Shenandoah Valley. Do you really think that slavery was the most important issue on the minds of the citizens of Winchester and Front Royal and Port Republic when their young men took up arms, joined the militia, and left their homes to muster under the command of General Robert E. Lee?

We were invaded.

When I talk to my liberal friends, I sometimes mention that I’ve joined the SCV, just to see what their reaction will be. When they express consternation (as is usually the case), I point out that Virginia was invaded by a foreign aggressor in much the same way that Ukraine was invaded last February. Shouldn’t we celebrate the heroic (albeit futile) resistance of the Virginians against that aggression, just as we celebrate the heroic Ukrainians?

That’s a difficult one for the liberal mind to grapple with. It seems that sometimes invasion is a good thing — it all depends on who is invading whom.

Before 1865 Virginia was a sovereign commonwealth, part of an aggregation known as the United States, the membership in which was considered a voluntary association. But the enemy won the war, and that changed everything. Our sovereignty was destroyed, and states’ rights became increasingly a fiction. Our liberties were steadily eroded, reaching a culmination in the totalitarian dystopia under which our spirits groan today.

Before then the phrase “United States” was treated as a plural noun, but it has been understood as a singular one ever since the ink dried on the surrender in Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

This morning I attended the Memorial Day observance at the Confederate Cemetery in Farmville. It was organized by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) in collaboration with the SCV. Several chapters of the UDC were in attendance at the ceremonies, as were several camps of the SCV.

The event was unabashedly Christian. It opened and closed with a prayer, and the various speakers made repeated references to God and Jesus Christ in their remarks about the events we were commemorating.

We pledged allegiance to the U.S. Flag, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Confederate battle flag. Yes, I know those pledges seem contradictory. But we lost the war, and as honorable men, we must acknowledge our suzerainty under the superior power of a victorious adversary.

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The Abolition of the Soul

In his poem “Prayer Before Birth”, the late Louis MacNeice wrote the following:

I am not yet born, console me.
I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,
with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,
on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me.


I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.

This poem was written during the 1930s, when the prototypical despots Hitler and Stalin were, in their separate but equal ways, realizing the Totalitarian Dream. However, in their wildest imaginings they could never have conceived of the powers that the would-be globalist despots of the 21st century, exemplified by the World Economic Forum, plan to wield in their creation of the Brave New World. Secure in their omniscience, confident of their benignity, certain of their superior understanding, and absolutely convinced of their inerrancy, they intend to remake the world into their image of technologically-driven transhuman perfection.

None of this is hidden. It is all clearly and explicitly laid out in text and videos by those who would implement the New World Order, if only we care to pay attention. If, that is, we are willing to let our good night’s sleep be disturbed by an understanding of what lies ahead.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for his mammoth effort in translating this essay from Multipolar Magazin:

The abolition of the soul

In their publications, the World Economic Forum and its chairman Klaus Schwab state with astonishing frankness that they intend to intervene in human nature and in humans’ relationships with others using all the technical means at their disposal. People, animals and plants are to be completely redesigned. Human nature is at stake.

“The real goal of totalitarian ideology is not the transformation of the external conditions of human existence and not the revolutionary reorganization of the social order, but the transformation of human nature itself, which, as it is, constantly opposes the totalitarian process. … What is at stake in total domination is really the essence of man.” — Hannah Arendt, 1951

As one of the most influential institutions in the Western World[1], the WEF has been putting its plans into practice with overwhelming speed since 2020, working title: The Great Reset, gateway: the Pandemic.[2] It has often been pointed out that the World Economic Forum pursues totalitarian goals with its transhumanism. Despite this, a majority still seems to have faith that the global business elites are, by and large, acting for the good of humanity. This is a mistake — regardless of whether these elites themselves are convinced that they are doing good or not.

A fashionable term such as “transhumanism” may leave you fairly unmoved if you don’t shy away from considering what it means. Misleadingly, he suggests that the project it describes has anything to do with ‘humane’, humanity or humanism; it hasn’t. It would be more accurate to speak of anti-humanism — for the transhumanist, concern amounts to abolishing all living things altogether. In its presumptuousness, this project is certainly doomed to failure. But it could cause living garbage, misery and great suffering.

Therefore, the following should make it clear that the plans of the WEF are deeply totalitarian, and why. Klaus Schwab’s book The Fourth Industrial Revolution serves as the main source of information, because this WEF publication describes its plans particularly bluntly, and, although it was published in 2016, still agrees with the statements made by the extremely influential Davos Forum.[3] Hannah Arendt’s famous work “Elements and Origins of Total Domination” serves as the background and standard for this assessment.[4]

The totalitarian claim to power: rule people from within

In her analysis of the totalitarian systems of her time, Stalinism and National Socialism, Hannah Arendt discovered a striving for control that goes far beyond the power ambitions of dictators, despots and tyrants of all kinds:

“The real goal of totalitarian ideology is not the transformation of the external conditions of human existence and not the revolutionary reorganization of the social order, but the transformation of human nature itself, which, as it is, constantly opposes the totalitarian process. … What is at stake in total domination is really the essence of man.”[5]

What unites the totalitarian elites is “…the conviction of man’s omnipotence. They first gave the moral nihilism of ‘anything goes’ its real basis through the much more radical nihilism of ‘everything is possible’… The hubris of really believing that everything can be done, that everything given is only temporary, is enough for them. The obstacle is that it can be overcome by superior organization.”[6]

Substituting ‘superior engineering’ for ‘superior organization’ pretty much describes the beliefs of the World Economic Forum.

The transformation of human nature

Already in the first sentence of his book, Klaus Schwab says that the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which in his description “…entails nothing less than the transformation of mankind.”[7] The technologies driving this revolution will be “…fundamentally changing our human identity.”[8] They will change “…what it means to be human.”[9] The Fourth Industrial Revolution “…changes who we are.”

These ideas are indeed revolutionary: If they were realized, humans — and other living beings as well — would finally become objects of industrial production. Nature would no longer be something given that as such has a right to exist and a dignity.

Biological organisms that do not occur in nature

According to Schwab, synthetic biology and neurotechnology make the profound changes in human nature possible. Synthetic biology “… will allow us to tailor organisms by writing DNA.”[10] This, in turn, “… enables the creation of genetically modified plants or animals, as well as the modification of cells of adult organisms, including humans .”[11] All living organisms and all organisms not yet born are now objects of design: “We are confronted with new questions about what it means to be human when it comes to changing the genetic codes of future generations.[12]

Advances in medicine made possible by this are often mentioned, but the whole genome is clearly at stake: “…it’s much easier now to precisely manipulate the human genome in viable embryos… we will in the future probably see designer babies…”[13] Wikipedia clarifies once again that synthetic biology is about “…creating biological systems that do not occur in nature.” And note: “These systems are subject to evolution.”[14] The WEF not only welcomes these prospects, it also considers science capable of implementing them at any time:

“Imagine a world where we can create the bodies we want. In this world we can also design and redesign the plants and animals that live with us. We can change organisms and shape them the way we want them to be. … And this is not the world of tomorrow. You don’t need any imagination. This is the world of today.”[15]

The whole human being becomes the object of technical design — and so are his relationships to other people and things.

Neurotechnology: Mind Control, Emotion Control, Relationship Control

Neurotechnology “…includes any process or device in which electronics interface with the nervous system to monitor or regulate neural activity.”[16] The ways to do this are so varied, according to the World Economic Forum that they “transform the human body into a new technology platform.”[17]

The WEF has no objection to that — we are entering “…the era of the ‘internet of bodies’: We collect our physical data through a range of devices that can be implanted, swallowed or worn. The result is a vast amount of health-related data that improves the well-being of people all over the world…”[18] But not only that: “At the same time, the data from the ‘Internet of Bodies’ can be used to predict and to make inferences that may affect an individual’s or group’s access to resources such as health care, insurance and employment.”[19]

Many citizens have already experienced that “influencing” can also mean “blocking”: Until recently, for example, we had no access to public facilities such as libraries, theaters or swimming pools without a vaccination certificate. During the trucker protests in Canada, Prime Minister and “Young Global Leader” of the WEF Justin Trudeau[20] had the accounts of the 50,000 truckers and their supporters blocked without further ado. In view of such arbitrary encroachments on the simplest rights of unwelcome citizens, it is not surprising that many see it more as a threat: “If we do not like your behavior, we will block your access to vital resources.” But you don’t have to see everything so negatively, because:

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The Nothing Tree

The following post is a personal side journey. It’s unrelated to the mission of this blog, so if you don’t want to stray from the main track, you may want to skip it.

Spending my sunset years as a Counterjihad blogger was not part of my life’s plan. I just kind of fell into it, joining Dymphna at the task after I was laid off in 2006. It seemed like a worthwhile endeavor, so I kept at it full-time for the next sixteen years (and counting).

Before that I had pursued numerous occupations since I graduated from college: taxi driver, tuxedo store manager, messenger for a legal firm, mathematician/programmer, systems analyst, sign painter, painter of ceramic cups, Kelly Girl, seller of mistletoe (seasonal only). I took all of those jobs just to keep the wolf from the door while I did the two things I was put on this earth to do: paint landscapes and write poetry.

I was fortunate enough to be able to paint for a (meager) living for more than twenty-five years. And I was especially fortunate to have married someone who understood my drive to create, and who was willing to help support me via her own employment. For that I will be eternally grateful to Dymphna; may she rest in peace.

As you all know, I ruined my eyesight by sitting outside in the bright sun day after day for decades. My intuition tells me that having my retinas bathed in so much ultraviolet light for all those years brought on macular degeneration at a relatively early age. Since I gave up painting in 2005 I have been reduced to programming digital images on the computer to satisfy my visual creative urge.

When I was eighteen years old I started writing poetry seriously — or as seriously as a callow clownish youth can do at that age. Almost everything I wrote before I was in my mid-twenties was dreadful stuff, and embarrassing to look at now, but a few things were worth saving, and have held up over the decades. By the time I was in my late thirties the quality of what I wrote was more consistent. I really hit my stride in the mid-’90s and early 2000s.

I encountered a fallow period after 2006, when the muse abandoned me for eleven years. I thought she was gone for good, and that my poetic career was over. Then in 2017 she mysteriously returned, and I started writing verse again. At that point it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to self-publish a volume of selected poems.

I gave up submitting my poems to periodicals thirty years ago. By then it had become clear that the type of poetry I write — traditional forms, often with a rigorous rhyme scheme and metrical structure — was out of step with the post-modern age. I got tired of the rejection slips, so I abandoned all attempts at publication. I haven’t published anything since a number of my poems (most of them lousy) appeared in William and Mary’s literary magazine back in the early 1970s.

Until now, that is. Thanks to the magic of self-publishing, I was able to put together a selection in a book entitled The Nothing Tree in Bloom. It contains all the poems from a fifty-year period (1970-2019) that I consider worth reading, and is listed on Amazon.

Self-publication turned out to be very easy, and it cost almost nothing, unlike vanity publishing. Actually, I suppose it is a form of vanity publishing, because I don’t really expect to sell any copies of the book. I just bought a few dozen author’s copies at a low price to give away to family and friends. It’s a satisfying way to wrap up a lifetime’s worth of work in a meaningful fashion. As Wallace Stevens said (in “The Lack of Repose”), the book provides “A few sounds of meaning, a momentary end / To the complication”.

I dedicated The Nothing Tree in Bloom to Dymphna. It makes me sad that she didn’t live to see it published, but she did read an early PDF version of it, which included the cover design. At that point the dedication page read: “For my wife”. In the published version it reads: “In memory of my wife”.

Since I’ve never published any poems since college, I’ve never had an editor. Fortunately, for forty years I had Dymphna to act in that capacity. As most of you know, she was an accomplished poet in her own right.

From 1979 until her death she read everything I wrote, including the most recent poem in the book. She was an incisive reader and critic, and never hesitated to point out infelicities and suggest changes. My oeuvre would have been far less competent without her input.

It was my habit to read every poem out loud to her as soon as I finished it. In later years, as her hearing deteriorated, I would print out a second copy so that she could follow along while I read it. After she died I found a pile of many years’ worth of those printed pages on the bottom shelf of the bookcase next to her side of the bed.

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When I was a teenager attending an English grammar school, I was required to study large quantities of poetry in depth for my O-level and A-level exams. It was like discovering a magnificent palace filled with treasure, and I took to it as if it were my natural environment. At the time I didn’t understand that most of my fellow students experienced it quite differently: it was just something they had to do, to memorize and analyze long enough to pass their exams, and then gratefully forget.

In the ensuing years I’ve learned the hard lesson that poetry is an acquired taste. Most people don’t get it, and aren’t interested in getting it. And that’s especially true of the type of poetry I prefer to write, which admittedly is intellectually abstruse.

With that in mind, I’ve chosen two examples from the book to post here that are somewhat more accessible.

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The EU Conspiracy

This little ditty by Michael Copeland is timely, given the current push to shoehorn Ukraine into the European Union.

The EU Conspiracy

by Michael Copeland

The reason for this massive transformation?
We intend to de-homogenise the nation.
Just promote the lying claim
It’s all for “economic” aim,
When we know it’s really planned disintegration.

We’ll blacken and demean the native race,
And drive established peoples out of place.
Turn them into refugees,
Pack new voters in with ease,
And force the change to run at quite a pace.

Plant these new invaders in their town,
And make the native culture swiftly drown,
Let them infiltrate the schools,
And then impose their foreign rules,
To drive the local standards ever down.

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A Week to Christmas

I’ve posted this poem a couple of times in the past, but it’s worth revisiting during this manic materialistic holiday season in which the J- and C-words must never be mentioned:

A Week to Christmas

by Louis MacNeice (part XX of “Autumn Journal”, 1938)

A week to Christmas, cards of snow and holly,
Gimcracks in the shops,
Wishes and memories wrapped in tissue paper,
Trinkets, gadgets and lollipops
And as if through coloured glasses
We remember the childhood thrill
Waking in the morning to the rustling of paper,
The eiderdown heaped in a hill
Of wogs and dogs and bears and bricks and apples
And the feeling that Christmas Day
Was a coral island in time where we land and eat our lotus
But where we can never stay.

There was a star in the East, the magi in their turbans
Brought their luxury toys
In homage to a child born to capsize their values
And wreck their equipoise.
A smell of hay like peace in the dark stable —
Not peace however but a sword
To cut the Gordian knot of logical self-interest,
The fool-proof golden cord;
For Christ walked in where philosophers tread
But armed with more than folly,
Making the smooth place rough and knocking the heads
Of Church and State together.
In honour of whom we have taken over the pagan
Saturnalia for our annual treat
Letting the belly have its say, ignoring
The spirit while we eat.
And Conscience still goes crying through the desert
With sackcloth round his loins:
A week to Christmas — hark the herald angels
Beg for copper coins.

For my remarks on the poem and the surrounding cultural context, see the post from 2017.

Been There. Done That.

Unless some compelling reason emerges in future years, this will be my last 9-11 anniversary post.

It’s been an educational twenty years, to say the least. The first three anniversaries came up before Dymphna and I started blogging in October of 2004. During those years we had begun our studies of Islam and sharia, eventually launching Gates of Vienna to make our own small contribution to what later became known as the Counterjihad. From 2005 onward, one or the other of us always did a commemorative post when September 11th rolled around.

I still remember what I was doing when I heard the news on that bright, cool September morning, and how the day subsequently unfolded, but I’m not going to write about all that — I’ve covered it too many times before. And I’ll stay away from the political sequelae, except to note that the way the Patriot Act was eventually abused was at least as bad as the most skeptical libertarians predicted, and probably worse.

Over the next decade I spent a lot of time educating myself about Islam and sharia. Beginning in 2009, retired Major Stephen Coughlin was especially helpful in furthering my education. He made me understand the depth and breadth of the penetration of the federal government and the military by the Muslim Brotherhood, to the point that we had written sharia into the constitutions that we devised for Iraq and Afghanistan.

At first it seemed that a combination of ignorance and cluelessness had led to such foolhardy behavior, but as time went by — especially after the Islamophiles in the Obama administration got going full throttle — I realized that there was more than mere ignorance at work. Yes, there were plenty of ill-informed and stupid people at the upper levels of the government and the military, but John Brennan — just to pick an example — was not one of them. There was no way that he could have failed to understand exactly what the Muslim Brotherhood was up to. Thus we can only conclude that Islamization is part of the Deep State’s plan for the deconstruction of Western Civilization.

As the teens wore on, my cynicism and disillusionment about our government got worse and worse. I had started out with the naïve idea that there were decent people among our political leaders who really were attempting to do their best for the country. However, the true state of affairs eventually became ineluctable: corruption and malevolence were (and are) the norm, from the lowest to the highest levels of government. There are a few very rare exceptions, but they play no meaningful role in steering the ship of state.

The five years since Donald Trump stormed onto the political scene have really clarified the extent of the evil rot that has eaten out the core of our political and cultural institutions. The investigation and impeachment of Mr. Trump revealed the true purpose of the Patriot Act. And last fall’s election showed that the Deep State now has full control over the counting of the votes, so that no future elections will show any results other than those they intend. Diehard Republicans who are salivating over the midterms or 2024 are the most clueless of all. If they haven’t yet realized the nature of our new totalitarian dystopia, they probably never will. There’s no voting our way out of this.

So here we are, twenty years later. Afghanistan has reverted to what it was in 2001, except with much better roads, airfields, telecommunications, and surveillance equipment. We just handed the country over to the mujahideen we overthrew back then, lavishing upon them such quantities of state-of-the-art munitions and equipment that they will be the most powerful jihad army ever assembled, courtesy of the United States of America.

Here at home we are entering the full Corona despotism that the paranoid cynics among us have been predicting ever since the start of the “pandemic”. Since I intend to remain unjabbed, by this time next year I don’t know whether I’ll be able to get medical treatment, or eat in a restaurant, or even shop in a supermarket. By September 11, 2022 I might be unable to post a 9-11 commemoration, even if I wanted to.

I remember the ubiquitous “Never Forget” banners that popped up all over the place after 9-11. I didn’t forget.

I remember the “Let’s roll!” spirit that emerged. I rolled as best I could.

I remember when George W. Bush promised to hunt down the evil perpetrators and bring them to justice. And he did manage to round up quite a few of them and stash them in Gitmo until they were released to become ministers in the new government of Afghanistan.

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