Isn't this great?!
Poem: "The Late News," by David Kirby, from I think I am Going to Call My Wife Paraguay (Orchises).
The Late News
The anchorwoman is unsmiling, even somber,
for her biggest stories are about death,
and even when she has a feature
on a twelve-year-old college student
or a gorilla who understands sign language,
there is something tentative about her relief:
she knows that the Great Antagonist
will strike again, and soon.
The weatherman smiles a lot,
but he is making the best of a bad thing,
for the weather is necessary, yes,
but boring. As for the actors
in the commercials, they are jovial
yet insincere, for they do not love the lotions,
sprays, and gargles they urge us to buy,
products that are bad for us anyway and overpriced.
Only the sportscaster is happy, for sports news
is good news: money always changes hands,
and if someone has lost that day, someone else has won.
Should anyone die, that's death, not sports,
and death is the anchorwoman's department.
Even if the Soviets should fire all their missiles at us
and vice versa, the sportscaster will still be happy:
you can't cover everything in a half hour,
for crissakes, and sports will be all that is left.
There will be no jobs to go to,
and our cars won't work,
and there will be no electricity,
but you can make a ball out of anything,
and then all you need is a line to get it across
or a hoop to put it through.
The sportscaster knows how the world will end:
not with a whimper, not with a bang,
but with a cheer.
Who needs a ball? Have you ever watched them playing kabbadi?
An Australian version:
by Sir John Medley (1891-1962)
The world is torn by fire and sword,
The heathen furiously rage.
Pell-mell across the shifting stage
Rush treason, outrage, force and fraud.
The wrath and vengeance of the Lord
Loom hot on our unworthy traces.
No matter. Mrs Pentridge Ward
Wore pink organza at the races.
[Pentridge was Melbourne's notorious, nineteenth century gaol; replaced a few years ago with modern correctional facilities]
I saw a political cartoon in yesterday's paper. It was a live newsbroadcast of the coming of the Lord...but it was interrupted by news about Michael Jackson. This poem brought that image to my mind.