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Friday, 29 September 2006

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Rich Puchalsky

Hm, Burke's post is titled "Tarnished City in a Swamp". I remember writing a failed pantoum a year or so ago that (annoyingly grating-righteous) used "We burned the city on the hill", and no one in the group that I read it to recognized the reference -- at least, they asked which city I meant, and I had to explain the whole thing.

Well, now that I've looked up the poem, I see that it fits your theme of ever-returning, Scott. So here it is, a failed poem for a failed age:


The Beacon

America calls to you
Join in our common nightmare
Old things again are new
There are many good reasons for prayer

Join in our common nightmare
It all comes around again
There are many good reasons for prayer
Our jails are examples to men

It all comes around again
Through collateral damage still
Our jails are examples to men
We burned the city on the hill

Through collateral damage still
The blood will wash away
We burned the city on the hill
We'll destroy evil someday

The blood will wash away
Old things again are new
We'll destroy evil someday
America calls to you

Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoehenheim den Sidste

OK, this may be irrelevent to your point but...

My brother is a geographer/anthropologist who did quite a bit of work on trial by ordeal. To make a long and interesting story short and boring, his concluding points are:

The real point is to restore harmony to society, and

When everyone believes in the effectiveness of Trial by Ordeal, the guilty party is almost certain to confess, and

The cost of killing the odd innocent victim is a small price to pay for weeding the psychos out of society.

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