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A poem to sing you in, "The Japanese", by Ogden Nash


How courteous is the Japanese;
He always says: "Excuse it, please."

He climbs into his neighbor's garden,
And smiles, and says, "I beg your pardon";

He bows and grins a friendly grin,
And calls his hungry family in;

He smiles, and bows a friendly bow:
"So sorry, this my garden now."

The "Japanese" is an ideal figure, a "type" like the smiler with the knife. While the specific image was appropriate in the circumstances of Ogden Nash's time and place, nowadays we should read it more generally. We all know him at some level, even if he is not always Japanese or even always male. After all, this poem is also a fairly accurate metaphor for what the Americans did to Hawaii, not only nearly fifty years before the Japanese but also more effectively and over a longer span of time. We should not let political correctness - "courtesy", if you will - interfere with the conscientious search for truth.

Some resources:-
Outside resources My material Other people's sites Newsgroups
Australian access main page for AltaVista, a search engine Selected published and unpublished material, mostly on economics Kevin Carson's mutualist blog Australian politics and its google archive
Google, a search engine; Only suitable for high end browsers! - but you can reach it indirectly and more safely through another site that uses it, here Constitutional material The Any Browser campaign Economics newsgroup and its google archive
Beagle, my current ISP My cv (resume) (some details withheld for reasons of confidentiality) Y2K or not Y2K, that is the question; well, you missed Gary North (an awful warning) and Gary South (a parody), but here is Gary South's wife, part of the emergency provisions! Forth, a "little" systems language and its google archive
Australian white pages Coming soon - policy material and resources on unemployment and other economic issues. Meanwhile, see my publications page Some people in Australia interested in new approaches to unemployment and other economic issues: Gavin Putland, who has some material here and an important book I now host here (also available via the wayback machine here and here), Basil Varghese at the Brotherhood of St. Laurence, and Tony Hennessy of the Wynyard Rotary Club, who has some material here Terry Pratchett newsgroup and its google archive
Australian yellow pages Some information about the Constitutional Centenary Foundation Professor Kim Swales of the University of Strathclyde has some work on tax and unemployment on similar lines to mine Yahoo discussion group archive for concatenative programming languages
Home page for Arachne, the DOS based shareware graphics web browser (soon to be in Linux) Furphy, a project to testbed concatenative functional language constructs with Forth Professor Bradford DeLong's blogsite accessible from his economics material  
Google Groups - a graphics- oriented resource you can use to reach newsgroups if you can't reach them directly; Only suitable for high end browsers!   Professor John Quiggin's blogsite, which is kindly hosting a submission of mine on the economic history of British transport (accessible from his economics material; Only suitable for high end browsers!)  
1911 edition Encyclopaedia Britannica - an encyclopaedia resource described here by Wikipedia - another encyclopaedia resource (here is a good part to sample)   Jonathan Wallace's magazine Spectacle; Only suitable for high end browsers!  

My email address:- You can email me here if you append my birth date in YYMMDD format to my initials in lower case to get my gmail address (you can find those details in my sample cv)


Another poem, "When I heard the learn'd astronomer", by Walt Whitman


When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams,
To add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured
With much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wandered off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Looked up in perfect silence at the stars.


"One of Walt Whitman's best-known poems is this one: When I heard the learn'd astronomer,.... The trouble is, Whitman is talking through his hat, but the poor soul didn't know any better" - Isaac Asimov, "Science and Beauty"

As I read it, Whitman is using the figure of the astronomer to point out that we can miss out on life from wasting our lives analysing it. But the figure of the astronomer is a poor one for this, since there is a beauty in what he is doing right there, a beauty that was simply beyond Whitman's comprehension. Which is ironic, really, since Whitman must himself have spent a fair amount of time just sitting and writing - something which Asimov knew was a large part of life for those who are like that, because he was one himself. Whitman didn't know that there is poetry in mathematics too.


A poem to sing you out, "To Penshurst", by Ben Jonson


Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show
Of touch, or marble; nor canst boast a row

Of polished pillars, or a roof of gold;
Thou hast no lantern, whereof tales are told,

Or stair, or courts; but stand'st an ancient pile,
And, these grudged at, art reverenced the while.

Thou joy'st in better marks, of soil, of air,
Of wood, of water: therein thou art fair.

Thou hast thy walks for health, as well as sport;
Thy Mount, to which the dryads do resort,

Where Pan and Bacchus their high feasts have made
Beneath the broad beech and the chestnut shade;

That taller tree, which of a nut was set,
At his great birth, where all the Muses met.

There in the writhed bark are cut the names
Of many a sylvan, taken with his flames.

And thence the ruddy satyrs oft provoke
The lighter fauns to reach thy Lady's oak.

Thy copse, too, named of Gamage, thou hast there,
That never fails to serve thee seasoned deer

When thou wouldst feast, or exercise thy friends.
The lower land, that to the river bends,

Thy sheep, thy bullocks, kine, and calves do feed;
The middle ground thy mares and horses breed.

Each bank doth yield thee coneys; and the tops
Fertile of wood, Ashore and Sidney's copse,

To crown thy open table, doth provide
The purpled pheasant with the speckled side;

The painted partridge lies in every field,
And, for thy mess, is willing to be killed.

And if the high-swol'n Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds, that pay thee tribute fish,

Fat, aged carps, that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,

As loath the second draught or cast to stay,
Officiously at first themselves betray;

Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land
Before the fisher, or into his hand.

Then hath thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers,
Fresh as the air, and new as are the hours.

The early cherry, with the later plum,
Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time doth come;

The blushing apricot and woolly peach
Hang on thy walls that every child may reach.

And though thy walls be of the country stone,
They're reared with no man's ruin, no man's groan;

There's none that dwell about them wish them down;
But all come in, the farmer, and the clown,

And no one empty-handed to salute
Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit.

some bring a capon, some a rural cake,
Some nuts, some apples; some that think they make

The better cheeses bring'em, or else send
By their ripe daughters whom they would commend

This way to husbands, and whose baskets bear
An emblem of themselves, in plum or pear.

But what can this (more than express their love)
Add to thy free provisions, far above

The need of such whose liberal board doth flow
With all that hospitality doth know!

Where comes no guest but is allowed to eat
Without his fear, and of thy lord's own meat;

Where the same beer and bread and self-same wine
That is his lordship's shall be also mine.

And I not fain to sit, as some, this day,
At great men's tables, and yet dine away.

Here no man tells my cups; nor, standing by,
A waiter doth my gluttony envy,

But gives me what I call and lets me eat,
He knows, below, he shall find plenty of meat.

Thy tables hoard not up for the next day,
Nor when I take my lodging need I pray

For fire, or lights, or livery; all is there
As if thou, then, wert mine, or I reigned here;

There's nothing I can wish, for which I stay.
That found King James, when hunting late this way

With his brave son, the Prince, they saw thy fires
Shine bright on every hearth as the desires

Of thy Penates had been set on flame
To entertain them; or the country came,

With all their zeal, to warm their welcome here.
What (great, I will not say, but)sudden cheer

Didst thou then make them! and what praise was heaped
On thy good lady then! who therein reaped

The just reward of her high huswifery;
To have her linen, plate, and all things nigh,

When she was far; and not a room but dressed,
As if it had expected such a guest!

These, Penshurst, are thy praise, and yet not all.
Thy lady's noble, fruitful, chaste withal.

His children thy great lord may call his own,
A fortune in this age but rarely known.

They are and have been taught religion; thence
Their gentler spirits have sucked innocence.

Each morn and eve they are taught to pray
With the whole household, and may, every day,

Read, in their virtuous parents' noble parts,
The mysteries of manners, arms, and arts.

Now, Penshurst, they that will proportion thee
With other edifices, when they see

Those proud, ambitious heaps, and nothing else,
May say, their lords have built, but thy lord dwells.

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