Saturday, February 27, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 27, 1943


Site Ed. Note:


Full many a hill and vale I journeyed o'er;
Yea, journeyed through the world's wide quarters four,
But never heard of pilgrim who returned;
When once they go, they go to come no more.


Wine-houses flourish through this thirst of mine,
Loads of remorse weigh down this back of mine;
Yet, if I sinned not, what would mercy do?
Mercy depends upon these sins of mine.


Thy being is the being of Another,
Thy passion is the passion of Another.
Cover thy head, and think, and thou wilt see
Thy hand is but the cover of Another.


From learning to the cup your bridle turn;
All lore of world to come, save Kausar, spurn;
Your turban pawn for wine, or keep a shred
To bind your brow, and all the remnant burn.


See! from the world what profit have I gained?
What fruitage of my life in hand retained?
What use is Jamshid's goblet, once 'tis crushed?
What pleasure's torch, when once its light has waned?



O wheel of heaven! no ties of bread you feel,
No ties of salt, you flay me like an eel!
A woman's wheel spins clothes for man and wife,
It does more good than you, O heavenly wheel!


Did no fair rose my paradise adorn,
I would make shift to deck it with a thorn;
And if I lacked my prayer-mats, beads, and Shaikh,
Those Christian bells and stoles I would not scorn.


"If heaven deny me peace and fame," I said,
"Let it be open war and shame instead;
The man who scorns bright wine had best beware,
I'll arm me with a stone, and break his head!"


See! the dawn breaks, and rends night's canopy:
Arise! and drain a morning draught with me!
Away with gloom! full many a dawn will break
Looking for us, and we not here to see!


O you who tremble not at fires of hell,
Nor wash in water of remorse's well,
When winds of death shall quench your vital torch,
Beware lest earth your guilty dust expel.


This world a hollow pageant you should deem;
All wise men know things are not what they seem;
Be of good cheer, and drink, and so shake off
This vain illusion of a baseless dream.


With maids stately as cypresses, and fair
As roses newly plucked, your wine-cups share,
Or e'er Death's blasts shall rend your robe of flesh
Like yonder rose-leaves, lying scattered there!


Cast off dull care, O melancholy brother!
Woo the sweet daughter of the grape, no other;
The daughter is forbidden, it is true,
But she is nicer than her lawful mother!


My love shone forth, and I was overcome,
My heart was speaking, but my tongue was dumb;
Beside the water-brooks I died of thirst.
Was ever known so strange a martyrdom?


Give me my cup in hand, and sing a glee
In concert with the bulbul's symphony;
Wine would not gurgle as it leaves the flask,
If drinking mute were right for thee and me!


The "Truth" will not be shown to lofty thought,
Nor yet with lavished gold may it be bought;
But, if you yield your life for fifty years,
From words to "states" you may perchance be brought.


I solved all problems, down from Saturn's wreath
Unto this lowly sphere of earth beneath,
And leapt out free from bonds of fraud and lies,
Yea, every knot was loosed, save that of death!


Peace! the eternal "Has been" and "To be"
Pass man's experience, and man's theory;
In joyful seasons naught can vie with wine,
To all these riddles wine supplies the key!


Allah, our Lord, is merciful, though just;
Sinner! despair not, but His mercy trust!
For though to-day you perish in your sins,
To-morrow He'll absolve your crumbling dust.


Your course annoys me, O ye wheeling skies!
Unloose me from your chain of tyrannies!
If none but fools your favors may enjoy,
Then favor me--I am not very wise!


O City Mufti, you go more astray
Than I do, though to wine I do give way;
I drink the blood of grapes, you that of men:
Which of us is the more bloodthirsty, pray?


'Tis well to drink, and leave anxiety
For what is past, and what is yet to be;
Our prisoned spirits, lent us for a day,
A while from season's bondage shall go free!


When Khayyam quittance at Death's hand receives,
And sheds his outworn life, as trees their leaves,
Full gladly will he sift this world away,
'Ere dustmen sift his ashes in their sieves.


This wheel of heaven, which makes us all afraid,
I liken to a lamp's revolving shade,
The sun the candlestick, the earth the shade,
And men the trembling forms thereon portrayed.


Who was it that did mix my clay? Not I.
Who spun my web of silk and wool? Not I.
Who wrote upon my forehead all my good,
And all my evil deeds? In truth not I.


O let us not forecast to-morrow's fears,
But count to-day as gain, my brave compeers!
To-morrow we shall quit this inn, and march
With comrades who have marched seven thousand years.


Ne'er for one moment leave your cup unused!
Wine keeps heart, faith, and reason too, amused;
Had Iblis swallowed but a single drop,
To worship Adam he had ne'er refused!


Come, dance! while we applaud thee, and adore
Thy sweet Narcissus eyes, and grape-juice pour;
A score of cups is no such great affair,
But 'tis enchanting when we reach three score!

--from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as translated by E. H. Whinfield, 1883

The front page reports from Tunisia that Col.-General Jurgen von Arnim had led a concerted Axis attack on the northern lines of the British First Army without success. The infantry front in this region had been silent for several weeks because of heavy rains and mud. The effort was to draw off strength from Allied forces plunging southward into central Tunisia trying to attack the flank of Rommel's retreating panzers.

Rommel meanwhile continued his retreat toward Faid Pass, leaving behind a road chocked full of mines, from Kasserine Pass to the town of Kasserine, and to Sbeitla.

In Russia, the onslaught of the Soviet armies against the retreating Nazi continued, despite mud and heavy flooding amid the beginning of the spring thaw in the Ukraine or heavy snow and blizzards falling on seasoned ski troops operating in the westernmost area of the Caucasus, from Kursk to the Black Sea. The hardest fighting was occurring southwest of Kramatorsk.

The combined RAF and American forces had conducted, over the previous two days, fully 2,000 sorties into France and Germany, concentrating efforts on Cologne, apparently the most concerted raids since the 1,000-plane attacks of the previous June on Cologne, Essen, and Bremen.

To add to the eighteenth day of Gandhi's fasting, Churchill's recovery from pneumonia amid stogies, and Hitlerís possible continuing death among the choir invisible in the Hell of "the east", President Roosevelt was reported to be suffering since Wednesday from an intestinal problem.

Perhaps, the whole world was getting sick of war.

Thus far, however, staying well away from the fight on either side, Generalissimo Francisco Franco was reported to be in good health.

On the editorial page, Samuel Grafton points out the absurdity of blaming the President every time some exigent circumstance outran the perspicacity of prior planning or non-planning based on sound advice given the President by various interested and supposedly knowledgeable groups. He cites current flap about the farmers being denied machinery because of insufficient steel and the attempt by some political machinators to fix blame for the exiguity on the President. For, in the spring of 1941, entreaties for more steel plants were met with catcalls and advice to the Administration, which it followed, to maintain the status quo of the steel industry, lest there should result over-production and consequent inadequate profit.

The anti-Administrationists, says Mr. Grafton, consistently wanted it their way, blaming the President for all problems when blame was to be distributed equally between Congress, the President, and the advisors freely providing inadequate advice on any given topic, when found subsequently wanting of proper action through the occurrence of unforeseen events.

Raymond Clapper reminds his readers that despite reduction in sinkings in the Atlantic during recent months, the submarine menace was still quite problematic. He suggests that winter weather may have been the responsible condition more than increased patrol activity in diminishing the threat for the nonce. He also, however, properly credits the continued Allied bombing of the major U-boat base at Lorient in France for the decreased activity of the predator for being cut off at its nesting place.

Indeed, the high water mark for sinkings had been reached the previous summer and would, from early 1943 through the remainder of the war, steadily and markedly decrease, as more bombings, more ships, and fewer U-boats to spare on the Atlantic, many now transferred to the Mediterranean to protect shipments across the sea from Italy of vital supplies and troops for Rommel, became the order of the remaining two years of warfare.

One of the quotes of the day, from an army private somewhere in the Pacific, presumably New Guinea or Guadalcanal, suggests the casual brutality of war now apparently acceptable without so much as a raised eyebrow. The rule of the day was attrition of the enemy, taking as few prisoners as the bending of the rules of war might allow.

The private might have borrowed from Sam Grafton's piece an expression and uttered it when the hapless Japanese soldier bobbed his head up from the bushes.

"Mid-America" suggests that there were unexpected benefits from the attacks in December 1941 by the Japanese and the cutting off of supplies of various essential commodities, such as rubber, to the United States. Of necessity, the country had been required to look to its history and that of its neighbors to apply resourcefulness to fill the void. So doing, came to light the long moribund origins of the Pacific rubber plantations, Brazil's hevea plant, in its native habitat five to six times more efficient in growth capability than as transplanted to the Pacific in 1876.

Now, the re-discovery of the plant's ample presence in the Americas had spawned efforts to transplant it to tropical habitats suitable for its cultivation in Central America as well in the Southern regions of the United States.

"Rubber for all and all for rubber" might soon again form the rallying cry of United States motorists reduced to maintenance of their spare tires under lock and key against thieves in the night, or, alternately, the Government's requisition of same, whoever reached for it first with the most determined grasp.

Some, to avoid either tendril, may have decided to wear it as Nurse Peggy, post-capture by the Japanese in May, 1941 in the Philippines, wore the regimental flag, to fool her captors for the duration into believing that it was a part of her apparel.

--Hoarding? Me? No, it's just me girth, man, got out of control without 'nough sugar to put in the coffee and without 'nough coffee to keep me weight under control. Got big. Now, hope you donít mind standing aside so's I might squeeze through the doorway you're blocking. Got to take in me sides a little to make it work.

The Saturday Evening Post suggests that the hue and cry raised, in complaint of teachers in the public schools thought to be conspiring to spread among the children Communist propaganda and ideals, had quieted down for the time, now that planning was underway to have teachers loaned to Germany post-war, to de-Nazify the indoctrinated children of the damned.

Regardless, however, its related vignette suggests that, generationally, there was often too little bridge between the ways taught the parent and the new-fangled ways being imprinted upon the child, to reach the same immutable result.

Parenthetically, nowadays, it seems, more often than not, the refrain in this vein is to the effect, "Ooh, ooh, there are children present," whenever anyone says anything which might be deemed slightly off color, especially if combined with anything smacking of liberal politics, things, off color or not, which all of us heard by the second or third grade, growing up. If combined with conservatism, of course, say whatever you wish, including boldface Lies; you have royal patronage for licensed, free expression.

There are children present alright, children with eroded memory banks, probably through too much consumption of dope in the 1960's and 1970's, who, consequently, are now holier than the rest of us poor pikers with dirty mouths and minds.

But, we digress to the present.

Returning to the past, ourselves, we never cared much for algebra, though geometry caught our fancy well enough, our mind understanding shapes better than x's and y's on coordinate planes across space at the time, until, at least, in the study of geometry, we reached the part requiring some algebraic functions. At that point, usually, we simply turned on the radio and listened either to winter music or the Phants polishing off another 1967-68 opponent.

Well, algebraically or geometrically, the Phants came through today, keeping the record above 50-50, that is .500. At the end of December, as we indicated, they were number nine, posting then a mark of 11-3 against quite difficult competition, including four of the top five teams at the time. But, since, having gone to the reverse extreme, 3-11 in the past two months, until today, they were ranked number 102. Today, they beat a very good opponent away from home, in Reynolda Gardens.

Maybe now, begins the third season.

In any event, we encourage you to study your algebra and your geometry. You never know to what use you might one day put these abstract endeavors, necessarily slowing the mind, zen-like, to grasp them, differentiating thereby colors on the field of geometric shapes.

The "Side Glances" perhaps conveys, quite unwittingly well, the future of American political Life in the United States, as it would come to be familiar within the brave new world, post-war, shaping itself to reality.

Is she a mermaid? If so, what about Charlie?

Now, it is off for a little lemon juice to wet our palate as we empathize well, utilization of little imagination being necessary, with Gandhi's continuing fast. We got our juice from the poorest lemon ranch in all of California.

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