Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Barred Owl, by Richard Wilbur

The warping night air having brought the boom
Of an owl’s voice into her darkened room,
We tell the wakened child that all she heard
Was an odd question from a forest bird,
Asking of us, if rightly listened to,
“Who cooks for you?” and then “Who cooks for you?”

Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear,
Can also thus domesticate a fear,
And send a small child back to sleep at night
Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight
Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw
Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Robin Wright, in her book, Rock the Casbah, "notes that several factors are proving detrimental to Al Qaeda’s long-term future, most notably its failure to offer any positive vision for building a society; its inability to provide constructive solutions for everyday issues like health care and jobs; its killing of Muslim civilians; and its ultrafundamentalist worldview. 

But while Mr. Bergen [Peter Bergan, in his book, The Longest War] worries that 'many thousands of underemployed, disaffected men in the Muslim world will continue to embrace bin Laden’s doctrine of violent anti-Westernism,' Ms. Wright is considerably more positive, asserting that a decade after 9/11, 'the Islamic world is now in the throes of a counterjihad' aimed at routing 'extremism in its many forms' and that this 'counterjihad will define the next decade as thoroughly as the extremists dominated the last one.'"
from a New York Times book review by Michiko Kakutani, August 1, 2011