Owe no one anything but to love one another. —Romans 13.8

What shallowness, what an impoverished view
of human life, that reckons men to be
machines that will dispense whatever we
desire if only we are careful to
insert the right amount of cash. That peace
and justice can be purchased like a soft
drink or a bag of chips should well be scoffed
at. Do we really think the rage will cease
once reparations checks have been received?
Do we so little understand the soul
that we think this new version of the dole
will satisfy those who have been aggrieved?
__The currency we need to satisfy
__this debt is sadly in too short supply.



T.M. Moore’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals, and he has published five volumes of verse through his ministry’s imprint, Waxed Tablet Publications. He is Principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, he and his wife, Susie, reside in Essex Junction, VT.

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43 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    The entire idea of “reparations” for slavery is absurd, since no person living today (of whatever race) has any responsibility for what happened hundreds of years ago. Moreover, many contemporary Americans (of various ethnic and racial backgrounds) have no blood ties whatsoever with those who were responsible for slavery.

  2. Carole Mertz

    How well said, T.M. Moore. Money can’t fix everything! Also a note to Joseph, just a reminder that some of us, perhaps more than we know, may have bloodlinks to our other indigenous peoples. (P.S. I’m not related to Elizabeth Warren. Wink, wink.)

  3. Sally Cook

    Mr. Moore, this was a well-written poem, but only addressed part of the concept. Reparations is a political idea aimed at guilt-ridden people.
    Joe, your rational response is commendable.
    If I chose to feel victimized (and it is a choice) I might have found any number of reasons to feel sorry for myself. For instance, there was a four day gap during the coldest part of last winter, due to a weekend and an additional two day delay .before we had heat again. Whom should I have chosen to blame? The heating people, the furnace itself, circumstance, the weather, or myself? I could have blamed anything. Why not a political party, the devil, or the Almighty?
    I then got pneumonia and fallen head first into yet another guilt trip. Point being that anyone can blame anything for whatever happens to them.
    Too bad victim-oriented people will always find something for which to blame for their circumstances. Right now some of us are supposed to feel guilty for NOT being minorities. Segmentation of the human race is being manipulated in order to make us more controllable, Anyone who submits to it is both stupid and self-indulgent.

    • T. M.

      It wasn’t meant as a treatise on reparations, but a lament on the shortage of neighbor love everywhere present in our day.

    • T. M.

      The debt we owe all our neighbors, Joe, aggrieved or not. We will never become a healthy society until we rise above the muck of self-interest and love one another. Sadly, those who should be leading the way in this have sailed into the self-interest attractor beam and are being sucked into the black hole of narcissism just like everyone else.

      • Joe Tessitore

        Does my “aggrieved” neighbor love me, the one who has his eye on my wallet because of the color of my skin?

  4. Lannie David Brockstein

    We Canadians and USAmericans do owe reparations to the First Nations peoples, whose ancient homelands our countries did confiscate, and many of whose citizens were starved to death. Every victim of genocide does deserve to receive reparation from those who profited off of that genocide. There is no shame, whatsoever, in anybody recognizing that they have been victimized, if in fact they have been victimized. Reparations are a necessary part of reconciliation.

    Do the Christian, Falun Gong, and Uyghur Muslims victims of The Communist Party of China not deserve reparations from China?

    Did the Israelites not rightfully so receive silver and gold, along with jewels and clothing, as reparations from the ancient Egyptians for having suffered 400 years of slavery at the hands of the ancient Egyptians before beginning their journey into the wilderness and towards Israel?

    Exodus 12:35 (KJV): ” And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:”

    The Beatles wrote that “Money can’t buy me love”, and neither can reparations, but that does not mean the victims of genocide are not deserving of reparations.

    Along with the First Nations peoples, and African-Americans, a non-racial group in North America that deserves reparations is the lower class, whom have had none other legal option but to buy rent from the upper class, month after month, and year after year, for decades, along with their having absolutely nothing to show for it, but with the millionaire upper class “landlords” having everything to show for it.

    The feudalistic housing laws in North America are corrupt because they do not provide the lower class with a rent-to-own option. Those feudalistic housing laws are prejudiced and thus unconstitutional in both Canada and the U.S.A., because they make it possible for the disadvantaged poor to be exploited by the privileged rich.

    Those corrupt feudalistic housing laws are largely why the lower class is the lower class, and why the upper class is the upper class, as having none other legal option but to buy rent in perpetuity is the root cause of poverty.

    Those corrupt feudalistic housing laws need to be abolished, so that if any low income citizen does continue to rent a residential unit until the total amount of rent that has been purchased does equal what that rental unit is worth on the open market (which millions of poor senior citizens have already been forced to spend on rent, many times over), then the rich upper class “landlord” will be legally required to sign over ownership of that unit to that poor tenant.

    Those who seek to deny the justice that reparations can rightfully so provide to the victims of those whom have been exploitative towards innocent others, truly have a severe deficit of compassion to their personality. They are being no different than was Ebenezer Scrooge, before he did finally have a change of heart.

    It is not the victims of genocide, such as the First Nations peoples and African-Americans whose ancestors were forced from their ancient homelands and abused, that have “a ceaseless rage”, to paraphrase part of T.M. Moore’s ‘Reparations’.

    It is also the upper class that has not yet “ceased to rage” against the lower class.

    It is the countries that are guilty of having committed genocide, and that have not yet paid reparations for their having profited from their having committed genocide, that have not yet “ceased to rage”. That regrettable attitude has clearly been demonstrated in many of the heavily denial-of-responsibility-laden comments that have already been posted at The Society of Classical Poets in reply to T.M. Moore’s ‘Reparations’. May the Ghost of Christmas Future visit each and every one of them.

    • Joseph S. Salemi

      First of all, congratulations on being a perfect clone of that Maple-Leaf idiot who runs your country, Justin Trudeau.

      Second, you seem to be preternaturally obsessed with housing laws. Do you think that your rent-rates are too high, perhaps? If you are a property owner, why don’t you sacrificially give part of your house or your land to the “oppressed”? I’m sure that will make you feel even more virtuous than you obviously feel now.

      Third, the vast majority of black Americans (and a large majority of persons claiming Indian descent both here and in Canada) have a high percentage of European blood. In the case of black Americans, that blood is largely from the loins of their original slave masters or slave dealers. If reparations are paid, should some of the funds come out of their pockets, since they are descendants of those who practiced and profited from the institution of slavery?

      Stop thinking with your glands, Brockstein.

      • Lannie David Brockstein

        There are many thousands of Residential School survivors living in today’s day and age, as the last residential school in Canada was finally shut down for good in 1996. It doesn’t matter if the Residential School victims are mostly of European or First Nations descent. All survivors of Canada’s Residential School system deserve to receive reparations from the federal government of Canada for the abuse they suffered at the hands of the Christian churches that ran those publicly funded schools.

        As for the reparations which the U.S. descendants of the black slaves deserve, that is also what the Canadian descendants of black slaves deserve. There are four black slave cemeteries in Canada.

        Ought it not be asked by the community at SCP how many contributors to The Society of Classical Poets are black Americans, in comparison to how many are white Americans? Whether intentional or not, is there racial inequality at SCP? If so, then does The Society of Classical Poets have an outreach program whereby it regularly takes the initiative to invite black American poets to send in their classical poems for publication? Doesn’t reconciling the general public with the historically white culture of classical poetry in English include expanding that culture at SCP to feature in greater numbers the classical poems of today’s black American poets that merit publication due to the music of their rhyming and metered verse?

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        I said that this guy Brockstein was an idiot, but now, after his post of November 9, I think he is simply a perfect stereotype of the kind of flaked-out p.c. thinking that has infected the Western world.

        He wants the SCP to initiate an affirmative-action outreach program? This website is open to the participation of anyone who comes here to submit poems or to comment. Is Brockstein saying that non-white poets are too stupid to locate this website and participate?

  5. T.M.

    He may not, and if he does not, he’s as much a part of the problem as you or I may be. But his failure to love does not excuse mine.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Wah, wah! This victim-nation mentality is what keeps the poor downtrodden where they are, not the “evil” landlords. Are you not aware that public education is provided free for every child in the USA? In fact, it’s mandatory. Is it some antebellum slave-owner’s fault that so many fail to take advantage of what they have been granted? In any case, if a price can be put on what reparations should be worth, before any more money is handed out, deducted from that sum should be the billions already spent on Welfare and other social programs (which, according to some, including Thomas Sowell, is the VERY CAUSE of the African-American man’s plight).
      I could go on to cite many other reasons your ideas on this matter are stupid, but I haven’t got all day. Any clear-thinking person can see that reparations will never improve the lot of those already unable to fend for themselves. Feel with your heart all you want, but when you think, think with your brain, howsoever difficult that might be for someone educated in public schools. As for American autochthons, I have great sympathy there (having read many accounts of the White Man’s atrocities), but, in terms of their aboriginal warrior culture, they should have fought harder. Tecumseh was the last great red hope. Chief Joseph, Geronimo, Cochise, Red-Sleeves and others were too late. To the victor go the spoils, and that’s that with that, despite your leftist ramblings. Debts like this can never be repaid, and it’s fatuous even to consider doing so. Accept history, because nothing can change it.

      • Sally Cook

        To me, the big problem is love. How can anyone be expected to love if one doesn’t understand what it is? It is not something you can put on or off at will. It is a sacred thing; not to be doled out on the basis of guilt.
        I would rather say “respect others.” Few among us are willing to do that. Groups, names, and terms change but CB is correct – it is always a “victor gets the spoi.ls” .world and has always been, no matter who thinks they own the more virtuous position.

    • Joe Tessitore

      It can be argued that we are struggling with a failure to love.
      It is beyond question that we are struggling with the weaponization of hate – and the accusation of same – by the American left.
      Reparations is nothing more than another arrow in their quiver.

      • C.B. Anderson

        Right, Joe. The leftists don’t really give a damn about “social justice.” All they want is leverage to promote their socialist agendas. Race-baiting and guilt-fostering is all they’ve got; logic, rationality and facts have nothing to do with it. Their agenda, in my opinion, is to destroy Western Civilization, and in their own precincts they have done quite a good job.

  6. Monty

    As you’re aware, TM, I’ve never been shy about lavishing praise on the exeplariness of your work on these pages in recent times; hence I’m sure you won’t have any qualms with me questioning what may or may not be a slight dictional imbalance in the above piece:

    To begin the second sentence in L5 with the word ‘that’.. tells us that we should align it with the word ‘that’ in L2. Thus it gives the sense that the second sentence in L5 should be taken in the same sense as the first sentence: “What shallowness, what an impoverished view of human life, that reckons peace and justice can be purchased like a soft drink or a bag of chips should well be scoffed at”.

    D’you see what I’m saying? In that sense, the “should well be scoffed at” doesn’t sit comfortably at the end of that sentence. Or, read another way, the “soft drink” and the “chips” can seem separated, as in: “That peace and justice can be purchased like a soft drink . . or a bag of chips should well be scoffed at”.

    I understand the sense in which you mean the second sentence, but to convey that sense, I feel that, ideally, it should start with the words ‘to say’ or ‘to claim’ . . as in: “To say that peace and justice can be purchased – like a soft drink or a bag of chips – should well be scoffed at”.

    Other than that, I understand and appreciate the poem fully; and I admire the poignancy of the closing couplet, ‘coz it is indeed the case that the only currency with which we can satisfy the debt . . is in woefully short supply.

      • T.M.

        I see your point, Monty. I’m always trying for the fewest possible words, and sometimes that means I fail to see a better way of saying what’s on my mind. Thanks much.

  7. James Sale

    I was going to comment that it is important that stick with reviewing the poem rather than extending it to Left/Right politics, but credit where credit is due: Monty has beaten me to it. True, it’s the usual pedantry from someone who cannot spell ‘because’ or write ‘Do you’ properly, but his heart is in the right place. All that needs to be said on the politics is, I think, summed up by Mark Milkes: “The victim cult is how populists gain power by using the culture of blame to wreck civilizations”. Let’s hope the USA and the UK can prevent this happening. Regarding the poem, I am first a great admirer of TM’s work – his recent terza rima is outstanding. This is a much slighter affair: the problem with it is that it seems like prose finding the poetic shell of a sonnet to hide in. In other words, it does not feel inspired by the Muse, but more like a technical exercise that is accomplished but not really great poetry. I suspect knows that himself, since he is capable of so much more, but I could be wrong.

    • T. M.


      I agree, it is a slighter affair. But I hope that even slight poems can be meaningful and enjoyable (otherwise, I’m in trouble as a poet). I wanted mainly to make the point spelled out in the couplet, and, you correctly observe, to keep the rest of the poem as narrative and concise as possible. Not many poetic devices here, but I do hope the compact form of the sonnet allows me to say something that both provokes and delights. I hope it “Hurts so good”, as they used to say in Tuscaloosa.

      • James Sale

        Indeed, they can TM, and also everyone needs a break from scaling the heights! As Dr Johnson – no fan of Milton – observed incredulously of Paradise Lost: whoever soared so high for so long? It’s good, but of course if you’ve set the bar at outstanding, then readers may feel a twinge of disappointment. That’s all. But we all have to write stuff that on reflection isn’t our best, since getting to the best means processing the less than best. So carry on – to Tuscaloosa and beyond!

    • Monty

      I imagine you’d find it hard to believe how eternally grateful I’ll always be that you chose to make the above comment; ‘Twas most welcome. All at once, you’ve perfectly demonstrated your petulance, pettiness and set-in-stone daubery . . and in full view of the public. Blimey.. I couldn’t have have asked for more. On top of which, you’ve made it evident that you’re unaware of the workings of apostrophed-contractions. The apostrophe informs the reader that there’s a letter(s) missing. Thus, ‘do you’ becomes ‘d’you’ in exactly the same way that ‘you had’ becomes ‘you’d’. I simply took the ‘d’ from the back to the front. (It also happens to be how I naturally say the words ‘do you’ in speech: ‘dyoo’ as one syllable.) It’s the same with “‘coz”: a simple contraction. You may say that “‘coz” doesn’t really resemble “because”: but “ain’t” doesn’t really resemble “is not”. (Again, that’s how I speak. I’ve never said the word “because”, nor did my mum. It was always: “But why not, mum?” . . “‘Coz I said so, that’s why.”)

      Such use of contractions comes naturally to those who write freely and effortlessly; which is obviously why they don’t come naturally to you. You can and will never write with such freedom; the stiffness of your writing forbids it. This can be clearly seen in your above comment, with your use of “that it is important” instead of the simple ‘that it’s important’; “cannot” instead of ‘can’t’; “Monty has beaten me..” instead of ‘Monty’s beaten me..’; “..but credit where credit is due” instead of ‘..but, credit where it’s due’; “but his heart is in..” instead of ‘but his heart’s in..’ . . . well, there’s enough just in that one comment to indicate that you’ll never use further everyday-examples such as couldn’t; could’ve; wouldn’t; would’ve; didn’t; hasn’t; won’t; daren’t. Let’s take the ‘hasn’t’, for example: “Did the postman leave any mail, John?” “He has not been yet, Jane.” See? “He has not been yet..” WE DON’T TALK LIKE THAT! We say “He hasn’t been yet..”: all day and every day. But you will always write ‘he has not been yet’. And when we talk of stiff writing, we talk of that. But the straight-jacket in which you write will never allow you to see that; to feel that. And that will always separate you from those who write without any type of jacket . . without any clothes!

      And this is before any mention of your elementary dictional blunders; not just in the above comment.. but with which most of your comments have been consistently littered ever since I’ve been affiliated with SCP. Earlier this year on these pages, I wrote a comment-cum-essay containing well-over a thousand words, within which there was just one – ONE! – error: a missing ‘we’, or ‘had’, or ‘did’ or some such irrelevance . . . which you chose to highlight in a subsequent reply. Although you were free to do so, I replied that that was a bit rich coming from you, owing to the state of your own diction. And now, fast-forward to the above comment, and what’ve we got? The same again . .

      In your very first line, we’ve got “it is important that stick with”: a missing word in between ‘that’ and ‘stick’ . . and in your penultimate line “I suspect knows that himself”: a missing name in between ‘suspect’ and ‘knows’ . . and in your other comment below, you attempted to quote Dr Johnson WITHOUT USING SPEECH-MARKS! And WITHOUT BEGINNING THE QUOTE WITH A CAPITAL LETTER! (That was my personal favourite, ‘coz it displays unequivocally the shabbiness, the amateurishness, of your writing . . and I’m so grateful that you made it public.)

      See, you just ain’t got it. Of course you can write to a certain extent; and if we were to take the writing-ability of every human in the English-speaking world over the age of, say, 30.. you’d certainly be in the above-average bracket; maybe even in the lower echelons of ‘good’ . . but that’s as far as it goes. You’ll never even see the entry-doors to the higher brackets which are reserved for those who write with finesse, with elegance, with refinement. You? You? Why, just last week on these pages, in another thread, you used the offensive ‘btw’ in a comment (the first time I’ve ever seen it on these pages; and, I hope, the last.. behave yourself). That’s YOUR level; that’s where you’re at.. that’s where you’ll stay.

      How blatant of you – with your aimless use of the word “pedantry” – to try deflecting from what was a perfectly valid and informed remark I made concerning a slight dictional anomaly in the above poem (a remark, lest it be forgot, with which the author concurred, and expressed his gratitude to’ve been alerted of such). Pedantic? Nah.. you’re just jealous! Jealous ‘coz you never spotted said anomaly when you first read the piece; jealous ‘coz you wouldn’t have spotted it if those words had jumped off the page and slapped you round the face! And jealous ‘coz it reminded you of your ineptitude in such precise matters of diction. And your jealousy was such that it even disabled you from the rational thought of: “Hold on, I can’t call Monty’s remark pedantic, ‘coz the author’s agreed with him”. No, you just went right out and said it. As vacuous and as groundless as it was, your jealousy dictated that you just had to say something negative . . leaving no one in any doubt of how things really are behind your keyboard.

      In view of all the above, it can now be seen that you’re in no position to comment on any dictional error – perceived or real – that I make on these pages . . . and the fact that you’ve chosen to do so – again – with the futile and desperate suggestion that I don’t know how to spell ‘because’ . . . makes it clear that you’ve done so only out of the words I used above: petulance and pettiness. One might add the word ‘vindictiveness’.

      As such, I insist that you make a further comment to this thread with the words:

      a/ I, Mr Sale, hereby admit that I’m simply in no position to ever again pass comment on the diction and/or grammar of other contributors to these pages.

      b/ I also admit that I have never known, and will never know, whether Monty’s heart is in the right place, the wrong place, or any other place.

      c/ I also now realise that such basic ineptitude, coupled with my tattoo of disingenuousness, precludes me from volunteering to review the work of others, and I realise that it was these factors which led to the debacle of my attempted review of Carol Smallwoods book last year.

      p.s. When you wrote in your above comment the words: “Monty’s beaten me to it” . . you would’ve had no way of knowing when you wrote them how prescient they’d become.

      ‘Ow fingz change . .

      • James Sale

        More half-baked pedantry from the master of half-baked pedantry; truly, one must ask, what is the point of such self-justifying nonsense? To paraphrase Dryden on Shadwell: ‘The rest to some faint meaning make pretence/ But Monty never deviates to sense’.

      • Monty

        Ah, one can see that my “half-baked pedantry” has now compelled you to attribute speech-marks to a quote; and begin it with a capital letter. It’s satisfying to see that such “pedantry” had an educational effect on you. You ask “what is the point”; well, THAT is the point. You now know how to use quotes properly. In which case, should you not be showing gratitude for my “pedantry”?

        It’s been shown throughout history that ‘the pen can be mightier than the sword’; but in your case, it’s simply not true. Your pen is not mighty, it’s average. This would explain your fondness for using other people’s quotes in your comments, instead of finding your own words. It’d also explain your repeated use of the word “pedantry”. You obviously like that word, don’t you? But there are others available . . just grab yourself a thesaurus.

        Accept, man, accept. Just accept your writing limitations; and accept that such limitations will always preclude you from pointing-out other people’s grammatical errors; accept that you’re never again to use the text-message acronym ‘btw’ on these pages; accept your place in the grander scheme of all things pertaining to quality-of-writing.

        I feel certain that I’ve presented an unarguable case against you; and I shall argue no more. I’ve said what clearly needed to be said. If you still feel the desire to respond, then said response must again include the word ‘pedantry’, and it must include a quote from another.

  8. Gregory Spicer

    Dear T.M.,

    I thank you for your sonnet posted above since it has hilariously managed to flush out several of the SCP’s most insipidly tough talking outrage whores.

    Soon they will all be wearing their pretended victimhood on their sleeves by insisting that liberal boogeymen will not allow them to say “Merry Christmas!”

    Frankly, I am amazed your poem was allowed to be displayed in a venue where they seem to prefer the sort of poetics that are, like contemporary conservatism itself, as humorlessly self marginalizing as a rabid dog in a crowded daycare. I salute your gift for pushing so many sophomoric buttons all at one time.

    As to the mechanics of the piece, I will concur with Jim Sale plus suggest that you might examine and emulate the line ending techniques of Alexander Pope. Elsewise I think you are at least four fifths of the way towards premium sonneteering. I look forward to…Moore.

  9. James Sale

    The reason I use the word pedantry in connection with you, Monty, is because it is the correct word: you are a pedant whose comments are less than helpful. That is why the word has to be repeated. Like the pedant in Hierocles, who wanted to show someone his house, so what did he do? He took along a brick. Unlike you – and I have at this point to say this – I am a professional writer who earns considerable royalties and commissions each year from my writing. I am published by three of the biggest publishers in the world, Macmillan, Pearson and Routledge. My work for Pearson includes a UK best selling title on Macbeth. My work for Routledge – one of the most academic imprints in the world – is for a 7 series set of books of which 4 are now out. I have had three books on English grammar published and over 40 books published by at least 10 different publishers. I write professionally and regularly for New York’s Epoch Times on culture and myth. Nearer to home, I won first prize in the 2017 SCP poetry competition and first prize in their 2018 prose competition. My reviews of books on these pages have had extremely warm and personal responses. What, therefore, gives you the right – you don’t write poetry and you know nothing of literary criticism clearly – to bang on about an ‘unarguable case’? Indeed, what have you written that is of any significance at all? You are some sad legend in your own mind, Monty, and if you knew anything at all, you’d know that. I like to be positive but I am compelled to warn all readers of these pages to take what you say with a complete pinch of salt, since most of it reveals astonishing levels of pure ignorance. But now I’m done talking to the pedant. Done. Ignorance is not educable when it is wilful, like yours.

    • Monty

      You’ve now changed the subject: hence I feel qualified to comment further. I was referring only to your stiffness as a writer, and that still stands, as has been evidenced. So, you’ve compiled some books containing your own notes and comments on the work of another author; what does that prove? They are only that . . notes and comments, and are no different to the way readers on these pages make comments on other people’s poems. Such books are not about your own writing; they’re about the writings of the author on which you make your notes and comments . . thus they do nothing to prove or disprove whether you yourself have the ability to be a high-class writer.

      I would never normally boast about such things, and I’m certain that this is the first I’ve mentioned it on these pages: but you may discover that in the same year you won the SCP Prose Competition . . one of SCP’s Poetry Competitions was won by one “who doesn’t write poetry”. How could that be?

    • Monty

      I half-expected you to leap on to the bandwagon, but that’s alright . . I can take it from a writer. But I wasn’t prepared to take it from one who writes.

  10. James Sale

    Thanks Joe for your support – I dislike attacking people, and I dislike commending myself or my qualifications, such as they are, since it’s bad form – I know that – but when an egregious ignoramus keeps ploughing on, discouraging others from writing, because of largely absurd or minor infractions of ‘some rule, somewhere’, and seems to have no concept of what literary criticism is about, I feel it is my duty to point this out – for the sake of the others – in order to reprimand these oceans of ludicrous assertion. As with you, I am not easily discouraged, but some talents are, and for them, therefore, one speaks. But now, enough is enough: let ignorance and pedantry keep banging its head against its own walls. It is clearly incorrigible.

  11. T. M.

    I went out to a hockey game,
    anticipating craft and skill,

    with friends whose interests were the same
    as mine. And all was fine until

    a fight broke out, and blows began
    to rain, and others joined the fray.

    And every simple-minded fan

    (like me) began to wince and say,

    “Where is the sport in this? The fine

    teamwork, the flashing skates, the pass-
    and-dish that crosses the blue line

    in just the nick, and then the blast

    that sneaks in past the goalie’s out-
    stretched leg and brings the home crowd to

    its feet?” That’s what this game’s about,
    not all this trying to outdo

    your adversary, or to land

    the final blow before we call
    it quits. I simply cannot stand
    it when a rowdy, bloody brawl

    breaks out. We all lose sight

    of art when players choose to fight.

    • Monty

      I’m not guilty, TM. Of course it’s unfortunate that it happened on your page, and I dearly wish it hadn’t; but I can genuinely hold my hands up and say I’ve done no wrong. It’s there for all to see how, when, and by whom, the whole thing started. And once it WAS started, I was well within my rights to finish it in the way I did.

      It’s a shame that your poem got caught in the crossfire – perhaps you could ask the other chap to never again hijack your page to launch an unprovoked attack on another.

  12. Gregory Spicer

    Dear Classical Quarrelers,

    For what it’s worth, I rather enjoy Mr. Monty’s writing style as seen in these threads. I haven’t seen much of it otherwise but it reminds me of a character by the name of Drinkwater in “Captain Brassbound’s Conversion” by George Bernard Shaw. I find it refreshing most likely because I haven’t read that sort of thing for awhile. I recollect enjoying it, so…time for a revisiting of Shaw.

    I also find Jim Sale refreshing but of course in an entirely different way and I’m not just saying that because he’s an Englishman.

    I state for the record that there is room in my world for both because in either case I see no adolescent style bullying techniques like those employed by Professor Salome, Salome, Hillbilly Baloney or his corncob, know it all, OK boomer sidekick, Boastmaster General…”Kip”. Dirt bags abound.

    If you’re going to quarrel, do it creatively.

    As to the topic of pedantry I daresay that the SCP pastures are rich with it’s manure…which I see, like a farmer might, as a good thing. Why? I’ll tell you.
    It’s a good thing because you’ve got to attain a certain level of literacy before you can earn the coveted title of “pedant”.

    No,I do NOT see dead people. I see silver linings.

    I work with a crowd of dudes who I fervently wish could be pedantic someday. It would be a delightful measure of progress.

    In conclusion, I offer this modest token of my very own pedantry as a kind of classical poetry mission statement.

    A poem’s dream catcher lattice
    Grabs words like flies in a spider’s web
    And though the juncture lacks status
    There is some flow before it’s ebb.
    But thoughts are tough to snare so well
    On such spaced out gossamer nets
    Enchanting, like a witches spell,
    In a contest of arcane frets
    As when musicians jam all night
    In some improvisational mosh
    Trying like hell for some delight
    In a lyric or two that’s posh,
    And whether or not it nabs a quid
    It is how order charms the id.


  13. Lew Icarus Bede

    Mr. Moore’s timely sonnet has indeed stirred up many voices, good points from Mr. Salemi, Ms. Mertz, Ms Cook, Mr. Tessitore, Mr. Anderson, etc.

    I think Mr. Moore’s use of “That” at the beginning of L5 is better as is than adding an infinitive to it. Although one may agree with Mr. Phillips about the quality of much of Mr. Sale’s writing, the same may be said of all of all of our writing—it is hard to reach even the flawed plateaus of Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden or Pope. If, however, I were studying line endings, I would study those of Shakespeare over Pope.

    I agree with Mr. Sale’s assessment “it seems like prose finding the poetic shell of a sonnet to hide in”; though I disagree with Mr. Sale’s comment “that it does not feel inspired by the Muse,” a comment I find unhelpful in literary criticism, nor would I, like he does, disparage accomplished technical writing. As I mentioned on another SCP strand, in one of my University of Maryland classes, I wrote sonnet after sonnet paragraphs that I turned into essays, somewhat in the manner of a Pushkin narrative, who was in my sights at the time. That being said, one of the ways to understand another writer is to write out excerpts of his or her works.

    What shallowness, what an impoverished view of human life, that reckons men to be machines that will dispense whatever we desire, if only we are careful to insert the right amount of cash. That peace and justice can be purchased like a soft drink or a bag of chips should well be scoffed at. Do we really think the rage will cease once the reparations’ checks have been received? Do we so little understand the soul that we think this new version of the dole will satisfy those who have been aggrieved? The currency we need to satisfy this debt is sadly in too short supply.

    And though I am not as fond of his moneyed sonnet as I am of Milton’s “On His Blindness”, his rhetoric, poetic elements, and cadences are nearly Shakespearean, and as such his poetic prose is very nice indeed.

    • T. M.


      May I say, “Phew, Lew; thanks for getting us back to the subject of this website.” And thanks for you most encouraging words. As I have mentioned in other strands, in my poetry I strive for a more narrative flow, to highlight the delight and power of ordinary words, in conversational mode, arranged in poetic devices. I don’t know if there’s a word for what I do poetically – unless perhaps, substandard. But it’s what I enjoy and find meaningful. You are too kind in your assessment.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Sorry to rain on your Peace, Brotherhood, and Harmony Parade, T.M., but this needs to be said:

        You allowed that flaming ignoramus, Monty, to attack James Sale in a vicious and really unprovoked manner. Monty couldn’t wipe the shoes of James Sale, who is a distinguished and accomplished writer of international standing.

        Then you allowed a boring leftist troll, Gregory Spicer, to write the following about myself and C.B. Anderson:

        “Professor Salome, Salome, Hillbilly Baloney or his corncob, know it all OK boomer sidekick, Boastmaster General… ‘Kip’. Dirt bags abound.”

        And this talentless buffoon Spicer accuses ME of “adolescent style bullying.” How droll.

        You want peace, T.M? Recall the Scriptures: “They shall cry, Peace, Peace, and there shall be no peace.” Or Christ’s words: “I have come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword.” Or His violent treatment of the money-changers in the Temple. Or His words about the scribes and pharisees being “a brood of vipers.”

        By the way — you can’t be much of a hockey fan if you don’t realize that the very raison d’etre of the game is violent fighting.

    • Gregory Spicer

      Dear Mr. Bede,

      You have given accurate voice to my own thoughts regarding Jim Sale’s critique of the sonnet. I also feel the ‘Poetic shell” remark to contain validity but I also think “does not feel inspired” isn’t quite spot on either.

      Rewriting it as prose is a neat trick and reminds me of Erik Didriksen’s book of “Pop Sonnets”. Have you read it?

      And of course the Bard of Avon is always worth emulating. I simply did not wish to have him be my first go to name drop. I wouldn’t want to wear the old boy out, like what rappers are doing to the time honored couplet.

      Milton! (Doesn’t it always seem right to have an exclamation point after his name? I blame Wordsworth for that.)

      Milton! He always gets me with his Sonnet 23.

      My apologies as well to Mr. Moore. I hope you do not perceive my digressions as a lack of admiration for you or your work. It’s just that I am so easily distracted and I admit that I am vain enough to think of it as a sign of inspiration, if not genius.

      But what better way to be motivated, eh? It sure beats meth.


  14. T.M.


    I have no control over what people say to or about one another, and I don’t know folks well enough to join the fray. I am a bit uncomfortable with the fact that, more than I would wish, my poems and essays seem to cause flare-ups, when my purpose is to provoke interest and promote mutual edification. James Sale has been very encouraging to me, and I appreciate that, and his response to my hockey poem. I don’t know Monty or any of the combatants, but I felt as if I, having sparked this melee, should have made an effort to cool it down. Sorry to have provoked you – or anyone. Definitely not my goal.


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