With Sorrow Do I Leave

It is with sadness that I write to tell you that
I am resigning from The New York Times.

Bari Weiss, opinion writer, 13 July 2020

With sorrow do I leave The New York Times.
To vitiate your journalistic crimes,
You brought me here to lend diversity
To Twitter-tested torque of history
And orthodox-opinion paradigms.

But I have worked in hostile, toxic climes,
Dubbed “racist,” “liar,” “bigot” by your mimes.
Should I write job-securing, damn-Trump ghee?
It is with sorrow that I leave.

A piece that doesn’t ring progressive chimes
Must be massaged and cautioned by The Times,
Cleansed by a narrow-minded referee
Who deems most shades of thought as thought-debris.
Lest I commit your journalistic crimes,
It is with sorrow that I leave.



Fire in the Sky

Rival Fires on 4 July 2020

Now see the fire in this bedimming sky
As evening’s daylight gently fades away
On this great day, the fourth of this July.

The iridescent bombs are bursting high
“Please keep my people free,” is what they say
Amidst the fires in this, the dimming sky.

The joyous sights and sounds now testify
To liberty on Independence Day,
On this great day, the fourth of this July!

But dealers in disaster terrify
By turning towns into a torrid splay
Of fire and smoke ascending to the sky.

Their minions, doggies of the rogues, do ply
Their fascist trade that pledges hell to pay
On this great day, the fourth of this July.

Yet millions quell the minions’ battle cry
As myriad sounds are turning night to day
With brilliant fires of freedom in the sky
On this great day, the fourth of this July!



Jeff Kemper has been a biology teacher, biblical studies instructor, editor, and painting contractor. He lives with his wife, Sue, in York County, Pennsylvania.

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12 Responses

  1. Margaret Coats

    Excellent decision to put these serious current topics not only in meter, but in these fair forms of rondeau and sestina that intensify meter’s capacity to focus attention and refine awareness. You’ve carefully adjusted the refrains to deepen these effects. The sestina title (telling which of the rival fires is more important) and the insistently iambic “this July” give a welcome joy to the immediate situation. Good work!

    • R.H. Darby

      Hallo, Ms Coats, how do you do. A heads up, if I may… the second piece of verse is a Villanelle, not a Sestina.

  2. Richard lackman

    Very well said. More than just most of our poetry is devoid of rhythm and rhyme.

  3. Joe Tessitore

    I just read John Horvat’s opinion piece about her resignation, which provided a link to her letter.

    You’ve nailed it, Mr. Kemper.

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    It’s not just Ms. Weiss at the Times. The respected columnist Andrew Sullivan faced so much overt left-liberal bigotry at New York Magazine that he resigned from his position there just a few weeks back. And in our little world of poetry, the editor (Don Share) of the oldest and premiere journal, Poetry Magazine, was forced into leaving his position last month because one left-wing bitch got offended by a poem in the magazine, blasted it as “racist” (the usual meaningless charge), and orchestrated a campaign that got Share kicked out by the gutless cowards who run the magazine.

    Does anyone reading this still think that we are living in America? More to the point, does anyone here still think that it is incumbent upon us to be polite and courteous to our stupid friends and relatives who are planning to vote for Biden? Do you still think reasoned argument is going to work with people that deaf, dumb, and blind?

    Weiss, Sullivan, and Share are NOT conservatives. They aren’t even sympathetic to Trump. Do you have any doubt about what will happen to US if the liberal-left, Antifa, and the Black-Lives-Matter vermin take over?

    • Jeff Kemper

      Right, Dr. Salemi, and there are many others besides those you mentioned. We’re losing our nation!

      • Joe Tessitore

        You’re right, Joseph.
        Mrs. T and I no longer associate with anyone, friend or family, who is enabling this.
        We actually can’t bear to.

        The only thing I’d add to you, Jeff, is that I think we’ve already lost it.

      • R.H. Darby

        Perhaps, take example from the spirit and bravery of the the folk who fought tyranny at the Battle of Blair Mountain. The true original Red-necks.

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