Dover Bitch

Friday, January 16, 2009

How dull it is to pause!

It's time for Dover Bitch to hang 'em up. This blog has been neglected by me for some time, but I've been waiting until an appropriate day to put it to rest, and that day is finally upon us.

It is the end of an era, at last: The country is now out of Dick Cheney's cold grip. Many of us survived. Some spectacular people did not.

When I started this blog, it did not actually occur to me that anybody would read it. I had zero ambition for it. It was to be my online catharsis.

The day I met Digby, I gave her a poem by Theodore Roethke, "Against Danger." The word "against" is the greatest of all adpositions. Unlike "on," "within" or "among," the word "against" carries with it a vitality. There is an implied force behind it. A will. And to have been a left-leaning blogger during the Bush years was certainly to have been "against danger."

During the anthrax attacks, I had an epiphany while re-reading Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" and Anthony Hecht's "Dover Bitch." In short, it occurred to me that it was presumptuous to assume that the woman in both poems was the "bitch." Perhaps it was Arnold (Hecht makes Arnold the speaker of his own poem). Perhaps it's the man in "Dover Bitch." Perhaps it's all or none of them. A situation can certainly be a bitch. The complaints of both speakers could be bitching.

But the revelation I had is that attempts to reject the world fail. Arnold looked out his window and did not realize the world he despised was right there in the room with him. In fact, his window is a part of that world. He, too, is a part of the world. It is reason I named this blog Dover Bitch and gave it the description: Your window to the world is a part of the world and so are you.

With that spirit, I tried to do more than be "against danger." More often than not, I think I failed. But I learned quite a bit, mostly through my interactions with other bloggers and commentators. And so I would like to thank a few of them.

First and foremost, I would like to thank Digby. Guest posting at Digby's blog is a real fast way to discover how much better she is than everybody else (or at least, than I). I'm happy to say that I think I saved my best post ever for General JC Christian's blog. Thanks for everything, General! I'd also like to say thank you to Glenn Greenwald, who definitely made blogging a more rewarding experience.

Other people who made my blogging days rewarding (and I'm sure I will forget more than a few), some of whom I was fortunate to meet and some of whom I was lucky to engage in correspondence (some I only read) are: Atrios, TRex, Steve Gilliard, Roy Edroso, Dengre, Batocchio, Jane Hamsher, Christy Hardin Smith, Suzanne, SteveAudio, Greg Sergent, Josh Marshall, Steve Benen, Brad R, David Neiwert, MJS, Lindsay Beyerstein and Kagro X. I'd also like to thank a certain Maverick, whom I was never able to lure into the world of blogging. He would have made this a much better blog with his own personal touch, but he influenced it, nonetheless.

Finally, it is not only because Obama will be president in just a few days that I'm shutting down today. This blog actually began on the anniversary of Anthony Hecht's death, and it seems fitting to end it on his birthday, January 16th. So in tribute to him, I say farewell on this day.

Maybe I'll see you around in the comments somewhere. Maybe one day I'll feel compelled to call myself a blogger again. I don't expect to. But I wish you all health, happiness and peace, and I leave you with one of Hecht's finest poems...



And the Spirit of God
moved upon the waters

Where the wind listeth, there the sailboats list,
   Water is touched with a light case of hives
Of wandering gooseflesh. The strange power and gist
   Of whatever it is that animates our lives

Scrawls with a lavish hand its signature
   Of ripples gathered into folds and pleats
As indecipherable, chiselled, pure
   And everlasting as the name of Keats.

The surface wrinkles in spirit-shapes that sprint
   Like small rapids or frightened schools of fish;
They blot out images of cloud, the print
   Of passing hulls, obeying something's wish.

These vagrant hieroglyphs, now here, now there,
   In which the fate of everything lies writ
By the invisible majesty of air,
   Prove we are one and all illiterate,

And should be asking: "What do they portend?"
   Other, please God, than those fiery words for coins
That signified to Belshazzar the end
   Of all his hopes and the issue of his loins.

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