B A R R Y L A N D .



poetry slam.








a dense meal from the English language's father superior

coffee eucharist.
an outdoor whiff of coffee brings back a lost Eden

bow ties.
why the real ones that you tie are sexier, and how to do it

observations on what my life is going to be like

father brown mysteries.
ever heard of England's second favorite detective?


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There's nothing better for a lover of language and ideas than poetry. It's a distillation of the language that's going on at a moment, and although it shares the role that all the arts have in helping us to hear the centuries against the years, poetry's unique aspect is that it uses the sand of words to build sandcastles with. That combination of firmness and slipperiness gives it a kick, even in an age in which we don't think we recognize its power.

So, I give you some of my favorite poems. I'll be adding to this section as we go, but I'll start with the title poem from John Ormand's collection Cathedral Builders and Other Poems. Then some of my favorites by Gerard Manley Hopkins, and finally one by me.


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C A T H E D R A L   B U I L D E R S
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They climbed on sketchy ladders towards God,

with winch and pulley hoisted hewn rock into heaven,

inhabited sky with hammers,

defied gravity,

deified stone,

took up God's house to meet him,

and came down to their suppers

and small beer,

every night slept, lay with their smelly wives,

quarreled and cuffed the children,

lied, spat, sang, were happy, or unhappy,

and every day took to the ladders again,

impeded the rights of way of another summer's swallows,

grew grayer, shakier,

became less inclined to fix a neighbor's roof of a fine evening,

saw naves sprout arches, clerestories soar,

cursed the loud fancy glaziers for their luck,

somehow escaped the plague,

got rheumatism,

decided it was time to give it up,

to leave the spire to others,

stood in the crowd, well back from the vestments at the consecration,

envied the fat bishop his warm boots,

cocked up a squint eye,

and said, "I bloody did that."








a dense meal from the English language's father superior

n e x t   p a g e