Thursday, November 17, 2005

Modern genius

Donald Rumsfeld (US Secretary of Defense) is currently visiting Australia for talks with our foreign and defence ministers. I'd like to play my part in honouring the fellow by bringing one of his little-known skills to your attention: Mr Rumsfeld is a poet.

Until now, the secretary's poetry has found only a small and skeptical audience: the Pentagon press corps. Every day, Rumsfeld regales reporters with his jazzy, impromptu riffs. Few of them seem to appreciate it.

But we should all be listening. Rumsfeld's poetry is paradoxical: It uses playful language to address the most somber subjects: war, terrorism, mortality. Much of it is about indirection and evasion: He never faces his subjects head on but weaves away, letting inversions and repetitions confuse and beguile.

To confuse and beguile... His work embodies the very spirit of our times.

The Situation

Things will not be necessarily continuous.
The fact that they are something other than perfectly continuous
Ought not to be characterized as a pause.
There will be some things that people will see.
There will be some things that people won't see.
And life goes on.

- D.H. Rumsfeld