In the back of my classroom stands Blake’s car
Bearing Dante’s blest Beatrice;
In martial middle, ranked desks, each
Packing a lexicon in undercarriage;
On one book’s pressed pages, surprise!—a raised
Nazi swastika.

Find the kid who did it, turn him in to turn
Him out? Or claim “a teaching moment,”
Redeem the inditer, if woe
Like that might ever be removed, might ever
Cease being banal? Maybe one should give
Credit—extra—for burning

Hate not on synagogue wall or lav stall,
But on language itself, on thought,
A ready reference, a wrought
Consciousness, edginess? Perhaps one must
Pass on the sinner instead, deal with just
The sin, that is, in all

Literalness—save at least time and trouble,
Change what can be changed, blacken out
The offense with more ink (no doubt
A “cover-up,” but what the hell)? Would “Wite-
Out” be better? Or the ultimate hit,
Scissor snipping, eh, bubba?

We mouth each day, “…with liberty and justice
For all,” and study Douglass, Twain,
Truth, Addams, Joseph, Peltier, Tan,
Cisneros, King, and on, but to what end?
The Indian benediction is bent
Backwards, blessing made curse,

Love made hate, again and again, a wheeling
Known all too well. Wheel, whorl, Blake-Dante
Vortex, spirit-world spinning on,
Esti, asti, ist, is… This then: add four
More arms, close the figure, window it. More
Pinwheel, if you will. Still.

Dear reader,

I hope you enjoyed the article you just read. It’s just one of the many deeply reported and boundary-pushing stories we publish every day at The Nation. In a time of continued erosion of our fundamental rights and urgent global struggles for peace, independent journalism is now more vital than ever.

As a Nation reader, you are likely an engaged progressive who is passionate about bold ideas. I know I can count on you to help sustain our mission-driven journalism.

This month, we’re kicking off an ambitious Summer Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. With your support, we can continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism you rely on to cut through the noise of conservative, corporate media. Please, donate today.

A better world is out there—and we need your support to reach it.


Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

Ad Policy