Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Horses and civil unrest

1. from "Glaucus" by Paul Muldoon (in Horse Latitudes):
It went without saying that after he lost control
of his chariot team at Pelias, and made a hames
of setting them all square,

Glaucus was still on such a roll
it was lost on him that the high point of the games
was his being eaten now by his own mares. 

II. Sylvia Nasar on Keynes, Schumpeter, and the aftermath of Versailles:
In April, thousands of gaunt and ragged men -- unemployed factory workers, paid agitators, demobbed soldiers, many with missing limbs -- descended on Vienna’s Ringstrasse, setting the Parliament building ablaze and attacking the police. The militia finally restored order, but not before a horse was shot out from under a policeman. As the animal lay dead in the street, a hungry mob tore it to pieces and carried off hunks of bloody meat. For ordinary Viennese, who adored the emperor’s white show horses the way Americans loved boxing champions, the incident was a sign that civilization was reverting inexorably to barbarism. 

III. Jon Day on the London riots:
Thick black smoke blotted out the sun. A man carrying a charred rocking horse ran up and clowned around for the phalanx of photographers and cameramen that stood between the riot police and a large group of teenagers. Everyone looked young, most looked under 18.
No riot scene is complete without some kind of horse. This, btw, is the wrong way to do it:

IV. from W.B. Yeats, "Nineteen hundred and nineteen":

Violence upon the roads:  violence of horses;
Some few have handsome riders, are garlanded
On delicate sensitive ear or tossing mane,
But wearied running round and round in their courses
All break and vanish, and evil gathers head:
Herodias' daughters have returned again,
A sudden blast of dusty wind and after
Thunder of feet, tumult of images,
Their purpose in the labyrinth of the wind;
And should some crazy hand dare touch a daughter
All turn with amorous cries, or angry cries,
According to the wind, for all are blind. 

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