Gross PoemI have always thought that poetry was meant to...


July 30, 1992

Gross Poem

I have always thought that poetry was meant to lift the spirit, to bring beauty into drab lives.

It is hard to find any inspiration or beauty in the poem, "Relationships," by Pulitzer Prize winner Mona Van Duyn which you thought worthy of publication (Opinion Commentary, June 24). In fact, this "arty" poem seems to me an exercise in grossness.

Time was when poems such as Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" and Rupert Brooke's "Waikiki" could move the reader with compelling eloquence.

Arnold writes of "the sea meething the moon-blanched land, -- the grating roar of pebbles which the waves draw back and fling up the high strand." Brooke speaks of "new stars that burn into the ancient skies, -- over the murmurous soft Hawaiian sea."

These are beautiful lines, good examples of unspoiled art.

I know that style in poetry changes. Tennyson and Longfellow are out of favor. But "Relationships," a modern poem if ever there was one, loses its way early in the game (line 1).

PD I say: Bring back the Victorian poets. At least they made sense.

Julia Grimes


Trader Chief

Our president, George Bush, continues to say he can cure all the economic problems as soon as Congress will pass a major cut in the capital gains tax.

With the present bloated price of common stocks, there must be a very large number of wealthy persons who would like to dispose of their holdings, purchased at much lower prices, if they did not have to pay a fair share in income taxes.

We have a businessman president, who doesn't feel that investment profits should be taxed as much as money earned by sweat and toil, or invested in low interest savings.

Would he also favor eliminating deductions for losses incurred in stock trading? I think not.

Frank L. Glaw


Beware the Bat

Regarding your article on bat lovers July on 20, four years ago my 5-year-old daughter was bitten by a rabid bat while asleep in our home in lower Delaware.

She is now a happy, healthy 9-year-old, having bounced back from the psychological and physical trauma of the event and subsequent treatment. The stress experienced by the entire family was unimaginable.

We were informed by Delaware officials that up to 30 percent of any bat colony can be infected by rabies. As you would avoid contact with a wild raccoon, so, too, might you avoid personal contact with these nocturnal navigators.

David A. Weinstock


Gas Guzzlers

Regarding the state's new gas guzzler provision, Joseph Carroll of the Maryland New Car and Truck Dealers Association writes that he believes that "the issues of clean air, fuel conservation and revenue should be treated separately" (July 14). However, I'm not so sure why, since he and his organization are consistently opposed to all three.

Over their lifetime, higher mileage cars offer carbon dioxide emission reductions measured in tons relative to gas guzzlers.

Using more fuel efficient vehicles will not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but the savings will strengthen the overall health of the American economy. Not unlike taxes on liquor and cigarettes, by offering even the smallest encouragement for better mileage in its tax structure, the state is simply giving us a gentle nudge in the right direction.

erry J. Harris



The writer is chair of the Sierra Club Baltimore Group.

It's Simple

There are some very simple solutions to all the complaints being generated about the new ballpark:

All those people whining about their poor seats should just stop going to the games.

Those not going will now generate tickets for those complaining they can't get them.

If you must go, and you don't like the prices at the concessions, pack a lunch, or a dinner. You may not get Boog Powell's autograph, but you won't lose your shirt either.

James L. Waurin

Owings Mills

Juvenile Justice: Rule by Nobody

Hannah Arendt once defined bureaucracy as "rule by nobody." This seems a fitting description of Baltimore City's juvenile justice system.

According to reporter Scott Shane (July 21), the system is in such disarray that a youth who seems to be a first-time offender may actually have several prior arrests which are lost in the "paperwork jungles."

As a result, he is sent home to await a hearing which may take many months to be scheduled, providing him with ample opportunity to commit additional offenses.

Juvenile Court Judge David B. Mitchell calls these delays "unconscionable," but the response of other officials leaves much to be desired.

The police major responsible for the paperwork attributes the backup to several clerical employees' taking extended medical leave. (Has he never heard of temporary replacements?)

A Juvenile Court master, seemingly at a loss for words, simply describes the situation as "crazy." And the director of the state Juvenile Services Administration, sounding utterly defeated, is reduced to complaining that today's young felons merely laugh at the system.

If this collective hand-wringing is the best we can expect from those in charge, we are in deeper trouble than we think.

For these are the responses we might expect from an exasperated public, but not from those who are supposed to be running the system.

The futility of their comments suggests not only that they have no better idea of what to do than anybody else, but that they view their jobs as little more than keeping a lid on the problem.

But the lid is off, exposing the system for what it really is: an anonymous bureaucracy, devoid of solutions, ruled by nobody. I wonder what has to happen before this sorry state of affairs is rectified.

Howard Bluth


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