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Boston -- John Collins Bossidy

(Poem #365) Boston
And this is good old Boston
The home of the bean and the cod,
Where the Lowells talk to the Cabots,
And the Cabots talk only to God
-- John Collins Bossidy

I like short poems.

Poems like 'Boston' come close to achieving perfection through their
simplicity. They don't strive for epic grandeur, for bold sweeps of
narrative or for weighty philosophy; what they strive for is something
much more difficult to achieve, that ineffable quality called 'elegance'


[1] At this point I simply have to throw in one of my favourite
non-poetic quotes, Saint-Exupery's definition of engineering elegance:
"A designer knows he has attained perfection, not when there is nothing
to add, but when there is nothing to take away.".

[More short poems]

My favourite is Peter Porter's 'Instant Fish', at poem #64

Another lovely poem is 'Juliet' by Hilaire Belloc, at poem #315

The Minstrels site has lots of Imagist poetry; you can search the poet
index for works by Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and Hilda
Doolittle, at [broken link]

The Imagists were strongly influenced by Haiku; it's worth checking out
works by Basho and Buson at the same link mentioned above.

[About the Boston Brahmins]

The insularity of the Lowells, Cabots, and their upper-crust Boston
Brahmin peers has become a topic of benign humor, best exemplified by
Cleveland Amory's unsurpassed anecdotal study of the breed, The Proper
Bostonians. Teasing stories about their ossified social conventions and
limited repertoire of first names aside, the clubbiness of these
powerful 19th-century mercantile dynasties shaped the city's design as
significantly as landfill and fire. Their wealth supported Boston's
banks, backed its real estate, invested in its capital bonds, and
endowed many of its institutions, from hospitals and schools to the
Athenæum and the symphony. Allied by marriages, education, and church
affiliations against Boston's swelling foreign-born population, Boston's
Harvard-educated Unitarian and Episcopalian Yankee oligarchy held
disproportionate sway over civic affairs through much of the 1800s. Even
a bank founded in 1816 at the behest of a Catholic archbishop and
patronized predominantly thereafter by Irish immigrants wasn't immune:
no Irish Catholic was named to its board of directors until the end of

        -- Jeff Perk, The Story of Boston
(excerpted from the Boston handbook)

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Richard Hervert said...

The poem is still alive. Alistaire Cooke quoted it in his Letter from
America, to BBC London, 4 November 2002.

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