When I was young and bold and strong, Oh, right was right, and wrong was wrong! My plume on high, my flag unfurled, I rode away to right the world. ‘Come out, you dogs, and fight!’ said I, And wept there was but once to die.
But I am old; and good and bad Are woven in a crazy plaid.
This poem appeared at the end of a fascinating portrait of Michelle Lyons, formerly of the Texas prison system, who witnessed hundreds of executions in her role as head of public information. It’s part of a well-assembled character sketch titled, “The Witness” by Pamela Colloff for Texas Monthly that gives a unique look into some of the nuances of this position. After reading this multi-layered, compelling story (discovered at Longreads), this poem seemed a wholly appropriate inclusion at its end. Check out the entire story here:
What do you think? Are you a fan of Dorothy Parker’s work? Do you ever enjoy #longreads? What are your thoughts on how time or responsibilities can change a person? Let us hear from you in the comments.
UPDATE: comment from Author Pamela Colloff
@rsmithing Thanks so much Richard! I have always loved that poem.
A typewriter, a cardboard sign, some note paper, a skateboard to sit on — and you’re in business. Met this fellow at Venice Beach offering on-the-spot poetry. He asked for a topic and about a minute later produced a poem. Definitely worth two dollars. I snapped the top photo with Hipstamatic and added solarization via Dynamic Light, combining results in Photoforge2. Also met a photographer for a another blog there that day as well. Creativity and art abound = cool stuff.
What do you think? Could you see yourself conducting such an enterprise? Would you support someone doing this? Ever seen this elsewhere? Let us hear from you in the comments.