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Ignorance and Want

2012 December 20
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by Brandon Sargent

This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both,
and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy,
for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the
writing be erased. Deny it.’ cried the Spirit, stretching out
its hand towards the city. ‘Slander those who tell it ye.
Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse.
And abide the end.’

‘Have they no refuge or resource.’ cried Scrooge.

‘Are there no prisons.’ said the Spirit, turning on him
for the last time with his own words. ‘Are there no workhouses.’”
- Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Elegy in a Railroad Station

2012 June 11
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by Brandon Sargent
Elegy in a Railroad Station
(Broad Street, Philadelphia, obiit 1952)

I’ve always been in love with railroad stations:
By no means least of man’s superb creations.
Particularly I rate high
Old London termini
Liverpool Street (cathedral of catarrh)
Where antique bathtubs in the cellar are;
And you may know
Altars of the great gods To and Fro
At Paddington, Euston, King’s Cross, Gare du Nord,
La Salle Street in Chicago, Windsor Montreal,
The Lackawana on Hoboken shore,
The B & O beloved Mount Royal, Baltimore.
Even little Roslyn, on fish-shaped Paumanok,
Where the Long Island falters, still in hock –
Too many I love, to list, but of them all
None ever gave me quite such sublimation
As Broad Street Station.
Maybe tops of all I rank it
Because it was there, by jeepers,
Walt climbed aboard the Pullman Palace Sleepers
And tucked his noble beard outside the blanket.

I repeat your glory, Broad Street Station!
The proper shrine, the true Main Line,
Of Immortality the Intimation;
Such offsteam blowing,
Such bells, and hells of coming and going,
Suburban cowcatchers’ dainty snouts,
Beautiful barytone All abooaard shouts,
Drive wheels and firebox glowing.
Nothing was so holy as the local to Paoli
(15 and 45) when were youngalive
For Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr
Or anywhere along the P.R.R.
Then as child, boy, student, family man,
We were too self-occupied to scan
That gigantic arch of joys and pains
When trains were really trains.

There beneath tall wheels, fierce jets of stream,
We guessed the bulk and power of a dream;
To shorten space and anguish to appease
The engine rests at crouch and purrs at ease.
People cry God bless you’s and So long’s,
Gates contract or widen like lazy-tongs—
Goodbye, Goodbye! No wonder I
Preserve in pure imagination
My memory of Broad Street Station.

-Christopher Morley

2012 April 3
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by Brandon Sargent


Peacock Male

2011 August 18
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by Brandon Sargent


Work Shirt, late 19th c.


University of Pennsylvania athletic sweater, c.1890


US Navy sailor’s uniform, mid 19th c.


Chasuble, Italian, mid 18th c.

The Peacock Male
Philadelphia Museum of Art


2011 August 8
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by Brandon Sargent
dune shack2
Each day we die a little more ;
Stale custom takes its toll:
It is the unexpected Thing
That brings life to the soul.
-Harry Kemp (1883 – 1960)