Go Occupy Those Forlorn Chairs

It’s summer, and I’ve been thinking of what poet Billy Collins called those, “forlorn chairs/though at one time it must have seemed/a good place to stop and do nothing for a while.” Even situated, as they usually are, to take in the view, it’s hard for those chairs to compete with the attention-grabbing distractions found […]

Guest Post: Can an Equation be a Poem?

“The most distinct and beautiful statement of any truth must take at last the mathematical form.” —Henry David Thoreau April is Mathematics Awareness Month. April is also National Poetry Month. Coincidence? Yep, almost definitely. But it’s also an opportunity: I’d like to propose that we—you and I, at least until the end of this blog […]

Let a Vast Assembly Be

In 1908, a young Lithuanian immigrant named Pauline Newman got a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, then one of New York City’s biggest garment factories. She worked as a “cleaner,” trimming threads off the new clothes and boxing them for shipment. It was dull, tiring work, with bullying bosses who forced the workers to […]

Abstruse Goose: A Walk on Mars

__________ This reminds me of that idiot, Walt Whitman,  who thought his appreciation of the stars was so superior to the learn’d astronomer’s.  The guy needed a pie in the face. But here’s the question:  is good poetry (not AG’s) as enlightening, meaningful, or interesting as a walk on Mars — or any kind of […]

To hell with grass

This is a discussion about an uncomfortable subject—an emotion that everyone has felt, but no one wants to admit. Envy—it’s a four letter word. In the rare instances when we talk about it, we do so in whispers amongst our closest confidants. Mostly, we insist it doesn’t exist, because we don’t like what it says […]


It’s commenter appreciation day here at Last Word on Nothing. If you’ve ever wondered why there’s a delay when you leave a note in the comments section, it’s because live human beings monitor them. We reject spam and nastygrams. But those poor spambots try so hard that today I think it’s time to recognize their […]

Tonight: Blood Moon

UPDATE:   I woke up, looked at the clock, then looked out the window at the moon — no eclipse.  “They must have gotten it wrong,” I thought.  I looked at the clock again, saw I had misread it, and realized with a little shock of joy, they never get this wrong.  Other phenomena of nature […]

Without Learn’d Astronomers; Or, Walt, Shut Up

A book I just read said that while the sun once held a gloriously central place in the lives of men, it has now been sidelined and downgraded by science — which I disagree with, you can’t find a more dedicated sun worshipper than a solar scientist.   The  book’s complaint is standard English major stuff, […]