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Southern Cross Review

Review of fiction, education, science, current events,
essays, book reviews, poetry and Anthroposophy

Number 75, March - April 2011




"Démasquée" - Akseli Gallen-Kallela - Finland 1865 - 1931

Akseli Gallen-Kallela (26 April 1865, Pori – 7 March 1931) was a Finnish painter who is best known for his illustrations of the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. His work was considered very important for the Finnish national identity.

"The benefits of working in many different areas of the arts are few, but in a small nation setting out on its own path initiative and impulses are of great importance... And finally, it is not only art that I serve with all this. Art is life, religion - everything."



Editor's Page

"The Sound of Five Fingers Pointing" - by Frank Thomas Smith

  
My uncle Tom was my hero back during “the” war, when I was a kid. He landed at Normandy as a private in the infantry . Seeing “Saving Private Ryan” gave us a better idea – feeling I should say – of what that was like. He'd fought all the way to Berlin and left the army three years later as a buck sergeant. When he finally came home and lived for a while at his parent's – my grandparent's – apartment in Brooklyn, I went there at every opportunity to listen to his war stories and, well, just to be with him...
Read more



Fiction

"Palabras de siempre" por R. Ariel Gómez

  
Cuando volvió de cirugía, mi padre tenía la cara plácida, iluminada. Sonreía tranquilo, como cuando todo estaba en orden. Entre sueños, murmuraba un diálogo que no entendí. Creo que todavía no se daba cuenta de mi presencia; así que me quedé quieto, sentado al lado de su cama tratando de comprender qué nos había pasado.
Hacía más de treinta años que mi padre tenia cálculos en la vesícula y nunca había querido operarse, hasta que un buen día, como desde la nada, decidió que sí, que se la sacaran, que esas batallas legendarias con sus médicos se acabarían de una vez por todas...Read more



"Words to Keep" by R. Ariel Gómez

  
When my father returned from surgery his face was placid, illuminated. He smiled calmly, like when everything was in order. In his dreams, he had murmured a dialogue that I did not understand. He wasn’t aware of my presence, so I remained quiet, sitting by the side of his bed, trying to understand what had happened to us.
For more than thirty years my father had gall bladder stones, cleverly dodging surgeons until one day, as if from nowhere, he decided that yes, the stones would be removed, that those legendary battles with his doctors would stop once and for all. ...Read more



"Across the Back of the Wide Aegean" by Paul Holler

  
I love the Aegean.  I love her unending sky and sapphire depths, her warm breezes and terrible winds.  I have sailed her broad back for more years than I know. Still, I can stand on a beach at Samos and let her waves curl warmly around my ankles and forget where my feet end and the sea begins.  She bears me on her back and carries me to places no man has ever beheld.  Even when the winds are still and the crew and I must take up oars, I am happy. Still, there have been times when she treated me so cruelly that I thought I would walk away from her forever.  I have seen her throw men to their deaths with no more regard than a child flicking an ant from his arm.  I have seen her lure ships with the promise of fair winds only to smash them to pieces far from land.  But, as many times as I walked away, I came back loving her all the more.  It is my fate...Read more


Current Events

"Bradley Manning's Trials - a Defense"
by Chase Madar

  
Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old from Crescent, Oklahoma, enlisted in the U.S. military in 2007 to give something back to his country and, he hoped, the world. For the past seven months, Army Private First Class Manning has been held in solitary confinement in the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. Twenty-five thousand other Americans are also in prolonged solitary confinement, but the conditions of Manning’s pre-trial detention have been sufficiently brutal for the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Torture to announce an investigation.
Pfc. Manning is alleged to have obtained documents, both classified and unclassified, from the Department of Defense and the State Department via the Internet and provided them to WikiLeaks.  ...Read more


"Cow Most Sacred - Why Military Spending Remains Untouchable" by Andrew J. Bacevich

  
In defense circles, “cutting” the Pentagon budget has once again become a topic of conversation.  Americans should not confuse that talk with reality.  Any cuts exacted will at most reduce the rate of growth.  The essential facts remain: U.S. military outlays today equal that of every other nation on the planet combined, a situation without precedent in modern history. The Pentagon presently spends more in constant dollars than it did at any time during the Cold War -- this despite the absence of anything remotely approximating what national security experts like to call a “peer competitor...Read more


Features

"Fascinated by the Mediterranean World"
by Gaither Stewart

  
When as a young man I moved to Italy it was an act of love for this Mediterranean land where lemon trees bloom. The original attraction for me however was not only the Bel Paese, as Italians like to call this truly beautiful peninsula jutting out southwards into the Mediterranean Sea and nearly reaching Tunisia. I also wanted the whole Mar Nostrum, the sea around which our Western civilization developed; I set for myself the secret goal of knowing all the lands surrounding the great sea. The attraction I felt was perhaps the same allure for the succession of peoples and civilizations, which have sought to both control and unite this beautiful and unique world. Though my original love for Italy has faded and waned in the vulgarity of contemporary Italy, not so the magical lure of the Mediterranean World as such...Read more


"In the Crosshairs - Tucson-Kabul" by Tom Engelhardt

  
Slowly a humped shape rose out of the pit, and the ghost of a beam of light seemed to flicker out from it.  Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men.  It was as if some invisible jet impinged upon them and flashed into white flame.  It was as if each man were suddenly and momentarily turned to fire. Then, by the light of their own destruction, I saw them staggering and falling, and their supporters turning to run.
That, as H.G. Wells imagined it in 1898, was first contact with a technologically superior and implacable alien race from space, five years before humanity took to the air in anything but balloons... Read more


Science

"What Do Organisms Mean?" by Steve Talbott

  
If a single problem has vexed biologists for the past couple of hundred years, surely it concerns the relation between biology and physics. Many have struggled to show that biology is, in one sense or another, no more than an elaboration of physics, while others have yearned to identify a "something more" that, as a matter of fundamental principle, differentiates a tiger, or an amoeba, from a stone. The former, reductionist aim can easily seem to ignore what is special about living creatures — and above all to ignore the way meaningful human experience seems to transcend the kind of lawfulness we observe in a merely physical object. But, on the other hand, scientists who attempt to articulate a principle differentiating the living from the non-living have all too often posited some kind of special matter or vital force that no one ever seems able to identify... Read more



Anthroposophy


"The History and Actuality of Imperialism" - Lecture 3 of 3 by Rudolf Steiner

  
When you consider what has been said here during the past two days you will see that what belongs to the essence of imperialism is that in an imperialistic community something that was felt to be part of a mission – not necessarily justified, but understandable – later continued on as an automatism, so to speak. In the history of human development things are retained – simply due to indolence – which were once justified or explicable, but no longer are. If a community is obliged to defend itself for a period of time, then it is surely justified to create certain professions for that purpose: police and military professions. But when the danger against which defense was necessary no longer exists, the professions continue to exist.... Read more

Karmic Relations, Volume 1, Lecture 8 by Rudolf Steiner

I said yesterday that although it is a somewhat hazardous venture to speak of individual karmic connections, I intended to do so, and that I would take as examples the personalities of whom I gave you certain biographical details. Later on we shall also be able to study the karma of less representative personalities, but I have chosen, in the first place, examples which show clearly how in the karmic course of repeated phases of existence, the evolution of mankind as a whole goes forward. In modern civilisation we speak of history as if it were one continuous stream of happenings: events of the 20th century are related to events of the 19th century, these again to events of the 18th century, and so on. That it is people themselves who carry over things from one epoch of history to another, that the people now living have themselves carried over from earlier epochs what is to be found in the world and in life at the present time — this knowledge alone brings reality to light and reveals the true, inner connections in the historical life of mankind...Read more


Poetry

"Kubla Kahn" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
    A stately pleasure-dome decree:
    Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery...Read more


"Fear No More" by william Shakespeare

  
Fear no more the heat o' the sun;
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney sweepers come to dust....Read more



"The Expatriate" and more light verse by Frank Thomas Smith

  
The problem with most foreign lands
is that they're far, too far away,
like the bleachers in Ebbett's used to be
before the debacle of technology.
Also, either they're terribly bland,
foggy, windy and damp, or,
if southerly, downright dangerous,
where bullets fly and sunscreen 21
can't ward off the assassin sun...Read more


"Jardines Lejanos/Distant Gardens" by Juan Ramón Jiménez

  
...I have seen in the fountain's
water deep, a woman
naked... I have seen in the frond
another woman... I wanted to see
how the rose bushes looked
in the splendor of the moon,
and found carnal roses....
...He visto en el agua honda
de la fuente, una mujer
desnuda... He visto en la fronda
otra mujer... Quise ver
cómo estaban los rosales
a la lumbre de la luna,
y encontré rosas carnales ....

Read More

Letters to the Editor

  
I always enjoy stories about the three kings. But there is something special about this one, involving town politics, local color and a careful dose of wisdom. I love the Dad's answer about the southern cross. And what a gift those Las Chacras' magi brought to the children! The story didn't fail  to transport me to the Argentina of my childhood and left me thinking, savoring the images. Someone said that the best stories keep coming back after you read them. Yours does that. Thank you for such a refreshing take on Los reyes magos... Read more




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