Culture Clash

The Garden

By Andrew Marvell

How vainly men themselves amaze To win the palm, the oak, or bays, And their uncessant labours see Crown’d from some single herb or tree, Whose short and narrow verged shade Does prudently their toils upbraid; While all flow’rs and all trees do close To weave the garlands of repose…

Culture will not die.  Ours might one day, by becoming another’s, as we look into the ashes of our past to see nothing but sand running away. Do not look back as you go into that good night.

Dom Joly’s character is an offensive punk; he should not be in that park and he should not be speaking to a respectably dressed man.  But the from the lips of this social heathen, come some of the purest expressions of a certain beauty –  Vitruvius, da Vinci, le jardin anglais – in the first few lines of a poem by Marvel.

Yet, Transgeneric poetry existed while Vitruvio was living.  While tragedy penetrated epic, love poetry stole the latter’s arms and took a stand. Why couldn’t Hercules become Omphale’s maidservant?  Why is Ariadne on a cushion at a wedding?  What was Hippolytus up to in the woods?


We live in divided societies.  The semiotics of language cannot always show us the way to understanding the other.  The pink hair next to the besuited twat is an obvious one, but his blithering afterwards is one of truth.

But what else can I say about you, lover?  Why must we sleep in separate beds? – to get the sleep we both require.  Why do you stand there, hands in pockets, like you’re constantly bored? – I’m just not good in social situations.  You don’t have time for me?  – i do.

Always, always will we walk this road in two, because at the end there is only room for one.


And the violence comes and it is shocking, like Caesar crossing the Alps, leaving monuments.  I walked in to find you there, right where I wanted you.  To strike, to strike the face that launched a thousand tears from this one heart.

You will not be mine, but you may be mine.  Tonight, you see, I write the saddest lines.  And you know it, yet will not come.

Your culture is not mine, and yet it is mine.  And the dogs fight like cats, with single blows and kicks to throats.  The bars are not full tonight, you ask.  I’m sorry, was that a question?  No.

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