28 June 2003

The Cult of the CEO
They're corporate superheroes who lay claim to ever more millions - for better or for worse. And it's usually the little people who pay.

Four years ago, US president Bill Clinton went to Mississippi to visit the home of Bernie Ebbers and WorldCom, the company Ebbers had founded. At the time, the baby telco had expanded like a teenager on steroids to have a market value of $US120 billion.

"I came here today because you are the symbol of 21st-century America," Clinton said. "You are the embodiment of what I want for the future."

Oops. These days such symbols lie shattered in financial ruins and the future seems to belong to anyone but the Bernie Ebbers of the world. Instead, the global economy is still counting the real cost of billions of dollars worth of dodgy accounting, of grandiose business dreams unconnected to financial reality and of a corporate greed so pervasive that it makes previous eras of excess seem almost sweetly old-fashioned.

But of all the extraordinary corporate stories of the 1990s, none has been more powerful than what Gideon Haigh chooses to call the cult of the CEO. This cult might have been most advanced in the US, but Australia typically picked up the trend with blind enthusiasm.

Chief Executive Officer of the United States George Bush exemplifies the cult of the celebrity CEO as do CEO of the Commonwealth of Australia John Howard and CEO of the United Kingdom Tony Blair. None of the three have produced very stellar performances. All have problems with corporate governance issues, whether it's Bush insisting that 'advise and consent' makes consultation on judicial appointments unconstitutional or Howard trying to solve problems with the Senate by acquiring even more power for himself.

But CEO Blair's PR machine has managed to move from a cult to actual worship. Appearing before the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Alastair Campbell said:

I find it incredible and I mean incredible that people can report based on one single anonymous uncorroborated source - and let's get to the heart of what the allegation is - that the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the intelligence agencies, people liker myself connived to persuade Parliament to send British forces into action on a lie. That is the allegation. I tell you, until the BBC acknowledge that is a lie, I will keep banging on, that correspondence file will get thicker and they had better issue an apology pretty quickly.

And essentially that argument, repeated in similar terms in Australia and the US, is that we cannot think about the possibility of sexed-up intelligence because it would mean disbelieving the relevant CEOs. We know that sexed-up intelligence was used because we know the Niger claim was untrue. We know that sexed-up intelligence was used because we know, for example, that Rumsfeld's claim of WMDs deployed around Tikrit and Baghdad was untrue.

An injunction never to disbelieve the CEO was not good enough for HIH or Enron. It should not be good enough for Australia, the UK or the US.
Told to heel, this dog's still got bite
'It was a dark and stormy night. ASIO was knocking at the door ..." Apologies to Snoopy (and the late Charles Schultz), but I've been looking at a blank screen for well over an hour and that's the best I can come up with. Daryl Williams, QC, would understand. Williams is the federal Attorney-General, the country's first law officer. For 15 months he's been trying to write, not the great novel but a regime of bleak interrogation laws under which people can be arrested - the Howard Government prefers "detained" - for no reason other than what they might know, even if they don't know that they know. No such legislation has previously applied in Australia. Ever. Well, it does now.

Williams has authored, finally, a piece of legislation the Senate could accept. It took two inquiries, huge controversy, two rewrites, a year of wheeling and dealing with Labor's Senate leader, John Faulkner, and a great deal of political bullying and parliamentary brinkmanship. Now it's here, for three years, minimum. What it is is the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill 2002. All 40 pages of it, plus protocols. And, in the end, the Senate did not approve it - the Labor Opposition did.

People who can't count pretend that four independents (Tasmania's Brian Harradine and Shayne Murphy, South Australia's Meg Lees and Queensland's Len Harris) hold the Senate balance of power. They don't. They only share it - with two Greens, seven Democrats and 28 Labor senators. The Government, with 35 senators, needs four of the others - any four, whoever - to join it for a simple Senate majority on any given piece of legislation. Mix and match, if necessary. And if Labor backs the Government, whatever the issue, there isn't a thing the others, the 13 minor party/independent also-rans, can do to stop them. Game, set and match.

So while the Democrats came to the Government party in 1999 to get the GST into law, and John Howard's accident-prone Communications Minister, Richard Alston, has again failed spectacularly, this time to seduce the four independents to end Paul Keating's 1986 cross-media rules, it is Labor who has bargained with the Coalition to allow Williams to have his new ASIO powers for three years, minimum.

They are much-watered-down powers to the ones Williams and his Prime Minister first wanted 15 months ago. But they're still powers the others refused to endorse. Thus when the final vote was taken two nights ago, the two big battalions lined up to crush the tiny rest, 51 votes to 12, with only Tasmania's Brian Harradine from among the "others" voting with the major parties.


ASIO does not have to knock on your door, either. Nor does ASIO do the arresting. They simply accompany the wallopers. Section 34JA says any police officer who "believes" a person named in an ASIO warrant is on "any premises ... may enter the premises, using such force as is necessary and reasonable, at any time of the day or night for the purpose of searching the premises for the person or taking the person into custody".

And exactly how much force can police use? Well, section 34J says any person subject to a warrant "must be treated with humanity and with respect for human dignity, and must not be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, by anyone exercising authority under the warrant or implementing or enforcing the direction". Yet police can shoot you if they think it "necessary and reasonable" and they have all the authority in the world to do so, even if you're guilty of nothing except maybe taking fright and running, or some other panic reaction.

Section 34JB says: "A police officer may use such force as is necessary and reasonable in a) taking a person into custody, b) preventing the escape of a person from such custody, or c) bringing a person before a prescribed authority for questioning, or d) detaining a person in connection with such a warrant." However, police "must not use more force or subject the person [under warrant] to greater indignity than is reasonable and necessary". Nor can police "cause the death of, or do grievous bodily harm to, the person unless the officer believes on reasonable grounds that doing that thing is necessary to protect the life or prevent serious injury to another person, including the officer [my emphasis]".

Reassuring, indeed.

Alan Ramsey looks set to become Oz' answer to Paul Krugman if he keeps this up. The digest for the Act is deeply scary. That Labor would combine with the Coalition to pass it is scarier still. The Amnesty International analysis is somewhat out of date but damning. These are the people who tell us that a charter of rights would be a bad thing because our liberties are safe in the hands of the parliament and do not need further protection. And this is the opposition that claims it has policies to offer the Australian people.

In March 1763 William Pitt addressed the House of Commons:
The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the force of the Crown. It may be frail, its roof may shake; the wind may blow through it; the storms may enter, the rain may enter, but the King of England cannot enter; all his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!

This sort of ancient common law is supposed to replace the horrors of governments having to observe human rights. Bugger that, opposing the bill might cost Labor votes.

27 June 2003

Suddenly, America has a brash neighbor up north
Canada has long been the United States' virtually invisible neighbor to the north.

But suddenly it is coming out of its shell - and sharpening an identity that increasingly looks like a slice of Europe on America's back porch.

It's moving to become the third nation on the planet to legalize gay marriage. It's primed to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. And it vocally opposed the US war on Iraq.

These moves reflect a growing cultural assertiveness - especially on the importance of tolerance and multiculturalism, which are enshrined in Canada's version of the Bill of Rights. The shift is increasingly putting the US and Canada - the world's biggest trading partners - on a cultural collision course.

"We look at you Americans and see the [National Rifle Association], rigged elections, Christian fundamentalists, and pre-emptive wars," says Michael Adams, author of the best-selling "Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values." By contrast, Canada is a place that prizes "peace, order, and good government." It's "a social welfare state where we raise taxes to pay for transit, housing, and more," he says.

Canada's newfound assertiveness stems, in part, from a growing confidence in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, adopted in 1982. It's akin to the US Bill of Rights. But it guarantees, for instance, equality for women, aboriginal groups, and minority-language groups.

It's led to Canada even having a cabinet position for multiculturalism.

And it's one reason for Canada's wide-open immigration policy. Fully 18 percent of Canadians are foreign born, compared with about 10 percent of Americans. In Toronto, 40 percent of residents are foreign born.

Recently Canadian courts have also interpreted the charter to guarantee rights for gays, including the right to marry.

All in all, "It's not just that Canadians are comfortable with diversity," it's something they are increasingly proud of, says Andrew Parkin, codirector of the Center for Research and Information on Canada in Ottawa. "They're now saying this is what makes them proud to be Canadian."

I know that neither Howard nor Crean are especially strong on envisioning what Australia stands for, other than assuring that refugees do not achieve their preferred migration outcomes, but there should be room in our politics for a vision of what Australia might and should be. A better reaction by the traditional parties to the idea of a charter of rights might be a good start.
He's back!
The BBC says:
Looking thinner and greyer than three months ago during his daily press briefing, [al-Sayyaf] declined to tell the Arab TV stations about the final days before Baghdad fell.

"The time is not yet ripe to say what happened. When history's ready, then we can talk about it," he said.

He refused to retract his wartime claims that Iraqi forces were "burning the Americans in their tanks", saying only that his reports came from "authentic sources - many authentic sources".

He said the war was "a difficult situation, not for one individual, but for everybody".

He denied being part of Saddam Hussein's inner circle, saying he was a professional doing his job.

All those rumours he was working on the SARS issue for Beijing or on the WMD issue for the White House must have been grossly exaggerated.
Well it's about F-ing Time
As Jody over at Naked Writing says...

[US] Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Sodomy Law

26 June 2003

snark of the week
A letter to the Asia Times:
Dear Asian times. The United States (with little help from the useless Northern Alliance who from first hand accounts retreated at every possible chance) killed at least 5000 Taliban supporters US turns to the Taliban, Jun 14. It was a f****** bloodbath. Second, the United States military has a long and honorable tradition of reporting military deaths, so the myth of not reporting the truth in causalities is bullshit. Thirdly, the second the Taliban resurface, the United States and its allies would f****** annihilate them. It would be retarded (which is an accurate description for all you f****** homo jihadists) for the Taliban sympathizers to assemble forces. The US technology and ferocity of our weapons systems caught the enemy off guard in 2001 and it would do so again now. Fourthly, The USSR's military was a joke and if it wasn't for the CIA and the stinger missiles, the anti-communist forces would have never won. Even if there was a resurgence in Taliban activity, the United States would win. Finally, as for the "surge in gorilla attacks' you must referring to when some illiterate taliban sympathizer sets up poorly constructed rockets to fire haphazardly and completely miss their targets. Stop your f****** propaganda. Do the civilized world a favor and find another way to make yourselves useful to the rational world.
F... you truly,
Senate derails media merger bill
The Government's push to deregulate the media industry was derailed last night when the Senate voted to ban mergers of newspapers and TV stations.

Labor, the Democrats, Greens and the three independents supported Tasmanian senator Brian Harradine's move to amend the proposed media ownership bill to prohibit TV and newspaper mergers in the mainland capital cities.

The Government voted against the amendment which would prevent Rupert Murdoch buying a TV station or Kerry Packer buying a newspaper company like Herald publisher Fairfax.

The Communications Minister, Richard Alston, said the "watershed amendment" would not achieve any of the Government's objectives to overhaul the media ownership regime.

The Government's bid to relax the media ownership restrictions now seems to doomed to fail, because it will not support the bill with Senator Harradine's amendment.

Without the amendment the Government is unlikely to secure the four extra votes it needs to change the media ownership laws. "It would be a shame if the Government threw the baby out with the bathwater and voted against the bill just over the protection of some big players," Senator Harradine said.

Sadly the ASIO bill passed with opposition support but at least the media bill is dead as a dodo. Considering the talents of the responsible minister the dodo is not an inappropriate metaphor.
Live link to UK parliamentary inquiry on WMDs

Alastair Campbell claims he sexed the dossier down, not up.
Not me, guv
From the BBC:
Two of Mr Straw's former cabinet colleagues, Clare Short and Robin Cook, have already said the public were misled.

Shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram said Mr Straw's evidence had "left Alastair Campbell out to dry".

"If the government's credibility is to be established, it is vital that Alastair Campbell answers the relevant questions openly and completely and does not seek to hide the truth in a miasma of clever words."

Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Menzies Campbell said there was a sense of "not me guv" which would make Alastair Campbell's questions session something like "high noon".

He said the intensity of Mr Blair's speeches had left nobody doubting the immediacy of going to war, despite Mr Straw's insistence the words "immediate" or "imminent" were not used about the Iraqi threat.

I continue to be amazed, first at the power of opinion which has now forced parliamentary inquiries in 3 of the 4 coalition countries and second at the tortured arguments being used to prove that a large arsenal of WMDs ready to fire at 45 minutes' notice is somehow not an immediate or imminent threat. US Senator Byrd has again laid out some of the more salient quotes, the non-immediate, non-imminent and non-threatening ones.

25 June 2003

New reef found in Australia
The reef is in unusually deep and murky waters.

A new coral reef has been found off the coast of Australia. Its 120 square kilometres sit in murky waters 30 meters below the surface, leaving researchers rethinking their understanding of the world's reefs.

In May, researchers cruised into Queensland's Gulf of Carpentaria to study the transport and dispersal of sediments from coastal rivers. Instead they found themselves charting a previously unknown reef. "We were quite surprised," Peter Harris of Geosciences Australia. "Initially I thought it was an old relic reef."

The find hints that there may be many more reefs lurking in rarely-studied waters. "It shows you how little we know about reefs," says James Darwin Thomas of the National Coral Reef Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Australian crew spent 5 days mapping the sea floor with echo beams. As each day's work added to the image, it became clear that they were cruising atop a reef, recalls Harris. So they lowered a video camera. "We were surprised to see corals growing there in such abundance," he says. They carefully collected samples to study upon their return to the lab. � Geosciences Australia
New Guinea Went Bananas: Agriculture's roots get a South Pacific twist
Situated in the South Pacific islands, remote New Guinea seems an unlikely place for the invention of agriculture. Yet that's precisely what happened there nearly 7,000 years ago, according to a new investigation.

Inhabitants of this tropical outpost cultivated large quantities of bananas about 3 millennia before the arrival of Southeast Asian seafarers, say archaeologist Tim P. Denham of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and his colleagues. Agriculture thus arose independently in New Guinea, the scientists conclude in an upcoming Science.

Until now, convincing evidence for ancient agriculture came only from the Middle East (SN: 10/28/00, p. 280), China, the eastern United States (SN: 9/20/97, p. 180), South America, and a region encompassing parts of Mexico and Central America (SN: 5/24/97, p. 322). Reports in the 1970s that New Guinea belonged in this group were criticized for relying on patchy remains and uncertain dates from an excavation of a swampy highland site called Kuk.

"Only a few regions were geographically suited to become homelands of full agricultural systems," says archaeologist Katharina Neumann of J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, in a commentary accompanying the new article. "New Guinea seems to have been one of them."

This discovery challenges the traditional notion that agriculture inevitably led to the rise of large civilizations with stratified social classes, Denham and his coworkers assert. Current New Guinea societies are relatively small and grounded in egalitarian practices, much as they seem to have been before the rise of agriculture, according to the researchers.

23 June 2003

You've seen the movie, now try and find the truth
Atrios blogs in some detail about a forthcoming 11 September movie. It is worth reading, if only for his final question:

UPDATE: Alert readers raise the question: Which will be released first: the 911 report, or the 911 movie? I say the movie. Any takers?

Sadly the real question is whether the fiction or the factual account will do more to sway people's attitudes.
Wise appointment confirms why the system needs fixing
Because the new Governor-General is one man's choice and because politics dictated that choice had to be extremely cautious, a selection which broke with convention was never a possibility.

There was never a chance, for example, that Howard would be the first prime minister to choose a woman for the job.

But these are the reasons why this choice confirms that the current system is a failure. A choice in which political imperatives are the overriding factors compromises the chances of a governor-general who is the people's choice candidate.

But it says a lot about the parlous state of the Australian republican movement that despite the Hollingworth debacle John Howard was under very little pressure to do other than he has done.

I would argue it also compromises any sense of reality that in the twenty-first century we are all cavorting about insisting that autocratic appointment of the head of state is the only safe or even thinkable way to go. If the debate was informed by any sense of history the commentariat would realise they sound like chaps in frock coats at Versailles circa 1780.
duplicity and the Roadmap
There's a weird argument being raised here and there that, if the Bush administration is lying about the threat of WMDs, the duplicity is not relevant because the outcome of the Iraq war was good. People who believe that should turn to what is happening to the Roadmap.

From the Guardian:

At the Middle East summit with Mr Bush in Aqaba this month, Mr Sharon committed himself to dismantling nearly 100 Jewish "outposts" in the West Bank. But only a dozen have come down, and about 10 more have been constructed.

Only one of those dismantled was inhabited and it was taken down the day before a visit to Israel by Mr Powell, leading to speculation in the Israeli press that it was done for show.

Ephraim Halevy, the director of Israel's national security council and former head of the Mossad spy agency, resigned yesterday after losing a battle for influence over Mr Sharon's approach to the road map.

Several months ago, Mr Halevy warned the prime minister that George Bush was serious about the road map and that Tony Blair was exerting considerable influence over the US president on the issue. Mr Halevy argued that Israel should draw up its own plan and announce that it would lay out the path and conditions to peace.

Mr Sharon's chief aide, Dov Weissglass, disagreed and persuaded him that the hawks in the White House would ensure that the road map was never taken seriously and that Mr Bush was duping Mr Blair.

"Either they've been playing us the entire time or they're playing the British," Mr Weissglass said in March.

When a government starts on the road to public lying (for whatever motive) that fact is known to other governments. What is Bush going to say to Israel? What is Bush going to say to governments like Iran which see themselves facing the same kind of propaganda campaign that Iraq faced? 'Read my lips'?
Senate may still rebuff media changes

Senator Alston said Australia would be left in the "information stone age" unless the Government's plans were adopted.

"You want a dynamic and expanding sector, to provide more media opportunities, not less. I think you will see new companies coming in from offshore and a much healthier environment as a result."

According to Senator Alston, it was not Rupert Murdoch or Kerry Packer who was leading the charge for change.

"Murdoch and Packer are already very well entrenched. They are doing very nicely, thank you," he said. "It is pretty much the rest of the industry who are out there saying, 'We need these changes'."

The Government's plans received a blow on Friday when independent Senator Brian Harradine said he would amend the bill to prevent mergers of major TV stations and newspapers in capital cities.

Labor, the Democrats and the Greens oppose the changes, as do many community groups. A spokesman for Friends of Fairfax, Alan Kennedy, said they would reduce diversity and hurt consumers.

"It's an extraordinary example of a mates-helping-mates decision on the media," he said. "It will mean fewer media proprietors and fewer media outlets."

Senator Meg Lees has linked her support for the changes to increased funding for the ABC, but Senator Alston was non-committal on this issue yesterday.

"We'll continue to explore all the possibilities," he said.

Senator Alston has actually declared victory over deregulating the media on a number of occasions and he has not enacted anything yet. The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2003 would:

* remove controls on the foreign ownership of television
* provide for exemptions to the cross-media rules in certain circumstances, and
* ensure that local news services are maintained in regional areas subject to exemptions
from the cross-media rules.

I suggest that each of those of changes would be bad for the diversity of views and bad for Australia. The new media argument raised by Senator Alston is fairly silly. 11% of the community get their information from new media. That is only a marginal impact and in any case new media content is dominated by the ABC, News Ltd, PBL and Fairfax - all traditional news providers. If the senator really wants to get us out of the stone age he might have a look at repealing his net censorship laws.

My guess is that Senator Lees and Senator Harradine will both bolt and the bill will fail.

global coffee goes flat
The excellent Oligopoly Watch reports:

But the anti-globalists may have less to worry about than they thought. A recent story in Business Week (June 9, 2003, ?For Starbucks, There?s No Place Like Home?) reveals that Starbuck?s international move is turning out to be a bust. There are over 1,500 international stores now, but they are net money losers. Japan, the largest overseas Starbucks presence, has reached a capacity, and is now losing money. Starbucks has closed its stores in Israel, and exiting joint ventures in Switzerland and Austria.� In Britain and Germany, growth is stalled.

The big reason, according to Business Week, is local competition. In all of these countries, once the concept of a coffee bar catches on, there spring up local versions with lower prices that take business away from the costly Starbucks. There?s no indication that this is fueled mostly by anti-Americanism (though Starbucks stores, like MacDonald?s, have been targets of anti-war protests). It seems to be a rare case of real-world limits on multinational growth, and the interesting thing is that it?s based not on protectionism, but on local preferences.

About a year ago my favourite cousin came back from a trip muttering, with an expression of genuine shock, that you cannot get decent coffee in New York. Some months later Starbucks outlets began sprouting all over Sydney like bad mushrooms after rain. It would be interesting to see how well they're doing in Oz against more traditional coffee bars. I did find one mention in The Age:

Despite the money being spent at the moment by these US giants and Hudson and the brand and marketing power they bring, Melbourne's traditional coffee retailers remain unperturbed.

Sisto Malaspina, a partner of one of Melbourne's most famous coffee establishments, Pellegrini's, on Bourke Street, said he was all for them as he believed they were good for coffee drinking in Australia generally.

"It's a good thing for everyone because it introduces coffee to a lot of people who wouldn't otherwise go into a coffee shop like us, and it also gets the young people into coffee too.

"Their coffee is good - our coffee is excellent," he said.

Mr Malaspina reports that Pellegrini's business has been unaffected by the emergence of these chains in the CBD - Pellegrini's is selling more than 500 cups of coffee a day - with caffe latte the most popular drink and espresso (short black) also showing a bit of a revival at the moment.

He has no plans to introduce a Caramel Rooitea Ice Blended at any stage soon

Serious conflict-of-interest disclosure. Some in my suburb are quite proud that Macdonalds had to close their outlet here for want of business.

22 June 2003

Otro poema de los dones
Jorge Luis Borges

Gracias quiero dar al divino Laberinto de los efectos y de las causas
Por la diversidad de las criaturas que forman este singular universo,
Por la raz�n, que no cesar� de so�ar con un plano del laberinto,
Por el rostro de Elena y la perseverancia de Ulises,
Por el amor, que nos deja ver a los otros como los ve la divinidad,
Por el firme diamante y el agua suelta,
Por el �lgebra, palacio de precisos cristales,
Por las m�sticas monedas de �ngel Silesio,
Por Schopenhauer, que acaso descifr� el universo,
Por el fulgor del fuego,
Que ning�n ser humano puede mirar sin un asombro antiguo,
Por la caoba, el cedro y el s�ndalo,
Por el pan y la sal,
Por el misterio de la rosa, que prodiga color y que no lo ve,
Por ciertas v�speras y d�as de 1955,
Por los duros troperos que en la llanura arrean los animales y el alba,
Por la ma�ana en Montevideo,
Por el arte de la amistad,
Por el �ltimo d�a de S�crates,
Por las palabras que en un crep�sculo se dijeron de una cruz a otra cruz,
Por aquel sue�o del Islam que abarc� mil noches y una noche,
Por aquel otro sue�o del infierno,
De la torre del fuego que purifica
Y de las esferas gloriosas,
Por Swedenborg, que conversaba con los �ngeles en las calles de Londres,
Por los r�os secretos e inmemoriales que convergen en m�,
Por el idioma que, hace siglos, habl� en Nortumbria,
Por la espada y el arpa de los sajones,
Por el mar, que es un desierto resplandeciente
Y una cifra de cosas que no sabemos
Y un epitafio de los vikings,
Por la m�sica verbal de Inglaterra,
Por la m�sica verbal de Alemania,
Por el oro, que relumbra en los versos,
Por el �pico invierno,
Por el nombre de un libro que no he le�do: Gesta Dei per Francos,
Por Verlaine, inocente como los p�jaros,
Por el prisma de cristal y la pesa de bronce,
Por las rayas del tigre,
Por las altas torres de San Francisco y de la isla de Manhattan,
Por la ma�ana en Texas,
Por aquel sevillano que redact� la Ep�stola Moral
Y cuyo nombre, como �l hubiera preferido, ignoramos,
Por S�neca y Lucano, de C�rdoba
Que antes del espa�ol escribieron
Toda la literatura espa�ola,
Por el geom�trico y bizarro ajedrez
Por la tortuga de Zen�n y el mapa de Royce,
Por el olor medicinal de los eucaliptos,
Por el lenguaje, que puede simular la sabidur�a,
Por el olvido, que anula o modifica el pasado,
Por la costumbre, que nos repite y nos confirma como un espejo,
Por la ma�ana, que nos depara la ilusi�n de un principio,
Por la noche, su tiniebla y su astronom�a,
Por el valor y la felicidad de los otros,
Por la patria, sentida in los jazmines, o en una vieja espada,
Por Whitman y Francisco de As�s, que ya escribieron el poema,
Por el hecho de que el poema es inagotable
Y se confunde con la suma de las criaturas
Y no llegar� jam�s al �ltimo verso
Y var�a seg�n los hombres,
Por Francis Haslam, que pidi� perd�n a sus hijos por morir tan despacio,
Por los minutos que preceden al sue�o,
Por el sue�o y la muerte, esos dos tesoros ocultos,
Por los �ntimos dones que no enumero,
Por la m�sica, misteriosa forma del tiempo.