You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

October 13, 2005

last words on Columbus (for now)

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:01 am

Two days ago, we opined “it’s hard to discover Columbus.”  This evening,

I started reading a rollicking piece of nonfiction that might help me understand

old Cristoforo better.  It’s Martin Dugard’s new book The Last Voyage of Columbus:

Being the Epic Tale of the Great Captain’s Fourth Expedition, Including Accounts

of Swordfight, Mutiny, Shipwreck, Gold, War, Hurricane, and Discovery (2005). 


Dugard ends the book with these words:


“No matter their merits, arguments will follow Columbus forever. 

History does not know what to make of the Admiral of the Ocean

Sea or how to categorize the ramifications of his discoveries

without passions of one kind or another intruding. The explorer will

always remain something of an enigma. He was Italian, yet claimed

the New World for Spain. He was a compassionate Christian, yet

considered slavery a viable form of commerce. He was a man of

great charisma whose passion sometimes turned others against

him.  He was an explorer – a wanderer, really – who fancied himself

capable of great bureaucratic skills. His advocates marveled at his

daring and tenaciousness, persevering so long in his quest for funding

and then defying conventional wisdom to sail across an uncharted sea.

His detractors thought him brutal and weak. The only certainty about

Columbus is that, for better or worse, he chose to live a bold life rather

than settle for mediocrity.”

Sounds about right to me.  Choosing to “live a bold life rather than settle for

mediocrity” is not a bad epitaph.  I wish we could also say Columbus sought

to live the Golden Rule, rather than seeking gold for rulers — and himself.



the nina


As we leave Columbus’ day behind, here is a sneak preview of

our newest Honored Guest poet, Andrew Riutta.  You will see

that there was no affirmative action or cronyism involved when I

asked this “rising star” Italo-American haiku poet to join us at

f/k/a.   More about Andrew tomorrow. 


north star…
as if I could find
my way




a shattered world
through its wing





half moon—
between two crickets
a year has passed





starlit mountain…
the sound of water
returning to itself


Andrew Riutta from Pipeline, Simply Haiku (Summer 2005, vol. 3:2)


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress