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Southern Cross Review

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

Number 100, May - June 2015

"Sappho"

Charles August Mengin (5 July 1853 - 3 April 1933), was a French academic painter. He was born in Paris, France, and was educated by Gecker and Alexandre Cabanel. Mengin first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1876. He is best known for his painting of Sappho, now in the collection of the Manchester Art Gallery. He died in Paris.
Sappho, the seventh-century-B.C. lyric genius whose sometimes playful, sometimes anguished songs about her susceptibility to the graces of younger women, bequeathed to us the adjectives "sapphic" and "lesbian" (from the island of Lesbos, where she lived.)



Click on the donkey's tail to browse in the SCR E-book Library


Welcome to SouthernCrossReview's hundredth anniversary issue. Well, at least its hundredth issue. SCR appears every two months, so that means we go back sixteen years. If any of you dedicated readers would like to see what the first issue looked like, click here. While preparing this “centennial” issue, I checked out Number One myself and found such a shamelessly romantic love story there that it almost brought tears – as though someone else had written it. So I decided to run it again here. See below under Fiction “The Girl in the Floppy Hat”. You will also find some poems here from that long ago and far away issue.

Editor's Page

Dementia - Anthroposophical Perspectives (Book Review) by Judith von Halle

  
  Judith von Halle is mostly known for her books and lectures about the life and meaning of Jesus Christ. In this book she concentrates on a medical phenomenon which today has taken on the characteristics of a plague. Senility, involving short term memory loss and the general weakening of mental faculties associated with old age, has been known for centuries, but the illness we now call dementia or, in its more extreme stages, Alzheimer’s disease, has become more and more prevalent in modern society. Not only the aged are affected, but symptoms have been detected increasingly in the middle-aged, even in children. Continue reading


Fiction

The Girl in the Floppy Hat by Frank Thomas Smith

  
My infrequent trips to the States, on family business or just business, were almost always uneventful. But the last two had been the most eventful journeys of my life. The first began with a four-hour bus ride from my home in a remote corner of Argentina to the city of Córdoba, where I entered a travel agency a few minutes after three in the afternoon and approached Luciano's desk. He stood up, smiled automatically and held out his hand. As I took it his smile vanished as quickly as it had appeared and he said, "You traveling today...or tomorrow?" and I knew something was wrong. "Today, of course." He looked at me, obviously puzzled, then shrugged. "Correct, no problem. For some reason I thought it was tomorrow." Continue reading

La chica del sombrero floppy


Mis infrecuentes viajes a los Estados Unidos, por cuestiones de familia o de negocios, no tenían casi nunca nada de especial. Pero los dos últimos fueron los viajes más especiales de mi vida. El primero comenzó con una travesía de cuatro horas en ómnibus desde mi casa en un remoto rincón de la Argentina hasta la ciudad de Córdoba, donde entré a una agencia de viajes unos minutos después de las tres de la tarde y me dirigí al escritorio de Luciano. Él se puso de pie, sonrió automáticamente y me extendió la mano. Ni bien se la estreché la sonrisa desapareció de su cara con tanta rapidez como había aparecido, mientras me decía:--¿Viaja hoy...o mañana? --y yo supe que algo andaba mal. --Hoy, por supuesto. Me miró, su sorpresa era evidente, y se encogió de hombros. --Correcto, no hay problema. Por alguna razón pensé que era mañana... Continuar


My Heart is Promised to the King by Victorino Briones

  
He is dressed in white and wears glasses. He has a long face, with a beard, soft hands, his fingernails are trimmed, clean and polished. On his chest is the imperial scorpion insignia. He is an important man. My commandant addresses him as Minister as he goes out and leaves us alone in his office.      He introduces himself as Minister Ismail Najjar and begins to explain to me the work that the King has been doing. Our country, K--, lies nested within Jordan, Syria and Israel. We often have to defend ourselves against terrorists. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict causes tensions to rise in the region. As mediator in the area, the King is like the good uncle in an unhappy family who settles quarrels, says the Minister. Without him the Middle East would explode into war... Continue reading


La Scomessa (The Bet) by Gaither Stewart

  
Adriano and Zero have just consumed first one bottle, then a second of a classic Chianti at the City Lights Bar near the local train station in the north Rome suburb of Giustiniana. The two men have been close friends ever since they were classmates in an elementary school downtown. To the desperation of their wives they often go off on escapades which they always try to combine with something out of the ordinary on the outcome of which they make challenging bets. Any occasion is sufficient reason to celebrate and act younger than they are -- and bet on it... Continue reading


Mystic Stones by Rudy Ravindra

  
Professor Ranga Rao taught physics at Bangalore university. He used to give the same lectures semester after semester. So much so, he didn’t need to prepare for his classes, and lectured extemporaneously on Ohm’s law or Raman spectrum or whatever was the topic of the day. His day was prosaically predictable with teaching, meeting students during his office hours, and attending faculty meetings. His leisure hours were spent in his garden. He enjoyed handling plants, pruning, adding fresh soil and fertilizer, and watering. He was passionate about his garden, and proud of the colorful flowering bushes in his small backyard... Continue reading


Children's Corner

Juancito Hummingbird by Frank Thomas Smith

 
Juancito (which means Johnny in Spanish) was more proud of his hair than anything else. Every time his mother wanted to take him to the barber he protested so much that she finally gave in and Juancito let his hair grow till it reached almost to his waist. It was blond, curly and shiny y Juancito sometimes let it fall down his back, and other times he tied it back with a rubber-band. Even the girls envied him. One day something very strange happened: his hair began to fall out. “Hey, Juancito,” a friend said, “what happened to your hair? Soon you’ll look like Michael Jordan.” But Juancito didn’t want to look like Michael Jordan. All he wanted was to have his hair back.
Continue reading

Juancito Colibrí por Frank Thomas Smith

Lo que más orgullo le daba a Juancito era su pelo. Protestaba tanto cada vez que su mamá quería llevarlo al peluquero, que ella finalmente se dio por vencida, y Juancito se dejó crecer el pelo casi hasta a la cintura. Era un pelo rubio, rizado y brillante, y Juancito a veces se lo dejaba suelto sobre la espalda y, otras veces, se lo ataba atrás con una banda elástica. Hasta las niñas se lo envidiaban. Un día ocurrió algo extraordinario que lo llenó de horror: el pelo se le empezó a caer. Un compañero del colegio le dijo en broma: –Eh, Juancito, ¿qué le pasa a tu pelo? Pronto te vas a parecer a Michael Jordan.Pero Juancito no quería parecerse a Michael Jordan. Lo único que quería era volver a tener el pelo como antes... Continuar


Features

This is Water by David Foster Wallace

  
Greetings and congratulations to Kenyon's graduating class of 2005. There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?" This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. Continue reading

A World of Violence - On Women Who Refused to Live in Silence and Be Consigned to Oblivion by Eduardo Galeano

  
In 1919 Rosa Luxemburg, the revolutionary, was murdered in Berlin. Her killers bludgeoned her with rifle blows and tossed her into the waters of a canal. Along the way, she lost a shoe. Some hand picked it up, that shoe dropped in the mud. Rosa longed for a world where justice would not be sacrificed in the name of freedom, nor freedom sacrificed in the name of justice. Every day, some hand picks up that banner. Dropped in the mud, like the shoe.
Continue reading



Current Events
How to Turn a Nightmare into a Fairy Tale - 40 Years Later, Will the End Games in Iraq and Afghanistan Follow the Vietnam Playbook? by Christian Appy

  
If our wars in the Greater Middle East ever end, it’s a pretty safe bet that they will end badly -- and it won't be the first time. The “fall of Saigon” in 1975 was the quintessential bitter end to a war. Oddly enough, however, we’ve since found ways to reimagine that denouement which miraculously transformed a failed and brutal war of American aggression into a tragic humanitarian rescue mission. Our most popular Vietnam end-stories bury the long, ghastly history that preceded the “fall,” while managing to absolve us of our primary responsibility for creating the disaster. Think of them as silver-lining tributes to good intentions and last-ditch heroism that may come in handy in the years ahead... Continue reading



Anthroposophy

Evolution - The Hidden Thread by John Davy

   
Anyone who studies Rudolf Steiner's teachings will soon realise that the descriptions he gives of the way man has evolved are not easy to reconcile with the descriptions given by modern science. The purpose of this article is to try and indicate how some of the difficulties may be resolved. When Darwin was born, the idea of evolution was already percolating, so to speak, into men's minds. Darwin's great achievement was to put forward a theory to explain evolution, and to collect a vast number of facts to back it up. He suggested that evolution could be brought about by 'natural selection'. That is, any variations in the 'normal' displayed by an animal would confer on it either advantage or a disadvantage in the 'struggle for existence'...
Continue reading



Evolución - El hilo oculto por John Davy

Quienquiera que estudie las enseñanzas de Rudolf Steiner habrá de notar enseguida que las descripciones que él da sobre la forma en que ha evolucionado el hombre no son fáciles de conciliar con las descripciones que da la ciencia moderna. El propósito del presente artículo es tratar de mostrar cómo se pueden resolver algunas de las dificultades. Cuando Darwin nació, la idea de la evolución ya se estaba filtrando, por así decirlo, en las mentes humanas. El gran logro de Darwin fue proponer una teoría para explicar la evolución y reunir un gran número de datos para respaldarla. Planteó que la evolución podía resultar de la “selección natural”... Continuar


"Apologia" concerning the publication of the the First Class Lessons: Apologia

Esoteric Lessons for the First Class of the School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum - Volume Three, Lesson seven (Recapitulation) by Rudolf Steiner

   
Since the Christmas Conference an esoteric breath flows through the whole Anthroposophical Society. And those members of the Anthroposophical Society who have taken part in the general members' lectures will have noted how this esoteric breath flows through all the work within the anthroposophical movement now, and should do so in the future. This was a necessity which, above all, flows from the spiritual world, from where the revelations come which should live in the anthroposophical movement. Therefore the necessity arose to create a certain nucleus for anthroposophical esoteric life, to create real esoteric life, and therewith the necessity arose to build a bridge to the spiritual world itself. ... Continue reading


The Anthroposophical Social Impulse by Michael Schreyer

 
During the earliest stages of civilization humanity strove towards the development of social groupings. The interests of the individual were sacrificed to the interests of the group; subsequent development led to the liberation of the individual from the interests of the groups and to the free unfolding of the needs and forces of the individual. Rudolf Steiner referred to the Fundamental Sociological Law as a law, meaning that it has the same stringent effect for society as natural laws have for the realm of nature. It is a developmental law which unfolds during the march of time... Continue reading


Karmic Relations, Volume III, Lecture Four by Rudolf Steiner

 
Today I would like to insert certain things which will afterwards make it possible for us to understand more closely the karmic connections of the Anthroposophical Movement itself. What I wish to say today will take its start from the fact that there are two groups of human beings in the Anthroposophical Movement. In general terms I have already described how the Anthroposophical Movement is composed of the individuals within it. What I shall say today must of course be taken in broad outline and as a whole; but there are the two groups of human beings in the Anthroposophical Movement. The things which I shall characterise do not lie so obviously spread out ‘on the palm of the hand,’ as we say. They are by no means such that crude and simple observation would enable us to say: in the case of this or that member, it is so or so...
Continue reading




Poetry

Jardines Lejanos/Distant Gardens by Juan Ramón Jiménez

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


Renascence by Edna St. Vincent Millay

   
All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I'd started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Continue reading




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