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Southern Cross Review

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

Number 80, January - February 2012


Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo DaVinci

Lady with an Ermine is a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, from around 1489–1490. The subject of the portrait is identified as Cecilia Gallerani, and was probably painted at a time when she was the mistress of Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, and Leonardo was in the service of the Duke. The painting is one of only four female portraits painted by Leonardo, the others being the Mona Lisa, the portrait of Ginevra de' Benci and La belle ferronnière. It is displayed by the Czartoryski Museum, Kraków, Poland and is cited in the museum's guide as the first truly modern portrait. In September of 2010 it was exhibited in a museam in Berlin, when I happened to be there. The crowds were so great, however, that it was impossible to gain entrance if one was not willing to arrive at 6 a.m. to get on line. It then moved to London, where it retained its rock star staus. [Editor]



Editor's Page

The Imposter Magi by Frank Thomas Smith

  
A boy from the village ran into our yard at lunchtime on the fifth of January and announced at the top of his lungs that the Three Kings were coming to the schoolhouse that night at nine o’clock. That’s how news in Las Chacras is announced – by word of mouth. I remembered that a neighbor had asked for a donation to buy sweets and balloons a few days before. Making enquiries on the main road, I found out that the Kings were scheduled to begin their descent to the school from the almacén at nine o’clock, which meant that they would more likely begin at nine-thirty and arrive at ten...Read more


Los Reyes Impostores por Frank Thomas Smith

El
mediodía del 5 de enero un chico del pueblo entró corriendo a nuestro patio y anunció a voz en cuello que los tres Reyes Magos llegaban a la escuela esa noche a las nueve. Así es como se transmiten las noticias en Las Charcas –de boca en boca. Recordé entonces que, unos días antes, un vecino me había pedido una contribución para comprar golosinas y globos. Preguntando en el camino principal, averigüé que a las nueve los Reyes tenían programado iniciar su descenso desde el almacén hacia la escuela, lo que significaba que más probablemente comenzarían a las nueve y media y llegarían a las diez...Read more


Features

Euro Blind by Simon Critchley

  
The past days, weeks and months have seen countless descriptions in the news media of the crisis in the euro zone and Greece’s role as its leading actor as a tragedy. But is it? Well, yes, but not in the sense in which it is usually discussed, and the difference is important and revealing. In the usual media parlance, a tragedy is simply a misfortune that befalls a person (an accident, a fatal disease) or a polity (a natural disaster) and that is outside their control. While this is an arguably accurate definition of the word — something like it appears in many dictionaries — there is a deeper and more interesting understanding of the term to be found in many of the 31 extant Greek tragedies... Read more

Civil Society at Ground Zero by Rebecca Solnit

  
You Can Crush the Flowers, But You Can’t Stop the Spring. Last Tuesday, I awoke in lower Manhattan to the whirring of helicopters overhead, a war-zone sound that persisted all day and then started up again that Thursday morning, the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and a big day of demonstrations in New York City. It was one of the dozens of ways you could tell that the authorities take Occupy Wall Street seriously, even if they profoundly mistake what kind of danger it poses. If you ever doubted whether you were powerful or you mattered, just look at the reaction to people like you (or your children) camped out in parks from Oakland to Portland, Tucson to Manhattan... Read more

The War Against the Poor by Frances Fox Piven

  
We’ve been at war for decades now -- not just in Afghanistan or Iraq, but right here at home.  Domestically, it’s been a war against the poor, but if you hadn’t noticed, that’s not surprising. You wouldn’t often have found the casualty figures from this particular conflict in your local newspaper or on the nightly TV news.  Devastating as it’s been, the war against the poor has gone largely unnoticed -- until now. The Occupy Wall Street movement has already made the concentration of wealth at the top of this society a central issue in American politics.  Now, it promises to do something similar when it comes to the realities of poverty in this country...Read more

When you want to help, the Loaves Multiply by Rosana Guerra

  
For the past 16 years Adelina “Adela” Milla prepares an afternoon snack and supper in the El Quebracho neighborhood of the city of Córdoba for 130 children who live in extreme poverty. She had hardly moved to the neighborhood in 1987 when the kids knocked on her door asking for a piece of bread or some milk. With no hesitation she spoke with her husband about opening a canteen. “I told him that I'd like to have one in our house. He said it would be a lot of work, and I answered:
I want to do it." ...Read more

Cuando uno quiere ayudar, los panes se multiplican por Rosana Guerra

Hace 16 años que Adelina “Adela” Milla, más conocida en barrio El Quebracho –ubicado en el sur de la ciudad de Córdoba– como Adela, prepara la merienda y la cena para 130 niños que viven en situación de extrema pobreza. Apenas se mudó con su familia a este barrio en 1987, los chicos le tocaban la puerta para pedirle un pedacito de pan o un poco de leche. Sin dudarlo habló con su esposo y le planteó la idea de abrir un comedor. “Le dije que me gustaría tener uno en casa. El me dijo que era mucho trabajo. Y yo le respondí: lo quiero hacer”, relata...
Read more


Fiction

For Esmé with Love and Squalor by J. D. Salinger

  
Just recently, by air mail, I received an invitation to a wedding that will take place in England on April 18th. It happens to be a wedding I'd give a lot to be able to get to, and when the invitation first arrived, I thought it might just be possible for me to make the trip abroad, by plane, expenses be hanged. However, I've since discussed the matter rather extensively with my wife, a breathtakingly levelheaded girl, and we've decided against it--for one thing, I'd completely forgotten that my mother-in-law is looking forward to spending the last two weeks in April with us. I really don't get to see Mother Grencher terribly often, and she's not getting any younger. She's fifty-eight. (As she'd be the first to admit.) Read more


The Gospel According to Mark by Jorge Luis Borges

  
These events took place on the Los Álamos cattle ranch, towards the south of the township of Junín, during the final days of March, 1928. The protagonist was a medical student, Baltasar Espinosa. We may describe him for now as no different to any of the many young men of Buenos Aires, with no particular traits worthy of note other than an almost unlimited kindness and an oratorical faculty that had earned him several prizes from the English school in Ramos Mejía. He did not like to argue; he preferred it when his interlocutor was right and not he himself. Although the vagaries of chance in any game fascinated him, he played them poorly because it did not please him to win. His wide intelligence was undirected; at thirty-three years of age, the completion of one last subject stood in the way of his graduation, despite its being his favourite... Read more

El Evangelio según Marcos por Jorge Luis Borges

El hecho sucedió en la estancia Los Álamos, en el partido de Junín, hacia el sur, en los últimos días del mes de marzo de 1928. Su protagonista fue un estudiante de medicina, Baltasar Espinosa. Podemos definirlo por ahora como uno de tantos muchachos porteños, sin otros rasgos dignos de nota que esa facultad oratoria que le había hecho merecer más de un premio en el colegio inglés de Ramos Mejía y que una casi ilimitada bondad. No le gustaba discutir; prefería que el interlocutor tuviera razón y no él. Aunque los azares del juego le interesaban, era un mal jugador, porque le desagradaba ganar. Su abierta inteligencia era perezosa; a los treinta y tres años le faltaba rendir una materia para graduarse, la que más lo atraía. Leer más



Anthroposophy


Esoteric Lessons for the First Class of the School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum -
Lesson Two
by Rudolf Steiner

Introduction:
During the re-founding of the Anthroposophical Society at Christmas 1923, Rudolf Steiner also reconstituted the “Esoteric School” which had originally functioned in Germany from 1904 until 1914, when the outset of the First World War made it's continuance impossible. However, the original school was only for a relatively few selected individuals, whereas the new school was incorporated into the School for Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland.
...Read more


Karmic Relations, Volume II, Lecture 1 by Rudolf Steiner

We will now continue our study of karma. I have pointed out to you how the impulses in the souls of human beings work on and are transplanted, as it were, from one earthly life into another, so that the fruits of an earlier epoch are carried over to a later one by people themselves. An idea such as this must not be received merely as a theory; it should take hold of our very hearts and souls. We should feel that we who are now here have been many times in earthly existence, and that in every life we assimilated the culture and civilisation then around us; we took it into our souls and carried it over into the next incarnation, after working upon it spiritually between death and a new birth. Only when we look back in this way do we really feel ourselves standing within the community of mankind... Read more


Poetry

Daddy
by Sylvia Plath

  
You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time--
...Read more

Last Letter (to Sylvia Plath) by Ted Hughes

   
What happened that night, your final night?
Double, treble exposure over everything.
Late afternoon Friday, my last sight of you alive,
Burning your letter to me in the ashtray with that strange smile.
What did you say over the smoking shards of that letter?
So carefully annihilated, so calmly,
That let me release you and leave you to blow its ashes off your plan... Read more



Letters to the Editor

  
Dear Frank Thomas Smith,
I will read with interest your English translations of the Esoteric Lessons in comparison with the English language edition published in 1994 by the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain.  Those volumes are publicly available, but of limited supply and of great expense; not as much "in public availability" as on the web. Perhaps you are translating from the German online edition posted by a site in Russia? I do appreciate that you translate School “for” Spiritual Science, rather than School “of”...Read more




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Frank Thomas Smith, Editor
JoAnn Schwarz, Associate Editor
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