Sunday, November 10, 2013

Recycling At Work

I posted this poem in May of last year and it continues to get a lot of "hits", according to my blog statistics. I have no idea how these statistics work. Are these "hits" real visitors or are they spam bots, or some other intangible and unguessable cyberspace current? I have no idea.

In any case, I thought it might be worth re-posting it, if it really is popular. I like it myself. It's an expression of frustration with those who demand a rationale for being a traditionalist or a nostalgist. To me, the question is why anyone wouldn't want to cherish old things, and to perpetuate them. (For the record I have never used a lawnmower or a scythe!)

Why I am a Traditionalist Conservative

I'm tired of invoking Edmund Burke
And tired of the shuttlecock of debate.
I really don't care if the new ways work,
I'll always root for the out-of-date.
I'll always root for the long-in-the-tooth
Though the new be better a thousandfold.
No more shall I hide the terrible truth;
I like old things because they are old.

I like old things because they are slower
And cruder and leave us a chance to laugh.
Give me a scythe, not a new lawn-mower;
A daguerreotype, not a photograph.
I like old ways because they wander
I like them because they don't make sense.
I can't add seven and six, but I'm fonder
Of shillings and farthings than pounds and pence.

I like old things because the dust
Of custom and habit have fallen on them.
I like them because they've been blessed and cussed
And joked about since the time of Shem.
I'm all for cooked-up and fake traditions;
There's not a quaint fiction I won't uphold.
Let Christmas be laden with new additions;
I like new things that pretend to be old.

I thirst for cobwebs and rust and dog-ears
By ivy and lichen I take my stand.
I am not pleased when nostalgia's fog clears
And leaves us standing in no-man's-land.
I like a verse more the more it's recited;
I like a tale more the more it's told.
So call me backwards, blockish, benighted;
I like old things because they are old.

You tell me my sort have been moaning and mourning
Since someone rubbed sticks and discovered fire;
That mankind lives in an endless dawning
From tin to typeface to telephone wire.
You say that the past is doomed, you sages,
And tramp on its deathbed to prove you're bold;
By God, I don't think you so very courageous;
I like old things because they are old.


  1. I'm not sure if the big comment I just wrote went through or not, but I complimented your poem, and made a point about not all old things being worse than new, and I also made a point about people today seeing themselves as superior and previous generations as "ignorant". If my other comment did get through then you don't have to bother with this one.

  2. I totally agree with all your sentiments. What puzzles me is that people always want other places, e.g.., holiday destinations, to be "unspoiled" and the same as they were in previous generations...but they don't want their own homeland to be "backward" or "insular". I don't get it.