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The Classical Poetry Port is a place for ye to post yer favorite poems by the masters and discuss them. Voyage forth upon the net, looking for the poetry which exalts yer soul, like Shakespeare or Frost, and bring it on home to the Classical Poetry Port and the Classical Poet's Port. And too, in the rich context which develops, we hope that ye try yer own hand at expressing yer deepest sentiments. And may the best poet win the hearts and minds of this rising generation.
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The Carolina Navy
By Becket Knottingham
Come lighthouse builders, soldiers of the word,
Come gather 'round me on this soft spring eve,
Prime yer wit's pistols, polish wisdom's sword,
For we're setting sail for all we believe.
Where principle transcends all politics,
Where lawyers are replaced by higher law,
Where children amongst the Great Books frolic,
Defenders of honor are held in awe.
For isn't forever worth fighting for?
Where rhyme and reason resound once again,
What sailor's soul could ever ask for more,
Than to serve the Lord with poetry's pen?
And I think I feel that ancient wind rising,
It's a choice I made, girl, so long ago,
The tide's turning, and we're both realizing,
That far, far away, this captain must go.
With all these castles built on shifting sands,
There's not much left for a poet 'round here,
All that can keep me now, from far off lands,
Is fearing that this fog will never clear.
This fog-- I just can't help dreaming beyond,
Dreaming a dream so bold it must be real,
Until that day which has never yet dawned,
Is crossed by my spirit's thundering keel.
'Cause I know there's just got to be a place
With wondrous mountains and a shining sea,
With Caroline's grace and beautiful face,
Where moral beauty's anchor sets ye free.
And I know that in-between here and there,
I'll sail on by some more who don't believe,
Forgive the blind leading the blind nowhere,
For in the end it's themselves they deceive.
Tonight I'm setting sail for victory,
Too many people talking of decline,
Tomorrow is the children's history,
So in me wake I'll leave them something fine.
Come sailors and sinners, it's not too late,
Serve something Greater, mate, and it shall save ye,
Set sail to make eternity yer fate,
Come serve aboard the Carolina Navy.

Sailing Towards Victory in The Culture Wars

Ahoy there literary seafarers and welcome aboard the renaissance fleet at Aboard our fine ships of the line ye'll encounter thousands of literary and technological tributes to the classics, ranging from, to the poems of the day series, to discussions pertaining to all of mankind's greatest artistic and intellectual endeavors. And while the thousands of ships range in design and destination, the original poetry and prose, penned by the three sonneteers, shall remain ruggedly constructed from, "Oak planks of reason, riveted with rhyme, designed to voyage across all of time." For the truest way to live the Great Books is not to merely talk about and read them, but it is to create within their rich context-- and that is the destination of this enterprise. Upon this glorious new medium words are free as never before to voyage to the far reaches of the seven seas, and thus the Truth knows no natural barriers but for a local lack of Faith. With the rising cultural and technological winds at our backs, we'll strive to keep an even keel as we marry eternity's meaning to this brave new medium. And I say there'll be no turning back 'til we've gained the renaissance.

In addition to being a launching site for our words, may our classical portals become a destination-- a temperate tavern for all wind-whipped poets, philosophers, and statesmen. For I say it's always those brave, salty sailors and soldiers of the soul who have the best stories to tell, and where better to hear a tale of everlasting honor than beside the sea? There's an infinite peace to be found in the ocean there, a permanence and invincibility which reflects and buoys the nobler aspects of mankind while drowning the baser, and it's this same infinite grandeur which is the hallmark of all Great Literature. Go running along the beach, alongside the rolling surf where no stone monument endures, and ye'll soon notice that all the leeward sounds of punditry and politics, the millions of contemporary quips, quotations, and distortions of pedants and litigators, can no longer be heard. For already the muddled buzz of those words have begun fading, fading since the moment they were uttered, destined to be replaced by the steady, leveling wind of the Great Books.

Some souls are born to be seafarers, ceaselessly drawn towards the freedom in the boundless infinite, endlessly seeking to walk with the eternal, and it are these souls who keep the context of the Greats alive. This they do in their daily lives, in their daily efforts, in their daily acts of nobility which are far more often accompanied by humility and hard work than by pomp and circumstance. Some of them have read little of the Greats, as Shakespeare had never read much Shakespeare, but if they did, they would immediately find themselves in a friendly harbor. For the Greats rarely tell us things we did not know, but rather they so beautifully bolster and eloquently affirm those things which we always knew to be true. So let these classical ports become places where we voyage to strengthen our souls.

Though they often sail in silence, the Greats remain perpetually poised on the brink of formidable action, and I say these vigilant minutemen are about to be awakened by this renaissance's call to arms. Those now training within our ports to become privateer poets shall possess the weapons of wit, wisdom, and eloquence that shall prove essential in winning the imminent literary battle. Victory shall provide us with the pristine territory and cultural positions which so many congressman, pundits, lawyers, and professors aspire to by inferior means. For poetry is only ever won by poetry, and as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written by poets and philosophers, so it is that the documents might be best apprehended and defended by the same. The magnificent magic of the foundational documents stems from the reality that rather than being written for journals, or pedants, or lawyers, or bureaucrats, they were beautiful poems written for the people, marked by subtlety, brevity, profundity, and eloquent beauty. Take this to heart mates-- if ye seek to join us in this battle, write not for the scholars, nor for the newspapers, nor for the state, but write for the people. And when ye go to sleep tonight, be prepared to rise when the lone horseman takes his midnight ride through the streets.

The WWW has ushered in a brand new art form-- the creation of a portal. Like all true art, it is not created by government agencies, nor committees, nor corporations, but it springs forth from that vital element for which there is no substitution-- the Individual's Vision and Hard Work. The primary purpose of venture capital is to hire other talented people to help realize a vision, but those in the business of writing literature can rarely, if ever, afford to do this, even if they had all of Kleiner-Perkins' money. For in order to withstand eternity, the entirety of a work, be it a sculpture, play, poem, painting, novel, or internet portal, must derive from the soul of a single artist. From the software, to the graphics, to the prose, this is truly an infinite medium to work in, where a poet-programmer may engineer a Classical Portal, creating a boundless community of the eternal. And to a greater degree than any previous art form, the WWW allows an individual to create an entire context with which to surround his poetry. The economic benefits of the internet are manifest, and the crew here believes that the cultural benefits shall prove to be even greater, for wherever freedom reigns and industry and honest enterprise are rewarded, the Greats shall triumph.

However, freedom must be perpetually defended, and stalwart statesmen can only exist in a context fought for and forged by soldiers of the soul-- those who readily turn away from fame and fortune so as to attend to their honor and the poetic pursuit of truth. Those common men of higher character who, though opposed by prevailing winds and tossed upon tempestuous seas, remain steadfastly loyal to the their art, steadfastly dedicated to uniting words and actions in holy matrimony. Thomas Jefferson, while contemplating the sacred source of freedom, penned, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." And in pondering the diminished value of life lived without Truth and Honor, John Stuart Mill wrote, "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." This is the same sentiment Mel Gibson expressed in Braveheart, when, as William Wallace, he said, "All men die, but some men never live." George Washington, during the twilight of the revolutionary war, when the American forces were all but victorious, declared, "The readiest way to procure a lasting and honorable peace is to be fully prepared to vigorously prosecute war." And Robert Frost, in contemplating the ultimate purpose of poetry, wrote, "Sometimes I have my doubts of words altogether, and I ask myself what is the place of them. They are worse than nothing unless they do something; unless they amount to deeds, as in ultimatums or battle-cries. They must be flat and final like the show-down in poker, from which there is no appeal. My definition of poetry (if I were forced to give one) would be this: words that become deeds."

So it is that Admiral Drake Raft shall soon take the offensive as captain of the imminent gunboat USSCONSTITUTIONS.COM, while Captain McGucken and I shall remain aboard The Jolly Roger, presiding over our home portals, from, to, to, to, to This division of duties, between soldiering and statesmanship, time hath now made appropriate within the context of our success in settling brand new literary territory on the WWW. When we first set sail aboard The Jolly Roger about four years ago, a home port devoted to the classics did not exist. But now, by the grace of God and all our thousands of merry maties, a bustling classical portal has come to be, and thus the original pirate motif has played itself out to some extent. For within the context of Classicals & LLC, we are no longer primarily cultural rebels, seeking to pirate the profound from waterlogged postmodern institutions, but we're now the colleagues, friends, and fellow-citizens of the thousands upon thousands of literary seafarers who frequent our sites. And make no mistake, mate-- we are forever thankful for the ceaseless fair weather and favorable winds provided by yer emails. Captains Knottingham and McGucken shall henceforth devote themselves to the governing of our home ports, content to be serving the seafaring settlers in peace and harmony, while Captain Drake shall boldly lead the Carolina Navy all-out campaign against the Postmodern Elite, from the gundecks of the USSCONSTITUTIONS.COM.

Admiral Drake Raft would like nothing better than to remain at home and raise a family in an upright, traditional manner while writing poetry for The New Yorker, but before bringing children into this world, somebody from this generation must venture forth to rediscover, rebuild, and reinforce America's moral foundations. For these fundamental, precious entities are far too fragile and pretty to be forever trusted to vacillating, craven, poll-driven politicians and their spiritually-barren economic and administrative advisors. Men willing to pledge their Lives, their Fortunes, and their Sacred Honours are the only ones fit to lead a literary renaissance. Men who Read, Write, Think, and Act in eternity's context.

For there is yet a war to be won within the greater culture, and the spoils of victory are nothing less than the college campuses, the romance in all deep, forsaken literature, the greater culture, the hearts and minds of the Good People, the children's innocence, the millenium's renaissance, and the correct continuity of a relatively short, simple document-- the United States Constitution. Considering the extent of the entrenched positions and annealed attitudes of the Postmodern Elite, winning this war shall prove to be as formidable a task as it is necessary. Their advantageous positions are well-funded by our tax and tuition dollars as well as by their conscienceless marketing of temptations of extensive reach to all ages. From their well-fortified academic and cultural posts, they lead a relentless, ubiquitious assault on behalf of ignorance in both education and entertainment, all the while eroding the classical context of the Great Books. But fear not, maties, for with God and the Greats on our side, any sailor endowed with a soul shall emerge victorious. For nobody can ever take from us the Honor gained by defending Truth and Beauty. And what can be more beautiful than a girl reading a Great Book?

Literary wars, much like the definitive wars which this country fought for freedom, are always inevitably won by those fighting for morality, honor, and Truth. So it is that the noble United States has so far defeated tyranny, slavery, communism, and fascism, all to defend the basic precepts and principles of the U.S. Constitution. And in defending this very same sublime piece of literature, America shall defeat postmodernism. Though the former conflicts were all won by the sword, which is protected by the Second Amendment, this contemporary conflict shall be won by the pen, which is protected by the First Amendment. So it is that those fundamental freedoms which the Constitution protects remain free to protect the Constitution.

Continued. . .

The Crew Reports For Duty

From: Diana Prewett <>
Subject: Re: killdevilhill

Hey handsome!

Thank you very much for allowing me to use your poetry in my classroom. I know my students will enjoy it. They complain that most poetry is boring, and they don't understand why they have to read it. I feel that if they have the opportunity to read current poetry in modern English, it will help further their education. Please let me know if you have a book of poetry out, I would LOVE to buy a few copies-- I searched Amazon, but I couldn't find anything. I am writing from Clovis, California. I haven't been teaching long, just since August 1998.

I know this is a lot to ask, but could you please give me an autobiography of yourself? I would like my students to get a sense of who you are as a person. I don't want to just introduce you as "some guy who posts his stuff on the Net." Thanks!


THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Argrhrghr Lassie! Yer coming close to the mystery of The Jolly Roger there, mate, and there are some things I have promised never to tell! But I am much flattered by yer choice of my poetry, and I shall strive to serve yer students as best I can. I haven't had any time to publish my poetry, as I've been too busy writing it and posting it on the net. Avast!

From: Bronwen <>
To: ""
Subject: thank you

thank you for sending me your "Poetry for a Pristine Girl." i'm a girl, actually; i joined the Jollyroger because you guys stand for things i believe in. i'm a freshman at Harvard, and coincidentally i am in the process of writing a newspaper article about very much the same issues your poem deals with. i've been sort of stuck -- having trouble putting to words what i feel. your poem couldn't have come at a better time. it's inspired me.

so many young women today are missing out on beautiful things -- things that are rightfully theirs by virtue of their femininity and their humanity. lately i've been looking around at my peers -- aggressive, career-hungry girls to whom sexual modesty isn't given a first thought let alone a second -- and i've begun to wonder what it is they're searching for. most of them won't find true happiness in the waters they've chosen to navigate. so many of them don't know -- because nobody's there to tell them -- that their femininity offers them some of the supremest joys God

has given our species. motherhood, caring for your children, loving a husband the way he was meant to be loved are not forms of slavery as so many women believe. they are wonderful, noble, beautiful things. i'm too young to know this first-hand, but my instincts tell me this, and i've also watched my mother stay at home to raise four kids even when it would've have been better money-wise had there been fewer of us or had she worked. God has specific plans for our sex, and in an incredibly brazen and ungrateful fashion we've taken those plans, torn them up, and thrown them back at Him.

like i said, i'm at Harvard right now. i've got some of my own plans to be a journalist, to make some sort of name for myself, but i also dream of a day when i'll get married and have kids. hopefully i will have it in me, if i ever have to choose, not to let my career plans interfere with that dream.

anyway, thanks again for your poem. you guys are great. keep up the good work.

--a happy passenger aboard yer ship

THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Ahoy mate! 'Tis so true that no amount of money can ever replace the filial bond established between a mother and a child, and it is this bond which is society's fundamental lecture hall for teaching everything there is to know about honor, love, duty, respect, and fidelity. Is there any greater, more ennobling, and more profound occupation than motherhood?

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 22:00:40 -0500
From: Jeremiah McEnerney <>

What beautiful words, Mr. Becket. It's a good thing that one way love set you free, to set your sails on other, uncharted waters. But let me ask you this...better yet, let Mr. Frost ask it:

"Sometimes I have my doubts of words altogether, and I ask myself what is the place of them. They are worse than nothing unless they do something; unless they amount to deeds, as in ultimatums or battle-cries. They must be flat and final like the show-down in poker, from which there is no appeal. My definition of poetry (if I were forced to give one) would be this: words that become deeds."

Fair winds, Jerry

THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Ahoy there mate, and thanks for the education! One of the greatest things about this ship is its crew's wondrous erudition! Ye'll find that we used yer quote in a passage at

Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 07:21:11 -0800 (PST)
From: Kristin Park <>

I stand and applaud not just on poetic talent alone, but poetic courage as well. The ability to touch and go on subjects that are often left leaving the reader with a wishy washy sense of dramatics is rare now a days. I often wonder what leads a writer to their subjects and how much is truth and what lays in fiction....but I felt soul bearing in the words and so I raise my glass.


Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 14:24:28 PST
From: Lauren Dvorak <>
Subject: smile

i just wanted to tell you that i really appreciated the poem by "becket knottingham" on february 14. i've always felt the hands behind this whole thing were a believer's, now i know. in Jesus, laurie

Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 15:01:07 -0500
From: The Gannon Family <>

I just happened to stumble upon this site while looking for literary criticisms of Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and I must say that I love it. I plan on being a literature professor after graduation. I always felt as if no other living soul felt the same way about literature that I did, but now I do not have to feel so odd. I have never seen a site like this before. It is amazing!!


Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 04:37:51 -0400
From: babbsey <>
Subject: Not exactly pristine. . . .But Trying!!


I was touched by your "Poetry for a Pristine Girl." I too, love God with all of my heart . . . . and have also hurt him very badly by allowing myself to be seduced by mortals from the "other" side. I know what it is to yearn for physical beauty, only to find an empty shell within. I am an architecture student, and oddly, I have found this phenomenon to be the case in the realm of building design as well. Many a liberal professor I've known, have, ironically, harped on the crisis of Postmodern buildings (one that is used often as an example: Michael Graves ANYTHING, but chiefly his Portland office building. Beautiful??(perhaps SEXY is more descriptive) facade, but nothing more than Dilbert cubicles within. These professors harp, and then generally tend to go back and contradict themselves in practice (or lack of practice). You sailors ARE definately on to something. Oh, and Becket, would you ever consider a BROWN-eyed girl? No pools of blue to be drowning in here . . . . just an Honest-To-Gosh romantic, North Carolina Smoky Mountain girl, who is trying to become a better human being. (and I'm also doing a little facade renovation on the side!)

Love and a pirate's Arghrgh,


Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 23:06:27 EST
Subject: I am enraptured with the quality of material for perusal at your site!!!

This is FANTASTIC!!! I want to read more of it but I am trying to finish up my graduate degree right now! As a strong advocate of "real" literature let me applaud what you've done here. Your site is a wonderful service to literature and the web community. I have a strong undergraduate background in the liberal arts, and I miss having someone to discuss all of the great literature and philosophical works that I once adored with on a daily basis. Now - maybe I have found a place where I won't feel strange about spouting Emerson or Thoreau.

Thank you so much! You've helped me to rediscover why I love learning.

Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 13:27:09 -0500
From: Mike Gole <> To: Subject: The Site

Just plain Kick ***!!

Whilst sailing the Web Sea, in search of truth and justice, I happened upon this post of ryhmme and reason. A the smile of my face grew, I found a new home! The joy in my heart to find a treasure of intelligent prose and conservative statutes, oh I can hardly bare it. Praise be to God, the maker of noses, for shared beliefs and open minds! I have marked my sea charts, with a mark of righteousness, to guide my ship back to this most pleasant port. Well done and well said!!! Mike Gole aka, Richard James, Soldier of God

Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 01:25:41 EST
Subject: A Liberal's Thanks :)


Ah, yes, I can hear it from here--all the way in Michigan. A liberal English Lit/Journalism degree-holder (emphasis on Shakespearean studies) is writing a letter to the conservative revolutionaries of What is the world coming to, dear Beckett?

I have actually been searching for your site for a long time. I am quite happy that I have found it. It is amazingly well-done. What a relief to find a site that is devoted to the Great Works. Our obvious political differences aside, my compliments do not sway. I have been searching for a site where I can peruse others' thoughts regarding Literature--most notably, Shakespeare and Twain, my personal favorites. I have found it with your site.

Keep up the good work--
Ms. X

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 16:25:11 +0200
From: Julia Aitchison <>
Subject: Re: Thank you!

Dear Becket,

To whoever wrote on what they learnt at Toni Morrison's fiction class - Thank you, thank you, thank you - you exactly echoed my description of some academics - simple wankers. Laziness, self-indulgence & smugness to the Nth degree. I'm writing from Cape Town; am doing English Honours at the University of Cape Town and am seriously considering dropping it - hence my joy at seeing other sickened reactions to various classes. Kate

THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Ahoy there mate! Don't let school get in the way of yer education!

From: Jack Cuzzi <>
Subject: Many Thanks


I just read "Poetry for a Pristine Girl". I can't believe it. You've articulated that which I've felt & experienced for many years. Phrase upon phrase found me shaking my head in disbelief (rather, welcomed belief!) - that there was another who thought,felt,struggled in similar ways. Thank you. I stumbled upon the Jolly Roger while working on my Master's thesis/project in Educ Tech (Writing in Webbed Environments).Along with hearing & meeting Ray Bradbury, and reading C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man alongside That Hideous Strength, I found some antidotes to the Post-Modern poisons forced down my throat. Thanks for the fresh air, courage, reclamations of romance, faith, feminity, truth, language, literature, and Life. I am indeed, thank - full.

THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Thanks for the kind words, mate! Me poems would all be for naught if I didn't have profound souls to share them with.

From: "Tom Gilbert (Proposal Services Organization)"

Dear Becket -

Have enjoyed your poem (`Poetry for a Pristine Girl') immensely and would like nothing better than to publish it in our online magazine, Creekwalker. We've posted `The Two Nantuckets' by Drake while our `Drake Raft's Great Adventure' by Taylor Stinson is on your Hatteras site. As Drake once wrote, The Jolly Roger and Tawnybark are sailing a parallel course on opposite shores.

We continue to find your site a veritable magnetic north for sensible literature, ethical thought and social commentary in these turbulent times. Creekwalker Magazine can be found at:

THE CAPTAIN RESPONDS: Agrhrgrhgrh! Everyone voyage on over to Creekwalker Magazine! Captain's Orders! Avast! | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

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