for osm


…wears off all things:

Shoes and cars,

Christmas stars,

kings and golden rings.


But love we’re told

If it is true

is always new

and never old.


I wonder if Odysseus


across the sea

divined the mess


he’d left behind:

a comely wife,

a married life,

love, of a kind.


Or did he mishap know

that temporality

is love’s infirmity

for us below?


We lack the angels’ plight,

their scope–

even a rope–

to scale their height.


And so we think

love is our portal

to the immortal

as down we sink.


No love’s not love

that alters when

the clock strikes ten

or fate plays rough.


Love’s the state whereby

we’re crazed to think

that passion’s blink

will never die.

* * *


I thought (the cheek!)

I’d found love true

In someone new,

and she was chic.


Her kisses fell like flakes

to ground–

She had me bound:

And Ah, the stakes!


She said, You are my only

heart’s desire–

Oh purple fire:

Make me unlonely.


And you, I said in trembling tone,

Are Chinese food

Not bad, not good,

–Was that my phone?


We sowed the field prodigiously

From summer’s call

Until the fall



But what is new is never

Love and thus

this us

was not forever.


She packed her bag (the jerk)

and said

It’s dead

It didn’t work.


But Love’s not work, at least

the kind

that’s blind.

like the Cretan beast.


Love’s old at first hello,


not improvised

like Waldorf Jello.


Love says (the same) to each,

a simple word

barely heard,

touching without reach.


Love’s sad, right from the start

the rain


creation without art.


And love will find you hollow.

Thus, Jack and Jill

against their will

do leave the hill and follow.


The moral is beware the new

It’s shade

Will fade

For her, and you.

rjh/23/08 2013

5 thoughts on “New

  1. Dear Mr. Hoffmann:

    It is clear that you love language, with a passion that is manifest.
    It is clear that you love poetry, and this is a remarkable interest for a biblical historian.
    It is also clear that you love sharp analysis of texts and you delight in sophisticated critical studies of other scholars.

    Those three passions go together in the same mind. Often music would be a natural companion to the linguistic ones.

    So, may I ask you, when are we going to get a few new critical studies of biblical texts or sharp commentaries of recent developments in the scholarly literature?
    Not that it should restrict your poetical output. But recently your poetry had literally displaced your scholarly critiques. Can we foresee a return of your prose output as well in the near future?
    The New Oxonian has been too silent in that neglected department.

    Or is there a more fundamental reason for this radical change of the center of gravity in your production?
    Are you devoting your research time to the preparation of that book you had mentioned you might tackle, the defense of the historicity of Jesus, against the likes of Arthur Drews.
    I recently reread in depth George A. Wells “Did Jesus Exist?” (1987) and the “Christ Myth”, and was astonished by the freshness of both texts.

    Also, one special request, which I hope is not too much out of line.

    If by any chance you have any influence on Jonathan Kurtz, president of Prometheus, perhaps you could send a word or two concerning the need for a new edition of George A. Wells’s “Did Jesus Exist?”.

    If you remember the book, as I am certain you know the book (which I read on your own recommendations in this site, when you literally said “and they are still worth reading”, you will have noticed the miserable quality of the physical product (I am speaking here only of fonts, margins, readability of notes, quality of paper, size of pages, etc…). I have complained bitterly to Jonathan Kurtz on the lamentable edition by his firm and on the need for a new, comfortable, readable, and durable edition of what remains an important text.

    I am sure that your love of language extends to a keen interest in the typographical presentation of texts (as is visible in the New Oxonian), and you have often in your writings always shown respect for G.A. Wells’s scholarship.

    Perhaps your name might have a more effective impact on Jonathan kurtz and prod him into starting work on a high-quality 3d edition of “Did Jesus Exist?” (1975/1987).

    Thanks for your attention.

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