January 23, 2009

The Gift Outright

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--Description: Frost R., 20th C, Inauguration, Politics



Recited at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy on 20 January 1961.


The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia.
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak.
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.


Robert Frost


--Did You Know: In 1912 Frost sailed with his family to Great Britain, living first in Glasgow before settling in Beaconsfield outside London. His first book of poetry, A Boy's Will, was published the next year.
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January 21, 2009

Inauguration Day: Hooray, Hooray!

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--Description: Trillin C., 21st C, Inauguration, Politics



Anticipating the Inauguration of Barack Obama


Inauguration is the day
The nation's hopes go on display —
When through one man we all convey
Our dream that things will go our way.
His resume we can't gainsay.
In politics, we know, his play
Is worthy of the NBA.
He proved that in the recent fray,
Though he had help from Tina Fey.
And now this solemn matinee
Awards the winner's bright bouquet.


First, Pastor Warren's going to pray
For everyone who isn't gay.
Obama then will stand and say,
"I take this oath that I'll obey
The statutes of the U. S. A."
In his address, he might portray
The dragons he intends to slay:
How Wall Street's sky will turn from gray
To blue as blues are chased away,
How workers will collect good pay
For turning out a Chevrolet,
How in Iraq we'll end our stay
With shortest possible delay,
How pay-to-play will be passe
So K Street suits will not hold sway.
Yes, how we'll triumph, come what may:
We'll rise up like a good souffle
'Til life's just like a cabaret.

Obamacans will shout hooray
And toast their man with Chardonnay
As commentators all make hay
Comparing him to JFK.
The Beltway types, those still blase,
Might think that soon, with some dismay,
We'll wonder if his feet are clay.
But that's all for another day




Calvin Trillin


--Did You Know:  He is an American journalist, humorist, and novelist. He is best known for his humorous writings about food and eating, but he has also written serious journalism, comic verse, and several books of fiction. 

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January 16, 2009

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind

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--Description: Shakespeare W., 17th C, Nature, Seasons


Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As a friend remembered not.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.


 William Shakespeare


--Did You Know: Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children.

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Now Winter Nights Enlarge

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--Description: Campion T., 17th C, Christmas, Seasons


Now winter nights enlarge
This number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o'erflow with wine,
Let well-tuned words amaze
With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
Shall wait on honey love
While youthful revels, masques, and courtly sights
Sleep's leaden spells remove.


This time doth well dispense
With lovers' long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
Though beauty no remorse.
All do not all things well:
Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted riddles tell,
Some poems smoothly read.
The summer hath his joys,
And winter his delights;
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys
They shorten tedious nights.


Thomas Campion


--Did You Know: Campion was born in London and studied at Peterhouse, Cambridge, but left without taking a degree.

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January 12, 2009

I love you much (most beautiful darling)

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--Description: Cummings E., 20th C, Love, Adoration


I love you much (most beautiful darling)

More than anyone on the earth and I
Like you better than everything in the sky

-sunlight and singing welcome your coming

Although winter may be everywhere
With such a silence and such a darkness
No one can quite begin to guess

(except my life) the true time of year-

And if what calls itself a world should have
The luck to hear such singing (or glimpse such
Sunlight as will leap higher than high
Through gayer than gayest someone's heart at your each

Nearness) everyone certainly would (my
Most beautiful darling) believe in nothing but love


E. E. Cummings


--Did You Know:  He was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses approximately 2,900 poems, an autobiographical novel, four plays and several essays, as well as numerous drawings and paintings.

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January 9, 2009

I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You

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--Description: Neruda P., 20th C, Love, Adoration, Passion


I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it's you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.
 

Pablo Neruda


--Did You Know: Neruda was accomplished in a variety of styles ranging from erotically charged love poems like his collection Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair, surrealist poems, historical epics, and overtly political manifestos.

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I Carry Your Heart With Me

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--Description: Cummings E., 20th C, Adoration, Love


i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
 
 
E. E. Cummings
 

--Did You Know:  Cummings himself used both the lowercase and capitalized versions, but according to his widow did not, as reported in the preface of one book, have his name legally changed to "e e cummings".

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January 8, 2009

Tempest

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She pounded her fists on the old, oak table,
And stamped her feet in fiery rage.
She tossed from her face her ebony hair
Which fell in soft curls to her waist.

The color of her face was one of white chalk.
She was frustrated and livid with rage.
Her midnight-blue eyes were pools of wisdom,
Defiantly belying her innocent age.

Within moments a rosy hue swept her pure face,
Such a bewitching creature to behold.
Her chest heaved in pain as the sobs racked her body,
And her eyes filled with tears, that down her cheeks rolled.

Day turned to night, there was soon a dead silence.
She lay on the bed pale and still.
With her aching head buried in a snow-white pillow,
Of disillusion she had endured more than her fill.

Later, in the silence, in the depths of her sleep,
In a voice filled with pain, she murmured,
"He loved me, he said so!  Was I a game to play?
Tell me God, why did it have to end in this way?"


 
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A Winter Night

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My window-pane is starred with frost,
The world is bitter cold to-night,
The moon is cruel, and the wind
Is like a two-edged sword to smite.


God pity all the homeless ones,
The beggars pacing to and fro,
God pity all the poor to-night
Who walk the lamp-lit streets of snow.


My room is like a bit of June,
Warm and close-curtained fold on fold,
But somewhere, like a homeless child,
My heart is crying in the cold.


Sara Teasedale


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