March 26, 2010

Summer

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--Description: 20th C, Lowell A., Nature, Seasons--

Some men there are who find in nature all
Their inspiration, hers the sympathy
Which spurs them on to any great endeavor,
To them the fields and woods are closest friends,
And they hold dear communion with the hills;
The voice of waters soothes them with its fall,
And the great winds bring healing in their sound.
To them a city is a prison house
Where pent up human forces labour and strive,
Where beauty dwells not, driven forth by man;
But where in winter they must live until
Summer gives back the spaces of the hills.
To me it is not so. I love the earth
And all the gifts of her so lavish hand:
Sunshine and flowers, rivers and rushing winds,
Thick branches swaying in a winter storm,
And moonlight playing in a boat’s wide wake;
But more than these, and much, ah, how much more,
I love the very human heart of man.
Above me spreads the hot, blue mid-day sky,
Far down the hillside lies the sleeping lake
Lazily reflecting back the sun,
And scarcely ruffled by the little breeze
Which wanders idly through the nodding ferns.
The blue crest of the distant mountain, tops
The green crest of the hill on which I sit;
And it is summer, glorious, deep-toned summer,
The very crown of nature’s changing year
When all her surging life is at its full.
To me alone it is a time of pause,
A void and silent space between two worlds,
When inspiration lags, and feeling sleeps,
Gathering strength for efforts yet to come.
For life alone is creator of life,
And closest contact with the human world
Is like a lantern shining in the night
To light me to a knowledge of myself.
I love the vivid life of winter months
In constant intercourse with human minds,
When every new experience is gain
And on all sides we feel the great world’s heart;
The pulse and throb of life which makes us men!


Amy Lowell

--Did You Know: (February 9, 1874—May 12, 1925) Lowell was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926. Lowell was born into Brookline's prominent Lowell family. One brother, Percival Lowell, was a famous astronomer who predicted the existence of the dwarf planet Pluto and believed the canals on Mars showed it hosted living intelligence; another brother, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, served as president of Harvard University. She never attended college because her family did not consider it proper for a woman, but she compensated for this with avid reading and near-obsessive book-collecting. She lived as a socialite and traveled widely, turning to poetry in 1902 after being inspired by a performance of Eleonora Duse in Europe.

--Word of the Day: caveat\KAY-vee-at; KAV-ee-; KAH-vee-aht\, noun:
1. (Law) A notice given by an interested party to some officer not to do a certain act until the opposition has a hearing.
2. A warning or caution; also, a cautionary qualification or explanation to prevent misunderstanding.
Quote:
Two young Harvard M.B.A.'s worked up some highly optimistic projections -- with the caveat that these were speculative and should of course be tested.
-Roy Blount Jr., "Able Were They Ere They Saw Cable", New York Times, March 9, 1986

--Quote of the Day: courage doesn't always roar.
sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day, saying,
"i will try again tomorrow."
-mary anne radmacher

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March 25, 2010

Your Laughter

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



Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,
the lance flower that you pluck,
the water that suddenly
bursts forth in joy,
the sudden wave
of silver
born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back
with eyes tired
at times from having seen
the unchanging earth,
but when your laughter enters
it rises to the sky seeking me
and it opens for me all
the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest
hour your laughter
opens, and if suddenly
you see my blood staining
the stones of the street,
laugh, because your laughter
will be for my hands
like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,
your laughter must raise
its foamy cascade,
and in the spring, love,
I want your laughter like
the flower I was waiting for,
the blue flower, the rose
of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,
at the day, at the moon,
laugh at the twisted
streets of the island,
laugh at this clumsy
boy who loves you,
but when I open
my eyes and close them,
when my steps go,
when my steps return,
deny me bread, air,
light, spring,
but never your laughter
for I would die.

Pablo Neruda


--Did You Know: (1904-1973) Neruda whose real name is Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, was born on 12 July, 1904, in the town of Parral in Chile. His father was a railway employee and his mother, who died shortly after his birth, a teacher. Some years later his father, who had then moved to the town of Temuco, remarried doña Trinidad Candia Malverde. The poet spent his childhood and youth in Temuco, where he also got to know Gabriela Mistral, head of the girls' secondary school, who took a liking to him. At the early age of thirteen he began to contribute some articles to the daily "La Mañana", among them, Entusiasmo y Perseverancia - his first publication - and his first poem. Among his works of the last few years can be mentioned Cien sonetos de amor (1959), which includes poems dedicated to his wife Matilde Urrutia, Memorial de Isla Negra, a poetic work of an autobiographic character in five volumes, published on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday.

--Word of the Day: inveigh\in-VAY\, intransitive verb:
To rail (against some person or thing); to protest strongly or attack with harsh and bitter language -- usually with "against"; as, "to inveigh against character, conduct, manners, customs, morals, a law, an abuse."
Quote:
It is my intention to inveigh against what seems to be the gradual (continuing?) publishing practice of making books that are so fat and windy that they sit, with some exceptions, like hefty neglected lumps on the shelves waiting for the first clever marketer to include a backpack with their purchase.
-Martin Arnold, "They're Bigger. But Better?", New York Times, October 28, 1999

--Quote of the Day: A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.
-Jean Cocteau

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March 24, 2010

O Never Say That I Was False of Heart (Sonnet 109)

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*Coffee Table Poetry will be on vacation until April 1st. We will review your correspondence then. In the meantime, we prepared daily posts in advance for you!*



--Description: 17th C, Shakespeare W., Love, Sonnet--

O, never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seemed my flame to qualify.
As easy might I from my self depart
As from my soul which in thy breast doth lie.
That is my home of love; if I have ranged,
Like him that travels I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe though in my nature reigned
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stained
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
For nothing this wide universe I call
Save thou, my rose, in it thou art my all.


William Shakespeare

--Did You Know: (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays,154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. Read more at: William Shakespeare

--Word of the Day: imbroglio \im-BROHL-yoh\ , noun:
Meaning: 1. A complicated and embarrassing state of things.
2. A confused or complicated disagreement or misunderstanding.
3. An intricate, complicated plot, as of a drama or work of fiction.
4. A confused mass; a tangle.
Example: The political imbroglio also appears to endanger the latest International Monetary Fund loan package for Russia, which is considered critical to avoid a default this year on the country's $17 billion in foreign debt.
(David Hoffman, "Citing Economy, Yeltsin Fires Premier", Washington Post, May 13, 1999)

--Quote of the Day: "At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet."

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March 20, 2010

Terrific Two of the Week: 3/15-3/19/10

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So many intriguing poems by various poets have been covered this week. Here is a recap, and my two favorite poems of the week. What were YOURS? Which poets are your favorites?  Leave a comment with your  thoughts, and let me know which classic you would like to see. The two, terrific poems of the week for me were:

--There Will Come Soft Rain and --The Jewels

Coffee Table Poetry for Tea Drinkers is updated daily. Simply subscribe by selecting E-mail or RSS Reader. You will treasure getting daily poetry in your mail! Please continue reading the Recap below. Just click on the titles to access the poems:
 ----------------------------------
March 15, 2010
There Will Come Soft Rain
--Description: 20th C, Teasedale S., Nature, Seasons, War--


March 16, 2010
Sun and Shadow
--Description: 19th C, Holmes O.W., Nature--


March 17, 2010
Winter Memories
--Description: 19th C, Thoreau Henry D., Seasons--



March 19, 2010
The Jewels
--Description: 19th C, Baudelaire C., Adoration, Love, Passion



Quote of the Day: "Genius ain't anything more than elegant common sense."
-Josh Billings

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March 17, 2010

Winter Memories

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--Description: 19th C, Thoreau Henry D., Seasons--

Within the circuit of this plodding life
There enter moments of an azure hue,
Untarnished fair as is the violet
Or anemone, when the spring stew them
By some meandering rivulet, which make
The best philosophy untrue that aims
But to console man for his grievences.
I have remembered when the winter came,
High in my chamber in the frosty nights,
When in the still light of the cheerful moon,
On the every twig and rail and jutting spout,
The icy spears were adding to their length
Against the arrows of the coming sun,
How in the shimmering noon of winter past
Some unrecorded beam slanted across
The upland pastures where the Johnwort grew;
Or heard, amid the verdure of my mind,
The bee's long smothered hum, on the blue flag
Loitering amidst the mead; or busy rill,
Which now through all its course stands still and dumb
Its own memorial, - purling at its play
Along the slopes, and through the meadows next,
Until its youthful sound was hushed at last
In the staid current of the lowland stream;
Or seen the furrows shine but late upturned,
And where the fieldfare followed in the rear,
When all the fields around lay bound and hoar
Beneath a thick integument of snow.
So by God's cheap economy made rich
To go upon my winter's task again.


Henry David Thoreau

--Did You Know: (July 12, 1817– May 6, 1862) Thoreau was an American author, poet, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state. Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions were his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore; while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and "Yankee" love of practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time imploring one to abandon waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs. He was a lifelong abolitionist. Read more at: Henry David Thoreau

--Word of the Day: solecism \SOL-uh-siz-uhm\, noun:
1. A nonstandard usage or grammatical construction; also, a minor blunder in speech.
2. A breach of good manners or etiquette.
3. Any inconsistency, mistake, or impropriety.
Example:
An accurate report of anything that has ever been said in any parliament would be blather, solecism, verbiage and nonsense.
-"Hansard of the Highlands", Times (London), February 17, 2001

--Quote of the Day: "Be mindful of how you approach time. Watching the clock is not the same as watching the sun rise."
-Sophia Bedford-Pierce

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March 16, 2010

Sun and Shadow

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--Description: 19th C, Holmes O.W., Nature--
As I look from the isle, o'er its billows of green,
To the billows of foam-crested blue,
Yon bark, that afar in the distance is seen,
Half dreaming, my eyes will pursue:
Now dark in the shadow, she scatters the spray
As the chaff in the stroke of the flail;
Now white as the sea-gull, she flies on her way,
The sun gleaming bright on her sail.

Yet her pilot is thinking of dangers to shun,--
Of breakers that whiten and roar;
How little he cares, if in shadow or sun
They see him who gaze from the shore!
He looks to the beacon that looms from the reef,
To the rock that is under his lee,
As he drifts on the blast, like a wind-wafted leaf,
O'er the gulfs of the desolate sea.

Thus drifting afar to the dim-vaulted caves
Where life and its ventures are laid,
The dreamers who gaze while we battle the waves
May see us in sunshine or shade;
Yet true to our course, though the shadows grow dark,
We'll trim our broad sail as before,
And stand by the rudder that governs the bark,
Nor ask how we look from the shore!

Oliver Wendell Holmes

--Did You Know: (August 29, 1809 – October 7, 1894) Holmes was an American physician, professor, lecturer, and author. Regarded by his peers as one of the best writers of the 19th century, he is considered a member of the Fireside Poets. His most famous prose works are the "Breakfast-Table" series, which began with The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858). He is recognized as an important medical reformer. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Holmes was educated at Phillips Academy and Harvard College. After graduating from Harvard in 1829, he briefly studied law before turning to the medical profession. He began writing poetry at an early age; one of his most famous works, "Old Ironsides", was published in 1830. Following training at the prestigious medical schools of Paris, Holmes was granted his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1836. Holmes retired from Harvard in 1882 and continued writing poetry, novels and essays until his death in 1894. Read more at: Oliver Wendell Holmes

--Word of the Day: erudite \AIR-yuh-dyt; -uh-dyt\, adjective:
Characterized by extensive reading or knowledge; learned.
Example:
In front of imposing edifices like the Topkapi Palace or Hagia Sophia are guides displaying Government-issued licenses. Many of these guides are erudite historians who have quit low-paying jobs as university professors and now offer private tours.
-- "What's Doing in Istanbul", New York Times, February 23, 1997

--Quote of the Day: Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.
- Henry Ford

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March 15, 2010

There Will Come Soft Rain

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--Description: 20th C, Teasedale S., Nature, Seasons, War--
There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Sara Teasedale

--Did You Know: (August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933) Teasedale was an American lyrical poet. She was born Sarah Trevor Teasdale in St. Louis, Missouri. Throughout her life, Teasdale suffered poor health and it was only at age 9 that she was well enough to begin school. In 1898 she went to Mary Institute and to Hosmer Hall in 1899 where she finished in 1903. In 1913 Teasdale fell in love with poet Vachel Lindsay. He wrote her daily love letters, but nevertheless she married Ernst Filsinger in 1914 when she was 30; he was a rich businessman. Teasdale and Lindsay remained friends throughout their lives. In 1918, her poetry collection Love Songs won three awards: the Columbia University Poetry Society prize, the 1918 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the annual prize of the Poetry Society of America. She was not happy in her marriage, becoming divorced in 1929. In 1933, she committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. The poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" from her 1920 collection Flame and Shadow inspired and featured in a famous short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury. Read more at: Sara Teasedale

--Word of the Day: sachet \sa-SHEY\, noun:
1. A small bag, case, or pad containing perfuming powder or the like, placed among handkerchiefs, etc., to impart a pleasant scent.
2. Also, sachet powder, the powder contained in such a case.
Example:
Select a filler of snowflake geranium, polyester fill, or rabbit tobacco –– enough to make the sachet fluffy.
-Bibby Moore, Growing with gardening: A Twelve-month Guide for Therapy, Recreation, and Education

--Quote of the Day: War grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow man.
-Napoleon Hill

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March 13, 2010

Terrific Two of the Week: 3/9 - 3/12/10

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So many intriguing poems by various poets have been covered this week. Here is a recap, and my two favorite poems of the week. What were YOURS? Which poets are your favorites?  Leave a comment with your  thoughts, and let me know which classic you would like to see. The two, terrific poems of the week for me were:

--The Pig and --Excursion

Coffee Table Poetry for Tea Drinkers is updated daily. Simply subscribe by selecting E-mail or RSS Reader. You will treasure getting daily poetry in your mail! Please continue reading the Recap below. Just click on the titles to access the poems:
 ----------------------------------
March 9, 2010
The Splendor Falls (Blow Bugle Blow)
--Description: 19th C, Alfred Lord T., Music, Nature, War--


March 10, 2010
Excursion
--Description: 20th C, Lawrence D.H., Love, Night--



March 11, 2010
Waking From Sleep
--Description: 21st C, Bly R., Humanity, Life--



March 12, 2010
The Pig
--Description: 20th C, Dahl R., Children, Fantasy, Humor--




Quote of the Day: " A sense of humor is a major defense against minor troubles."
-Mignon McLaughlin

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March 12, 2010

The Pig

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--Description: 20th C, Dahl R., Children, Fantasy, Humor--

In England once there lived a big
And wonderfully clever pig.
To everybody it was plain
That Piggy had a massive brain.
He worked out sums inside his head,
There was no book he hadn't read.
He knew what made an airplane fly,
He knew how engines worked and why.
He knew all this, but in the end
One question drove him round the bend:
He simply couldn't puzzle out
What LIFE was really all about.
What was the reason for his birth?
Why was he placed upon this earth?
His giant brain went round and round.
Alas, no answer could be found.
Till suddenly one wondrous night.
All in a flash he saw the light.
He jumped up like a ballet dancer
And yelled, "By gum, I've got the answer!"
"They want my bacon slice by slice
"To sell at a tremendous price!
"They want my tender juicy chops
"To put in all the butcher's shops!
"They want my pork to make a roast
"And that's the part'll cost the most!
"They want my sausages in strings!
"They even want my chitterlings!
"The butcher's shop! The carving knife!
"That is the reason for my life!"
Such thoughts as these are not designed
To give a pig great piece of mind.
Next morning, in comes Farmer Bland,
A pail of pigswill in his hand,
And piggy with a mighty roar,
Bashes the farmer to the floor…
Now comes the rather grizzly bit
So let's not make too much of it,
Except that you must understand
That Piggy did eat Farmer Bland,
He ate him up from head to toe,
Chewing the pieces nice and slow.
It took an hour to reach the feet,
Because there was so much to eat,
And when he finished, Pig, of course,
Felt absolutely no remorse.
Slowly he scratched his brainy head
And with a little smile he said,
"I had a fairly powerful hunch
"That he might have me for his lunch.
"And so, because I feared the worst,
"I thought I'd better eat him first."

Roald Dahl

--Did You Know: (13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990) Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Born in Llandaff, Wales, to Norwegian parents, Dahl served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, in which he became a flying ace and intelligence agent. He rose to prominence in the 1940s with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors. His short stories are known for their unexpected endings, and his children's books for their unsentimental, often very dark humour. Some of his more well-known works include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, Matilda, The Witches, and The BFG. Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales in 1916, to Norwegian parents, Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Dahl (née Hesselberg). Dahl's father had moved from Sarpsborg in Norway and settled in Cardiff in the 1880s, and his mother came over to marry his father in about 1910. Roald was named after the polar explorer Roald Amundsen, a national hero in Norway at the time. He spoke Norwegian at home with his parents and sisters, Astri, Alfhild, and Else. Dahl and his sisters were christened at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff, where their parents worshipped. Read more at: Roald Dahl

--Poetry Terminology: Oblique Rhyme-
Alternative term for near rhyme.

--Word of the Day: inveterate \in-VET-uhr-it\, adjective:
1. Firmly established by long persistence; deep-rooted; of long standing.
2. Fixed in habit by long persistence; confirmed; habitual.
Example:
In Montpelier, where this prison stands, the inveterate prejudice against prisoners has been swept away.
-Morrison I. Swift, "Humanizing the Prisons", The Atlantic, August 1911

--Quote of the Day: Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.
-Mark Twain

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March 9, 2010

The Splendor Falls (Blow Bugle Blow)

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--Description: 19th C, Alfred Lord T., Music, Nature, War--
The splendor falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story;
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying
Blow, bugle; answers, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying;
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river;
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow forever and forever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying,dying

Alfred Lord Tennyson

--Did You Know: (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) Tennyson was much better known as "Alfred, Lord Tennyson," and was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular poets in the English language. Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, "In the valley of Cauteretz", "Break, break, break", "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Tears, idle tears" and "Crossing the Bar". Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes, although In Memoriam A.H.H. was written to commemorate his best friend Arthur Hallam, a fellow poet and classmate at Trinity College, Cambridge, who was engaged to Tennyson's sister, but died from a cerebral hemorrhage before they were married. Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, Ulysses, and Tithonus. His use of blank verse, rare in his day, may be related to his complete tone deafness which made it hard for him to follow the conventional rhythms of the poetry of his day. During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success. Tennyson wrote a number of phrases that have become commonplaces of the English language, including: "Nature, red in tooth and claw", "'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all", "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die", "My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure", "Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers", and "The old order changeth, yielding place to new". He is the second most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations after Shakespeare. Read more at: Alfred, Lord Tennyson

--Poetry Terminology: Leonine Verse-
Type of verse possibly attributed to a 13th century French poet called Leo. In English it refers to verse employing an internal rhyme scheme where a word in the middle of the line rhymes with the word at the end of the line e.g 'The splendour falls on castle walls' from Blow, Bugle, Blow by Tennyson.

--Word of the Day: didactic \dy-DAK-tik; duh-\, adjective:
1. Fitted or intended to teach; conveying instruction; instructive; teaching some moral lesson; as, "didactic essays."
2. Inclined to teach or moralize excessively; moralistic.
Example:
The show trial may be defined as a public theatrical performance in the form of a trial, didactic in purpose, intended not to establish the guilt of the accused but rather to demonstrate the heinousness of the person's crimes.
-Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism


--Quote of the Day: Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind. -Robert Green Ingersoll

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