July 31, 2010

The Eagle

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--Description: 19th C, Tennyson A., Nature--

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

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

--Word of the Day: potlatch \POT-lach\, noun:
A ceremony at which gifts are bestowed on the guests in a show of wealth that the guests later attempt to surpass.
Example:
On social media, the potlatch takes the form of outtweeting and outsharing the field, overloading the network with fragments of oneself as users seek a ranking.
-- Rob Horning, "Gift Glut," Popmatters.com, May, 2010

--Quote of the Day: A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.
- Ralph Nader

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July 26, 2010

Life's Harmonies

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--Description: 20th C, Wilcox E.W., Contentment, Encouragement, Life, Hope--

LET no man pray that he know not sorrow,
Let no soul ask to be free from pain,
For the gall of to-day is the sweet of to-morrow,
And the moment's loss is the lifetime's gain.

Through want of a thing does its worth redouble,
Through hunger's pangs does the feast content,
And only the heart that has harbored trouble,
Can fully rejoice when joy is sent.

Let no man shrink from the bitter tonics
Of grief, and yearning, and need, and strife,
For the rarest chords in the soul's harmonies,
Are found in the minor strains of life.


Ella Wheeler Wilcox

--Did You Know: (November 5, 1850–October 30, 1919) Wilcox was an American author and poet. Her best-known work was Poems of Passion. Her most enduring work was "Solitude", which contains the lines: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone". Her autobiography, The Worlds and I, was published in 1918, a year before her death. Ella Wheeler was born in 1850 on a farm in rural Johnstown, Wisconsin, east of Janesville, the youngest of four children. The family soon moved to north of Madison. She started writing poetry at a very early age, and was well known as a poet in her own state by the time she graduated from high school. When about 28 years of age, she married Robert Wilcox. They had one child, a son, who died shortly after birth. Not long after their marriage, they both became interested in Theosophy, New Thought, and Spiritualism. Read more at: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

--Word of the Day: cajole \kuh-JOHL\, transitive verb:
To persuade with flattery, repeated appeals, or soothing words; to coax.
Example:
If Robert had been an ordinary ten-year-old he would have cajoled and whined, asked and asked and asked until I snapped at him to keep quiet.
-Anna Quindlen, Black and Blue

--Quote of the Day: I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
-E. B. White

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July 24, 2010

Her Voice

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--Description: 19th C, Wilde O., Love, Passion, Separation--

 
The wild bee reels from bough to bough
With his furry coat and his gauzy wing,
Now in a lily-cup, and now
Setting a jacinth bell a-swing,
In his wandering;
Sit closer love: it was here I trow
I made that vow,
Swore that two lives should be like one.

As long as the sea-gull loved the sea,
As long as the sunflower sought the sun, -
It shall be, I said, for eternity
'Twixt you and me!
Dear friend, those times are over and done;
Love's web is spun.

Look upward where the poplar trees
Sway and sway in the summer air,
Here in the valley never a breeze
Scatters the thistledown, but there
Great winds blow fair
From the mighty murmuring mystical seas,
And the wave-lashed leas.

Look upward where the white gull screams,
What does it see that we do not see?
Is that a star? or the lamp that gleams
On some outward voyaging argosy, -
Ah! can it be
We have lived our lives in a land of dreams!
How sad it seems.

Sweet, there is nothing left to say
But this, that love is never lost,
Keen winter stabs the breasts of May
Whose crimson roses burst his frost,
Ships tempest-tossed
Will find a harbour in some bay,
And so we may.

And there is nothing left to do
But to kiss once again, and part,
Nay, there is nothing we should rue,
I have my beauty, - you your Art,
Nay, do not start,
One world was not enough for two
Like me and you.



Oscar Wilde

--Did You Know: (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest "celebrities" of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest. As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years' hard labour after being convicted of homosexual relationships, described as "gross indecency" with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry, never to return to Ireland or Britain. Read more at: Oscar Wilde

--Word of the Day: undercast \UHN-der-kast\, noun:
1. Something viewed from above through another medium, as of clouds viewed from an airplane.
2. Mining. A crossing of two passages, as airways, dug at the same level so that one descends to pass beneath the other without any opening into it.
Example:
His skin was white, but the sweater brought out the undercast of pale, pale green so that his skin was either pearl white or a dreamlike green depending on how the light hit it.
-Laurel K. Hamilton, A Kiss of Shadows

--Quote of the Day: "Life is complex. Each one of us must make his own path through life. There are no self-help manuals, no formulas, no easy answers. The right road for one is the wrong road for another ... The journey of life is not paved in blacktop; it is not brightly lit, and it has no road signs. It is a rocky path through the wilderness."
-M. Scott Peck

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July 23, 2010

Birds of Passage

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--Description: 19th C, Longfellow H.W., Nature, Seasons-- 
 
Black shadows fall
From the lindens tall,
That lift aloft their massive wall
Against the southern sky;

And from the realms
Of the shadowy elms
A tide-like darkness overwhelm
The fields that round us lie.

But the night is fair,
And everywhere
A warm, soft vapor fills the air,
And distant sounds seem near;

And above, in the light
Of the star-lit night,
Swift birds of passage wing their flight
Through the dewy atmosphere.

I hear the beat
Of their pinions fleet,
As from the land of snow and sleet
They seek a southern lea.

I hear the cry
Of their voices high
Falling dreamily through the sky,
But their forms I cannot see.

Oh, say not so!
Those sounds that flow
In murmurs of delight and woe
Come not from wings of birds.

They are the throngs
Of the poet's songs,
Murmurs of pleasures, and pains, and wrongs,
The sound of winged words.

This is the cry
Of souls, that high
On toiling, beating pinions, fly,
Seeking a warmer clime.

From their distant flight
Through realms of light
It falls into our world of night,
With the murmuring sound of rhyme.



Henry W. Longfellow

--Did You Know: (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) Longfellow was an American educator and poet whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and "Evangeline". He was also the first American to translate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and was one of the five Fireside Poets. Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, then part of Massachusetts, and studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe he became a professor there and, later, at Harvard College. His first major poetry collections were Voices of the Night (1839) and Ballads and Other Poems (1841). Longfellow retired from teaching in 1854 to focus on his writing, living the remainder of his life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a former headquarters of George Washington. His first wife, Mary Potter, died in 1835 after a miscarriage. His second wife, Frances Appleton, died in 1861 after sustaining burns from her dress catching fire. After her death, Longfellow had difficulty writing poetry for a time and focused on his translation. He died in 1882. Longfellow predominantly wrote lyric poems which are known for their musicality and which often presented stories of mythology and legend. He became the most popular American poet of his day and also had success overseas. He has been criticized, however, for imitating European styles and writing specifically for the masses. Read more at: Henry W. Longfellow

--Word of the Day: canard (kuh-NAHRD), noun
Meaning: 1. A deliberately misleading story; hoax. 2. An airplane with small forward wings mounted in front of the main wings; also such a wing.
Example:
"Lyndon Johnson's half-truths about the Gulf of Tonkin, supported by subservient media, embroiled the United States in a nasty war that took the lives of millions of souls. Ultimately, the Vietnam War's distortions and canards prevented him from running for a second term."
(Mansour El-Kikhia; Realists Conquer Politics With Lies; San Antonio
Express-News; Nov 28, 2003.)

--Quote of the Day: It is well to think well. It is divine to act well.
- Horace Mann

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July 22, 2010

Weekly Poetry News: 7/22/10

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July 19, 2010

I Carry Your Heart With Me

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--Description: 20th C, Cummings E., 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: (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962)Cummings, popularly known as E. E. Cummings, with the abbreviated form of his name often written by others in all lowercase letters as e. e. cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. Despite Cummings's consanguinity with avant-garde styles, much of his work is traditional. Many of his poems are sonnets, and he occasionally made use of the blues form and acrostics. Cummings's poetry often deals with themes of love and nature, as well as the relationship of the individual to the masses and to the world. His poems are also often rife with satire.While his poetic forms and themes share an affinity with the romantic tradition, Cummings's work universally shows a particular idiosyncrasy of syntax, or way of arranging individual words into larger phrases and sentences. Read more at: e.e. cummings

--Word of the Day: brannigan \BRAN-i-guhn\, noun:
1. A carouse.
2. A squabble; a brawl.
Example:
Polonius certainly spoke a mouthful of truth to Laertes when he advised him, in effect, "Don't start a Brannigan. But if somebody else does, give 'em hell!
-Ty Cobb and Al Stump, My life in baseball: the true record

--Quote of the Day: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
-Anais Nin

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July 17, 2010

A Hymn To God The Father

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--Description: 17th C, Donne J., Christianity, Forgiveness, Life--



Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

John Donne

--Did You Know: (1572 – 31 March 1631) Donne was an English Jacobean poet, preacher and a major representative of the metaphysical poets of the period. His works are notable for their realistic and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially as compared to those of his contemporaries. Despite his great education and poetic talents, he lived in poverty for several years, relying heavily on wealthy friends. In 1615 he became an Anglican priest and, in 1621, was appointed the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London. Read more at: John Donne

--Word of the Day: shivaree \SHIV-uh-ree\, noun:
1. A mock serenade with kettles, pans, horns, and other noisemakers given for a newly married couple.
2. An elaborate, noisy celebration.
verb:
1. To serenade with a shivaree.
Example:
I used to attend shivarees and I can remember the preparation and planning involved.
-"Of pigs, jokes, and marriage." Lawrence World-Journal.

--Quote of the Day: We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
~Frederick Keonig

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July 16, 2010

There Is A Garden In Her Face

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--Description: 17th C., Campion T., Beauty, Love--



There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies grow;
A heav'nly paradise is that place
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow.
There cherries grow which none may buy,
Till 'Cherry ripe' themselves do cry.

Those cherries fairly do enclose
Of orient pearl a double row,
Which when her lovely laughter shows,
They look like rose-buds fill'd with snow;
Yet them nor peer nor prince can buy,
Till 'Cherry ripe' themselves do cry.

Her eyes like angels watch them still,
Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threat'ning with piercing frowns to kill
All that attempt with eye or hand
Those sacred cherries to come nigh,
Till 'Cherry ripe' themselves do cry.

Thomas Campion

--Did You Know: (12 February 1567 – 1 March 1620) Campion was an English composer, poet and physician. Campion was born in London and studied at Peterhouse, Cambridge, but left without taking a degree. He later entered Gray's Inn to study law in 1586. However, he left in 1595 without having been called to the bar. On 10 February 1605 he received his medical degree from the University of Caen. Campion was first published as a poet in 1591 with five of his works appearing in an edition of Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella. The Songs of Mourning: Bewailing the Untimely Death of Prince Henry (1613), were set to music by John Cooper. He also wrote a number of other poems as well as a book on poetry, Observations in the Art of English Poesie (1602), in which he criticises the practice of rhyming in poetry. Some of Campion's works were quite ribald on the other hand, such as "Beauty, since you so much desire". He was implicated in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, but was eventually exonerated, as it was found that he had delivered a bribe unwittingly. Campion died in London, possibly of the plague. Early dictionary writers, such as F├ętis saw Campion as a theorist. It was much later on that people began to see him as a composer. He was the writer of a poem, Cherry Ripe, which is not the later famous poem of that title but has several similarities. Read more at: Thomas Campion

--Word of the Day: bromide \BROH-myd\ , noun:
Meaning: 1. A compound of bromine and another element or a positive organic radical.
2. A dose of potassium bromide taken as a sedative.
3. A dull person with conventional thoughts.
4. A commonplace or conventional saying.
Example: Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em. The words are in fact already a bromide when the pompous Malvolio finds and reads them.
(Marjorie Garber, Symptoms of Culture)

--Quote of the Day: "Beauty puts a face on God. When we gaze at nature, at a loved one, at a work of art, our soul immediately recognizes and is drawn to the face of God."
(Margaret Brownley)

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July 15, 2010

Going For Water

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--Description: 19th C, Frost R., Love, Nature--

The well was dry beside the door,
And so we went with pail and can
Across the fields behind the house
To seek the brook if still it ran;

Not loth to have excuse to go,
Because the autumn eve was fair
(Though chill), because the fields were ours,
And by the brook our woods were there.

We ran as if to meet the moon
That slowly dawned behind the trees,
The barren boughs without the leaves,
Without the birds, without the breeze.

But once within the wood, we paused
Like gnomes that hid us from the moon,
Ready to run to hiding new
With laughter when she found us soon.

Each laid on other a staying hand
To listen ere we dared to look,
And in the hush we joined to make
We heard, we knew we heard the brook.

A note as from a single place,
A slender tinkling fail that made
Now drops that floated on the pool
Like pearls, and now a silver blade.

Robert Frost

--Did You Know: (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) Frost was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California to journalist William Prescott Frost, Jr., and Isabelle Moodie. His mother was of Scottish descent, and his father descended from Nicholas Frost of Tiverton, Devon, England, who had sailed to New Hampshire in 1634 on the Wolfrana. Frost's father was a teacher and later an editor of the San Francisco Evening Bulletin. After his father's death on May 5, 1885, in due time the family moved across the country to Lawrence, Massachusetts under the patronage of (Robert's grandfather) William Frost, Sr., who was an overseer at a New England mill. Frost graduated from Lawrence High School in 1892. Frost's mother joined the Swedenborgian church and had him baptized in it, but he left it as an adult. Despite his later association with rural life, Frost grew up in the city, and published his first poem in his high school's magazine. Read more at: Robert Frost

--Word of the Day: vespertine \VES-per-tin\, adjective:
1. Of, pertaining to, or occurring in the evening.
2. Botany. Opening or expanding in the evening, as certain flowers.
3. Zoology. Becoming active in the evening, as bats and owls.
Example:
To my own ear, I sound hyperpoetic, and I don't mean to exaggerate these vespertine moods; I think that this restlessness that I am describing was really quite ordinary.
-Peter Gadol, The Long Rain

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Weekly Poetry News: 7/15/10

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July 13, 2010

Work Without Hope

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--Description: 19th C, Coleridge S.T., Hope, Nature, Perseverance

All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.

Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.


Samuel Taylor Coleridge

--Did You Know: (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) Coleridge was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and one of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as his major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, is highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. He coined many familiar words and phrases, including the celebrated suspension of disbelief. He was a major influence, via Emerson, on American transcendentalism. Throughout his adult life, Coleridge suffered from crippling bouts of anxiety and depression (neuralgia); it has been speculated that Coleridge suffered from bipolar disorder, a mental disorder which was unknown during his life. Coleridge chose to treat these episodes with opium, becoming an addict in the process. Read more at: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

--Word of the Day: ineffable\in-EF-uh-buhl\, adjective:
1. Incapable of being expressed in words; unspeakable; unutterable; indescribable.
2. Not to be uttered; taboo.
Quotes:
. . .the tension inherent in human language when it attempts to relate the ineffable, see the invisible, understand the incomprehensible.
-Jeffrey Burton Russell, A History of Heaven

--Quote of the Day: Our most important task is to transform our consciousness so that violence is no longer an option for us in our personal lives, that understanding that a world of peace is possible only if we relate to each other as peaceful beings, one individual at a time.
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/160/story_16071_1.html
-Deepak Chopra

--Poetry Terminology: New Criticism - Group of (largely) American critics including: T.S.Eliot, I.A. Richards, William Empson, Yvor Winters, Allen Tate, Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren who advocated a 'close reading' of texts.

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