January 30, 2011

Evolution

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--Description: 20th C, Tabb John B., Hope, Life -- 
 
Out of the dusk a shadow,
Then, a spark;
Out of the cloud a silence,
Then, a lark;
Out of the heart a rapture,
Then, a pain;
Out of the dead, cold ashes,
Life again.

John B. Tabb

--Did You Know: (March 22, 1845 - November 19, 1909) Father John Bannister Tabb was an American poet, Roman Catholic priest, and professor of English. (Although often misspelled as Bannister, the poet's middle name is actually spelled with only one "n", Banister.) Born into one of Virginia's oldest and wealthiest families, he became a blockade runner for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and spent eight months in a Union prison camp (where he formed a life-long friendship with poet Sidney Lanier); he converted to the Roman Catholic Church in 1872, and began to teach Greek and English at Saint Charles College (Ellicott City, Maryland) in 1878. He was ordained as a priest in 1884, after which he retained his academic position. Plagued by eye problems his whole life, he lost his sight completely about a year before he died in the college rooms that he had continued to occupy after his retirement. Father Tabb (as he was commonly known) was widely published in popular and prestigious magazines of the day, including Harper's Monthly, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Cosmopolitan. Read more at: John B. Tabb

--Poetry Terminology: chanson de geste -
One of a group of medieval French epic poems.

--Word of the Day: engram \EN-gram\, noun:
1. The supposed physical basis of an individual memory in the brain.
2. A presumed encoding in neural tissue that provides a physical basis for the persistence of memory; a memory trace.
Example:
What I found was that I did not retain a single specific engram of tying a shoe, or a pair of shoes, that dated from any later than when I was four or five years old, the age at which I had first learned the skill.
-- Nicholson Baker, Mezzanine

--Quote of the Day: Could we see when and where we are to meet again, we would be more tender when we bid our friends goodbye.
- Ouida

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January 29, 2011

A Character

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--Description: 19th C, Wordsworth W., Humanity, Nature--



I marvel how Nature could ever find space
For so many strange contrasts in one human face:
There's thought and no thought, and there's paleness and bloom
And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.

There's weakness, and strength both redundant and vain;
Such strength as, if ever affliction and pain
Could pierce through a temper that's soft to disease,
Would be rational peace--a philosopher's ease.

There's indifference, alike when he fails or succeeds,
And attention full ten times as much as there needs;
Pride where there's no envy, there's so much of joy;
And mildness, and spirit both forward and coy.

There's freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare
Of shame scarcely seeming to know that she's there,
There's virtue, the title it surely may claim,
Yet wants heaven knows what to be worthy the name.

This picture from nature may seem to depart,
Yet the Man would at once run away with your heart;
And I for five centuries right gladly would be
Such an odd such a kind happy creature as he.

William Wordsworth

--Did You Know: (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads.
Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semiautobiographical poem of his early years which the poet revised and expanded a number of times. The work was posthumously titled and published, prior to which it was generally known as the poem "to Coleridge". Wordsworth was England's Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850. The second of five children born to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson, William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, Cumberland—part of the scenic region in northwest England, the Lake District. His sister, the poet and diarist Dorothy Wordsworth, to whom he was close all his life, was born the following year, and the two were baptised together. They had three other siblings: Richard, the eldest, who became a lawyer; John, born after Dorothy, who would become a poet and enjoy nature with William and Dorothy until he died in an 1809 shipwreck, from which only the captain escaped; and Christopher, the youngest, who would become an academician. Their father was a legal representative of James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale. Read more at: William Wordsworth

--Poetry Terminology: Occasional Verse -
Verse written to celebrate an occasion such as a coronation, a wedding or a birth. At national level, occasional verse would be one of the duties of the poet laureate.

--Word of the Day: prevaricate \prih-VAIR-uh-kayt\, intransitive verb:
To depart from or evade the truth; to speak with equivocation.
Example:
Journalism has a similar obligation, particularly with men and women suddenly transferred to places of great power, who are often led to exaggerate and prevaricate, all in the name of a supposedly greater good.
-- Stephen R. Graubard, "Presidents: The Power and the Mediocrity", New York Times, January 15, 1989

--Quote of the Day: Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
-George Bernard Shaw

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George

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--Description: 20th C, Belloc H., Childhood, Children, Humor
 
Who played with a Dangerous Toy, and suffered a Catastrophe of considerable Dimensions

When George's Grandmamma was told
That George had been as good as gold,
She promised in the afternoon
To buy him an Immense BALLOON.
And so she did; but when it came,
It got into the candle flame,
And being of a dangerous sort
Exploded with a loud report!
The lights went out! The windows broke!
The room was filled with reeking smoke.
And in the darkness shrieks and yells
Were mingled with electric bells,
And falling masonry and groans,
And crunching, as of broken bones,
And dreadful shrieks, when, worst of all,
The house itself began to fall!
It tottered, shuddering to and fro,
Then crashed into the street below-
Which happened to be Savile Row.

When help arrived, among the dead
Were Cousin Mary, Little Fred,
The Footmen (both of them), the Groom,
The man that cleaned the Billiard-Room,
The Chaplain, and the Still-Room Maid.
And I am dreadfully afraid
That Monsieur Champignon, the Chef,
Will now be permanently deaf-
And both his aides are much the same;
While George, who was in part to blame,
Received, you will regret to hear,
A nasty lump behind the ear.

MORAL:
The moral is that little boys
Should not be given dangerous toys.

Hilaire Beloc

--Did You Know: (27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953) Hilaire Belloc was an Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He is most notable for his Roman Catholic faith, which had an impact on most of his writing. Belloc was born in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France (next to Versailles and near Paris) to a French father and English mother, and grew up in England. Much of his boyhood was spent in Slindon, West Sussex, for which he often felt homesick in later life. His mother Elizabeth Rayner Parkes (1829–1925) was also a writer, and a great-granddaughter of the English chemist Joseph Priestley. In 1867 she married attorney Louis Belloc, son of the French painter Jean-Hilaire Belloc. In 1872, five years after they wed, Louis died, but not before being wiped out financially in a stock market crash. The young widow then brought her son Hilaire, along with his sister, Marie, back to England where he remained, except for his voluntary enlistment as a young man in the French artillery. Read more at: Hilaire Belloc

--Poetry Terminology: antiphon -
Verse of a psalm or hymn which is sung or recited.

--Word of the Day: paphian \PEY-fee-uhn\, adjective:
1. Of or pertaining to love, esp. illicit physical love.
2. Of or pertaining to Paphos, an ancient city of Cyprus sacred to Aphrodite.
3. Noting or pertaining to Aphrodite or to her worship or service.
Example:
The juxtaposition of Ellen's willowy beauty and high-spirited naivete and Kreton's clear desire for her illuminated perfectly the paphian difficulties that would confront a powerful telepath, were such persons to exist.
-- Gene Wolfe, The best of Gene Wolfe

--Quote of the Day: Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.
- Louise L. Hay

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January 23, 2011

A Fond Kiss

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--Description: 16th C, Burns R., Love, Sadness, Separation-- 

  
A fond kiss, and then we sever;
A farewell, and then forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu' twinkle lights me;
Dark despair around benights me.
I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy,
Nothing could resist my Nancy;
But to see her was to love her;
Love but her, and love forever.
Had we never lov'd say kindly,
Had we never lov'd say blindly,
Never met--or never parted--
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.
Fare thee well, thou first and fairest!
Fare thee well, thou best and dearest!
Thine be like a joy and treasure,
Peace. enjoyment, love, and pleasure!
A fond kiss, and then we sever;
A farewell, alas, forever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!


Robert Burns

--Did You Know: (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) Robert Burns (also known as Rabbie Burns, Scotland's favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as simply The Bard[1][2]) was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a "light" Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these pieces, his political or civil commentary is often at its most blunt. He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement and after his death became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism. A cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world, celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature. In 2009 he was voted by the Scottish public as being the Greatest Scot, through a vote run by Scottish television channel STV. Read more at: Robert Burns

--Poetry Terminology: Burden -
Chorus or refrain of a song/poem.

--Word of the Day: nepenthe \ni-PEN-thee\, noun:
1. A drug or drink, or the plant yielding it, mentioned by ancient writers as having the power to bring forgetfulness of sorrow or trouble.
2. Anything inducing a pleasurable sensation of forgetfulness, esp. of sorrow or trouble.
Example:
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;/ Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"/Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
-- Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven

--Quote of the Day: "Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can't build on it - it's only good for wallowing in."
- Katherine Mansfield

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January 22, 2011

Fancy

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--Description: 19th C, Keats J., Life, Nature, Seasons--


Ever let the Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home:
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;
Then let winged Fancy wander
Through the thought still spread beyond her.
Open wide the mind's cage-door,
She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar.
O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Summer's joys are spoilt by use,
And the enjoying of the Spring
Fades as does its blossoming;
Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too,
Blushing through the mist and dew,
Cloys with tasting: What do then?
Sit thee by the ingle, when
The sear faggot blazes bright,
Spirit of a winter's night;
When the soundless earth is muffled,
And the caked snow is shuffled
From the ploughboy's heavy shoon;
When the Night doth meet the Noon
In a dark conspiracy
To banish Even from her sky.
Sit thee there, and send abroad,
With a mind self-overaw'd,
Fancy, high-commission'd:--send her!
She has vassals to attend her:
She will bring, in spite of frost,
Beauties that the earth hath lost;
She will bring thee, all together,
All delights of summer weather;
All the buds and bells of May,
From dewy sward or thorny spray;
All the heaped Autumn's wealth,
With a still, mysterious stealth:
She will mix these pleasures up
Like three fit wines in a cup,
And thou shalt quaff it:--thou shalt hear
Distant harvest-carols clear;
Rustle of the reaped corn;
Sweet birds antheming the morn:
And, in the same moment, hark!
'Tis the early April lark,
Or the rooks, with busy caw,
Foraging for sticks and straw.
Thou shalt, at one glance, behold
The daisy and the marigold;
White-plum'd lillies, and the first
Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;
Shaded hyacinth, alway
Sapphire queen of the mid-May;
And every leaf, and every flower
Pearled with the self-same shower.
Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep
Meagre from its celled sleep;
And the snake all winter-thin
Cast on sunny bank its skin;
Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see
Hatching in the hawthorn-tree,
When the hen-bird's wing doth rest
Quiet on her mossy nest;
Then the hurry and alarm
When the bee-hive casts its swarm;
Acorns ripe down-pattering,
While the autumn breezes sing.

Oh, sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Every thing is spoilt by use:
Where's the cheek that doth not fade,
Too much gaz'd at? Where's the maid
Whose lip mature is ever new?
Where's the eye, however blue,
Doth not weary? Where's the face
One would meet in every place?
Where's the voice, however soft,
One would hear so very oft?
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth.
Let, then, winged Fancy find
Thee a mistress to thy mind:
Dulcet-ey'd as Ceres' daughter,
Ere the God of Torment taught her
How to frown and how to chide;
With a waist and with a side
White as Hebe's, when her zone
Slipt its golden clasp, and down
Fell her kirtle to her feet,
While she held the goblet sweet
And Jove grew languid.--Break the mesh
Of the Fancy's silken leash;
Quickly break her prison-string
And such joys as these she'll bring.--
Let the winged Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home.


John Keats

--Did You Know: (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) John Keats was an English poet, who became one of the key figures of the Romantic movement. Along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Keats was part of the Second Generation Romantic Poets. During his very short life his work received constant critical attacks from periodicals of the day, but his posthumous influence on poets such as Alfred Tennyson and Wilfred Owen would be immense. Keats's poetry was characterised by elaborate word choice and sensual imagery, notably in a series of odes that were his masterpieces, and which remain among the most popular poems in English literature. Keats's letters, which expound on his aesthetic theory of "negative capability", are among the most celebrated by any writer. John Keats was born in 1795 at 85 Moorgate in London, England, where his father, Thomas Keats, was a hostler. The pub is now called "Keats at the Globe", only a few yards from Moorgate station. The beginnings of his troubles occurred in 1804, when his father died of a fractured skull after falling from his horse. A year later, in 1805, Keats's grandfather died. His mother, Frances Jennings Keats, remarried soon afterwards, but quickly left the new husband and moved herself and her four children (a son had died in infancy) to live with Keats's grandmother, Alice Jennings. There, Keats attended a school that first instilled a love of literature in him. Read more at: John Keats

--Poetry Terminology: Egotistical Sublime -
Term coined by John Keats to describe (what he saw as) Wordsworth's self-aggrandising style.

--Word of the Day: descry \dih-SKRY\, transitive verb:
1. To catch sight of, especially something distant or obscure; to discern.
2. To discover by observation; to detect.
Example:
On a clear day, if there was no sun, you could descry (but barely) the ships roving out at anchor in Herne Bay and count their masts.
-- Ferdinand Mount, Jem (and Sam)

--Quote of the Day: Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.
- Louise L. Hay

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January 20, 2011

The Children's Hour

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--Description: 19th C, Longfellow H.W., Children, Love, Night, Parenting--


Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, o blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

--Did You Know: (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882) Longellow 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 at Bowdoin 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

--Poetry Terminology: Renaissance Poetry/Poets
Broad term used to describe the work of 16th and 17th Century English poets including: Sidney, Ralegh, Donne, Spenser, Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Elizabeth I, Marvell, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Drayton, Wyatt and Skelton. See also metaphysical poets and cavalier poets.

--Word of the Day: flagitious \fluh-JISH-uhs\, adjective:
1. Disgracefully or shamefully criminal; grossly wicked; scandalous; -- said of acts, crimes, etc.
2. Guilty of enormous crimes; corrupt; profligate; -- said of persons.
3. Characterized by enormous crimes or scandalous vices; as, "flagitious times."
Example:
However flagitious may be the crime of conspiring to subvert by force the government of our country, such conspiracy is not treason.
-Ex parte Bollman & Swartwout, 4 Cranch 126 (1807)

--Quote of the Day: The most important promises are the ones we make to ourselves.
The promises we makes to ourselves are the things that assure us we have the capacity to keep our promises to others.
-Mary Anne Radmacher

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January 18, 2011

i have found what you are like

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




i have found what you are like
the rain,

(Who feathers frightened fields
with the superior dust-of-sleep. wields

easily the pale club of the wind
and swirled justly souls of flower strike

the air in utterable coolness

deeds of green thrilling light
with thinned

newfragile yellows

lurch and.press

-in the woods
which
stutter
and

sing

And the coolness of your smile is
stirringofbirds between my arms;but
i should rather than anything
have(almost when hugeness will shut
quietly)almost,
your kiss

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: savoir-faire / (SAV-wahr-fayr) / noun
The ability to say or do the right thing in any situation; tact.
Example:
"In a cascade of thanks, C.S. Richardson bows gracefully to all those elegant Londoners, full of savoir faire."
-Peter Wells; The A to Z of Life; New Zealand Herald (Auckland); Jul 7, 2008.

--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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January 17, 2011

She Sweeps With Many-Colored Brooms

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--Description: 19th C, Dickinson E., Humanity, Nature--

She sweeps with many-colored brooms,
And leaves the shreds behind;
Oh, housewife in the evening west,
Come back, and dust the pond!

You dropped a purple ravelling in,
You dropped an amber thread;
And now you've littered all the East
With duds of emerald!

And still she plies her spotted brooms,
And still the aprons fly,
Till brooms fade softly into stars --
And then I come away.


Emily Dickinson

--Did You Know: (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) Dickinson was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst. Thought of as an eccentric by the locals, she became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence. Although Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime.[2] The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation.[3] Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends. Read more at: Emily Dickinson

--Poetry Terminology: allegory -
A poem in which the characters or descriptions convey a hidden symbolic or moral message. For example, the various knights in The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser are allegorical representations of virtues such as truth, friendship and justice.

--Word of the Day: malleable \MAL-ee-uh-buhl\, adjective:
1. Capable of being extended or shaped by beating with a hammer, or by the pressure of rollers; -- applied to metals.
2. Capable of being altered or controlled by outside forces; easily influenced.
3. Capable of adjusting to changing circumstances; adaptable.
Example:
His image for his own imagination is the acid, the catalyst, that is mixed in to make the gold malleable, and is then wiped away.
-"Nothing is too wonderful to be true", Times (London), June 7, 2000

--Quote of the Day: Circumstance does not make the man: it reveals him to himself.
-James Allen

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January 14, 2011

Now Bare To The Beholder's Eye

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--Description: 19th C, Stevenson R.L., Adoration, Love, Passion--

Now bare to the beholder's eye
Your late denuded bindings lie,
Subsiding slowly where they fell,
A disinvested citadel;
The obdurate corset, Cupid's foe,
The Dutchman's breeches frilled below.
Those that the lover notes to note,
And white and crackling petticoat.

From these, that on the ground repose,
Their lady lately re-arose;
And laying by the lady's name,
A living woman re-became.
Of her, that from the public eye
They do enclose and fortify,
Now, lying scattered as they fell,
An indiscreeter tale they tell:
Of that more soft and secret her
Whose daylong fortresses they were,
By fading warmth, by lingering print,
These now discarded scabbards hint.

A twofold change the ladies know:
First, in the morn the bugles blow,
And they, with floral hues and scents,
Man their beribboned battlements.
But let the stars appear, and they
Shed inhumanities away;
And from the changeling fashion see,
Through comic and through sweet degree,
In nature's toilet unsurpassed,
Forth leaps the laughing girl at last


Robert Louis Stevenson

--Did You Know: (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. Stevenson was greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Marcel Schwob, Vladimir Nabokov, J. M. Barrie, and G. K. Chesterton, who said of him that he "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins". An only child, strange-looking and eccentric, Stevenson found it hard to fit in when he was sent to a nearby school at six, a pattern repeated at eleven, when he went on to the Edinburgh Academy; but he mixed well in lively games with his cousins in summer holidays at the Colinton manse. In any case, his frequent illnesses often kept him away from his first school, and he was taught for long stretches by private tutors. He was a late reader, first learning at seven or eight; but even before this he dictated stories to his mother and nurse. Throughout his childhood he was compulsively writing stories. Read more at: R. L. Stevenson

--Word of the Day: torpor \TAWR-per\, noun:
1. Lacking in vitality or interest.
2. A state of mental or physical inactivity or insensibility.
3. Lethargy; apathy.
Example:
At 47, I'm starting to wonder which direction I'm headed. And with good reason because, according to my accountant, there is no way I'm going to be able to give in to torpor, fatigue or anything else that might take me out of the work force anytime soon.
-Michelle Slatalla, "A Play Date With My Imagination ", New York Times, June 2, 2009

--Quote of the Day: A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.
-Isadora James

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Poetry News: 1/14/11

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Poetry News
See what's going on the world of poets and poetry. Discover new events, literature, history and more. Check in often to saturate yourself with thoughts and words of poets and authors from around the world.


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January 13, 2011

The Human Seasons

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--Description: 19th C, Keats J., Humanity, Life, Seasons--

Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;
There are four seasons in the mind of man:
He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear
Takes in all beauty with an easy span:
He has his Summer, when luxuriously
Spring's honied cud of youthful thought he loves
To ruminate, and by such dreaming high
Is nearest unto heaven: quiet coves
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
He furleth close; contented so to look
On mists in idleness--to let fair things
Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.
He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
Or else he would forego his mortal nature.

John Keats

--Did You Know: (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) Keats was an English poet, who became one of the key figures of the Romantic movement. Along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Keats was part of the Second Generation Romantic Poets. During his very short life his work received constant critical attacks from periodicals of the day, but his posthumous influence on poets such as Alfred Tennyson and Wilfred Owen would be immense. Keats's poetry was characterised by elaborate word choice and sensual imagery, notably in a series of odes that were his masterpieces, and which remain among the most popular poems in English literature. Keats's letters, which expound on his aesthetic theory of "negative capability", are among the most celebrated by any writer. John Keats was born in 1795 at 85 Moorgate in London, England, where his father, Thomas Keats, was a hostler. The pub is now called "Keats at the Globe", only a few yards from Moorgate station. The beginnings of his troubles occurred in 1804, when his father died of a fractured skull after falling from his horse. A year later, in 1805, Keats's grandfather died. His mother, Frances Jennings Keats, remarried soon afterwards, but quickly left the new husband and moved herself and her four children (a son had died in infancy) to live with Keats's grandmother, Alice Jennings. There, Keats attended a school that first instilled a love of literature in him. Read more at: John Keats

--Word of the Day: sedulous /(SEJ-uh-luhs) /adjective:
Involving great care, effort, and persistence.
Example:
"Elizabeth Bishop was sedulous, pernickety, quietly determined; she would work on poems for years."
Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell; The Economist (London, UK); Nov 20, 2008.

--Poetry Terminology: Dada Poetry-
Poetry which attempts to deny sense and reason. Dada comes from the French for 'hobby-horse' - a word originally selected at random from the dictionary. Dada was the forerunner of surrealist poetry.

--Quote of the Day: Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.
-Sarah Ban Breathnach

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January 12, 2011

Barter

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--Description: 20th C, Teasedale S., Contentment, Joy, Life--

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

Sarah 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: stolid \STOL-id\, adjective:
Having or revealing little emotion or sensibility; not easily excited.
Example:
Normally stolid, she occasionally joined in the frequent applause and smiled along with the laughter at the high-spirited session.
-Seth Mydans, "Indonesia Leader Imposes a Decree to Fight Removal", New York Times, July 23, 2001

--Quote of the Day: The white light streams down to be broken up by those human prisms into all the colors of the rainbow. Take your own color in the pattern and be just that.
-Charles R. Brown


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January 9, 2011

A Retort

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--Description: 20th C, Tabb, John B., Children, Humor--

The Finger complained of the Toe,
And said it was idle and slow;
But it answered in scorn,
"On each foot I grow corn;
What on hand are you able to show?"
 

John B. Tabb

--Did You Know: (March 22, 1845 - November 19, 1909) Father John Bannister Tabb was an American poet, Roman Catholic priest, and professor of English. (Although often misspelled as Bannister, the poet's middle name is actually spelled with only one "n", Banister.) Born into one of Virginia's oldest and wealthiest families, he became a blockade runner for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and spent eight months in a Union prison camp (where he formed a life-long friendship with poet Sidney Lanier); he converted to the Roman Catholic Church in 1872, and began to teach Greek and English at Saint Charles College (Ellicott City, Maryland) in 1878. He was ordained as a priest in 1884, after which he retained his academic position. Plagued by eye problems his whole life, he lost his sight completely about a year before he died in the college rooms that he had continued to occupy after his retirement. Father Tabb (as he was commonly known) was widely published in popular and prestigious magazines of the day, including Harper's Monthly, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Cosmopolitan. Read more at: John B. Tabb

--Poetry Terminology: weak ending -
Where a word or syllable at the end of a line of verse is stressed metrically but is unstressed in ordinary speech.

--Word of the Day: ferret \FER-it\, verb:
1. To search out, discover, or bring to light.
noun:
2. Domesticated, usually red-eyed, and albinic variety of the polecat.
verb:
1. To drive out by using or as if using a ferret.
Example:
He told us that he .had a list of all the robbers in the country, and meant to ferret out every mother's son of them ; he offered us at the same time some of his soldiers as an escort.
-- Washington Irving, The Alhambra

--Quote of the Day: Choose rather to be strong of soul than strong of body.
- Pythagoras

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January 7, 2011

There Be None of Beauty's Daughters

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--Description: 19th C, Byron G.G., Beauty, Love--


THERE be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like Thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
When, as if its sound were causing
The charm├ęd ocean's pausing,
The waves lie still and gleaming,
And the lull'd winds seem dreaming:
And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o'er the deep,
Whose breast is gently heaving
As an infant's asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer's ocean.


Lord George G. Byron

--Did You Know: (22 January 1788– 19 April 1824) Byron was a British poet and a leading figure in Romanticism. Byron's fame rests not only on his writings but also on his life, which featured upper-class living, numerous love affairs, debts, and separation. He was famously described by Lady Caroline Lamb as "mad, bad, and dangerous to know". Read more at: Lord George G. Byron

--Word of the Day: aficionado \uh-fish-ee-uh-NAH-doh\, noun:
An enthusiastic admirer; a fan.
(eg) An aficionado of Chinese food, Diffie was also known for carrying around a pair of elegant chopsticks, much the way a serious billiard player totes his favorite cue.
-Steven Levy, Crypto

--Quote of the Day: "You don't love a woman because she is beautiful, but she is beautiful because you love her."
-Anon.

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January 6, 2011

A Song

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--Description: 19th C, Whitman W., Humanity, Patriotism--

COME, I will make the continent indissoluble;
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet shone upon;
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.


I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of
America, and along the shores of the great lakes, and all over
the prairies;
I will make inseparable cities, with their arms about each other's
necks;
By the love of comrades,
By the manly love of comrades.


For you these, from me, O Democracy, to serve you, ma femme! 10
For you! for you, I am trilling these songs,
In the love of comrades,
In the high-towering love of comrades.

Walt Whitman


--Did You Know: (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) Walt Whitman was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. He was a part of the transition between Transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality. Born on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War in addition to publishing his poetry. Early in his career, he also produced a temperance novel, Franklin Evans (1842). Whitman's major work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892. Read more at: Walt Whitman

--Word of the Day: chaffer \CHAF-er\, verb:
1. To bargain; haggle.
noun:
1. Bargaining; haggling.
verb:
1. To bandy words; chatter.
'Ours was a place where profit-seeking Phoenician master mariners would come to chaffer the ten thousand gewgaws in their ships: also my father had a Phoenician woman among his bond-maids.
-- Homer, The Odyssey

--Quote of the Day:
When you start using senses you’ve neglected, your reward is to see the world with completely fresh eyes.
-- Barbara Sher

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Tho
--Did You Know: --Poetry Terminology: --Word of the Day: --Quote of the Day: Coffee Table Poetry for Tea Drinkers is updated often. Subscribe by selecting E-mail or RSS Reader. Also, come follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Poets and Advertisers-please contact us to post your press releases, new book info, graphics and more at: coffeetablepoet@gmail.com


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