February 27, 2011

Reason and Passion XV

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--Description: 20th C, Gibran K., Passion, Peace--

And the priestess spoke again and said: "Speak to us of Reason and Passion."

And he answered saying:

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against passion and your appetite.

Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.

If either your sails or our rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion; that it may sing;

And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.

Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows - then let your heart say in silence, "God rests in reason."

And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky, - then let your heart say in awe, "God moves in passion."

And since you are a breath In God's sphere, and a leaf in God's forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

Khalil Gibran

--Did You Know: (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) Gibran was a Lebanese American artist, poet, and writer. Born in the town of Bsharri in modern-day Lebanon (then part of Ottoman Syria), as a young man he emigrated with his family to the United States where he studied art and began his literary career. He is chiefly known for his 1923 book The Prophet, a series of philosophical essays written in English prose. An early example of Inspirational fiction, the book sold well despite a cool critical reception, and became extremely popular in 1960s counterculture. Gibran was born in the Christian Maronite town of Bsharri (in modern day northern Lebanon) to the daughter of a Maronite Catholic priest. His mother Kamila was thirty when he was born; his father, also named Khalil, was her third husband. As a result of his family's poverty, Gibran received no formal schooling during his youth. However, priests visited him regularly and taught him about the Bible, as well as the Arabic and Syriac languages.

--Word of the Day: truckle\TRUHK-uhl\, (intransitive verb):
1. To yield or bend obsequiously to the will of another; to act in a subservient manner.
(noun):
1. A small wheel or roller; a caster.
Read the full entry|See synonyms|Comment on today's word
Quote:
Only where there was a "defiance," a "refusal to truckle," a "distrust of all authority," they believed, would institutions "express human aspirations, not crush them."
-Pauline Maier, "A More Perfect Union", New York Times, October 31, 1999

--Quote of the Day: Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.
-Lyndon B. Johnson

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February 25, 2011

Patience Taught By Nature

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--Description: 19th C, Browning E. B., Contentment, Hope, Nature, Peace--



'O dreary life,' we cry, ' O dreary life ! '
And still the generations of the birds
Sing through our sighing, and the flocks and herds
Serenely live while we are keeping strife
With Heaven's true purpose in us, as a knife
Against which we may struggle ! Ocean girds
Unslackened the dry land, savannah-swards
Unweary sweep, hills watch unworn, and rife
Meek leaves drop yeary from the forest-trees
To show, above, the unwasted stars that pass
In their old glory: O thou God of old,
Grant me some smaller grace than comes to these !--
But so much patience as a blade of grass
Grows by, contented through the heat and cold.


Elizabeth Barrett Browning

--Did You Know: (March 6, 1806 – June 29, 1861) Browning was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. She was the wife of poet Robert Browning, whom she married in secret due to objections by her father. Her poetry was widely popular in both England and the United States during her lifetime. The verse-novel Aurora Leigh, her most ambitious and perhaps the most popular of her longer poems, appeared in 1856. It is the story of a woman writer making her way in life, balancing work and love. The writings depicted in this novel are all based on similar, personal experiences that Elizabeth suffered through herself. The North American Review praised Elizabeth’s poem: “Mrs. Browning’s poems are, in all respects, the utterance of a woman – of a woman of great learning, rich experience, and powerful genius, uniting to her woman’s nature the strength which is sometimes thought peculiar to a man.” Read more at: Elizabeth B. Browning

--Word of the Day: apropos PRONUNCIATION:(ap-ruh-PO)
adverb: 1. In reference to. 2. Appropriately; relevantly.
adjective: Appropriate.
EXAMPLE:
"Tom Stoppard said, apropos of his play Arcadia, that there were some works that made a playwright feel not so much proud as lucky."
Alastair Macaulay; When Death (That Bowler-Hatted Gent) Comes Calling in Dreams; The New York Times; Mar 6, 2008.

--Quote of the Day: A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.
-Cicero

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February 24, 2011

The Computation

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--Description: 17th C, Donne J., Death, Love, Separation--

For the first twenty years since yesterday
I scarce believed thou couldst be gone away;
For forty more I fed on favors past,
And forty on hopes that thou wouldst they might last.
Tears drowned one hundred, and sighs blew out two,
A thousand, I did neither think nor do,
Or not divide, all being one thought of you,
Or in a thousand more forgot that too.
Yet call not this long life, but think that I
Am, by being dead, immortal. Can ghosts die?

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. Read more at: John Donne

--Word of the Day: vicissitude \vih-SIS-ih-tood; -tyood\, noun:
1. Regular change or succession from one thing to another; alternation; mutual succession; interchange.
2. Irregular change; revolution; mutation.
3. A change in condition or fortune; an instance of mutability in life or nature (especially successive alternation from one condition to another).
Example:
This man had, after many vicissitudes of fortune, sunk at last into abject and hopeless poverty.
-Thomas Macaulay

--Quote of the Day: A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.
-Paul Sweeney
--Word of the Day: scintilla \sin-TIL-uh\, noun
Meaning: A tiny or scarcely detectable amount; the slightest particle; a trace; a spark.
Example: In victory, they must hold on to at least a scintilla of humility, lest they get too cocky -- and ripe for a takedown.
(Bill Breen,"We are literally trying to stop time", Fast Company, May 2000)


--Quote of the Day: Touch passion when it comes your way...It’s rare enough as it is. Don’t walk away when it calls you by name.
(J. Michael Straczynski)

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February 22, 2011

The Balcony

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--Description: 19th C, Baudelaire C., Love, Passion--
 

Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses,
O you, all my pleasures! O you, all my learning!
You will remember the joy of caresses,
the sweetness of home and the beauty of evening,
Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses!

On evenings lit by the glow of the ashes
and on the balcony, veiled, rose-coloured, misted,
how gentle your breast was, how good your heart to me!
We have said things meant for eternity,
on evenings lit by the glow of the ashes.

How lovely the light is on sultry evenings!
How deep the void grows! How powerful the heart is!
As I leaned towards you, queen of adored ones
I thought I breathed perfume from your blood’s kiss.
How lovely the light is on sultry evenings!

The night it was thickening and closing around us,
and my eyes in the dark were divining your glance,
and I drank your nectar. Oh sweetness! Oh poison!
your feet held, here, in these fraternal hands.
The night it was thickening and closing around us.

I know how to summon up happiest moments,
and relive my past, there, curled, touching your knees.
What good to search for your languorous beauties
but in your dear body, and your heart so sweet?
I know how to summon up happiest moments!

Those vows, those perfumes, those infinite kisses,
will they be reborn, from gulfs beyond soundings,
as the suns that are young again climb in the sky,
after they’ve passed through the deepest of drownings?
-O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses

Charles Baudelaire
 

--Did You Know: Baudelaire was productive and at peace in the seaside town of Honfleur in 1859, his poem Le Voyage being one example of his efforts during that time. In 1860, he became an ardent supporter of Richard Wagner. Read more at: Charles Baudelaire

--Word of the Day: scintilla \sin-TIL-uh\, noun
Meaning: A tiny or scarcely detectable amount; the slightest particle; a trace; a spark.
Example: In victory, they must hold on to at least a scintilla of humility, lest they get too cocky -- and ripe for a takedown.
(Bill Breen,"We are literally trying to stop time", Fast Company, May 2000)

--Quote of the Day: Touch passion when it comes your way...It’s rare enough as it is. Don’t walk away when it calls you by name.
(J. Michael Straczynski)

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February 20, 2011

A Peck of Gold

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--Description: 20th C, Frost R., Children, Childhood, Nature--




Dust always blowing about the town,
Except when sea-fog laid it down,
And I was one of the children told
Some of the blowing dust was gold.

All the dust the wind blew high
Appeared like God in the sunset sky,
But I was one of the children told
Some of the dust was really gold.

Such was life in the Golden Gate:
Gold dusted all we drank and ate,
And I was one of the children told,
'We all must eat our peck of gold.'

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: quiescent \kwy-ES-uhnt; kwee-\, adjective:
Being in a state of repose; at rest; still; inactive.
Example:
The solution, Dr. Wilmut discovered, was to, in effect, put the DNA from the adult cell to sleep, making it quiescent by depriving the adult cell of nutrients.
-Gina Kolata, "Scientist Reports First Cloning Ever of Adult Mammal", New York Times, February 23, 1997

--Quote of the Day:
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
-Winston Churchill

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February 17, 2011

The Swing

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--Description: 19th C, Stevenson R.L., Childhood, Children-- 


 
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!



Robert Louis Stephenson

--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 and Rudyard Kipling. Stevenson was born Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson at 8 Howard Place, Edinburgh, Scotland, on 13 November 1850, to Thomas Stevenson (1818–1887), a leading lighthouse engineer, and his wife Margaret, born Margaret Isabella Balfour (1829–1897). Lighthouse design was the family profession. Read more at: Robert Louis Stevenson

--Poetry Terminology: Dialect Verse -
Verse which employs national or regional dialects e.g. Robert Burns (Scottish), William Barnes (Dorset), Tennyson (Lincolnshire - see Northern Farmer) or my own poems (Norfolk - see New Norfolk Anals).

--Word of the Day: palladian \puh-LEY-dee-uhn\, adjective:
1. Pertaining to wisdom, knowledge, or study.
2. Of or pertaining to the goddess Athena.
3. Pertaining to, introduced by, or in the architectural style of Andrea Palladio.
Example:
Within the sanctuary the gold and ivory image of Athena, fashioned by Phidias, had given way to the pale face of Our Lady, Mother of the Holy Child, and the grandiloquent Latin of the mass rolled its volume through the hall that once had echoed to the sonorous Greek of the Palladian hymns.
-Justin Huntly McCarthy, The dryad: a novel

--Quote of the Day: The older I grow the more earnestly I feel that the few joys of childhood are the best that life has to give.
~Ellen Glasgow

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February 15, 2011

Excursion

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Description: 20th C, Lawrence D.H., love, night, passion



I wonder, can the night go by;
Can this shot arrow of travel fly
Shaft-golden with light, sheer into the sky
Of a dawned to-morrow,
Without ever sleep delivering us
From each other, or loosing the dolorous
Unfruitful sorrow!

What is it then that you can see
That at the window endlessly
You watch the red sparks whirl and flee
And the night look through?
Your presence peering lonely there
Oppresses me so, I can hardly bear
To share the train with you.

You hurt my heart-beats' privacy;
I wish I could put you away from me;
I suffocate in this intimacy,
For all that I love you;
How I have longed for this night in the train,
Yet now every fibre of me cries in pain
To God to remove you.

But surely my soul's best dream is still
That one night pouring down shall swill
Us away in an utter sleep, until
We are one, smooth-rounded.
Yet closely bitten in to me
Is this armour of stiff reluctancy
That keeps me impounded.

So, dear love, when another night
Pours on us, lift your fingers white
And strip me naked, touch me light,
Light, light all over.
For I ache most earnestly for your touch,
Yet I cannot move, however much
I would be your lover.

Night after night with a blemish of day
Unblown and unblossomed has withered away;
Come another night, come a new night, say
Will you pluck me apart?
Will you open the amorous, aching bud
Of my body, and loose the burning flood
That would leap to you from my heart?


D.H.Lawrence

--Did You Know: (11 September 1885 – 2 March 1930) Lawrence was an English author, poet, playwright, essayist and literary critic. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity, human sexuality and instinct. Lawrence's opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile he called his "savage pilgrimage." At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as, "The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation." Later, the influential Cambridge critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence's fiction within the canonical "great tradition" of the English novel. Lawrence is now generally valued as a visionary thinker and significant representative of modernism in English literature, although some feminists object to the attitudes toward women and sexuality found in his works. Read more at: D. H. Lawrence

--Poetry Terminology: Ghazal / Ghazel-
Arabic love poem or love-song.

--Word of the Day: fealty \FEE-uhl-tee\, noun:
1. Fidelity to one's lord; the feudal obligation by which the tenant or vassal was bound to be faithful to his lord.
2. The oath by which this obligation was assumed.
3. Fidelity; allegiance; faithfulness.
Example:
He was re-elected Governor in 1855, and his administration of the State affairs, both in that and the preceding term of office, was marked by a regard for the public interest rather than party fealty.
-"Andrew Johnson Dead", New York Times, August 1, 1875

--Quote of the Day: Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.
-Kahlil Gibran

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February 14, 2011

Love's Philosophy

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--Description: 19th C, Shelley P., Love, Nature--

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle -
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea -
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?


Percy Bysshe Shelley


--Did You Know: (4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets and is critically regarded among the finest lyric poets in the English language. He is most famous for such classic anthology verse works as Ozymandias, Ode to the West Wind, To a Skylark, and The Masque of Anarchy, which are among the most popular and critically acclaimed poems in the English language. His major works, however, are long visionary poems which included Prometheus Unbound, Alastor, Adonaïs, The Revolt of Islam, and the unfinished The Triumph of Life. The Cenci (1819) and Prometheus Unbound (1820) were dramatic plays in five and four acts respectively. Shelley's unconventional life and uncompromising idealism, combined with his strong disapproving voice, made him an authoritative and much-denigrated figure during his life and afterward. He became an idol of the next two or three or even four generations of poets, including the important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets Robert Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Algernon Charles Swinburne, as well as Lord Byron, Henry David Thoreau, and William Butler Yeats. He was admired by Karl Marx, Henry Stephens Salt, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell and Isadora Duncan. Henry David Thoreau's civil disobedience and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's passive resistance were influenced and inspired by Shelley's nonviolence in protest and political action. It is known that Gandhi would often quote Shelley's Mask of Anarchy. Shelley was famous for his association with John Keats and Lord Byron. The novelist Mary Shelley was his second wife. Read more at: Percy B. Shelley

--Word of the Day: vitiate \VISH-ee-ayt\, transitive verb:
1. To make faulty or imperfect; to render defective; to impair; as, "exaggeration vitiates a style of writing."
2. To corrupt morally; to debase.
3. To render ineffective; as, "fraud vitiates a contract."
Example:
MacNelly is one of the few contemporary political cartoonists who can use humor to accentuate, not vitiate, his points.
-Richard E. Marschall, "The Century In Political Cartoons", Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 1999

--Quote of the Day: Change always comes bearing gifts.
-Price Pritchett


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February 13, 2011

Beauty Clear and Fair

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--Description: 17th C, Fletcher, J., Beauty, Love--
 


BEAUTY clear and fair,
Where the air
Rather like a perfume dwells;
Where the violet and the rose
Their blue veins and blush disclose,
And come to honour nothing else:

Where to live near
And planted there
Is to live, and still live new;
Where to gain a favour is
More than light, perpetual bliss--
Make me live by serving you!

Dear, again back recall
To this light,
A stranger to himself and all!
Both the wonder and the story
Shall be yours, and eke the glory;
I am your servant, and your thrall.



John Fletcher

--Did You Know: His father Richard Fletcher was an ambitious and successful cleric who was in turn Dean of Peterborough, Bishop of Bristol, Bishop of Worcester, and Bishop of London (shortly before his death) as well as chaplain to Queen Elizabeth.

--Word of the Day: denigrate \DEN-i-greyt\, verb
Meaning: to attack the character or reputation of; defame
Example: My sister denigrates her husband in every conversation.

--Quote of the Day: Character contributes to beauty. It fortifies a woman as her youth fades. A mode of conduct, a standard of courage, discipline, fortitude and integrity can do a great deal to make a woman beautiful.
(Jacqueline Bisset)

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February 12, 2011

Sonnet 116: Let Me Not To The Marriage of True Minds

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


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.


William Shakespeare


--Did You Know: Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare

--Word of the Day: \PAN-uh-plee\ , noun
Meaning: 1. A splendid or impressive array.
2. Ceremonial attire.
3. A full suit of armor; a complete defense or covering.
Example: Every step taken to that end which appeases the obsolete hatreds and vanished oppressions, which makes easier the traffic and reciprocal services of Europe, which encourages nations to lay aside their precautionary panoply, is good in itself.
(Winston Churchill, quoted in This Blessed Plot, by Hugo Young)


--Quote of the Day: I sometimes wonder if the hand is not more sensitive to the beauties of sculpture than the eye. I should think the wonderful rhythmical flow of lines and curves could be more subtly felt than seen. Be this as it may, I know that I can feel the heart-throbs of the ancient Greeks in their marble gods and goddesses.
(Helen Keller)

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February 10, 2011

Our Singing Strength

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--Description: 20th C, Frost R., Nature, Seasons--


It snowed in spring on earth so dry and warm
The flakes could find no landing place to form.
Hordes spent themselves to make it wet and cold,
And still they failed of any lasting hold.
They made no white impression on the black.
They disappeared as if earth sent them back.
Not till from separate flakes they changed at night
To almost strips and tapes of ragged white
Did grass and garden ground confess it snowed,
And all go back to winter but the road.

Next day the scene was piled and puffed and dead.
The grass lay flattened under one great tread.
Borne down until the end almost took root,
The rangey bough anticipated fruit
With snowball cupped in every opening bud.
The road alone maintained itself in mud,
Whatever its secret was of greater heat
From inward fires or brush of passing feet.

In spring more mortal singers than belong
To any one place cover us with song.
Thrush, bluebird, blackbird, sparrow, and robin throng;
Some to go further north to Hudson's Bay,
Some that have come too far north back away,
Really a very few to build and stay.
Now was seen how these liked belated snow.
the field had nowhere left for them to go;
They'd soon exhausted all there was in flying;
The trees they'd had enough of with once trying
And setting off their heavy powder load.
They could find nothing open but the road.

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: rapporteur / (rap-or-TUHR) / noun:
1. Someone appointed by an organization, group, or committee to investigate or monitor an issue, and compile and present the findings.
2. One who is designated to record the deliberations of a meeting.
Example:
"The United Nations special rapporteur, Raquel Rolnik, listened to it all patiently, occasionally taking notes, nodding encouragement."
Chris McGreal; UN Meets Homeless Victims of American Property Dream; The Guardian (London, UK); Nov 12, 2009.

--Quote of the Day: What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.
~Albert Pike

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February 7, 2011

Romance

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--Description: 19th C, Poe E.A., Love, Memories--

Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
With drowsy head and folded wing,
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been- a most familiar bird-
Taught me my alphabet to say-
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child- with a most knowing eye.

Of late, eternal Condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky.
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings-
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away- forbidden things!
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.

Edgar Allen Poe

--Did You Know: (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) Poe was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career. He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts; his parents died when he was young. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, but they never formally adopted him. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. After enlisting in the Army and later failing as an officer's cadet at West Point, Poe parted ways with the Allans. Poe's publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to "a Bostonian". Read more at: E.A. Poe

--Word of the Day: rusticate \RUHS-tih-kayt\, intransitive verb:
1. To go into or reside in the country; to pursue a rustic life.
transitive verb:
1. To require or compel to reside in the country; to banish or send away temporarily.
2. (Chiefly British). To suspend from school or college.
3. To build with usually rough-surfaced masonry blocks having beveled or rebated edges producing pronounced joints.
4. To lend a rustic character to; to cause to become rustic.
Example:
Ezra holds out in London, and refuses to rusticate.
-T. S. Eliot to Conrad Aiken, "21 August 1916", The Letters of T. S. Eliot: Volume I, 1898-1922 edited by Valerie Eliot

--Quote of the Day: There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
-Albert Einstein


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February 5, 2011

The Little Vagabond

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--Description: 19th C, Blake W., Humanity, Humor--


Dear mother, dear mother, the church is cold,
But the ale-house is healthy and pleasant and warm;
Besides I can tell where I am used well,
Such usage in Heaven will never do well.

But if at the church they would give us some ale,
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,
We'd sing and we'd pray all the live-long day,
Nor ever once wish from the church to stray.

Then the parson might preach, and drink, and sing,
And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring;
And modest Dame Lurch, who is always at church,
Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch.

And God, like a father rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as he,
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the barrel,
But kiss him, and give him both drink and apparel.

William Blake

--Did You Know: (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language". His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". Although he only once journeyed farther than a day's walk outside London during his lifetime, he produced a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced the imagination as "the body of God" or "Human existence itself".Considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterized as part of both the Romantic movement and "Pre-Romantic", for its large appearance in the 18th century. Reverent of the Bible but hostile to the Church of England, Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American revolutions. The singularity of Blake's work makes him difficult to classify. The 19th century scholar William Rossetti characterised Blake as a "glorious luminary,"and as "a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors." Historian Peter Marshall has classified Blake as one of the forerunners of modern anarchism. Read more at: William Blake

--Poetry Terminology: Welsh Forms-
Wales has always had a rich bardic tradition and can boast 24 separate poetic forms: 12 awdl forms, 4 cywydd forms and 8 englyn forms. See also cynghanedd and Eisteddfod.

--Word of the Day: penchant\PEN-chunt\ , noun;
1.Inclination; decided taste; a strong liking.
Example:
Ben was a dreamy little boy, recalls Hiddy, who always thought her brother's penchant for reveries might lead him to become an artist or a great philosopher.
-Thomas Maier, Dr. Spock: An American Life

--Quote of the Day: Everywhere in the world, music enhances a hall, with one exception: Carnegie Hall enhances the music.
-Isaac Stern

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February 3, 2011

Lily-Bell and Thistledown Song I

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--Description: 19thC, Alcot Louisa M., Hope, Joy, Nature--
Awake! Awake! for the earliest gleam
Of golden sunlight shines
On the rippling waves, that brightly flow
Beneath the flowering vines.
Awake! Awake! for the low, sweet chant
Of the wild-birds' morning hymn
Comes floating by on the fragrant air,
Through the forest cool and dim;
Then spread each wing,
And work, and sing,
Through the long, bright sunny hours;
O'er the pleasant earth
We journey forth,
For a day among the flowers.

Awake! Awake! for the summer wind
Hath bidden the blossoms unclose,
Hath opened the violet's soft blue eye,
And awakened the sleeping rose.
And lightly they wave on their slender stems
Fragrant, and fresh, and fair,
Waiting for us, as we singing come
To gather our honey-dew there.
Then spread each wing,
And work, and sing,
Through the long, bright sunny hours;
O'er the pleasant earth
We journey forth,
For a day among the flowers.



Louisa May Alcott

--Did You Know: (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) Alcott was an American novelist. She is best known for the novel Little Women, written and set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts and published in 1868. This novel is loosely based on her childhood experiences with her three sisters. Alcott was the daughter of noted transcendentalist and educator Amos Bronson Alcott and Abigail May Alcott. Though of New England heritage, she was born in Germantown, which is currently part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the second of four daughters; Anna Bronson Alcott was the eldest, Elizabeth Sewall Alcott and Abigail May Alcott were the two youngest.She also wrote passionate, fiery novels and sensation stories under the nom de plume A. M. Barnard. Among these are A Long Fatal Love Chase and Pauline's Passion and Punishment. Her protagonists for these tales are willful and relentless in their pursuit of their own aims, which often include revenge on those who have humiliated or thwarted them. These works followed a style which was wildly popular at the time and achieved immediate commercial success. Alcott also produced moralistic and wholesome stories for children. Read more at: Louisa May Alcott

--Word of the Day: pukka / 1. Authentic; genuine.
2. Superior; first-class.
Example:
He talks like the quintessential pukka Englishman and quotes Chesterton and Kipling by the yard and yet he has chosen to live most of his adult life abroad.
-Lynn Barber, "Bell book . . . and then what?", The Observer, August 27, 2000

--Quote of the Day: I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?
-John Lennon

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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