May 31, 2011

Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal

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--Description: 19th C, Tennyson A., Love, Nature, Night, Passion--

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me.

Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.

Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.

Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.

Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.

Lord Alfred 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.[1] 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.

--Word of the Day: longueur \long-GUR\, noun:
A dull and tedious passage in a book, play, musical composition, or the like.
Example:
One of the commentators compared my speech to one of Gladstone's which had lasted five hours. "It was not so long, but some of the speech's . . . longueurs made Gladstone seem the soul of brevity," he wrote.
-- Lord Lamont of Lerwick, "Been there, done that", Times (London), March 6, 2001

--Quote of the Day: The wise man does not lay up his own treasures.
The more he gives to others,
the more he has for his own.
- Lao Tzu

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May 28, 2011

What Should I Say

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--Description: 16th C, Sir Wyatt T., Love, Disillusion--

What should I say,
Since faith is dead,
And truth away
From you is fled?
Should I be led
With doubleness?
Nay, nay, mistress!

I promised you,
And you promised me,
To be as true
As I would be.
But since I see
Your double heart,
Farewell my part!

Though for to take
It is not my mind,
But to forsake
[One so unkind]
And as I find,
So will I trust:
Farewell, unjust!

Can ye say nay?
But you said
That I alway
Should be obeyed?
And thus betrayed
Or that I wiste--
Farewell, unkissed.


Sir Thomas Wyatt

--Did You Know: (1503 – 24 September 1542) Sir Thomas Wyatt was a 16th-century English lyrical poet whom scholars credit with introducing the sonnet into English. He was born at Allington Castle, near Maidstone in Kent – though his family was originally from Yorkshire. His father, Henry Wyatt, had been one of Henry VII's Privy Councillors, and remained a trusted adviser when Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509. In his turn, Thomas Wyatt followed his father to court after his education at St John's College, Cambridge. None of Wyatt's poems were published during his lifetime—the first book to feature his verse was printed a full fifteen years after his death. Wyatt was over six feet tall, reportedly both handsome and physically strong. Wyatt was not only a poet, but also an ambassador in the service of Henry VIII. Many legends and conjectures have grown up around the notion that the young, unhappily married Wyatt fell in love with the young Anne Boleyn in the early-to-mid 1520s. Read more at: Sir Thomas Wyatt

--Word of the Day: fungible \FUHN-juh-buhl\, adjective:
1. (Law) Freely exchangeable for or replaceable by another of like nature or kind in the satisfaction of an obligation.
2. Interchangeable.
noun:
1. Something that is exchangeable or substitutable. Usually used in the plural.
Example:
People think this tax is for Social Security. But tax monies are really fungible. They get raided all the time.
-- Eugene Ludwig, "Motivated to Work," interview by Kerry A. Dolan, Forbes, March 20, 2000

--Quote of the Day: The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside,
somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.
Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.
- Anne Frank

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May 27, 2011

For Friends Only

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--Description: 20th C, Auden W., Friendship--
 

 

Ours yet not ours, being set apart
As a shrine to friendship,
Empty and silent most of the year,
This room awaits from you
What you alone, as visitor, can bring,
A weekend of personal life.

In a house backed by orderly woods,
Facing a tractored sugar-beet country,
Your working hosts engaged to their stint,
You are unlike to encounter
Dragons or romance: were drama a craving,
You would not have come.

Books we do have for almost any
Literate mood, and notepaper, envelopes,
For a writing one (to "borrow" stamps
Is the mark of ill-breeding):
Between lunch and tea, perhaps a drive;
After dinner, music or gossip.

Should you have troubles (pets will die
Lovers are always behaving badly)
And confession helps, we will hear it,
Examine and give our counsel:
If to mention them hurts too much,
We shall not be nosey.

Easy at first, the language of friendship

Is, as we soon discover,
Very difficult to speak well, a tongue
With no cognates, no resemblance
To the galimatias of nursery and bedroom,
Court rhyme or shepherd's prose,

And, unless spoken often, soon goes rusty.
Distance and duties divide us,
But absence will not seem an evil
If it make our re-meeting
A real occasion. Come when you can:
Your room will be ready.

In Tum-Tum's reign a tin of biscuits
On the bedside table provided
For nocturnal munching. Now weapons have changed,
And the fashion of appetites:
There, for sunbathers who count their calories,
A bottle of mineral water.

Felicissima notte! May you fall at once
Into a cordial dream, assured
That whoever slept in this bed before
Was also someone we like,
That within the circle of our affection
Also you have no double.

W. H. Auden

--Did You Know: Auden grew up in Birmingham in a professional middle-class family and read English literature at Christ Church, Oxford. His early poems, written in the late 1920s and early 1930s, alternated between telegraphic modern styles and fluent traditional ones, were written in an intense and dramatic tone.

--Word of the Day: halcyon \HAL-see-uhn\, adjective
Meaning: 1. Calm; quiet; peaceful; undisturbed; happy; as, "deep, halcyon repose." 2. Marked by peace and prosperity; as, "halcyon years."
Example: It seems to be that my boyhood days in the Edwardian era were halcyon days.
(Mel Gussow, "At Home With John Gielgud: His Own Brideshead, His Fifth 'Lear'", New York Times, October 28, 1993)

--Quote of the Day: Friendship is like a prism through which the many variations of beauty are revealed in our lives.
(Anon)

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May 26, 2011

The Colder The Air

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--Description: 20th C, Bishop E., Nature, Seasons -- 



We must admire her perfect aim,
this huntress of the winter air
whose level weapon needs no sight,
if it were not that everywhere
her game is sure, her shot is right.
The least of us could do the same.

The chalky birds or boats stand still,
reducing her conditions of chance;
air's gallery marks identically
the narrow gallery of her glance.
The target-center in her eye
is equally her aim and will.

Time's in her pocket, ticking loud
on one stalled second. She'll consult
not time nor circumstance. She calls
on atmosphere for her result.
(It is this clock that later falls
in wheels and chimes of leaf and cloud.)

Elizabeth Bishop

--Did You Know: (8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979) Bishop was an American poet and writer. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950, and a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1956. Elizabeth Bishop House is an artist's retreat in Great Village, Nova Scotia dedicated to her memory. Elizabeth Bishop was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. After her father, a successful builder, died when she was eight months old, Bishop’s mother became mentally ill and was institutionalized in 1916. Bishop would later write about the time of her mother's struggles in her short story "In The Village." Effectively orphaned, during her very early childhood, she lived with her grandparents on a farm in Nova Scotia, a period she would later reference in her writing. Bishop's mother remained in an asylum until her death in 1934, and the two were never reunited. Read more at: E. Bishop

--Word of the Day: sojourn \SOH-juhrn; so-JURN\, intransitive verb:
1. To stay as a temporary resident; to dwell for a time.
noun:
1. A temporary stay.
Example: Though he has sojourned in Southwold, wandered in Walberswick, dabbled in Dunwich, ambled through Aldeburgh and blundered through Blythburgh, Smallweed has never set foot in Orford.
-- Smallweed, "The trouble with hope", The Guardian, April 14, 2001

--Quote of the Day:People are like stained-glass windows.
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out,
but when the darkness sets in,
their true beauty is revealed
only if there is a light from within.
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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May 24, 2011

Her Hair

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


O fleece, that down the neck waves to the nape!
O curls! O perfume nonchalant and rare!
O ecstasy! To fill this alcove shape
With memories that in these tresses sleep,
I would shake them like penions in the air!


Languorous Asia, burning Africa,
And a far world, defunct almost, absent,
Within your aromatic forest stay!
As other souls on music drift away,
Mine, O my love! still floats upon your scent.


I shall go there where, full of sap, both tree
And man swoon in the heat of the southern climates;
Strong tresses be the swell that carries me!
I dream upon your sea of amber
Of dazzling sails, of oarsmen, masts, and flames:


A sun-drenched and reverberating port,
Where I imbibe colour and sound and scent;
Where vessels, gliding through the gold and moiré,
Open their vast arms as they leave the shore
To clasp the pure and shimmering firmament.


I'll plunge my head, enamored of its pleasure,
In this black ocean where the other hides;
My subtle spirit then will know a measure
Of fertile idleness and fragrant leisure,
Lulled by the infinite rhythm of its tides!


Pavilion, of autumn-shadowed tresses spun,
You give me back the azure from afar;
And where the twisted locks are fringed with down
Lurk mingled odors I grow drunk upon
Of oil of coconut, of musk, and tar.


A long time! always! my hand in your hair
Will sow the stars of sapphire, pearl, ruby,
That you be never deaf to my desire,
My oasis and my gourd whence I aspire
To drink deep of the wine of memory.




--Did You Know:  (9 April 1821 - 31 August 1867) While still unpublished in 1843, Baudelaire became known in artistic circles as a dandy and free-spender, buying up books, art and antiques he couldn't afford. By 1844, he was eating on credit and half his inheritance was gone. Baudelaire regularly implored his mother for money while he tried to advance his career. He met Balzac around this time and began to write many of the poems which would appear in Les Fleurs du mal.

--Word of the Day
: topiary (TOE-pee-er-ee), noun
Meaning: The art of creating sculptures by clipping, trimming, and training plants. Also, such a sculpture or garden.
Example: "Without formal training -- just passion, energy, and discards from the local nursery -- Pearl [Fryar] began sculpting his acreage into a dazzling array of abstract topiary art, earning this sharecropper's son the local'Yard of the Month' award."
(Kevin Thomas; Movie Reviews; Los Angeles Times; Jul 25, 2008.)

--Quote of the Day: The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.
- Neale Donald Walsch

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May 21, 2011

Full Moon

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--Description: Tu Fu, Nature, Celestial, Night-- 
Above the tower -- a lone, twice-sized moon.
On the cold river passing night-filled homes,
It scatters restless gold across the waves.
On mats, it shines richer than silken gauze.

Empty peaks, silence: among sparse stars,
Not yet flawed, it drifts. Pine and cinnamon
Spreading in my old garden . . . All light,
All ten thousand miles at once in its light!


Tu Fu

--Did You Know: Tu Fu, 712–770) Du Fu (Tu Fu) was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. Along with Li Bai (Li Bo), he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations. His life, like the whole country, was devastated by the An Lushan Rebellion of 755, and his last 15 years were a time of almost constant unrest. Although initially he was little known to other writers, his works came to be hugely influential in both Chinese and Japanese literary culture. Of his poetic writing, nearly fifteen hundred poems have been preserved over the ages. He has been called the "Poet-Historian" and the "Poet-Sage" by Chinese critics, while the range of his work has allowed him to be introduced to Western readers as "the Chinese Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Shakespeare, Milton, Burns, Wordsworth, Béranger, Hugo or Baudelaire". Read more at: Du Fu

--Word of the Day: autodidact \aw-toh-DY-dakt\, noun:
One who is self-taught.
He is our ultimate autodidact, a man who made himself from nothing into a lawyer, a legislator -- a president.
-- Kevin Baker, "Log Cabin Values", New York Times, April 2, 2000

--Quote of the Day: To live is to choose. But to choose well,
you must know who you are and what you stand for,
where you want to go and why you want to get there.
- Kofi Annan

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May 19, 2011

If You Had A Friend

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--Description: 20th C, Service R.W., Friendship, Humor, Imagination-- 
If you had a friend strong, simple, true,
Who knew your faults and who understood;
Who believed in the very best of you,
And who cared for you as a father would;
Who would stick by you to the very end,
Who would smile however the world might frown:
I'm sure you would try to please your friend,
You never would think to throw him down.

And supposing your friend was high and great,
And he lived in a palace rich and tall,
And sat like a King in shining state,
And his praise was loud on the lips of all;
Well then, when he turned to you alone,
And he singled you out from all the crowd,
And he called you up to his golden throne,
Oh, wouldn't you just be jolly proud?

If you had a friend like this, I say,
So sweet and tender, so strong and true,
You'd try to please him in every way,
You'd live at your bravest -- now, wouldn't you?
His worth would shine in the words you penned;
You'd shout his praises . . . yet now it's odd!
You tell me you haven't got such a friend;
You haven't? I wonder . . . What of God?


Robert William Service

--Did You Know: (January 16, 1874 – September 11, 1958) Robert W. Service was a poet and writer who has often been called "the Bard of the Yukon". Service is best known for his poems "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee", from his first book, Songs of a Sourdough (1907). "These humorous tales in verse were considered doggerel by the literary set, yet remain extremely popular to this day." Robert W. Service was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, the first of ten children. His father, also Robert Service, was a banker from Kilwinning, Scotland who had been transferred to England. At five years old Robert W. Service went to live in Kilwinning with his three maiden aunts and his paternal grandfather, who was the town's postmaster. There he is said to have composed his first verse, a grace, on his sixth birthday:
God bless the cakes and bless the jam;
Bless the cheese and the cold boiled ham:
Bless the scones Aunt Jeannie makes,
And save us all from bellyaches. Amen
Read more at: Robert W. Service

--Poetry Terminology: Tradition -
Poetry/literature which is handed down from previous generations (usually in the same native language) and which provides an influence/framework for subsequent poets.

--Word of the Day: nonplus \non-PLUHS\, transitive verb:
To cause to be at a loss as to what to think, say, or do; to confound; to perplex; to bewilder.
Mr Esswis had promptly negotiated an arrangement between himself, the owner of the sprayer and the owner of the sheep, nonplussing the other two farmers by accepting full blame of the straying animal, as long as unpleasantness and paperwork could be avoided.
-- Michel Faber, Under the Skin: A Novel

--Quote of the Day: The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.
- Neale Donald Walsch

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May 15, 2011

Alone, Looking for Blossoms Along the River

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--Description: Tu Fu, Nature, Seasons, Superstition-- 
 
The sorrow of riverside blossoms inexplicable,
And nowhere to complain -- I've gone half crazy.
I look up our southern neighbor. But my friend in wine
Gone ten days drinking. I find only an empty bed.

A thick frenzy of blossoms shrouding the riverside,
I stroll, listing dangerously, in full fear of spring.
Poems, wine -- even this profusely driven, I endure.
Arrangements for this old, white-haired man can wait.

A deep river, two or three houses in bamboo quiet,
And such goings on: red blossoms glaring with white!
Among spring's vociferous glories, I too have my place:
With a lovely wine, bidding life's affairs bon voyage.

Looking east to Shao, its smoke filled with blossoms,
I admire that stately Po-hua wineshop even more.
To empty golden wine cups, calling such beautiful
Dancing girls to embroidered mats -- who could bear it?

East of the river, before Abbot Huang's grave,
Spring is a frail splendor among gentle breezes.
In this crush of peach blossoms opening ownerless,
Shall I treasure light reds, or treasure them dark?

At Madame Huang's house, blossoms fill the paths:
Thousands, tens of thousands haul the branches down.
And butterflies linger playfully -- an unbroken
Dance floating to songs orioles sing at their ease.

I don't so love blossoms I want to die. I'm afraid,
Once they are gone, of old age still more impetuous.
And they scatter gladly, by the branchful. Let's talk
Things over, little buds ---open delicately, sparingly.


Tu Fu

--Did You Know: Tu Fu, 712–770) Du Fu (Tu Fu) was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty. Along with Li Bai (Li Bo), he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations. His life, like the whole country, was devastated by the An Lushan Rebellion of 755, and his last 15 years were a time of almost constant unrest. Although initially he was little known to other writers, his works came to be hugely influential in both Chinese and Japanese literary culture. Of his poetic writing, nearly fifteen hundred poems have been preserved over the ages. He has been called the "Poet-Historian" and the "Poet-Sage" by Chinese critics, while the range of his work has allowed him to be introduced to Western readers as "the Chinese Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Shakespeare, Milton, Burns, Wordsworth, Béranger, Hugo or Baudelaire". Read more at: Du Fu

--Word of the Day: effloresce \EF-luh-res\, verb:
1. To burst into bloom; blossom.
2. In chemistry, to change either throughout or on the surface to a mealy or powdery substance upon exposure to air, as a to change either throughout or on the surface to a mealy or powdery substance upon exposure to air, as a crystalline substance through loss of water of crystallization.
Example:
Do I, from scholar, effloresce into literary man, author by profession?
-- Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, The Caxtons; A Family Picture

--Quote of the Day: Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.
- Plato

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My Love Is Like To Ice

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--Description: 16th C, Spenser E., Adoration, Love, Sonnet--




My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
How comes it then that this her cold so great
Is not dissolved through my so hot desire,
But harder grows the more I her entreat?
Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
Is not allayed by her heart-frozen cold,
But that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
And feel my flames augmented manifold?
What more miraculous thing may be told,
That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice,
And ice, which is congeal'd with senseless cold,
Should kindle fire by wonderful device?
Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
That it can alter all the course of kind.



Edmund Spenser

--Did You Know: c. 1552 – 13 January 1599) Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem celebrating, through fantastical allegory, the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognized as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy. Edmund Spenser was born in London around 1552. As a young boy, he was educated in London at the Merchant Taylors' School and matriculated as a sizar at Pembroke College, Cambridge. In July 1580 Spenser went to Ireland, in the service of the newly appointed lord deputy, Arthur Lord Grey de Wilton. Then he served with the English forces during the Second Desmond Rebellion. Among his acquaintances in the area was Walter Raleigh, a fellow colonist. Read more at: Edmund Spenser

--Word of the Day: raffish \RAF-ish\, adjective:
1. Characterized by or suggestive of flashy vulgarity, crudeness, or rowdiness; tawdry.
2. Marked by a carefree unconventionality or disreputableness; rakish.
Example:
The speaker was in his forties, an attractive-looking man with a black eye patch that gave him the raffish look of an amiable pirate.
-Sidney Sheldon, The Best Laid Plans

--Quote of the Day: The man who has no imagination has no wings.
-Muhammad Ali

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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May 8, 2011

Sonnets Are Full of Love

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--Description: 19th C, Rossetti C., Love, Parenting, Tribute--



Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome
Has many sonnets: so here now shall be
One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me
To her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home,
To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee
I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;
Whose service is my special dignity,
And she my loadstar while I go and come
And so because you love me, and because
I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honored name:
In you not fourscore years can dim the flame
Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws
Of time and change and mortal life and death.



Christina Georgina Rossetti

--Did You Know: (5 December 1830 – 29 December 1894) Christina Rossetti was a British poet, who wrote a variety of romantic, devotional, and children's poems. She is best known for her long poem Goblin Market, her love poem "Remember", and for the words of what became the popular Christmas carol "In the Bleak Midwinter". Rossetti was born in London and educated at home by her mother. Her siblings were the artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, and Maria Francesca Rossetti. Their father, Gabriele Rossetti, was an Italian poet and a political asylum seeker from Naples; their mother, Frances Polidori, was the sister of Lord Byron's friend and physician, John William Polidori, author of The Vampyre. In the 1840s her family was stricken with severe financial difficulties due to the deterioration of her father's physical and mental health. When she was 14, Rossetti suffered a nervous breakdown and left school. In the early 20th century Rossetti's popularity faded as many respected Victorian writers' reputations suffered from Modernism's backlash. Rossetti remained largely unnoticed and unread until the 1970s when feminist scholars began to recover and comment on her work. In the last few decades Rossetti's writing has been rediscovered and she has regained admittance into the Victorian literary canon. Read more at: Christina Rossetti

--Poetry Terminology: Vers de Societe -
Form of light verse which concerns itself with the comings and goings of polite society. Matthew Prior and Henry Austin Dobson both specialised in vers de société. How to Get On in Society by John Betjeman is another example - although this poem is also satirical in tone.

--Word of the Day: purlieu \PUR-loo\, noun:
1. A place where one may range at large; confines or bounds.
2. A person's haunt or resort.
3. An outlying district or region, as of a town or city.
4. A piece of land on the edge of a forest, originally land that, after having been included in a royal forest, was restored to private ownership, though still subject, in some respects, to the operation of the forest laws.
Example:
"A purlieu is an area at the edge of a royal forest that used to be under forest law but isn't any more."
-- Edward Rutherfurd, The Forest

--Quote of the Day: Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.
- William Makepeace Thackeray

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May 6, 2011

To Her Royal Highness The Princess of ***

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--Description: 18th C, Voltaire., Beauty, Love, Nobility, Passion--

A beauteous princess often may
Languish in pleasure's season gay;
The empty forms of haughty state
Oft make life tedious to the great.

It must the greatest king confound,
With all his courtiers circled round,
Amidst a splendid court to find,
That grandeur can't give peace of mind.

Some think that play can give delight,
But soon it grows insipid quite;
And monarchs have been often seen,
While gaming, tortured with the spleen.

A king oft feasts with heavy heart,
Pleasures to him no joy impart;
While the dull vulgar contemplate,
Like gazing idiots, pomp and state,

And fondly think who is possessed
Of them with bliss supreme is blessed.
Soon as the sun's refulgent rays,
Spread o'er the hemisphere their blaze;

The king begins another day,
Yet knows not where to take his way:
Tired of himself he straight repairs
To company, to soothe his cares.

But pleasure flies from his embrace,
It rises not from change of place;
This day's insipid as the last,
At night he knows not how it passed.

Time's loss is not to be repaired,
Life's to an instant well compared;
What, when life posts away so fast,
Can days appear so long at last?

Princess, whose worth above thy age,
All hearts at two courts can engage;
You usefully that time employ,
By youth consumed in rapid joy.

The genius given by heaven benign,
You strive to polish and refine,
By studies which at once unite
Instructions solid, with delight.

'Tis best the mind should be employed,
Indolence leaves a craving void;
The soul is like a subtle fire,
Which if not fed must soon expire.

Voltaire

--Did You Know: (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778) François-Marie Arouet, better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, essayist, and philosopher known for his wit and his defense of civil liberties, including both freedom of religion and free trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer and produced works in almost every literary form including plays, poetry, novels, essays, historical and scientific works, more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws and harsh penalties for those who broke them. A satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize Catholic Church dogma and the French institutions of his day. Voltaire was one of several Enlightenment figures (along with Montesquieu, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions. Read more at:

--Word of the Day: embonpoint \ahn-bohn-PWAN\, noun:
Plumpness of person; stoutness.
Example:
With his embonpoint, Mr Soames appears to be wearing a quadruple-breasted suit.
-Simon Hoggart, "Roll up, roll up, to explore the Soames Zone", The Guardian, February 1, 2000

--Quote of the Day: Celebrate endings - for they precede new beginnings.
-Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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May 3, 2011

The Exposed Nest

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--Description: 20th C, Frost R., Humanity, Nature, Seasons--
You were forever finding some new play.
So when I saw you down on hands and knees
In the meadow, busy with the new-cut hay,
Trying, I thought, to set it up on end,
I went to show you how to make it stay,
If that was your idea, against the breeze,
And, if you asked me, even help pretend
To make it root again and grow afresh.
But 'twas no make-believe with you today,
Nor was the grass itself your real concern,
Though I found your hand full of wilted fern,
Steel-bright June-grass, and blackening heads of clovers.
'Twas a nest full of young birds on the ground
The cutter-bar had just gone champing over
(Miraculously without tasking flesh)
And left defenseless to the heat and light.
You wanted to restore them to their right
Of something interposed between their sight
And too much world at once--could means be found.
The way the nest-full every time we stirred
Stood up to us as to a mother-bird
Whose coming home has been too long deferred,
Made me ask would the mother-bird return
And care for them in such a change of scene
And might our meddling make her more afraid.
That was a thing we could not wait to learn.
We saw the risk we took in doing good,
But dared not spare to do the best we could
Though harm should come of it; so built the screen
You had begun, and gave them back their shade.
All this to prove we cared. Why is there then
No more to tell? We turned to other things.
I haven't any memory--have you?--
Of ever coming to the place again
To see if the birds lived the first night through,
And so at last to learn to use their wings.

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

--Poetry Terminology: Abecedarian Poem
Type of acrostic where each line or verse begins with a successive letter of the alphabet; sometimes known as an alphabet poem.

--Word of the Day: apposite \AP-uh-zit\, adjective:
Being of striking appropriateness and relevance; very applicable; apt.
Example:
As we survey Jewish history as a whole from the vantage point of the late twentieth century, Judah Halevi's phrase "prisoner of hope" seems entirely apposite. The prisoner of hope is sustained and encouraged by his hope, even as he is confined by it.
-Jane S. Gerber (Editor), The Illustrated History of the Jewish People

--Quote of the Day: The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

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May 1, 2011

The Big Baboon

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--Description: 20th C, Belloc H., Children, Fantasy, Humor, Nature--


The Big Baboon is found upon
The plains of Cariboo:
He goes about with nothing on
(A shocking thing to do).

But if he dressed up respectably
And let his whiskers grow,
How like this Big Baboon would be
To Mister So-and-so!

Hilaire Belloc

--Did You Know: (27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953) 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 Beloc

--Poetry Terminology: Haibun -
Japanese form, pioneered by the poet Basho, and comprising a section of prose followed by haiku. They are frequently travelogues - as in Basho's The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel (1688). In the best examples, the prose and haiku should work together to create an organic whole.

--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: 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

Coffee Table Poetry for Tea Drinkers is updated often. The easiest way to get your regular poetic inspiration is to subscribe by selecting E-mail or RSS Reader. Also, come follow us on Twitter. We look forward to making every day memorably intriguing for you.


Submit a poem on Coffee Table Poetry's GUEST BOOK

Coffee Table Poetry's Guest Book

Choose awesome apps on Cool iPhone Apps

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Posted by V. Mahfood
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