June 30, 2011

Frost At Midnight

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--Description: 19th C, Coleridge S.T., Children, Hope, Night, Parenting--

The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud--and hark, again ! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings : save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
'Tis calm indeed ! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
This populous village ! Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings-on of life,
Inaudible as dreams ! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not ;
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,
Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.
Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature
Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
Making it a companionable form,
Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit
By its own moods interprets, every where
Echo or mirror seeking of itself,
And makes a toy of Thought.

But O ! how oft,
How oft, at school, with most believing mind,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars,
To watch that fluttering stranger ! and as oft
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt
Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower,
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang
From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day,
So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me
With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
Most like articulate sounds of things to come !
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams !
And so I brooded all the following morn,
Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye
Fixed with mock study on my swimming book :
Save if the door half opened, and I snatched
A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,
For still I hoped to see the stranger's face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
My play-mate when we both were clothed alike !

Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side,
Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm,
Fill up the intersperséd vacancies
And momentary pauses of the thought !
My babe so beautiful ! it thrills my heart
With tender gladness, thus to look at thee,
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes ! For I was reared
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
But thou, my babe ! shalt wander like a breeze
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags : so shalt thou see and hear
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Great universal Teacher ! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw ; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

--Did You Know: (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) Coleridge was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was one of the founders of the Romantic Movement in England and one of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as for his major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. He coined many familiar words and phrases, including the celebrated suspension of disbelief. He was a major influence, via Emerson, on American transcendentalism. Throughout his adult life, Coleridge suffered from crippling bouts of anxiety and depression (neuralgia); it has been speculated that Coleridge suffered from bipolar disorder, a mental disorder which was unknown during his life. Coleridge chose to treat these episodes with opium, becoming an addict in the process. Samuel's father, the Reverend John Coleridge, was a well respected vicar of the parish and Head Master of Henry VIII's Free Grammar School at Ottery. He had ten children by his first wife. Samuel was the youngest of three by Reverend Coleridge's second wife. Of his childhood, Coleridge suggests that he "took no pleasure in boyish sports" but instead read "incessantly". Read more at: S. T. Coleridge

--Poetry Terminology: Fable-
Short story or piece of verse conveying a moral e.g. Aesop's fables.

--Word of the Day: approbation\ap-ruh-BAY-shuhn\ , noun;
1. The act of approving; formal or official approval.
2. Praise; commendation.
Example:
The speech struck a responsive chord among many and won him much approbation.
-George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed

--Quote of the Day: The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
-C. S. Lewis

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June 27, 2011

Purple Clover

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


There is a flower that bees prefer,
And butterflies desire;
To gain the purple democrat
The humming-birds aspire.

And whatsoever insect pass,
A honey bears away
Proportioned to his several dearth
And her capacity.

Her face is rounder than the moon,
And ruddier than the gown
Of orchis in the pasture,
Or rhododendron worn.

She doth not wait for June;
Before the world is green
Her sturdy little countenance
Against the wind is seen,

Contending with the grass,
Near kinsman to herself,
For privilege of sod and sun,
Sweet litigants for life.

And when the hills are full,
And newer fashions blow,
Doth not retract a single spice
For pang of jealousy.

Her public is the noon,
Her providence the sun,
Her progress by the bee proclaimed
In sovereign, swerveless tune.

The bravest of the host,
Surrendering the last,
Nor even of defeat aware
When cancelled by the frost.

Emily Dickinson

--Did You Know: (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) Emily 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

--Word of the Day: hyperbolic \hahy-per-BOL-ik\, adjective:
1. Using hyperbole; exaggerating.
2. Of or pertaining to a hyperbola.
Example:
Mrs. Newell, for all her talents, was not by nature either humorous or hyperbolic, and there were times when it would doubtless have been a relief to her to be as stolid as some of the persons whose dullness it was her fate to enliven.
-- Edith Wharton, The hermit and the wild woman

--Quote of the Day: "Peace is not won by those who fiercely guard their differences, but by those who with open minds and hearts seek out connections."
-- Katherine Paterson

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June 25, 2011

Let Me Die A Youngman's Death

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--Description: 21st, McGough R., Aging, Life--



Let me die a youngman's death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I'm 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman's death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
'what a nice way to go' death



Roger McGough

--Did You Know: (born 9 November 1937) McGough is a well-known English performance poet. He presents the BBC Radio 4 programme Poetry Please and records voice-overs for commercials, as well as performing his own poetry regularly. One of McGough's more unusual compositions was created in 1981, when he co-wrote an "electronic poem" called Now Press Return with the programmer Richard Warner for inclusion with the Welcome Tape of the BBC Micro home computer. Now Press Return incorporated several novel themes, including user-defined elements to the poem, lines which changed their order (and meaning) every few seconds, and text which wrote itself in a spiral around the screen. McGough won a Cholmondeley Award in 1998, and was awarded the CBE in June 2004. He has twice won the Signal Poetry Award: first in 1984 with Sky in the Pie, then again in 1999 for Bad, Bad Cats. He is also the author of a number of plays, including All the Trimmings, first performed at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, in 1980, and The Mouthtrap, which he wrote with Brian Patten, produced at the Edinburgh Festival in 1982. He wrote the lyrics for an adaptation of The Wind in the Willows first staged in Washington, DC, in 1984, transferring to Broadway in 1995. He has written for and presented programmes on BBC Radio including 'Poetry Please' and 'Home Truths'. His film work includes Kurt, Mungo, BP and Me (1984), for which he won a BAFTA award, and he won the Royal Television Society Award for his science programme The Elements

--Word of the Day: virilocal \vir-uh-LOH-kuhl\, adjective:
Living with or located near a husband's father's family.
Example:
By contrast, when marriage is virilocal, the ties between married women and their natal groups are commonly attenuated.
-- John Robert Shepherd, Statecraft and political economy on the Taiwan frontier, 1600-1800

--Quote of the Day: Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
- Khalil Gibran

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June 24, 2011

A Miracle For Breakfast

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--Description: 20th C, Bishop E., Humanity, Humor, Life--
At six o'clock we were waiting for coffee,
waiting for coffee and the charitable crumb
that was going to be served from a certain balcony
--like kings of old, or like a miracle.
It was still dark. One foot of the sun
steadied itself on a long ripple in the river.

The first ferry of the day had just crossed the river.
It was so cold we hoped that the coffee
would be very hot, seeing that the sun
was not going to warm us; and that the crumb
would be a loaf each, buttered, by a miracle.
At seven a man stepped out on the balcony.

He stood for a minute alone on the balcony
looking over our heads toward the river.
A servant handed him the makings of a miracle,
consisting of one lone cup of coffee
and one roll, which he proceeded to crumb,
his head, so to speak, in the clouds--along with the sun.

Was the man crazy? What under the sun
was he trying to do, up there on his balcony!
Each man received one rather hard crumb,
which some flicked scornfully into the river,
and, in a cup, one drop of the coffee.
Some of us stood around, waiting for the miracle.

I can tell what I saw next; it was not a miracle.
A beautiful villa stood in the sun
and from its doors came the smell of hot coffee.
In front, a baroque white plaster balcony
added by birds, who nest along the river,
--I saw it with one eye close to the crumb--

and galleries and marble chambers. My crumb
my mansion, made for me by a miracle,
through ages, by insects, birds, and the river
working the stone. Every day, in the sun,
at breakfast time I sit on my balcony
with my feet up, and drink gallons of coffee.

We licked up the crumb and swallowed the coffee.
A window across the river caught the sun
as if the miracle were working, on the wrong balcony.

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: martinet \mar-t'n-ET\, noun:
1. A strict disciplinarian.
2. One who lays stress on a rigid adherence to the details of forms and methods.
Example:
His insistence on strict discipline began to earn him a reputation among his men as an unfeeling martinet.
-- Michiko Kakutani, "Still Pondering the Myth Of Custer's Last Stand", New York Times, May 28, 1996

--Quote of the Day: Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
-William Arthur Ward




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June 19, 2011

The Jewels

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


My well-beloved was stripped. Knowing my whim,
She wore her tinkling gems, but naught besides:
And showed such pride as, while her luck betides,
A sultan's favoured slave may show to him.

When it lets off its lively, crackling sound,
This blazing blend of metal crossed with stone,
Gives me an ecstasy I've only known
Where league of sound and luster can be found.

She let herself be loved: then, drowsy-eyed,
Smiled down from her high couch in languid ease.
My love was deep and gentle as the seas
And rose to her as to a cliff the tide.

My own approval of each dreamy pose,
Like a tamed tiger, cunningly she sighted:
And candour, with lubricity united,
Gave piquancy to every one she chose.

Her limbs and hips, burnished with changing lustres,
Before my eyes clairvoyant and serene,
Swanned themselves, undulating in their sheen;
Her breasts and belly, of my vine and clusters,

Like evil angels rose, my fancy twitting,
To kill the peace which over me she'd thrown,
And to disturb her from the crystal throne
Where, calm and solitary, she was sitting.

So swerved her pelvis that, in one design,
Antiope's white rump it seemed to graft
To a boy's torso, merging fore and aft.
The talc on her brown tan seemed half-divine.

The lamp resigned its dying flame. Within,
The hearth alone lit up the darkened air,
And every time it sighed a crimson flare
It drowned in blood that amber-coloured skin.

Charles Baudelaire

--Did You Know: (9 April 1821 - 31 August 1867) Baudelaire was a nineteenth century French poet, critic, and translator. A controversial figure in his lifetime, Baudelaire's name has become a byword for literary and artistic decadence. Baudelaire was a slow and fastidious worker, often sidetracked by indolence, emotional distress and illness, and it was not until 1857 that he published his first and most famous volume of poems, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil). Read more at: Charles Baudelaire

--Word of the Day: fervid\FUR-vid\, adjective:
1. Heated or vehement in spirit, enthusiasm, etc.
2. Burning; glowing; intensely hot.
Over the last week, the Cubs opened their home season at Wrigley Field, and the city's Lyric Opera was presenting Richard Wagner's four-opera "Ring des Nibelungen," which meant that two of the world's most fervid fan bases were simultaneously encamped on opposite sides of the Chicago River.
-Bruce Weber, "Take Me Out to the Opera: In Chicago, a Fan Is a Fan"

--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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June 18, 2011

Waking From Sleep

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--Description: 21st C, Bly R., Humanity, Life--

Inside the veins there are navies setting forth,
Tiny explosions at the waterlines,
And seagulls weaving in the wind of the salty blood.

It is the morning. The country has slept the whole winter.
Window seats were covered with fur skins, the yard was full
Of stiff dogs, and hands that clumsily held heavy books.

Now we wake, and rise from bed, and eat breakfast!
Shouts rise from the harbor of the blood,
Mist, and masts rising, the knock of wooden tackle in the sunlight.

Now we sing, and do tiny dances on the kitchen floor.
Our whole body is like a harbor at dawn;

Robert Bly

--Did You Know: (born December 23, 1926) Bly is an American poet, author, activist and leader of the Mythopoetic Men's Movement. Robert Bly was born in Minnesota to Jacob and Alice Bly, people of Norwegian ancestry. After one year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, he transferred to Harvard University, joining the later famous group of writers who were undergraduates at that time, including Donald Hall, Adrienne Rich, Kenneth Koch, and John Hawkes. He graduated in 1950 and spent the next few years in New York. In 1956 he received a Fulbright Grant to travel to Norway and translate Norwegian poetry into English. While there he found not only his relatives, but the work of a number of major poets whose work was barely known in the United States, among them Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Antonio Machado, Gunnar Ekelof, Georg Trakl, Rumi, Hafez, Kabir, Mirabai, and Harry Martinson. Bly determined then to start a literary magazine for poetry translation in the United States. The Fifties, The Sixties, and The Seventies, introduced many of these poets to the writers of his generation, and also published essays on American poets. During this time, Bly lived on a farm in Minnesota with his wife and children. His first marriage was to award-winning short story novelist Carol Bly. They had four children, including Mary J. Bly, a Literature Professor at Fordham University and also a best-selling novelist. Bly and Carol divorced in 1979; he has been married to the former Ruth Ray since 1980. He has a stepdaughter from his marriage to Ruth Bly. A stepson from the marriage died in a pedestrian-train incident while he attended private college in Minnesota. Suicide was suspected but never confirmed. Read more at: Robert Bly

--Poetry Terminology: Topographical poetry-
The poetic equivalent of landscape painting e.g. Pope's Windsor Forest or Gray's Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College. A more modern example of the genre is Remains of Elmet by Ted Hughes which was a collaboration with the photographer Fay Godwin.

--Word of the Day: languor \LANG-guhr; LANG-uhr\, noun:
1. Mental or physical weariness or fatigue.
2. Listless indolence, especially the indolence of one who is satiated by a life of luxury or pleasure.
3. A heaviness or oppressive stillness of the air.
Example:
Without health life is not life, wrote Rabelais, "life is not livable. . . . Without health life is nothing but languor."
-Joseph Epstein, Narcissus Leaves the Pool

--Quote of the Day: The key to wisdom is this - constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.
-Peter Abelard

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June 16, 2011

The Rose Family - Song I

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--Description: 19thC, Alcot Louisa M., Hope, Joy, Nature--


O flower at my window
Why blossom you so fair,
With your green and purple cup
Upturned to sun and air?
'I bloom, blithesome Bessie,
To cheer your childish heart;
The world is full of labor,
And this shall be my part.'
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

O robin in the tree-top,
With sunshine on your breast,
Why brood you so patiently
Above your hidden nest?
'I brood, blithesome Bessie,
And sing my humble song,
That the world may have more music
From my little ones erelong.'
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

O balmy wind of summer,
O silver-singing brook,
Why rustle through the branches?
Why shimmer in your nook?
'I flutter, blithesome Bessie,
Like a blessing far and wide;
I scatter bloom and verdue
Where'er my footsteps glide.'
Whirl, busy wheel, faster,
Spin, little thread, spin;
The sun shines fair without,
And we are gay within.

O brook and breeze and blossom,
And robin on the tree,
You make a joy of duty,
A pride of industry;
Teach me to work as blithely,
With a willing hand and heart:
The world is full of labor,



Lousia 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: cater-cousin \KEY-ter-kuhz-uhn\, noun:
An intimate friend.
Example:
The world talks loudly of your learning, your skill, and cunning in arts the most abstruse ; nay, sooth to say, some look coldly on you therefore, and stickle not to aver that you are cater-cousin with Beelzebub himself.
-- Thomas Ingolds, The Ingolds legends; or, Mirth and marvels

--Quote of the Day: What is happiness except the simple harmony
between a man and the life he leads?
- Albert Camus

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June 14, 2011

The Runaway

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

Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall,
We stopped by a mountain pasture to say, "Whose colt?"
A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall,
The other curled at his breast. He dipped his head
And snorted to us. And then we saw him bolt.
We heard the miniature thunder where he fled,
And we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and gray,
Like a shadow across instead of behind the flakes.
The little fellow's afraid of the falling snow.
He never saw it before. It isn't play
With the little fellow at all. He's running away.
He wouldn't believe when his mother told him, 'Sakes,
It's only weather.' He thought she didn't know!
So this is something he has to bear alone
And now he comes again with a clatter of stone,
He mounts the wall again with whited eyes
Dilated nostrils, and tail held straight up straight.
He shudders his coat as if to throw off flies.
"Whoever it is that leaves him out so late,
When all other creatures have gone to stall and bin,
Ought to be told to come and take him in."

Robert Frost

--Did You Know: --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: Bard-
Originally a term for a Celtic minstrel poet e.g. Cacofnix in Asterix the Gaul but is now used for any admired poet. Shakespeare is often referred to as 'the bard of Avon'.

--Word of the Day: inexorable \in-EK-sur-uh-bul; in-EKS-ruh-bul\, adjective:
Not to be persuaded or moved by entreaty or prayer; firm; determined; unyielding; unchangeable; inflexible; relentless.
Example:
But the idea of providence, whether the biblical version or the Enlightenment's or Marx's, is at bottom a tragic notion, for it implies that individual human choices count for nothing against the weight of an inexorable, overwhelming force, whether benign or cruel, whether known as God, History, Destiny, Progress or DNA.
-James Carrol, "Laughing Our Way to Defeat", New York Times, February 16, 1986

--Quote of the Day: A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.
-Ovid

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June 12, 2011

Before Sunset

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--Description: 20th C, Swinburne A.C., Love--



Love's twilight wanes in heaven above,
On earth ere twilight reigns:
Ere fear may feel the chill thereof,
Love's twilight wanes.

Ere yet the insatiate heart complains
'Too much, and scarce enough,'
The lip so late athirst refrains.

Soft on the neck of either dove
Love's hands let slip the reins:
And while we look for light of love
Love's twilight wanes.


Algernon Charles Swinburne

--Did You Know: (1837–1909) Swinburne was an English poet, controversial in his own day. He invented the roundel form, wrote some novels, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. From 1903 to 1909 he was constantly nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Swinburne was born at 7 Chester Street, Grosvenor Place, London, on 5 April 1837. He was the eldest of six children born to Captain (later Admiral) Charles Henry Swinburne and Lady Jane Henrietta, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Ashburnham. He grew up at East Dene in Bonchurch on the Isle of Wight and attended Eton College 1849-53, where he first started writing poetry, and then Balliol College, Oxford 1856-60 with a brief hiatus when he was rusticated from the university in 1859, returning in May 1860, though he never received a degree. He spent summer holidays at Capheaton Hall in Northumberland, the house of his grandfather, Sir John Swinburne, 6th Baronet (1762-1860) (see Swinburne Baronets) who had a famous library and was President of the Literary and Philosophical Society in Newcastle upon Tyne. Swinburne considered Northumberland to be his native county, an emotion memorably reflected in poems like the intensely patriotic 'Northumberland', 'Grace Darling' and others. He enjoyed riding his pony across the moors. Read more at: A. C. Swinburne

--Word of the Day: wiredrawn \WAH-yuhr-drawn\, adjective:

1. Finely spun; extremely intricate; minute.
2. Drawn out long and thin like a wire.

I am aware that many educators consider such reading foolish and harmful, but I care nothing for wiredrawn pedagogic theories.
-- Hamlin Garland, Keith Newlin, A Daughter of the Middle Border

--Quote of the Day: Nature does not hurry,
yet everything is accomplished.
- Lao Tzu

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June 9, 2011

One Perfect Rose

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--Description: 20th C, Parker D., Love,Nature--


A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet -
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.


Dorothy Parker

--Did You Know: (August 22, 1893–June 7, 1967) Parker was an American writer and poet, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, a group she later disdained. Following the breakup of that circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed as her involvement in led to a place on the infamous Hollywood blacklist. Parker went through three marriages (two to the same man) and survived several suicide attempts, but grew increasingly dependent on alcohol. Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a "wisecracker". Nevertheless, her literary output and her sparkling wit have endured. Read more at: Dorothy Parker

--Word of the Day: idioglossia \id-ee-uh-GLOS-ee-uh\, noun:
1. A private form of speech invented by one child or by children who are in close contact, as twins.
2. A pathological condition in which a person's speech is so severely distorted that it is unintelligible.
Example:
At a recent meeting of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society, Dr. Hall White, Mr. Golding-Bird, Dr. Frederick Taylor, and Dr. Hadden, described a disease or pathological condition to which the name of "idioglossia" has been given, and of which the symptoms are an abnormal articulation of English words, so continuous and systematic as to make a new language.
-- Sir Isaac Pitman, Pitman's journal of commercial education, Volume 51

--Quote of the Day: Whatever you do, you need courage.
Whatever course you decide upon,
there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.
There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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June 7, 2011

White in the Moon the Long Road Lies

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--Description: 20th C, Houseman A.E., Celestial, Love, Nature, Night-- 



White in the moon the long road lies,
The moon stands blank above;
White in the moon the long road lies
That leads me from my love.

Still hangs the hedge without a gust,
Still, still the shadows stay:
My feet upon the moonlit dust
Pursue the ceaseless way.

The world is round, so travellers tell,
And straight though reach the track,
Trudge on, trudge on, ’twill all be well,
The way will guide one back.

But ere the circle homeward hies
Far, far must it remove:
White in the moon the long road lies
That leads me from my love.


Alfred Edward Houseman

--Did You Know: (26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936) Houseman usually known as A. E. Housman, was an English classical scholar and poet, best known for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems were mostly written before 1900. Their wistful evocation of doomed youth in the English countryside, in spare language and distinctive imagery, appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early twentieth century English composers (beginning with Arthur Somervell) both before and after the First World War. Through its song-setting the poetry became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself. Housman was counted one of the foremost classicists of his age, and has been ranked as one of the greatest scholars of all time.[1] He established his reputation publishing as a private scholar and, on the strength and quality of his work, was appointed Professor of Latin at University College London and later, at Cambridge. Read more at: A.E. Houseman

--Word of the Day:pecksniffian \pek-SNIF-ee-uhn\, adjective:
Hypocritically and smugly affecting benevolence or high moral principles.
Example:
With such departing words, did this strong minded female paralyze the Pecksniffian energies; and so she swept out of the room, and out of the house, attended her daughters, who, as with one accord, elevated their three noses in the air, and joined in a contemptuous titter.
-- Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit, Volume 1

--Quote of the Day: "When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way."
- Wayne Dyer

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June 5, 2011

An Old-Fashioned Garden

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--Description: 20th C, Butler Ellis P., Anger, Love, Marriage-- 



Strange, is it not? She was making her garden,
Planting the old-fashioned flowers that day—
Bleeding-hearts tender and bachelors-buttons—
Spreading the seeds in the old-fashioned way.

Just in the old fashioned way, too, our quarrel
Grew until, angrily, she set me free—
Planting, indeed, bleeding hearts for the two of us,—
Ordaining bachelor’s buttons for me.

Envoi

Strange, was it not? But seeds planted in anger
Sour in the earth and, ere long, a decay
Withered the bleeding hearts, blighted the buttons,
And—we were wed—in the old-fashioned way.



Ellis Parker Butler

--Did You Know: (December 5, 1869 – September 13, 1937) Ellis Parker Butler was an American author. Butler was born in Muscatine, Iowa. He was the author of more than 30 books and more than 2,000 stories and essays, and is most famous for his short story "Pigs is Pigs", in which a bureaucratic stationmaster insists on levying the livestock rate for a shipment of two pet guinea pigs, which soon start proliferating geometrically. Working from his home in Flushing (Queens) New York, Butler was—by every measure and by many times—the most published author of the pulp fiction era. Amongst others he wrote twenty-five stories to Woman's Home Companion between 1906 and 1935. His career spanned more than forty years and his stories, poems and articles were published in more than 225 magazines. His work appeared alongside that of his contemporaries including Mark Twain, Sax Rohmer, James B. Hendryx, Berton Braley, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Don Marquis, Will Rogers and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Despite the enormous volume of his work, Butler was, for most of his life, only a part-time author. He worked full-time as a banker and was very active in his local community. A founding member of both the Dutch Treat Club and the Author's League of America, Butler was an always-present force in the New York City literary scene. Read more at Ellis Parker Butler

--Word of the Day: métier \met-YAY; MET-yay\, noun:
1. An occupation; a profession.
2. An area in which one excels; an occupation for which one is especially well suited.
Example:
The pairing of Maynard and Salinger -- the writer whose métier is autobiography and the writer who's so private he won't even publish -- was an unlikely one.
-- Larissa MacFarquhar, "The Cult of Joyce Maynard", New York Times Magazine, September 6, 1998

--Quote of the Day: To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children,
to leave the world a better place,
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived,
this is to have succeeded.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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June 2, 2011

Absence

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--Description: 19th C, Arnold M., Love, Sadness, Separation--


In this fair stranger’s eyes of grey
Thine eyes, my love, I see.
I shudder: for the passing day
Had borne me far from thee.

This is the curse of life: that not
A nobler calmer train
Of wiser thoughts and feelings blot
Our passions from our brain;

But each day brings its petty dust
Our soon-chok’d souls to fill,
And we forget because we must,
And not because we will.

I struggle towards the light; and ye,
Once-long’d-for storms of love!
If with the light ye cannot be,
I bear that ye remove.

I struggle towards the light; but oh,
While yet the night is chill,
Upon Time’s barren, stormy flow,
Stay with me, Marguerite, still!

Matthew Arnold


--Did You Know: (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) Arnold was an English poet, and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. Matthew Arnold has been characterized as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues. Read more at: Matthew Arnold

--Word of the Day: plangent \PLAN-juhnt\, adjective:
1. Beating with a loud or deep sound, as, "the plangent wave."
2. Expressing sadness; plaintive.
Example:
She moans along with the woman who is singing -- wailing, really -- her hands gripping the steering wheel to the plangent cries of the singer and the sobbing of violins.
-- Alice Walker, By the Light of My Father's Smile

--Quote of the Day:Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive.
One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

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