September 29, 2011

A Wanderer's Song

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--Description: 20th C, Masefield J., Nature, Life--

A wind's in the heart of me, a fire's in my heels,
I am tired of brick and stone and rumbling wagon-wheels;
I hunger for the sea's edge, the limit of the land,
Where the wild old Atlantic is shouting on the sand.

Oh I'll be going, leaving the noises of the street,
To where a lifting foresail-foot is yanking at the sheet;
To a windy, tossing anchorage where yawls and ketches ride,
Oh I'll be going, going, until I meet the tide.

And first I'll hear the sea-wind, the mewing of the gulls,
The clucking, sucking of the sea about the rusty hulls,
The songs at the capstan at the hooker warping out,
And then the heart of me'll know I'm there or thereabout.

Oh I am sick of brick and stone, the heart of me is sick,
For windy green, unquiet sea, the realm of Moby Dick;
And I'll be going, going, from the roaring of the wheels,
For a wind's in the heart of me, a fire's in my heels.


John Masefield


--Did You Know: (1 June 1878 – 12 May 1967) John Masefield was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967. He is remembered as the author of the classic children's novels The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights, and many memorable poems, including "The Everlasting Mercy" and "Sea-Fever". Masefield was born in Ledbury in Herefordshire, to Caroline and George Masefield, a solicitor. His mother died giving birth to his sister when Masefield was only six, and he went to live with his aunt. His father died soon after following a mental breakdown. After an unhappy education at the King's School in Warwick (now known as Warwick School), where he was a boarder between 1888 and 1891, he left to board the HMS Conway, both to train for a life at sea, and to break his addiction to reading, of which his aunt thought little. He spent several years aboard this ship and found that he could spend much of his time reading and writing. It was aboard the Conway that Masefield’s love for story-telling grew. While on the ship, he listened to the stories told about sea lore. He continued to read, and felt that he was to become a writer and story teller himself. Read more at: John Masefield

--Word of the Day: irrefragable \ih-REF-ruh-guh-buhl\, adjective:
Impossible to refute; incontestable; undeniable; as, an irrefragable argument; irrefragable evidence.
Example:
I had the most irrefragable evidence of the absolute truth and soundness of the principle upon which my invention was based.
- Sir Henry Bessemer, Autobiography

--Quote of the Day: He who spends time regretting the past,
loses the present and risks the future.
- Quevedo

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September 23, 2011

To A Friend

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--Description: 20th C, Lowell A., Friendship--


I ask but one thing of you, only one,
That always you will be my dream of you;
That never shall I wake to find untrue
All this I have believed and rested on,
Forever vanished, like a vision gone
Out into the night. Alas, how few
There are who strike in us a chord we knew
Existed, but so seldom heard its tone
We tremble at the half-forgotten sound.
The world is full of rude awakenings
And heaven-born castles shattered to the ground,
Yet still our human longing vainly clings
To a belief in beauty through all wrongs.
O stay your hand, and leave my heart its songs!

Amy Lowell


--Did You Know:(February 9, 1874—May 12, 1925) Amy Lowell was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926. Lowell was born into Brookline's prominent Lowell family. One brother, Percival Lowell, was a famous astronomer who predicted the existence of the dwarf planet Pluto and believed the canals on Mars showed it hosted living intelligence; another brother, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, served as president of Harvard University. She never attended college because her family did not consider it proper for a woman, but she compensated for this with avid reading and near-obsessive book-collecting. She lived as a socialite and traveled widely, turning to poetry in 1902 after being inspired by a performance of Eleonora Duse in Europe. Read more at: Amy Lowell

--Word of the Day: platitude \PLAT-uh-tood; -tyood\ , noun
Meaning: 1. Staleness of ideas or language; triteness.
2. A thought or remark that is banal, trite, or stale.
Example: Yet a curious thing happens in this book: Whatever promise it offers of satire and enlightened vision dissipates into cliche and platitude.
(Edward Rothstein, "Against Galactic Rhetoric", New York Times, April 3, 1983)

--Quote of the Day: There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one's self, the very meaning of one's soul.
(Edith Wharton)

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September 20, 2011

Sorrows of the Moon

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--Description: 19th C, Baudelaire C., Celestial, Nature, Night, Sonnet--
Tonight the moon dreams in a deeper languidness,
And, like a beauty on her cushions, lies at rest;
While drifting off to sleep, a tentative caress
Seeks, with a gentle hand, the contour of her breast;

As on a crest above her silken avalanche,
Dying, she yields herself to an unending swoon,
And sees a pallid vision everywhere she’d glance,
In the azure sky where blossoms have been strewn.

When sometime, in her weariness, upon her sphere
She might permit herself to shed a furtive tear,
A poet of great piety, a foe of sleep,

Catches in the hollow of his hand that tear,
An opal fragment, iridescent as a star;
Within his heart, far from the sun, it’s buried deep.

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: sylvan \SIL-vuhn\, adjective:
1. Of or pertaining to woods or forest regions.
2. Living or located in a wood or forest.
3. Abounding in forests or trees; wooded.
noun:
1. A fabled deity or spirit of the woods.
2. One that lives in or frequents the woods or forest; a rustic.
Example:
They probably picture it as a kind of modest conservatory, set in sylvan splendour in some charmingly landscaped garden.
-Sally Vincent, "Driven by daemons", Guardian, November 10, 2001

--Quote of the Day: "The right man is the one who seizes the moment."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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September 15, 2011

First Love

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--Description: Clare J., 19th C, Adoration, Love-

I ne'er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet.
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
And stole my heart away complete.

My face turned pale, a deadly pale.
My legs refused to walk away,
And when she looked what could I ail
My life and all seemed turned to clay.

And then my blood rushed to my face
And took my eyesight quite away.
The trees and bushes round the place
Seemed midnight at noonday.

I could not see a single thing,
Words from my eyes did start.
They spoke as chords do from the string,
And blood burnt round my heart.

Are flowers the winter's choice?
Is love's bed always snow?
She seemed to hear my silent voice
Not love appeals to know.

I never saw so sweet a face
As that I stood before.
My heart has left its dwelling place
And can return no more.



John Clare


--Did You Know: (13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864) John Clare was an English poet, born the son of a farm labourer who came to be known for his celebratory representations of the English countryside and his lamentation of its disruption. His poetry underwent a major re-evaluation in the late 20th century and he is often now considered to be among the most important 19th-century poets . His biographer Jonathan Bate states that Clare was "the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self." Read more at: John Clare

--Word of the Day: indefatigable \in-dih-FAT-ih-guh-bul\, adjective:
Incapable of being fatigued; not readily exhausted; untiring; unwearying; not yielding to fatigue.
Example:
She was always seeking to add to her collection and was an indefatigable first-nighter at Broadway shows.
-Meryle Secrest, Stephen Sondheim: A Life

--Quote of the Day: The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.
-Oprah Winfrey

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September 13, 2011

A Farewell to False Love

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--Description: 17th C, Raleigh W., Disillusion, Love--


Farewell, false love, the oracle of lies,
A mortal foe and enemy to rest,
An envious boy, from whom all cares arise,
A bastard vile, a beast with rage possessed,
A way of error, a temple full of treason,
In all effects contrary unto reason.

A poisoned serpent covered all with flowers,
Mother of sighs, and murderer of repose,
A sea of sorrows whence are drawn such showers
As moisture lend to every grief that grows;
A school of guile, a net of deep deceit,
A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait.

A fortress foiled, which reason did defend,
A siren song, a fever of the mind,
A maze wherein affection finds no end,
A raging cloud that runs before the wind,
A substance like the shadow of the sun,
A goal of grief for which the wisest run.

A quenchless fire, a nurse of trembling fear,
A path that leads to peril and mishap,
A true retreat of sorrow and despair,
An idle boy that sleeps in pleasure's lap,
A deep mistrust of that which certain seems,
A hope of that which reason doubtful deems.

Sith then thy trains my younger years betrayed,
And for my faith ingratitude I find;
And sith repentance hath my wrongs bewrayed,
Whose course was ever contrary to kind:
False love, desire, and beauty frail, adieu.
Dead is the root whence all these fancies grew.


Sir Walter Raleigh

--Did You Know: (c. 1552 – 29 October 1618) Walter Raleigh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, and explorer who is also largely known for introducing tobacco to Europe. Raleigh was born to a Protestant family in Devon, the son of Walter Raleigh and Catherine Champernowne. Little is known for certain of his early life, though he spent some time in Ireland, in Killua Castle, Clonmellon, County Westmeath, taking part in the suppression of rebellions and participating in two infamous massacres at Rathlin Island and Smerwick. Later he became a landlord of properties confiscated from the Irish. He rose rapidly in Queen Elizabeth I's favour, being knighted in 1585. He was involved in the early English colonization of Virginia under a royal patent. In 1591 he secretly married Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, without the Queen's permission, for which he and his wife were sent to the Tower of London. After his release, they retired to his estate at Sherborne, Dorset. Read more at: Walter Raleigh

--Word of the Day: bellwether \BEL-weth-uhr\, noun:
A leader of a movement or activity; also, a leading indicator of future trends.
Example:
Raised to believe they were among their generation's best and brightest, my class can be seen as a bellwether for a generation caught without a compass on the cutting edge of uncharted territory.
-- Elizabeth Fishel, Reunion: The Girls We Used to Be, the Women We Became

--Quote of the Day: "When we remember we are all mad,
the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."
- Mark Twain

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September 10, 2011

It's Good To Feel You Are Close To Me

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--Description: 20th C, Neruda P., Contentment, Love, Night--




It’s good to feel you are close to me in the night, love,
invisible in your sleep, intently nocturnal,
while I untangle my worries
as if they were twisted nets.

Withdrawn, your heart sails through dream,
but your body, relinquished so, breathes
seeking me without seeing me perfecting my dream
like a plant that seeds itself in the dark.

Rising, you will be that other, alive in the dawn,
but from the frontiers lost in the night,
from the presence and the absence where we meet ourselves,

something remains, drawing us into the light of life
as if the sign of the shadows had sealed
its secret creatures with flame.



Pablo Neruda

--Did You Know: (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) Neruda was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean writer and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Neruda assumed his pen name as a teenager, partly because it was in vogue, partly to hide his poetry from his father, a rigid man who wanted his son to have a "practical" occupation. Neruda's pen name was derived from Czech writer and poet Jan Neruda; Pablo is thought to be from Paul Verlaine. With his works translated into many languages, Pablo Neruda is considered one of the greatest and most influential poets of the 20th century. Neruda was accomplished in a variety of styles ranging from erotically charged love poems like his collection Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair, surrealist poems, historical epics, and overtly political manifestos. In 1971 Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature, a controversial award because of his political activism. Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language. Read more at: Pablo Neruda

--Word of the Day: gammon \GAM-uhn\, verb:
1. To deceive.
noun:
1. In backgammon, a victory in which the winner throws off all his or her pieces before the opponent throws off any.
verb:
1. To win a gammon (in the game of backgammon) over.
noun:
1. A smoked or cured ham.
2. Deceitful nonsense.
Example:
"Come," said Perrot to Luned, stopping short; "we will gammon him with a silver bit or so."
-- Ernest Rhys, The whistling maid: A romance


--Quote of the Day: Love comforteth like sunshine after rain.
- William Shakespeare

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September 8, 2011

The Living Flame

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--Description: 19th C, Baudelaire, C., Illusion, Sonnet--


They pass before me, these Eyes full of light,
Eyes made magnetic by some angel wise;
The holy brothers pass before my sight,
And cast their diamond fires in my dim eyes.

They keep me from all sin and error grave,
They set me in the path whence Beauty came;
They are my servants, and I am their slave,
And all my soul obeys the living flame.

Beautiful Eyes that gleam with mystic light
As candles lighted at full noon; the sun
Dims not your flame phantastical and bright.

You sing the dawn; they celebrate life done;
Marching you chaunt my soul's awakening hymn,
Stars that no sun has ever made grow dim!

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: muliebrity \myoo-lee-EB-ri-tee\, noun:
The state of being a woman.
Example:
She was one of those women who was waiting in —what is the word?—muliebrity; She had courage and initiative and a philosophical way of handling questions, and she could be bored by regular work like a man.
-H.G. Wells, The New Machiavelli

--Quote of the Day: You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself.
-Alan Alda

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September 7, 2011

Ah, How Sweet It Is To Love!

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--Description: 17th C, Dryden J., Love--



AH, how sweet it is to love!
Ah, how gay is young Desire!
And what pleasing pains we prove
When we first approach Love's fire!
Pains of love be sweeter far
Than all other pleasures are.

Sighs which are from lovers blown
Do but gently heave the heart:
Ev'n the tears they shed alone
Cure, like trickling balm, their smart:
Lovers, when they lose their breath,
Bleed away in easy death.

Love and Time with reverence use,
Treat them like a parting friend;
Nor the golden gifts refuse
Which in youth sincere they send:
For each year their price is more,
And they less simple than before.

Love, like spring-tides full and high,
Swells in every youthful vein;
But each tide does less supply,
Till they quite shrink in again:
If a flow in age appear,
'Tis but rain, and runs not clear.


John Dryden

--Did You Know: (9 August 1631 – 1 May 1700) John Dryden was an influential English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who dominated the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden. Walter Scott named him "Glorious John." After the Restoration, Dryden quickly established himself as the leading poet and literary critic of his day and he transferred his allegiances to the new government. Along with Astraea Redux, Dryden welcomed the new regime with two more panegyrics; To His Sacred Majesty: A Panegyric on his Coronation (1662), and To My Lord Chancellor (1662). These poems suggest that Dryden was looking to court a possible patron, but he was to instead make a living in writing for publishers, not for the aristocracy, and thus ultimately for the reading public. Read more at: John Dryden

--Word of the Day: footle \FOOT-l\, verb:
1. To act or talk in a foolish or silly way.
noun:
1. Nonsense; silliness.
Example:
Sometimes, on a good day, I would go upstairs with my duster and footle around the parlor, adjusting paintings and straightening cushions, knocking them into shape with such military precision that even my mother would have saluted them.
-- Marion McGilvary, A Lost Wife's Tale: A Novel

--Quote of the Day: The end of labor is to gain leisure.
- Aristotle

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September 5, 2011

An Hour With Thee

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--Description: 19th C, Sir Scott W., Hope, Love--


An hour with thee! When earliest day
Dapples with gold the eastern gray,
Oh, what can frame my mind to bear
The toil and turmoil, cark and care,
New griefs, which coming hours unfold,
And sad remembrance of the old?
One hour with thee.

One hour with thee! When burning June
Waves his red flag at pitch of noon;
What shall repay the faithful swain,
His labor on the sultry plain;
And, more than cave or sheltering bough,
Cool feverish blood and throbbing brow?
One hour with thee.

One hour with thee! When sun is set,
Oh, what can teach me to forget
The thankless labors of the day;
The hopes, the wishes, flung away;
The increasing wants, and lessening gains,
The master's pride, who scorns my pains?
One hour with thee.

Sir Walter Scott

--Did You Know:(15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832) Walter Scott was a prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet, popular throughout Europe during his time. Scott was particularly associated with Toryism. Scott was the first English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime, with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor. Born in College Wynd in the Old Town of Edinburgh in 1771, the son of a solicitor, Scott survived a childhood bout of polio in 1773 that left him lame. To cure his lameness he was sent in 1773 to live in the rural Borders region at his grandparents' farm at Sandyknowe, adjacent to the ruin of Smailholm Tower, the earlier family home. Here he was taught to read by his aunt Jenny, and learned from her the speech patterns and many of the tales and legends that characterized much of his work. Read more at: Sir Walter Scott

--Word of the Day:conglobate \KON-gloh-beyt\, verb:
To form into a ball.
Example:
He knew not where to begin; his ideas rolled round upon each other like the radii of a wheel; the words he desired to utter, instead of issuing, as it were, in a right line from his lips, seemed to conglobate themselves into a sphere.
- Thomas Love Peacock, Maid Marian

--Quote of the Day: It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.
- Amelia Barr

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September 3, 2011

Winter Song

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--Description: 19th C, Owens W., Nature, Seasons, War-- 


The browns, the olives, and the yellows died,
And were swept up to heaven; where they glowed
Each dawn and set of sun till Christmastide,
And when the land lay pale for them, pale-snowed,
Fell back, and down the snow-drifts flamed and flowed.

From off your face, into the winds of winter,
The sun-brown and the summer-gold are blowing;
But they shall gleam with spiritual glinter,
When paler beauty on your brows falls snowing,
And through those snows my looks shall be soft-going.


Wilfred Owen

--Did You Know: (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918) Wilfred Owen was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon and sat in stark contrast to both the public perception of war at the time, and to the confidently patriotic verse written earlier by war poets such as Rupert Brooke. Some of his best-known works—most of which were published posthumously—include "Dulce et Decorum Est", "Insensibility", "Anthem for Doomed Youth", "Futility" and "Strange Meeting". Wilfred Owen was born the eldest of four children in Plas Wilmot; a house near Oswestry in Shropshire on 18 March 1893, of mixed English and Welsh ancestry. His siblings were Harold, Colin, and Mary Millard Owen. Owen is regarded by historians as the leading poet of the First World War, known for his war poetry on the horrors of trench and gas warfare. He had been writing poetry for some years before the war, himself dating his poetic beginnings to a stay at Broxton by the Hill, when he was ten years old. The Romantic poets Keats and Shelley influenced much of Owen's early writing and poetry. Read more at: Wilfred Owen

--Word of the Day: metaphrastic \met-uh-FRAST-ik\, adjective:
Having the quality of a literary work that has been translated or changed from one form to another, as prose into verse.
- In a word, the whole place was involved in the maze of a metaphrastic mystery; it enchanted our wanderers, and tempted them into fields of speculation.
-- Arthur Edward Waite, Belle and the Dragon

--Quote of the Day: There are two lasting bequests we can give our children
One is roots, the other is wings.
- Hodding Carter

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September 1, 2011

A Prayer For My Daughter

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--Description: 20th C, Yeats W., Childhood, Love, Parenting--


Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
But Gregory's wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind.
Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.


I have walked and prayed for this young child an hour
And heard the sea-wind scream upon the tower,
And-under the arches of the bridge, and scream
In the elms above the flooded stream;
Imagining in excited reverie
That the future years had come,
Dancing to a frenzied drum,
Out of the murderous innocence of the sea.


May she be granted beauty and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger's eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.


Helen being chosen found life flat and dull
And later had much trouble from a fool,
While that great Queen, that rose out of the spray,
Being fatherless could have her way
Yet chose a bandy-leggèd smith for man.
It's certain that fine women eat
A crazy salad with their meat
Whereby the Horn of plenty is undone.


In courtesy I'd have her chiefly learned;
Hearts are not had as a gift but hearts are earned
By those that are not entirely beautiful;
Yet many, that have played the fool
For beauty's very self, has charm made wisc.
And many a poor man that has roved,
Loved and thought himself beloved,
From a glad kindness cannot take his eyes.


May she become a flourishing hidden tree
That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,
And have no business but dispensing round
Their magnanimities of sound,
Nor but in merriment begin a chase,
Nor but in merriment a quarrel.
O may she live like some green laurel
Rooted in one dear perpetual place.


My mind, because the minds that I have loved,
The sort of beauty that I have approved,
Prosper but little, has dried up of late,
Yet knows that to be choked with hate
May well be of all evil chances chief.
If there's no hatred in a mind
Assault and battery of the wind
Can never tear the linnet from the leaf.


An intellectual hatred is the worst,
So let her think opinions are accursed.
Have I not seen the loveliest woman born
Out of the mouth of plenty's horn,
Because of her opinionated mind
Barter that horn and every good
By quiet natures understood
For an old bellows full of angry wind?


Considering that, all hatred driven hence,
The soul recovers radical innocence
And learns at last that it is self-delighting,
Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,
And that its own sweet will is Heaven's will;
She can, though every face should scowl
And every windy quarter howl
Or every bellows burst, be happy Still.


And may her bridegroom bring her to a house
Where all's accustomed, ceremonious;
For arrogance and hatred are the wares
Peddled in the thoroughfares.
How but in custom and in ceremony
Are innocence and beauty born?
Ceremony's a name for the rich horn,
And custom for the spreading laurel tree.


William Butler Yeats


--Did You Know: Yeats was an Irish poet and dramatist and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and English literary establishments, in his later years Yeats served as an Irish Senator for two terms.

--Word of the Day: beau monde (BO-mond), noun
Meaning: The world of fashion; high society.
Example: "The wealthy can be entertainingly absurd, as in Hannah Greig's enjoyable account of the struggles of the Countess of Strafford to be accepted as a leader of London's beau monde in the early 18th century."
(John Mullan; Vex'd by Wallpaper; The Guardian (London, UK); Aug 18, 2007.)

--Quote of the Day:The greatest gift a parent can give a child is unconditional love. As a child wanders and strays, finding his bearings, he needs a sense of absolute love from a parent. There's nothing wrong with tough love, as long as the love is unconditional.
(George Herbert Walker Bush)


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