October 29, 2011

Fairy-Land

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--Description: 19th C, Poe Edgar A., Children, Imagination, Illusion, Mythology-- 

 
Dim vales - and shadowy floods -
And cloudy-looking woods,
Whose forms we can't discover
For the tears that drip all over!
Huge moons there wax and wane -
Again - again - again -
Every moment of the night -
Forever changing places -

And they put out the star-light
With the breath from their pale faces.
About twelve by the moon-dial,
One more filmy than the rest
(A kind which, upon trial,
They have found to be the best)
Comes down - still down - and down,
With its centre on the crown
Of a mountain's eminence,
While its wide circumference
In easy drapery falls
Over hamlets, over halls,
Wherever they may be -

O'er the strange woods - o'er the sea -
Over spirits on the wing -
Over every drowsy thing -
And buries them up quite
In a labyrinth of light -
And then, how deep! - O, deep!
Is the passion of their sleep.
In the morning they arise,

And their moony covering
Is soaring in the skies,
With the tempests as they toss,
Like - almost anything -
Or a yellow Albatross.
They use that moon no more
For the same end as before -

Videlicet, a tent -
Which I think extravagant:
Its atomies, however,
Into a shower dissever,
Of which those butterflies
Of Earth, who seek the skies,
And so come down again,
(Never-contented things!)
Have brought a specimen
Upon their quivering wings.

Edgar Allen Poe

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

--Poetry Terminology: Minstrel -
Itinerant medieval musician/singer/story teller/poet. See bard and jongleur.

--Word of the Day: fanfaronade \fan-fair-uh-NAYD; -NOD\, noun:
1. Swaggering; empty boasting; blustering manner or behavior; ostentatious display.
2. Fanfare.
George Manahan made his debut this week as music director of New York City Opera, and it is difficult to imagine someone laying claim to a major podium with less of a fanfaronade.
-- Justin Davidson, "A Director's Toil Pays Some Dividends", Newsday, September 21, 1996

--Quote of the Day: What we speak becomes the house we live in.
- Hafiz

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October 28, 2011

Hug O' War

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--Description: 20th C, Silverstein S., Children, Friendship, Humor, Love-- 



 
I will not play at tug o' war.
I'd rather play at hug o' war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.


Shel Silverstein


--Did You Know: (September 25, 1930–May 10, 1999) Shel Silverstein was an American poet, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter, and author of children's books. He sometimes styled himself as Uncle Shelby, especially for his early children's books. Silverstein confirmed he never studied the poetry of others therefore, developed his own quirky style: laid-back and conversational, occasionally employing profanity and slang. Read more at: Shel Silverstein

--Word of the Day: druthers \DRUHTH-erz\, noun:
One's own way, choice, or preference.
Example:
"You mean if I had my druthers? Why, if I had my druthers I'd druther eat speckledly gravy," Dove assured him.
-- Nelson Algren, A Walk on the Wild Side

--Quote of the Day: Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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October 27, 2011

A Poison Tree

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--Description: 19th C, Blake W., Disillusion, Friendship, Anger, Nature--
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.



William Blake

--Did You Know:(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language". His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". On 8th October 1779, Blake became a student at the Royal Academy in Old Somerset House, near the Strand. While the terms of his study required no payment, he was expected to supply his own materials throughout the six-year period. There, he rebelled against what he regarded as the unfinished style of fashionable painters such as Rubens, championed by the school's first president, Joshua Reynolds. Read more at: William Blake

--Word of the Day: lummox \LUHM-uhks\, noun:
A clumsy, stupid person.
Example:
Spence regarded the lummox. He was a good-size boy, give him that - six one, six one and a half maybe - with limp blond hair...
-- Howard Frank Mosher, Waiting for Teddy Williams

--Quote of the Day: What is more cheerful, now, in the fall of the year, than an open-wood-fire? Do you hear those little chirps and twitters coming out of that piece of apple-wood? Those are the ghosts of the robins and blue-birds that sang upon the bough when it was in blossom last Spring. In Summer whole flocks of them come fluttering about the fruit-trees under the window: so I have singing birds all the year round.
-Thomas Bailey Aldrich

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October 26, 2011

Fairy Tale

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--Description: 20th C, Lowell A., Childhood, Dreams, Fantasy--


On winter nights beside the nursery fire
We read the fairy tale, while glowing coals
Builded its pictures. There before our eyes
We saw the vaulted hall of traceried stone
Uprear itself, the distant ceiling hung
With pendent stalactites like frozen vines;
And all along the walls at intervals,
Curled upwards into pillars, roses climbed,
And ramped and were confined, and clustered leaves
Divided where there peered a laughing face.
The foliage seemed to rustle in the wind,
A silent murmur, carved in still, gray stone.
High pointed windows pierced the southern wall
Whence proud escutcheons flung prismatic fires
To stain the tessellated marble floor
With pools of red, and quivering green, and blue;
And in the shade beyond the further door,
Its sober squares of black and white were hid
Beneath a restless, shuffling, wide-eyed mob
Of lackeys and retainers come to view
The Christening.
A sudden blare of trumpets, and the throng
About the entrance parted as the guests
Filed singly in with rare and precious gifts.
Our eager fancies noted all they brought,
The glorious, unattainable delights!
But always there was one unbidden guest
Who cursed the child and left it bitterness.

The fire falls asunder, all is changed,
I am no more a child, and what I see
Is not a fairy tale, but life, my life.
The gifts are there, the many pleasant things:
Health, wealth, long-settled friendships, with a name
Which honors all who bear it, and the power
Of making words obedient. This is much;
But overshadowing all is still the curse,
That never shall I be fulfilled by love!
Along the parching highroad of the world
No other soul shall bear mine company.
Always shall I be teased with semblances,
With cruel impostures, which I trust awhile
Then dash to pieces, as a careless boy
Flings a kaleidoscope, which shattering
Strews all the ground about with coloured sherds.
So I behold my visions on the ground
No longer radiant, an ignoble heap
Of broken, dusty glass. And so, unlit,
Even by hope or faith, my dragging steps
Force me forever through the passing days

Amy Lowell

--Did You Know: (February 9, 1874—May 12, 1925) 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: orthography (or-THOG-ruh-fee), noun
Meaning: 1. The commonly accepted way of spelling words. 2. The branch of knowledge concerned with the study of spelling and representing sounds of a language by letters and diacritics.
Example:"The Spelling Society declared at the weekend that the apparently arbitrary and complicated orthography of the English language holds back children in acquiring writing skills, and costs the economy countless billions a year."
-(Philip Hensher; The Peculiarities of English Retain Its Spell; The Independent (London, UK); Jun 9, 2008.)

--Quote of the Day: "Hope is the denial of reality. It is the carrot dangled before the draft horse to keep him plodding along in a vain attempt to reach it."
~Margaret Weiss

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October 18, 2011

On A Drop of Dew

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--Description: 17th C, Marvell A., Life, Nature--


See how the orient dew
Shed from the bosom of the Morn
Into the blowing roses,
Yet careless of its mansion new,
For the clear region where ’twas born,
Round in its self incloses:
And in its little globe’s extent
Frames, as it can, its native element.
How it the purple flow’r does slight,
Scarce touching where it lyes,
But gazing back upon the skies,
Shines with a mournful light,
Like its own tear,
Because so long divided from the sphere.
Restless it roules, and unsecure,
Trembling, lest it grow impure;
Till the warm sun pitty its pain
And to the skies exhale it back again.
So the soul, that drop, that ray,
Of the clear fountain of eternal day,
(Could it within the humane flow’r be seen)
Rememb’ring still its former height,
Shuns the sweat leaves and blossoms green,
And, recollecting its own light,
Does in its pure and circling thoughts express
The greater heaven in an heaven less.
In how coy a figure wound,
Every way it turns away;
(So the world-excluding round)
Yet receiving in the day.
Dark beneath, but bright above,
Here disdaining, there in love.
How loose and easie hence to go;
How girt and ready to ascend;
Moving but on a point below,
It all about does upwards bend.
Such did the manna’s sacred dew destil,
White and intire, though congeal’d and chill;
Congeal’d on Earth; but does, dissolving, run
Into the glories of th’ almighty sun.

Andrew Marvell

--Did You Know: (31 March 1621 – 16 August 1678) Marvell was an English metaphysical poet, Parliamentarian, and the son of a Church of England clergyman (also named Andrew Marvell). As a metaphysical poet, he is associated with John Donne and George Herbert. He was a colleague and friend of John Milton. Marvell was born in Winestead-in-Holderness, East Riding of Yorkshire, near the city of Kingston upon Hull. The family moved to Hull when his father was appointed Lecturer at Holy Trinity Church there, and Marvell was educated at Hull Grammar School. A secondary school in the city is now named after him. His most famous poems include To His Coy Mistress, The Garden, An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland, and the country house poem Upon Appleton House.Read more at: Andrew Marvell

--Word of the Day: cockaigne /(kaw-KAYN)
noun: An imaginary land of luxury and idleness.
Example:
"This was a land of Cockaigne, a place of total self-indulgent enchantment where I sat alone for hours contemplating."
-Christopher Moore; Broad Horizons; The Press (Christchurch, New Zealand); Jan 4, 1999.

--Quote of the Day: 'Tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes!
~William Wordsworth, "Lines Written in Early Spring," Lyrical Ballads, 1798

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October 15, 2011

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

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

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.


Sir Walter Raleigh

--Did You Know: (c. 1552 – 29 October 1618) 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

--Poetry Terminology: Syllabic verse -
A poetic form having a fixed number of syllables per line or stanza regardless of the number of stresses that are present. It is common in languages that are syllable-timed such as Japanese or modern French or Spanish, as opposed to accentual verse, which is common in stress-timed languages such as English.

--Word of the Day: empyrean \em-py-REE-uhn; -PEER-ee-\, noun:
1. The highest heaven, in ancient belief usually thought to be a realm of pure fire or light.
2. Heaven; paradise.
3. The heavens; the sky.
adjective:
1. Of or pertaining to the empyrean of ancient belief.
Example:
She might have been an angel arguing a point in the empyrean if she hadn't been, so completely, a woman.
-Edith Wharton, "The Long Run", The Atlantic, Feburary 1912

--Quote of the Day: Love is like dew that falls on both nettles and lilies.
~Swedish Proverb

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October 14, 2011

The Bear

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--Description: 20th C, Frost R., Life, Nature, Humanity --

The bear puts both arms around the tree above her
And draws it down as if it were a lover
And its choke cherries lips to kiss good-bye,
Then lets it snap back upright in the sky.
Her next step rocks a boulder on the wall
(She's making her cross-country in the fall).
Her great weight creaks the barbed-wire in its staples
As she flings over and off down through the maples,
Leaving on one wire moth a lock of hair.
Such is the uncaged progress of the bear.
The world has room to make a bear feel free;
The universe seems cramped to you and me.
Man acts more like the poor bear in a cage
That all day fights a nervous inward rage
His mood rejecting all his mind suggests.
He paces back and forth and never rests
The me-nail click and shuffle of his feet,
The telescope at one end of his beat
And at the other end the microscope,
Two instruments of nearly equal hope,
And in conjunction giving quite a spread.
Or if he rests from scientific tread,
'Tis only to sit back and sway his head
Through ninety odd degrees of arc, it seems,
Between two metaphysical extremes.
He sits back on his fundamental butt
With lifted snout and eyes (if any) shut,
(lie almost looks religious but he's not),
And back and forth he sways from cheek to cheek,
At one extreme agreeing with one Greek
At the other agreeing with another Greek
Which may be thought, but only so to speak.
A baggy figure, equally pathetic
When sedentary and when peripatetic.


Robert Frost

--Did You Know: (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) Robert Frost was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California to journalist William Prescott Frost, Jr., and Isabelle Moodie. His mother was of Scottish descent, and his father descended from Nicholas Frost of Tiverton, Devon, England, who had sailed to New Hampshire in 1634 on the Wolfrana. Frost's father was a teacher and later an editor of the San Francisco Evening Bulletin. After his father's death on May 5, 1885, in due time the family moved across the country to Lawrence, Massachusetts under the patronage of (Robert's grandfather) William Frost, Sr., who was an overseer at a New England mill. Frost graduated from Lawrence High School in 1892. Frost's mother joined the Swedenborgian church and had him baptized in it, but he left it as an adult. Despite his later association with rural life, Frost grew up in the city, and published his first poem in his high school's magazine. Read more at: Robert Frost

--Word of the Day: agoraphobia / (ag-uhr-uh-FO-bee-uh) /noun
A fear of being in public places, open spaces, or in crowds.
Example:
"Concerns a polar bear would suffer agoraphobia after moving from a city zoo to four acres in the Highlands were unfounded."
-Agoraphobic Bear Fears 'Allayed'; BBC News (London, UK); Oct 30, 2009.

--Quote of the Day: Language... has created the word "loneliness" to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word "solitude" to express the glory of being alone.
-Paul Tillich

--Poetry Terminology: Triad -
The strophe, antistrophe and epode of a Pindaric ode. See ode.

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October 12, 2011

A Musical Instrument

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--Description: 19th C, Browning E.B., Illusion, Music, Mythology, Nature
 
What was he doing, the great god Pan,
Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
With the dragon-fly on the river.

He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
From the deep cool bed of the river:
The limpid water turbidly ran,
And the broken lilies a-dying lay,
And the dragon-fly had fled away,
Ere he brought it out of the river.

High on the shore sat the great god Pan
While turbidly flowed the river;
And hacked and hewed as a great god can,
With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed
To prove it fresh from the river.

He cut it short, did the great god Pan,
(How tall it stood in the river!)
Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,
Steadily from the outside ring,
And notched the poor dry empty thing
In holes, as he sat by the river.

"This is the way," laughed the great god Pan
(Laughed while he sat by the river),
"The only way, since gods began
To make sweet music, they could succeed."
Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
He blew in power by the river.

Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan!
Piercing sweet by the river!
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
Came back to dream on the river.

Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man:
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain, -
For the reed which grows nevermore again
As a reed with the reeds in the river.


Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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

--Terminology Tuesday: Wrenched Accent -
Occurs when the metrical stress or accent forces a change in the natural word accent. This can occur due to a poet's lack of skill, but is also characteristic of folk ballads.

--Word of the Day: agrestic \uh-GRES-tik\, adjective:
Pertaining to fields or the country; rural; rustic.
Example:
Grass plants possess an agrestic simplicity that probably connects them, at some level of mind, with wholesome grain and the restorative country life.
-George Schen, The Complete Shade Gardener

--Quote of the Day: Music, when soft voices die
Vibrates in the memory -
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

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October 9, 2011

Lost and Found

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--Description: 20th C, MacDonald G., Death, Friendship, Sadness, Separation--




I missed him when the sun began to bend;
I found him not when I had lost his rim;
With many tears I went in search of him,
Climbing high mountains which did still ascend,
And gave me echoes when I called my friend;
Through cities vast and charnel-houses grim,
And high cathedrals where the light was dim,
Through books and arts and works without an end,
But found him not--the friend whom I had lost.
And yet I found him--as I found the lark,
A sound in fields I heard but could not mark;
I found him nearest when I missed him most;
I found him in my heart, a life in frost,
A light I knew not till my soul was dark.


George MacDonald


--Did You Know: (10 December 1824 – 18 September 1905) was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister. Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, E. Nesbit and Madeleine L'Engle. It was C.S. Lewis who wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his "master": "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later," said Lewis, "I knew that I had crossed a great frontier." G. K. Chesterton cited The Princess and the Goblin as a book that had "made a difference to my whole existence." Read more at: George MacDonald

Elizabeth Yates wrote of Sir Gibbie, "It moved me the way books did when, as a child, the great gates of literature began to open and first encounters with noble thoughts and utterances were unspeakably thrilling."[2]

Even Mark Twain, who initially disliked MacDonald, became friends with him, and there is some evidence that Twain was influenced by MacDonald.

--Word of the Day:votary \VOH-tuh-ree\, noun:
1. One who is devoted, given, or addicted to some particular pursuit, subject, study, or way of life.
2. A devoted admirer.
3. A devout adherent of a religion or cult.
4. A dedicated believer or advocate.
Example:
When she held out her hand to receive the glass, she had more the air of a full-grown Bacchante, celebrating the rites of Bacchus, than a votary at the shrine of Hygeia.
-- Pamela Neville-Sington, Fanny Trollope

--Quote of the Day: When you get into a tight place
and everything goes against you,
till it seems you cannot hold on a minute longer,
never give up then, for that is just
the place and time the tide will turn.
- Harriet Beecher Stowe

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October 8, 2011

Rain

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--Description: Tu Fu, Nature, Seasons-- 


Roads not yet glistening, rain slight,
Broken clouds darken after thinning away.
Where they drift, purple cliffs blacken.
And beyond -- white birds blaze in flight.

Sounds of cold-river rain grown familiar,
Autumn sun casts moist shadows. Below
Our brushwood gate, out to dry at the village
Mill: hulled rice, half-wet and fragrant


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: mendacity \men-DAS-i-tee\, noun:
1. A tendency to lie; untruthfulness.
2. An instance of lying; falsehood.
Example:
This was my introduction to a lifetime of mendacity. I too must learn to say these gorgeous untruths.
-- Christopher Buckley, Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir

--Quote of the Day: By letting it go, it all gets done.
The world is won by those who let it go.
But when you try and try.
The world is beyond the winning.
- Lao Tzu

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October 4, 2011

Wind and Window Flower

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



Lovers, forget your love,
And list to the love of these,
She a window flower,
And he a winter breeze.
When the frosty window veil
Was melted down at noon,
And the cagèd yellow bird
Hung over her in tune,
He marked her through the pane,
He could not help but mark,
And only passed her by,
To come again at dark.

He was a winter wind,
Concerned with ice and snow,
Dead weeds and unmated birds,
And little of love could know.
But he sighed upon the sill,
He gave the sash a shake,
As witness all within
Who lay that night awake.
Perchance he half prevailed
To win her for the flight
From the firelit looking-glass
And warm stove-window light.

But the flower leaned aside
And thought of naught to say,
And morning found the breeze
A hundred miles away.


Robert Frost

--Did You Know: (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) Frost was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California to journalist William Prescott Frost, Jr., and Isabelle Moodie. His mother was of Scottish descent, and his father descended from Nicholas Frost of Tiverton, Devon, England, who had sailed to New Hampshire in 1634 on the Wolfrana. Frost's father was a teacher and later an editor of the San Francisco Evening Bulletin. After his father's death on May 5, 1885, in due time the family moved across the country to Lawrence, Massachusetts under the patronage of (Robert's grandfather) William Frost, Sr., who was an overseer at a New England mill. Frost graduated from Lawrence High School in 1892. Frost's mother joined the Swedenborgian church and had him baptized in it, but he left it as an adult. Despite his later association with rural life, Frost grew up in the city, and published his first poem in his high school's magazine. Read more at: Robert Frost

--Word of the Day: sapid \SAP-id\, adjective:
1. Having taste or flavor, especially having a strong pleasant flavor.
2. Agreeable to the mind; to one's liking.
Example:
Chemistry can concentrate the sapid and odorous elements of the peach and the bitter almond into a transparent fluid
-- David William Cheever, "Tobacco", The Atlantic, August 1860

--Quote of the Day: I want it said of me by those who knew me best,
that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower
where I thought a flower would grow.
- Abraham Lincoln

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October 2, 2011

The Other Side of a Mirror

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--Description: 20th C, Coleridge M.E., Anger,  Disillusion, Envy, Imagination-- 

 
I sat before my glass one day,
And conjured up a vision bare,
Unlike the aspects glad and gay,
That erst were found reflected there –
The vision of a woman, wild
With more than womanly despair.

Her hair stood back on either side
A face bereft of loveliness.
It had no envy now to hide
What once no man on earth could guess.
It formed the thorny aureole
Of hard unsanctified distress.

Her lips were open – not a sound
Came through the parted lines of red.
Whate'er it was, the hideous wound
In silence and in secret bled.
No sigh relieved her speechless woe,
She had no voice to speak her dread.

And in her lurid eyes there shone
The dying flame of life's desire,
Made mad because its hope was gone,
And kindled at the leaping fire
Of jealousy, and fierce revenge,
And strength that could not change nor tire.

Shade of a shadow in the glass,
O set the crystal surface free!
Pass – as the fairer visions pass –
Nor ever more return, to be
The ghost of a distracted hour,
That heard me whisper, "I am she!"



Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

--Did You Know: Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (23 September 1861 – 25 August 1907) was a British novelist and poet, who also wrote essays and reviews. She taught at the London Working Women's College for twelve years from 1895 to 1907. She wrote poetry under the pseudonym Anodos, taken from George MacDonald; other influences on her were Richard Watson Dixon and Christina Rossetti. Coleridge published five novels, the best known of those being The King with Two Faces, which earned her £900 in royalties in 1897. She travelled widely throughout her life, although her home was in London, where she lived with her family. Mary Coleridge was the great-grandniece of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the great niece of Sara Coleridge, the author of Phantasmion. She died from complications arising from appendicitis while on holiday in Harrogate in 1907, leaving an unfinished manuscript for her next novel, and hundreds of unpublished poems. Read more at: Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

--Word of the Day: inculcate \in-KUHL-kayt; IN-kuhl-kayt\, transitive verb:
To teach and impress by frequent repetition or instruction.
Example:
It is difficult, if not impossible, to inculcate in those who do not want to know, the curiosity to know; I think it is also impossible to kill this need in those who really want to know.
-- T. V. Rajan, "The Aha! Factor", The Scientist, March 21, 2002

--Quote of the Day: Don't let the past bully the future.
You own the future, the past owns itself,
and you are greater than them both.
- Carly Cermak

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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October 1, 2011

The Princess in the Tower

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


I.

The Princess sings:


I am the princess up in the tower
And I dream the whole day thro'
Of a knight who shall come with a silver spear
And a waving plume of blue.


I am the princess up in the tower,
And I dream my dreams by day,
But sometimes I wake, and my eyes are wet,
When the dusk is deep and gray.


For the peasant lovers go by beneath,
I hear them laugh and kiss,
And I forget my day-dream knight,
And long for a love like this.


II.
The Minstrel sings:



I lie beside the princess' tower,
So close she cannot see my face,
And watch her dreaming all day long,
And bending with a lily's grace.


Her cheeks are paler than the moon
That sails along a sunny sky,
And yet her silent mouth is red
Where tender words and kisses lie.


I am a minstrel with a harp,
For love of her my songs are sweet,
And yet I dare not lift the voice
That lies so far beneath her feet.


III.
The Knight sings:



O princess cease your dreams awhile
And look adown your tower's gray side --
The princess gazes far away,
Nor hears nor heeds the words I cried.


Perchance my heart was overbold,
God made her dreams too pure to break,
She sees the angels in the air
Fly to and fro for Mary's sake.


Farewell, I mount and go my way,
-- But oh her hair the sun sifts thro' --
The tilts and tourneys wait my spear,
I am the Knight of the Plume of Blue.


Sarah Teasedale

--Did You Know: (August 8, 1884 – January 29, 1933) Teasedale was an American lyrical poet. She was born Sarah Trevor Teasdale in St. Louis, Missouri. Throughout her life, Teasdale suffered poor health and it was only at age 9 that she was well enough to begin school. In 1898 she went to Mary Institute and to Hosmer Hall in 1899 where she finished in 1903. In 1913 Teasdale fell in love with poet Vachel Lindsay. He wrote her daily love letters, but nevertheless she married Ernst Filsinger in 1914 when she was 30; he was a rich businessman. Teasdale and Lindsay remained friends throughout their lives. In 1918, her poetry collection Love Songs won three awards: the Columbia University Poetry Society prize, the 1918 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the annual prize of the Poetry Society of America. She was not happy in her marriage, becoming divorced in 1929. In 1933, she committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. The poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" from her 1920 collection Flame and Shadow inspired and featured in a famous short story of the same name by Ray Bradbury. Read more at: Sara Teasedale

--Word of the Day: woolgathering \WOOL-gath-(uh)-ring\, noun:
Indulgence in idle daydreaming.
Example:
Similarly, in the meadow, if you laze too late into the fall, woolgathering, snow could fill your mouth.
-- Edward Hoagland, "Earth's eye", Sierra, May 1999

--Quote of the Day: The whole worth of a kind deed is
in the love that inspires it.
- The Talmud

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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