March 27, 2012

Echo

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--Description: 19th C, Rossetti C., Love, Memories--

Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.

O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet;
Where thirsting longing eyes
Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
My very life again though cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
Speak low, lean low
As long ago, my love, how long ago.


Christina Georgina Rossetti


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

--Word of the Day: conniption \kuh-NIP-shuhn\, noun:
A fit of hysterical excitement or anger.
Example:
"Wah!" says Stella-Rondo. I knew she'd cry. She had a conniption fit right there in the kitchen.
-- Eudora Welty, "Why I Live at the P.O." The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty

--Quote of the Day: The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
- Henry David Thoreau

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March 24, 2012

Sonnet 116

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



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

William Shakespeare



--Did You Know: (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays,154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. Read more at: William Shakespeare

--Word of the Day: esculent \ES-kyuh-luhnt\, noun:
1. Something edible, especially a vegetable.
adjective:
1. Suitable for use as food; edible.
Example:
The remainder of the garden presented a well-selected assortment of esculent vegetables, in a praiseworthy state of advancement.
-- Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables

--Quote of the Day: The reason why the world lacks unity,
and lies broken and in heaps,
is because man is disunited with himself.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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March 20, 2012

A Summer Afternoon

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--Description: 20th C, Riley J.W., Nature, Seasons--


A languid atmosphere, a lazy breeze,
With labored respiration, moves the wheat
From distant reaches, till the golden seas
Break in crisp whispers at my feet.

My book, neglected of an idle mind,
Hides for a moment from the eyes of men;
Or lightly opened by a critic wind,
Affrightedly reviews itself again.

Off through the haze that dances in the shine
The warm sun showers in the open glade,
The forest lies, a silhouette design
Dimmed through and through with shade.

A dreamy day; and tranquilly I lie
At anchor from all storms of mental strain;
With absent vision, gazing at the sky,
"Like one that hears it rain."

The Katydid, so boisterous last night,
Clinging, inverted, in uneasy poise,
Beneath a wheat-blade, has forgotten quite
If "Katy DID or DIDN'T" make a noise.

The twitter, sometimes, of a wayward bird
That checks the song abruptly at the sound,
And mildly, chiding echoes that have stirred,
Sink into silence, all the more profound.

And drowsily I hear the plaintive strain
Of some poor dove . . . Why, I can scarcely keep
My heavy eyelids--there it is again--
"Coo-coo!"--I mustn't--"Coo-coo!"--fall asleep!


James Whitcomb Riley

--Did You Know: (October 7, 1849 – July 22, 1916) James Whitcomb Riley was an American writer and poet. Known as the Hoosier Poet, National Poet,[1] and the Children's Poet,[2] he started his career in 1875 writing newspaper verse in Indiana dialect for the Indianapolis Journal. His verse tended to be humorous or sentimental, and of the approximately one thousand poems that Riley published, over half are in dialect. Claiming that "simple sentiments that come direct from the heart"[3] were the reason for his success, Riley vended verse about ordinary topics that were "heart high."[4] Riley was a bestselling author during the early 1900s and earned a steady income from royalties; he also traveled and gave public readings of his poetry. Read more at: James Whitcomb Riley

--Word of the Day: selcouth \SEL-kooth\, adjective:
Strange; uncommon.
Example:
Its English is not more quaint than that of De Brunne himself; it contains no names more selcouth than he himself is in the custom of introducing…
-- Sir Walter Scott, The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott

--Quote of the Day:
The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night's sleep.
- E. Joseph Cossman

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March 18, 2012

The Solitary Reaper

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--Description: 19th C, Wordsworth W., Love, Nature, Travel-- 

 
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?--
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;--
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.


William Wordsworth

--Did You Know: (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semi-autobiographical poem of his early years which the poet revised and expanded a number of times. The work was posthumously titled and published, prior to which it was generally known as the poem "to Coleridge". Wordsworth was England's Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850. The second of five children born to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson, William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, Cumberland—part of the scenic region in northwest England, the Lake District. His sister, the poet and diarist Dorothy Wordsworth, to whom he was close all his life, was born the following year, and the two were baptised together. They had three other siblings: Richard, the eldest, who became a lawyer; John, born after Dorothy, who would become a poet and enjoy nature with William and Dorothy until he died in an 1809 shipwreck, from which only the captain escaped; and Christopher, the youngest, who would become an academician. Their father was a legal representative of James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale. Read more at: William Wordsworth

--Word of the Day: tantivy \tan-TIV-ee\, adjective:
1. Swift; rapid.
adverb:
1. At full gallop.
noun:
1. A rush, a gallop or stampede.
interjection:
1. (used as a hunting cry when the chase is at full speed.)
Example:
The passage of wild pigeons from this wood to that-with their slight tantivy-and carrier haste- Now from under some rotten stump your hoe turns up a spotted salamander- your own contemporary- A small trace of Egypt and the Nile in New England- Where is the priest of Isis.
-Henry David Thoreau, Journal: 1842-1848

--Quote of the Day: I wept because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.
-old Persian proverb

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March 13, 2012

The Weakest Thing

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--Description: 19th C, Browning E.B., Disillusion, Life, Nature-- 



Which is the weakest thing of all
Mine heart can ponder?
The sun, a little cloud can pall
With darkness yonder?
The cloud, a little wind can move
Where'er it listeth?
The wind, a little leaf above,
Though sere, resisteth?

What time that yellow leaf was green,
My days were gladder;
But now, whatever Spring may mean,
I must grow sadder.
Ah me! a leaf with sighs can wring
My lips asunder -
Then is mine heart the weakest thing
Itself can ponder.

Yet, Heart, when sun and cloud are pined
And drop together,
And at a blast, which is not wind,
The forests wither,
Thou, from the darkening deathly curse
To glory breakest, -
The Strongest of the universe
Guarding the weakest!



Elizabeth Barrett Browning

--Did You Know: (March 6, 1806 – June 29, 1861) Elizabeth Barrett 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

--Poetry Terminology: Aide-memoire poem -
Poem which helps the memory e.g. 'Thirty days hath September,/April, June and November'

--Word of the Day: evanescence \ev-uh-NES-ens\, noun:
1. A gradual dissappearance.
2. The state of becoming imperceptible.
Example:
This is one of the most beautiful circumstances connected with water surface, for by these means a variety of color and a grace and evanescence are introduced in the reflection otherwise impossible.
-John Ruskin, The Works of John Ruskin: Modern painters, v.1-5

--Quote of the Day: In the coldest February, as in every other month in every other year, the best thing to hold on to in this world is each other.
~Linda Ellerbee

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March 10, 2012

Butterfly Laughter

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--Description: 20th C, Mansfield K., Children, Fantasy, Illusion, Parenting-- 

To and fro, to and fro
In the middle of our porridge plates
There was a blue butterfly painted
And each morning we tried who should reach the
butterfly first.
Then the Grandmother said: "Do not eat the poor
butterfly."
That made us laugh.
Always she said it and always it started us laughing.
It seemed such a sweet little joke.
I was certain that one fine morning
The butterfly would fly out of our plates,
Laughing the teeniest laugh in the world,
And perch on the Grandmother's lap.


Katherine Mansfield

--Did You Know: (14 October 1888 – 9 January 1923) Katherine Mansfield was a prominent modernist writer of short fiction who was born and brought up in colonial New Zealand and wrote under the pen name of Katherine Mansfield, which is in itself a short form of her real name as she was born Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp. Mansfield left for Great Britain in 1908 where she encountered Modernist writers such as D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf with whom she became close friends. Her stories often focus on moments of disruption and frequently open rather abruptly. Among her most well known stories are The Garden Party, The Daughters of the Late Colonel and The Fly. During the First World War Mansfield contracted tuberculosis which rendered any return or visit to New Zealand impossible and led to her death at the age of 34. Read more at: Katherine Mansfield

--Poetry Terminology: Rising Meter -
Term used to describe end-stressed meters such as iambic and anapestic - as opposed to falling meter.

--Word of the Day: rutilant \ROOT-l-uhnt\, adjective:
Glowing or glittering with ruddy or golden light.
Example:
He had a round head as bare as a knee, a corpse's button nose, and very white, very limp, very damp hands adorned with rutilant gems.
-- Vladimir Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle

--Quote of the Day: Most truths are so naked
that people feel sorry for them
and cover them up,
at least a little bit.
- Edward R. Murrow

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March 2, 2012

A Woman's Last Word

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--Description: 19th C, Browning R.,Love-- 

 

I.

Let's contend no more, Love,
Strive nor weep:
All be as before, Love,
---Only sleep!

II.

What so wild as words are?
I and thou
In debate, as birds are,
Hawk on bough!

III.

See the creature stalking
While we speak!
Hush and hide the talking,
Cheek on cheek!

IV.

What so false as truth is,
False to thee?
Where the serpent's tooth is
Shun the tree---

V.

Where the apple reddens
Never pry---
Lest we lose our Edens,
Eve and I.

VI.

Be a god and hold me
With a charm!
Be a man and fold me
With thine arm!

VII.

Teach me, only teach, Love
As I ought
I will speak thy speech, Love,
Think thy thought---

VIII.

Meet, if thou require it,
Both demands,
Laying flesh and spirit
In thy hands.

IX.

That shall be to-morrow
Not to-night:
I must bury sorrow
Out of sight:

X

---Must a little weep, Love,
(Foolish me!)
And so fall asleep, Love,
Loved by thee.



Robert Browning

--Did You Know: (7 May 1812 – 12 December 1889) Robert Browning was an English poet and playwright whose mastery of dramatic verse, especially dramatic monologues, made him one of the foremost Victorian poets. Browning was born in Camberwell,[1] a suburb of London, England, the first son of Robert and Sarah Anna Browning. His father was a man of both fine intellect and character, who worked as a well-paid clerk for the Bank of England. Browning’s paternal grandfather was a wealthy slave owner in St Kitts, West Indies, but Browning’s father was an abolitionist. Browning's father had been sent to the West Indies to work on a sugar plantation. Revolted by the slavery there, he soon returned to England. Browning’s mother was a musician. It is rumoured that Browning's grandmother, Margaret Tittle, was a Jamaican born mulatto who had inherited a plantation in St Kitts. In childhood, he was distinguished by a love of poetry and natural history. By twelve, he had written a book of poetry which he later destroyed when no publisher could be found. After attending several private schools he began to be educated by a tutor, having demonstrated a strong dislike for institutionalized education. Read more at: Robert Browning

--Word of the Day: plenum \PLEE-nuhm\, noun:
1. A full assembly, as a joint legislative assembly.
2. The state or a space in which a gas, usually air, is contained at a pressure greater than atmospheric pressure.
3. A space, usually above a ceiling or below a floor, that can serve as a receiving chamber for air that has been heated or cooled to be distributed to inhabited areas.
4. The whole of space regarded as being filled with matter (opposed to vacuum).
Example:
The plenum allegedly demanded that Bukharin cease his hunger strike.
-- Yuri Trifonov, Disappearance

--Quote of the Day: I never considered a difference of opinion
in politics, in religion, in philosophy,
as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
- Thomas Jefferson

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