April 29, 2012

Along The Fields As We Came By

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

 
Along the field as we came by
A year ago, my love and I,
The aspen over stile and stone
Was talking to itself alone.
‘Oh who are these that kiss and pass?
A country lover and his lass;
Two lovers looking to be wed;
And time shall put them both to bed,
But she shall lie with earth above,
And he beside another love.’

And sure enough beneath the tree
There walks another love with me,
And overhead the aspen heaves
Its rainy-sounding silver leaves;
And I spell nothing in their stir,
But now perhaps they speak to her,
And plain for her to understand
They talk about a time at hand
When I shall sleep with clover clad,
And she beside another lad.


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: rataplan \rat-uh-PLAN\, verb:
1. To produce the sound as of the beating of a drum.
noun:
1. A sound of or as of the beating of a drum.
2. A tattoo, as of a drum, the hooves of a galloping horse, or machine-gun fire.
Example:
When his breath returned, he called aloud to space: "My drum ain't busted, but I can't reach t'other stick !" and then rat-tatted as best he could, sitting, hot in his own blood, there in what might have seemed the measured centre of the surely coming charge. As his one stick beat, rataplanning as best it might alone, his ghastly face, turned backward, saw the first man, rifle in hand who topped the low ridge, racing forward on two strong legs, furiously cursing the swinging, helpless left arm that dripped as he ran.
-Clara Morris, The life of a star

--Quote of the Day: Some say that true love is a mirage; seek it anyway, for all else is surely desert.
~Robert Brault

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April 24, 2012

Life's Tragedy

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--Description: 20th C, Dunbar P.L., Contentment, Disillusion, Illusion, Hope--



It may be misery not to sing at all,
And to go silent through the brimming day;
It may be misery never to be loved,
But deeper griefs than these beset the way.

To sing the perfect song,
And by a half-tone lost the key,
There the potent sorrow, there the grief,
The pale, sad staring of Life's Tragedy.

To have come near to the perfect love,
Not the hot passion of untempered youth,
But that which lies aside its vanity,
And gives, for thy trusting worship, truth.

This, this indeed is to be accursed,
For if we mortals love, or if we sing,
We count our joys not by what we have,
But by what kept us from that perfect thing.



Paul Laurence Dunbar

--Did You Know: (June 27, 1872– February 9, 1906) Paul Lawrence Dunbar was a seminal American poet of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dunbar gained national recognition for his 1896 Lyrics of a Lowly Life, one poem in the collection Ode to Ethiopia. Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio to parents who had escaped from slavery; his father was a veteran of the American Civil War, having served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment. His parents instilled in him a love of learning and history. He was a student at an all-white high school, Dayton Central High School, and he participated actively as a student. During high school, he was both the editor of the school newspaper and class president, as well as the president of the school literary society. Dunbar had also started the first African-American newsletter in Dayton. He wrote his first poem at age 6 and gave his first public recital at age 9. Read more at: Paul Laurence Dunbar

--Word of the Day: apotropaic \ap-uh-truh-PEY-ik\, adjective:
Intended to ward off evil.
Example:
Ritualistic behaviour used as an apotropaic to ward off private demons, yes. Except to Raymond there's danger everywhere.
-- Leonore Fleischer, Rain Man

--Quote of the Day: Not what we have, but what we enjoy,
constitutes our abundance.
- Epicurus

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April 15, 2012

Farewell to the Farm

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--Description: 19th C, Stevenson R.L., Childhood, Memories, Nature, Youth--



The coach is at the door at last;
The eager children, mounting fast
And kissing hands, in chorus sing:
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

To house and garden, field and lawn,
The meadow-gates we swang upon,
To pump and stable, tree and swing,
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

And fare you well for evermore,
O ladder at the hayloft door,
O hayloft where the cobwebs cling,
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!

Crack goes the whip, and off we go;
The trees and houses smaller grow;
Last, round the woody turn we sing:
Good-bye, good-bye, to everything!



Robert Louis Stevenson

--Did You Know: (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. Stevenson was greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Marcel Schwob, Vladimir Nabokov, J. M. Barrie, and G. K. Chesterton, who said of him that he "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins". An only child, strange-looking and eccentric, Stevenson found it hard to fit in when he was sent to a nearby school at six, a pattern repeated at eleven, when he went on to the Edinburgh Academy; but he mixed well in lively games with his cousins in summer holidays at the Colinton manse. In any case, his frequent illnesses often kept him away from his first school, and he was taught for long stretches by private tutors. He was a late reader, first learning at seven or eight; but even before this he dictated stories to his mother and nurse. Throughout his childhood he was compulsively writing stories. His father was proud of this interest: he had himself written stories in his spare time until his own father found them and told him to "give up such nonsense and mind your business".

--Word of the Day: moschate \MOS-keyt\, adjective:
Having a musky smell.
Example:
Her familiar perfume and moschate odor was overwhelming within the confines of the car, especially with the windows rolled up.
-- Charles Ray Willeford, New Hope for the Dead

--Quote of the Day: Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.
Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever,
even if your whole world seems upset.
- Saint Francis de Sales


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April 10, 2012

Evening Star

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--Description: 19th C, Poe Edgar A., Celestial, Night, Nature-- 

'Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro' the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
'Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold- too cold for me-
There pass'd, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turned away to thee,
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.


Edgar Allen Poe

--Did You Know: (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) Edgar Allen 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: ephebe \ih-FEEB\, noun: A young man.
Example:
His glance touched their faces lightly as he smiled, a blond ephebe.
-- James Joyce, Ulysses

--Quote of the Day: Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection,
not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time.
- Martin Luther

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April 6, 2012

Two in the Campagna

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

I.
I wonder do you feel to-day
As I have felt since, hand in hand,
We sat down on the grass, to stray
In spirit better through the land,
This morn of Rome and May?

II.
For me, I touched a thought, I know,
Has tantalized me many times,
(Like turns of thread the spiders throw
Mocking across our path) for rhymes
To catch at and let go.

III.
Help me to hold it! First it left
The yellowing fennel, run to seed
There, branching from the brickwork's cleft,
Some old tomb's ruin: yonder weed
Took up the floating wet,

IV.
Where one small orange cup amassed
Five beetles,--blind and green they grope
Among the honey-meal: and last,
Everywhere on the grassy slope
I traced it. Hold it fast!

V.
The champaign with its endless fleece
Of feathery grasses everywhere!
Silence and passion, joy and peace,
An everlasting wash of air--
Rome's ghost since her decease.

VI.
Such life here, through such lengths of hours,
Such miracles performed in play,
Such primal naked forms of flowers,
Such letting nature have her way
While heaven looks from its towers!

VII.
How say you? Let us, O my dove,
Let us be unashamed of soul,
As earth lies bare to heaven above!
How is it under our control
To love or not to love?

VIII.
I would that you were all to me,
You that are just so much, no more.
Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free!
Where does the fault lie? What the core
O' the wound, since wound must be?

IX.
I would I could adopt your will,
See with your eyes, and set my heart
Beating by yours, and drink my fill
At your soul's springs,--your part my part
In life, for good and ill.

X.
No. I yearn upward, touch you close,
Then stand away. I kiss your cheek,
Catch your soul's warmth,--I pluck the rose
And love it more than tongue can speak--
Then the good minute goes.

XI.
Already how am I so far
Out of that minute? Must I go
Still like the thistle-ball, no bar,
Onward, whenever light winds blow,
Fixed by no friendly star?

XII.
Just when I seemed about to learn!
Where is the thread now? Off again!
The old trick! Only I discern--
Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.


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: slake \SLAYK\, transitive verb:
1. To satisfy; to quench; to extinguish; as, to slake thirst.
2. To cause to lessen; to make less active or intense; to moderate; as, slaking his anger.
3. To cause (as lime) to heat and crumble by treatment with water.
intransitive verb:
1. To become slaked; to crumble or disintegrate, as lime.
Example:
My companions never drink pure water and the . . . beer serves as much to slake their thirst as to fill their stomachs and lubricate conversation.
-Philippe Descola, The Spears of Twilight

--Quote of the Day: Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain.
-Vivian Green

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April 3, 2012

Affection

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--Description: 20th C, Coleridge M.E., Nature, Seasons-- 
 
The earth that made the rose,
She also is thy mother, and not I.
The flame wherewith thy maiden spirit glows
Was lighted at no hearth that I sit by.
I am as far below as heaven above thee.
Were I thine angel, more I could not love thee.

Bid me defend thee!
Thy danger over-human strength shall lend me,
A hand of iron and a heart of steel,
To strike, to wound, to slay, and not to feel.
But if you chide me,
I am a weak, defenceless child beside thee.


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: iniquitous \ih-NIK-wi-tuhs\, adjective:
Characterized by injustice or wickedness; wicked; sinful.
Example:
The commission was charged now with the task of discovering the iniquitous conspiracy against the Citizen-Saviour of his country.
-- Joseph Conrad, Nostromo

--Quote of the Day: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
- Marianne Williamson

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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