May 26, 2012

My Shadow

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--Description: 19th C, Robert Louis Stevenson., Childhood, Children, Dreams, Humor--



I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow--
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all.


Robert Louis Stevenson

--Did You Know: (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) 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. Read more at: Robert Louis Stevenson

--Word of the Day: reverie \REV-uh-ree\, noun:
1. A state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing.
2. A daydream.
3. A fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.
4. Music. An instrumental composition of a vague and dreamy character.
Example:
Walking seems to have become Rousseau's chosen mode of being because within a walk he is able to live in thought and reverie, to be self-sufficient, and thus to survive the world he feels has betrayed him.
-Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

--Quote of the Day: Judge of your natural character by what you do in your dreams.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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May 23, 2012

Kindness Is The Word

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--Description: 21st C, Unknown, Hope, Kindness--


"What is the real good?"
I asked in musing mood.

Order, said the law court;
Knowledge, said the school;
Truth, said the wise man;
Pleasure, said the fool;
Love, said the maiden;
Beauty, said the page;
Freedom, said the dreamer;
Home, said the sage;
Fame, said the soldier;
Equity, said the seer;


Spake my heart full sadly:
"The answer is not here."


Then within my bosom
Softly this I heard:
"Each heart holds the secret:
Kindness is the word."


Unknown



Word of the Day: gambit \GAM-bit\, noun:
1. A remark made to open or redirect a conversation.
2. Chess. An opening in which a player seeks to obtain some advantage by sacrificing a pawn or piece.
3. Any maneuver by which one seeks to gain an advantage.
Example:
The leader was eyeing him up and down, shrewdly calculating. "Thirsty as all that, are you, my friend?" he asked. Gratefully Bomilcar seized upon the gambit. “Thirsty enough to buy everyone here a drink,” he said.
-- Colleen McCullough, The First Man in Rome


Quote of the Day: Endure and persist; this pain will turn to good by and by.
- Ovid


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May 20, 2012

A Ballad of Dreamland

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


I hid my heart in a nest of roses,
Out of the sun's way, hidden apart;
In a softer bed then the soft white snow's is,
Under the roses I hid my heart.
Why would it sleep not? why should it start,
When never a leaf of the rose-tree stirred?
What made sleep flutter his wings and part?
Only the song of a secret bird.

Lie still, I said, for the wind's wing closes,
And mild leaves muffle the keen sun's dart;
Lie still, for the wind on the warm seas dozes,
And the wind is unquieter yet than thou art.
Does a thought in thee still as a thorn's wound smart?
Does the fang still fret thee of hope deferred?
What bids the lips of thy sleep dispart?
Only the song of a secret bird.

The green land's name that a charm encloses,
It never was writ in the traveller's chart,
And sweet on its trees as the fruit that grows is,
It never was sold in the merchant's mart.
The swallows of dreams through its dim fields dart,
And sleep's are the tunes in its tree-tops heard;
No hound's note wakens the wildwood hart,
Only the song of a secret bird.

ENVOI

In the world of dreams I have chosen my part,
To sleep for a season and hear no word
Of true love's truth or of light love's art,
Only the song of a secret bird.


Algernon Charles Swinburne

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

--Word of the Day: palladian \puh-LEY-dee-uhn\, adjective:
1. Pertaining to wisdom, knowledge, or study.
2. Of or pertaining to the goddess Athena.
3. Pertaining to, introduced by, or in the architectural style of Andrea Palladio.
Example:
Within the sanctuary the gold and ivory image of Athena, fashioned by Phidias, had given way to the pale face of Our Lady, Mother of the Holy Child, and the grandiloquent Latin of the mass rolled its volume through the hall that once had echoed to the sonorous Greek of the Palladian hymns.
-Justin Huntly McCarthy, The dryad: a novel

--Quote of the Day: It is a good idea to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presence may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.
~James Douglas

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May 13, 2012

My Mother Kept A Garden

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--Description: 20th C, Author Unknown, Childhood, Family, Memories--


My Mother kept a garden,
a garden of the heart,
She planted all the good things
that gave my life it's start.
She turned me to the sunshine
and encouraged me to dream,
Fostering and nurturing
the seeds of self-esteem...
And when the winds and rain came,
she protected me enough-
But not too much because she knew
I'd need to stand up strong and tough.
Her constant good example
always taught me right from wrong-
Markers for my pathway
that will last a lifetime long.
I am my Mother's garden.
I am her legacy-
And I hope today she feels the love
reflected back from me.


Author Unknown

--Word of the Day: antipode \AN-ti-pohd\, noun:
A direct or exact opposite.
Example:
It seemed that this enthusiast was just as cautious, just as much alive to judgments in other minds as if he had been that antipode of all enthusiasm called "a man of the world."
-- George Eliot, Daniel Deronda

--Quote of the Day: When dealing with people, remember you are
not dealing with creatures of logic,
but creatures of emotion.
- Dale Carnegie

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May 10, 2012

My Lute Awake

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--Description: 16th C, Wyatt T., Love, Music, Sorrow-- 

My lute awake! perform the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And end that I have now begun;
For when this song is sung and past,
My lute be still, for I have done.

As to be heard where ear is none,
As lead to grave in marble stone,
My song may pierce her heart as soon;
Should we then sigh or sing or moan?
No, no, my lute, for I have done.

The rocks do not so cruelly
Repulse the waves continually,
As she my suit and affection;
So that I am past remedy,
Whereby my lute and I have done.

Proud of the spoil that thou hast got
Of simple hearts thorough Love's shot,
By whom, unkind, thou hast them won,
Think not he hath his bow forgot,
Although my lute and I have done.

Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain
That makest but game on earnest pain.
Think not alone under the sun
Unquit to cause thy lovers plain,
Although my lute and I have done.

Perchance thee lie wethered and old
The winter nights that are so cold,
Plaining in vain unto the moon;
Thy wishes then dare not be told;
Care then who list, for I have done.

And then may chance thee to repent
The time that thou hast lost and spent
To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon;
Then shalt thou know beauty but lent,
And wish and want as I have done.

Now cease, my lute; this is the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And ended is that we begun.
Now is this song both sung and past:
My lute be still, for I have done.


Sir Thomas Wyatt

--Did You Know: (1503 – 24 September 1542) Wyatt was a 16th-century English lyrical poet whom scholars credit with introducing the sonnet into English. He was born at Allington Castle, near Maidstone in Kent – though his family was originally from Yorkshire. His father, Henry Wyatt, had been one of Henry VII's Privy Councillors, and remained a trusted adviser when Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509. In his turn, Thomas Wyatt followed his father to court after his education at St John's College, Cambridge. None of Wyatt's poems were published during his lifetime—the first book to feature his verse was printed a full fifteen years after his death. Wyatt was over six feet tall, reportedly both handsome and physically strong. Wyatt was not only a poet, but also an ambassador in the service of Henry VIII. Many legends and conjectures have grown up around the notion that the young, unhappily married Wyatt fell in love with the young Anne Boleyn in the early-to-mid 1520s. Read more at: Sir Thomas Wyatt

--Poetry Terminology: afflatus -
poetic inspiration

--Word of the Day: acedia \uh-SEE-dee-uh\, noun:
1. Sloth.
2. Laziness or indifference in religious matters.
Example:
His tales give the impression of a man cursed with an incurable disenchantment with life, a malady about midway between acedia and ennui.
-James Norman Hall, Under a thatched roof

--Quote of the Day: Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence. ~Robert Fripp

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May 8, 2012

We Wear The Mask

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--Description: 20th C, Dunbar P.L., Disillusion, Sorrow--



We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,--
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!



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: littoral \LIT-er-uhl\, adjective:

1. Pertaining to the shore of a lake, sea, or ocean.
2. (On ocean shores) of or pertaining to the biogeographic region between the sublittoral zone and the high-water line and sometimes including the supralittoral zone above the high-water line.
3. Of or pertaining to the region of freshwater lake beds from the sublittoral zone up to and including damp areas on shore.

noun:
1. A littoral region.
Example:
The extensive artificialization of lake shorelines reduces the native littoral vegetation in quantity and quality.
-- Alex Córdoba-Aguilar, Dragonflies and Damselflies

--Quote of the Day:
There is not one big cosmic meaning for all,
there is only the meaning we each give to our life,
an individual meaning, an individual plot,
like an individual novel, a book for each person.
- Anais Nin

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May 2, 2012

The Tiger

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--Description: 20th C, Belloc H., Children, Fantasy, Humor, Nature--

The tiger, on the other hand,
Is kittenish and mild,
And makes a pretty playfellow
For any little child.
And mothers of large families
(Who claim to common sense)
Will find a tiger well repays
The trouble and expense.


Hilaire Belloc

--Did You Know: (27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953) Hilaire Belloc was an Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He is most notable for his Roman Catholic faith, which had an impact on most of his writing. Belloc was born in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France (next to Versailles and near Paris) to a French father and English mother, and grew up in England. Much of his boyhood was spent in Slindon, West Sussex, for which he often felt homesick in later life. His mother Elizabeth Rayner Parkes (1829–1925) was also a writer, and a great-granddaughter of the English chemist Joseph Priestley. In 1867 she married attorney Louis Belloc, son of the French painter Jean-Hilaire Belloc. In 1872, five years after they wed, Louis died, but not before being wiped out financially in a stock market crash. The young widow then brought her son Hilaire, along with his sister, Marie, back to England where he remained, except for his voluntary enlistment as a young man in the French artillery. Read more at: Hilaire Beloc

--Word of the Day: barnburner \BAHRN-bur-ner\, noun:
1. Something that is highly exciting or impressive.
2. Chiefly Pennsylvania. A wooden friction match.
3. (Initial capital letter) A member of the progressive faction in the Democratic party in New York State 1845–52.
Example:
“So, ready for the elder's meeting tonight?” Olan said, pouring himself some coffee. “Should be a barnburner from what I hear.”
-- Jonathan Weyer, The Faithful

--Quote of the Day: A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin;
what else does a man need to be happy?
- Albert Einstein

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