June 25, 2012

Cargoes

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




Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amythysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.


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: varlet \VAHR-lit\, noun:
1. A knavish person; rascal.
2. A. An attendant or servant. B. A page who serves a knight.
Example:
Is he not a lying, stinking, contemptible varlet?
-- Jude Morgan, Indiscretion

--Quote of the Day: If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life, that we give to the question of what to do with two weeks' vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days.
- Dorothy Canfield Fisher

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June 23, 2012

Here is the Bracelet

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--Description: 19thC, Alcott Louisa M., Children, Joy, Life--



'Here is the bracelet
For good little May
To wear on her arm
By night and by day.
When it shines like the sun,
All's going well;
But when you are bad,
A sharp prick will tell.
Farewell, little girl,
For now we must part.
Make a fairy-box, dear,
Of your own happy heart;
And take out for all
Sweet gifts every day,
Till all the year round
Is like beautiful May.'




Lousia May Alcott

--Did You Know: (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) Alcott was an American novelist. She is best known for the novel Little Women, written and set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts and published in 1868. This novel is loosely based on her childhood experiences with her three sisters. Alcott was the daughter of noted transcendentalist and educator Amos Bronson Alcott and Abigail May Alcott. Though of New England heritage, she was born in Germantown, which is currently part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the second of four daughters; Anna Bronson Alcott was the eldest, Elizabeth Sewall Alcott and Abigail May Alcott were the two youngest.She also wrote passionate, fiery novels and sensation stories under the nom de plume A. M. Barnard. Among these are A Long Fatal Love Chase and Pauline's Passion and Punishment. Her protagonists for these tales are willful and relentless in their pursuit of their own aims, which often include revenge on those who have humiliated or thwarted them. These works followed a style which was wildly popular at the time and achieved immediate commercial success. Alcott also produced moralistic and wholesome stories for children. Read more at: Louisa May Alcott

--Word of the Day: haimish \HEY-mish\, adjective:
Homey; cozy and unpretentious.
Example:
Now separated from Gisela Liner's home cooking and haimish evenings playing living-room soccer with Kisch, Billie consoled himself by going to the finest spots in Berlin.
-- Ed Sikov, On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder

--Quote of the Day: If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give. ~George MacDonald

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June 19, 2012

A Discouraging Model

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




Just the airiest, fairiest slip of a thing,
With a Gainsborough hat, like a butterfly's wing,
Tilted up at one side with the jauntiest air,
And a knot of red roses sown in under there
Where the shadows are lost in her hair.

Then a cameo face, carven in on a ground
Of that shadowy hair where the roses are wound;
And the gleam of a smile, O as fair and as faint
And as sweet as the master of old used to paint
Round the lips of their favorite saint!

And that lace at her throat-- and fluttering hands
Snowing there, with a grace that no art understands,
The flakes of their touches-- first fluttering at
The bow-- then the roses-- the hair and then that
Little tilt of the Gainsborough hat.

Ah, what artist on earth with a model like this,
Holding not on his palette the tint of a kiss,
Nor a pigment to hint of the hue of her hair
Nor the gold of her smile-- O what artist could dare
To expect a result half so fair?


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: cunctation \kuhngk-TEY-shuhn\, noun:
Delay; tardiness.
Example:
Lord Eldon however was personally answerable for unnecessary and culpable cunctation, as he called it in protracting the arguments of counsel, and in deferring judgment from day to day, from term to term, and from year to year after the arguments had closed and he had irrevocably decided in his own mind what the judgment should be.
-- Baron John Campbell, Lives of Lord Lyndhurst and Lord Brougham

--Quote of the Day:
Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
- Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

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June 16, 2012

A Mountain Spring

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--Description: 19th C, Kendall H.C., Love, Nature--



Peace hath an altar there. The sounding feet
Of thunder and the wildering wings of rain
Against fire-rifted summits flash and beat,
And through grey upper gorges swoop and strain;
But round that hallowed mountain-spring remain,
Year after year, the days of tender heat,
And gracious nights whose lips with flowers are sweet,
And filtered lights, and lutes of soft refrain.
A still, bright pool. To men I may not tell
The secrets that its heart of water knows,
The story of a loved and lost repose;
Yet this I say to cliff and close-leaved dell:
A fitful spirit haunts yon limpid well,
Whose likeness is the faithless face of Rose.


Henry Clarence Kendall

--Did You Know: (18 April 1839 - 1 August 1882) Henry Kendall was a nineteenth century Australian poet. His father, Basil Kendall, was the son of the Rev. Thomas Kendall who came to Sydney in 1809 and five years later went as a missionary to New Zealand. Kendall received only a slight education. When he was 15 he went to sea with one of his uncles and was away for about two years. Returning to Sydney when 17 years old he found his mother keeping a boarding-school; it was necessary that he should do something to earn a living, and he became a shop-assistant. He had begun to write verses and this brought him in contact with two well-known verse writers of the day, Joseph Sheridan Moore who published a volume of verse, Spring Life Lyrics, in 1864, and James Lionel Michael. In 1868 he married Charlotte Rutter, the daughter of a Sydney physician, and in the following year resigned from his position in the government service. Read more at: Henry C.Kendall

--Word of the Day: aesthete \ES-theet\, noun:
One having or affecting great sensitivity to beauty, as in art or nature.
Example:
Beijing, with its stolid, square buildings and wide, straight roads, feels like the plan of a first-year engineering student, while Shanghai's decorative architecture and snaking, narrow roads feel like the plan of an aesthete.
-"Sky's the Limit in Shanghai", Los Angeles Times, April 25, 1999

--Quote of the Day: As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.
-Leonardo DaVinci


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June 12, 2012

A Broken Appointment

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--Description: 20th C, Hardy T., Adoration, Love--



You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb.
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure lovingkindness' sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.

You love not me,
And love alone can lend you loyalty;
-I know and knew it. But, unto the store
Of human deeds divine in all but name,
Was it not worth a little hour or more
To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came
To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be
You love not me.


Thomas Hardy

--Did You Know: (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) Hardy was an English novelist and poet of the naturalist movement, although in several poems he displays elements of the previous romantic and enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural. He regarded himself primarily as a poet and composed novels mainly for financial gain. The bulk of his work, set mainly in the semi-fictional land of Wessex, delineates characters struggling against their passions and circumstances. Hardy's poetry, first published in his 50s, has come to be as well regarded as his novels, especially after The Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The term "cliffhanger" is considered to have originated with Thomas Hardy's novel A Pair of Blue Eyes. In this novel Henry Knight, one of his protagonists, is left literally hanging off a cliff. Thomas Hardy was born at Higher Bockhampton, a hamlet in the parish of Stinsford to the east of Dorchester in Dorset, England. His father (Thomas) worked as a stonemason and local builder. His mother Jemima was well-read and educated Thomas until he went to his first school at Bockhampton at age eight. Read more at: Thomas Hardy

--Word of the Day: ravelment \RAV-uhl-muhnt\, noun:Entanglement; confusion.
Example:
Hampered as I was by my well-known connection with the Gillespie poisoning case, I could not personally make a move towards the ravelment of its mystery without subjecting myself to the curiosity of the people among whom my attention of the District Attorney's office and the suspicion of the men whose business I was in a measure attempting to usurp.
- Anna Katharine Green, One of My Sons

--Quote of the Day: The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes.
- Marcel Proust

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June 2, 2012

It Is Not A Word

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--Description: 20th C, Teasedale S., Love--


It is not a word spoken,
Few words are said;
Nor even a look of the eyes
Nor a bend of the head,

But only a hush of the heart
That has too much to keep,
Only memories waking
That sleep so light a sleep.


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: fantod \FAN-tod\, noun:
1. A state of extreme nervousness or restlessness (usually expressed in the plural.)
2. A sudden outpouring of anger, outrage, or a similar intense emotion.
Example:
"Well, as your grandmother says, there's no use getting in a fantod about it," my mother said. "
-- Margaret Laurence, Isabel Huggan, A bird in the house

--Quote of the Day: You are the Michelangelo of your own life. The David that you are sculpting is you. And you do it with your thoughts.
- Joe Vitale

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June 1, 2012

My Lady Looks So Gentle and so Pure

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--Description: 14th C, Alighieri D., Adoration, Beauty, Love, Sonnet--



My lady looks so gentle and so pure
When yielding salutation by the way,
That the tongue trembles and has naught to say,
And the eyes, which fain would see, may not endure.
And still, amid the praise she hears secure
She walks with humbleness for her array;
Seeming a creature sent from Heaven to stay
On earth, and show a miracle made sure.
She is so pleasant in the eyes of men
That through the sight the inmost heart doth gain
A sweetness which needs proof to know it by:
And from between her lips there seems to move
A soothing essence that is full of love,
Saying for ever to the spirit, "Sigh!"

Dante Alighieri

--Did You Know: (June c.1265 – September 14, 1321) Alighieri, commonly known as Dante, was an Italian poet of the Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called Commedia and later called Divina by Boccaccio, is often considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. In Italy he is known as "the Supreme Poet" (il Sommo Poeta) or just il Poeta. Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio are also known as "the three fountains" or "the three crowns". Dante is also called the "Father of the Italian language". The first biography written on him was by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), who wrote the Trattatello in laude di Dante. Not much is known about Dante's education, and it is presumed he studied at home. It is known that he studied Tuscan poetry, at a time when the Sicilian School (Scuola poetica siciliana), a cultural group from Sicily, was becoming known in Tuscany. His interests brought him to discover the Occitan poetry of the troubadours and the Latin poetry of classical antiquity (with a particular devotion to Virgil).

--Word of the Day: maunder \MON-duhr\, intransitive verb:
1. To talk incoherently; to speak in a rambling manner.
2. To wander aimlessly or confusedly.
Example:
As in one of his earlier novels , . . . Kerr invents a credibly grim scenario for our future: most of the earth's inhabitants are infected with a deadly virus and maunder in fetid cities.
-Charles Flowers, "Blood on the Moon (Really!)", New York Times, February 14, 1999

--Quote of the Day: A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark.
Dante Alighieri

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