August 29, 2012

Rondel of Merciless Beauty

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--Description: 14th C, Chaucer G., Adoration, Beauty, Love--


Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.

Only your word will heal the injury
To my hurt heart, while yet the wound is clean -
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene.

Upon my word, I tell you faithfully
Through life and after death you are my queen;
For with my death the whole truth shall be seen.
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.


Geoffrey Chaucer

--Did You Know: 1343 – 25 October 1400) Chaucer was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Although he wrote many works, he is best remembered for his unfinished frame narrative The Canterbury Tales. Sometimes called the father of English literature, Chaucer is credited by some scholars as the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacular English language, rather than French or Latin. Chaucer was born circa 1343 in London, though the exact date and location of his birth are not known. His father and grandfather were both London vintners and before that, for several generations, the family members were merchants in Ipswich. His name is derived from the French chausseur, meaning shoemaker.[1] In 1324 John Chaucer, Geoffrey's father, was kidnapped by an aunt in the hope of marrying the twelve-year-old boy to her daughter in an attempt to keep property in Ipswich. The aunt was imprisoned and the £250 fine levied suggests that the family was financially secure, upper middle-class, if not in the elite. Read more: Geoffrey Chaucer

--Poetry Terminology: Rondel -
Another poem of French origin, normally consisting of fourteen lines, but with only two rhymes. The first and second, seventh and eighth, and thirteenth and fourteenth lines are the same. The most common rhyme scheme is: A-B-b-a-a-b-A-B-a-b-b-a-A-B.

--Word of the Day: plucky \PLUHK-ee\, adjective:
Having or showing pluck or courage; brave.
Example:
Little Orphan Annie will soon skip off into the newspaper sunset, Tribune Media Services announced last week in canceling the plucky 86-year-old redhead.
-Michael Cavna, "Why canceled 'Little Orphan Annie' is really seeing her final 'tomorrow'"

--Quote of the Day: Beauty... when you look into a woman's eyes and see what is in her heart.
~Nate Dircks

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August 26, 2012

Asking for Roses

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


A house that lacks, seemingly, mistress and master,
With doors that none but the wind ever closes,
Its floor all littered with glass and with plaster;
It stands in a garden of old-fashioned roses.

I pass by that way in the gloaming with Mary;
'I wonder,' I say, 'who the owner of those is.'
'Oh, no one you know,' she answers me airy,
'But one we must ask if we want any roses.'

So we must join hands in the dew coming coldly
There in the hush of the wood that reposes,
And turn and go up to the open door boldly,
And knock to the echoes as beggars for roses.

'Pray, are you within there, Mistress Who-were-you?'
'Tis Mary that speaks and our errand discloses.
'Pray, are you within there? Bestir you, bestir you!
'Tis summer again; there's two come for roses.

'A word with you, that of the singer recalling--
Old Herrick: a saying that every maid knows is
A flower unplucked is but left to the falling,
And nothing is gained by not gathering roses.'

We do not loosen our hands' intertwining
(Not caring so very much what she supposes),
There when she comes on us mistily shining
And grants us by silence the boon of her roses.


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: vicinage \VIS-uh-nij\, noun:
1. The region near or about a place; vicinity.
2. A particular neighborhood or district, or the people belonging to it.
3. Proximity.
Example:
From the mansion itself, as well as from almost every cottage in the adjacent hamlet, arose such a rich cloud of vapoury smoke, as showed, that the preparations for the festival were not confined to the principal residence of Magnus himself, but extended through the whole vicinage.
-- Sir Walter Scott, The Waverly Novels

--Quote of the Day: Write it on your heart that every day
is the best day in the year.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

--Language Arts:: French: gommette English translation: sticker
Part of speech: noun
Example sentence
French: La maîtresse distribue des gommettes pour récompenser les élèves de leur bon travail.
English: The teacher distributes stickers to reward the pupils for their good work.

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August 23, 2012

A Conceit

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--Description: 21st C, Angelou M., Friendship, Love, Poetry--


Give me your hand
Make room for me
to lead and follow
you
beyond this rage of poetry.

Let others have
the privacy of
touching words
and love of loss
of love.

For me
Give me your hand.



Maya Angelou

--Did You Know: (born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928), Angelou is an American autobiographer and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adulthood experiences. The first, best-known, and most highly acclaimed, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), focuses on the first seventeen years of her life, brought her international recognition, and was nominated for a National Book Award. Angelou has had a long and varied career, holding jobs such as fry cook, dancer, actress, journalist, educator, television producer, and film director. She was a member of the Harlem Writers Guild in the late 1950s. She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and served as Northern Coordinator of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Angelou has been highly honored for her body of work, including being awarded over 30 honorary degrees. Read more at: Maya Angelou

--Word of the Day: omphalos \OM-fuh-luhs\, noun:
1. The central point.
2. The navel; umbilicus.
3. Greek Antiquity. A stone in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, thought to mark the center of the earth.
Example:
To that incurable romantic the Trenton hovel was omphalos, the hub of existence, the center of mass.
-- Ellen Queen, Halfway House

--Quote of the Day: "Life is not about how fast you run
or how high you climb
but how well you bounce.
- Vivian Komori

--Language Arts: conquistar, verb
to conquer; to win over
Spanish conquistar has a literal meaning which is obvious from its similarity to English conquer:
Example:
España es uno de los países conquistados por los Romanos.
Spain is one of the countries conquered by the Romans.

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August 19, 2012

The Tiger

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--Description: 19th C, Blake W., Nature--

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forest of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And What shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


William Blake

--Did You Know: (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised 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".[1] 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. Over time, Blake came to detest Reynolds' attitude toward art, especially his pursuit of "general truth" and "general beauty". Read more at: William Blake

--Word of the Day: billet-doux \BIL-ey-DOO\, noun;
plural billets-doux \bil-ay-DOO(Z)\:
A love letter.
Example:
The bouquet struck her full in the chest, and a little billet-doux fell out of it into her lap.
-- E. M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread

--Quote of the Day: The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.
- e. e. cummings

--Language Arts: crapahuter
English translation: to crawl
Part of speech: verb
Example sentence
French: C'est amusant de regarder les bambins crapahuter dans la cour!
English: It's funny to watch the toddlers crawling in the yard!

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August 18, 2012

Summer

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--Description: 20th C, Lowell A., Nature, Seasons--


Some men there are who find in nature all

Their inspiration, hers the sympathy

Which spurs them on to any great endeavor,

To them the fields and woods are closest friends,

And they hold dear communion with the hills;

The voice of waters soothes them with its fall,

And the great winds bring healing in their sound.

To them a city is a prison house

Where pent up human forces labour and strive,

Where beauty dwells not, driven forth by man;

But where in winter they must live until

Summer gives back the spaces of the hills.

To me it is not so. I love the earth

And all the gifts of her so lavish hand:

Sunshine and flowers, rivers and rushing winds,

Thick branches swaying in a winter storm,

And moonlight playing in a boat’s wide wake;

But more than these, and much, ah, how much more,

I love the very human heart of man.

Above me spreads the hot, blue mid-day sky,

Far down the hillside lies the sleeping lake

Lazily reflecting back the sun,

And scarcely ruffled by the little breeze

Which wanders idly through the nodding ferns.

The blue crest of the distant mountain, tops

The green crest of the hill on which I sit;

And it is summer, glorious, deep-toned summer,

The very crown of nature’s changing year

When all her surging life is at its full.

To me alone it is a time of pause,

A void and silent space between two worlds,

When inspiration lags, and feeling sleeps,

Gathering strength for efforts yet to come.

For life alone is creator of life,

And closest contact with the human world

Is like a lantern shining in the night

To light me to a knowledge of myself.

I love the vivid life of winter months

In constant intercourse with human minds,

When every new experience is gain

And on all sides we feel the great world’s heart;

The pulse and throb of life which makes us men!



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.

--Word of the Day: pelagic \puh-LAJ-ik\, adjective:
1. Of or pertaining to the open seas or oceans.
2. Living or growing at or near the surface of the ocean, far from land, as certain organisms.
Example:
I was reminded of certain kinds of pelagic birds that move at ease in the air or on the ocean, but have a hard time walking.
-- Ross MacDonald, The Blue Hammer

-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

-Language Arts:
anno: year / noun
Example sentence: Il 2008 è un anno bisestile e secondo i superstiziosi porta sfortuna.
Translation: 2008 is a leap year, and, according to the superstitious, it brings bad luck.

tentativo: attempt
Example sentence: Al terzo tentativo fallito, una nuova password verrà inviata per e-mail .
Translation: At the third failed attempt, a new password will be sent by e-mail.

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August 10, 2012

Summer

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--Description: 18th C, Pope A., Love, Nature, Seasons--

See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray'd,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow'rs;
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown'd with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent Love abides.
Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew,
But your Alexis knows no sweets but you.
Oh deign to visit our forsaken seats,
The mossy fountains, and the green retreats!
Where-e'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,
Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade,
Where-e'er you tread, the blushing flow'rs shall rise,
And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.
Oh! How I long with you to pass my days,
Invoke the muses, and resound your praise;
Your praise the birds shall chant in ev'ry grove,
And winds shall waft it to the pow'rs above.
But wou'd you sing, and rival Orpheus' strain,
The wond'ring forests soon shou'd dance again,
The moving mountains hear the pow'rful call,
And headlong streams hang list'ning in their fall!
But see, the shepherds shun the noon-day heat,
The lowing herds to murm'ring brooks retreat,
To closer shades the panting flocks remove,
Ye Gods! And is there no relief for Love?
But soon the sun with milder rays descends
To the cool ocean, where his journey ends;
On me Love's fiercer flames for every prey,
By night he scorches, as he burns by day.


Alexander Pope

--Did You Know: ( 21 May 1688 – 30 May 1744) Pope is generally regarded as the greatest English poet of the eighteenth century, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. He is the third most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson. Pope was a master of the heroic couplet. Pope was born in London to Alexander Pope (senior, a linen merchant) and Edith Pope (née Turner), who were both Catholics. Pope's education was affected by the penal law in force at the time upholding the status of the established Church of England, which banned Catholics from teaching on pain of perpetual imprisonment. Pope was taught to read by his aunt, then went to Twyford School in about 1698–9. He then went to two Catholic schools in London. Such schools, while illegal, were tolerated in some areas. Read more at: Alexander Pope

--Word of the Day: waxing \WAK-sing\, verb:
1. To increase in extent, quantity, intensity or power.
2. (Of the moon) to increase in the extent of its illuminated portion before the full moon.
3. To grow or become.
Example:
We move into the waxing moontime of our lives with an enthusiastic impatience for life beyond the family.
-Nancy VanArsdall, Coming Full Circle: Honoring the Rhythms of Relationships

--Quote of the Day: Summer set lip to earth's bosom bare,
And left the flushed print in a poppy there.
~Francis Thompson

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August 6, 2012

The Genesis of Butterflies

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--Description: 19th C, Hugo V., Nature, Seasons--


The dawn is smiling on the dew that covers
The tearful roses; lo, the little lovers
That kiss the buds, and all the flutterings
In jasmine bloom, and privet, of white wings,
That go and come, and fly, and peep and hide,
With muffled music, murmured far and wide!
Ah, Spring time, when we think of all the lays
That dreamy lovers send to dreamy mays,
Of the fond hearts within a billet bound,
Of all the soft silk paper that pens wound,
The messages of love that mortals write
Filled with intoxication of delight,
Written in April, and before the May time
Shredded and flown, play things for the wind's play-time,
We dream that all white butterflies above,
Who seek through clouds or waters souls to love,
And leave their lady mistress in despair,
To flit to flowers, as kinder and more fair,
Are but torn love-letters, that through the skies
Flutter, and float, and change to Butterflies.

Victor Hugo


--Did You Know: Hugo was a French poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the in France.

--Word of the Day:satiety \suh-TY-uh-tee\, noun:
Meaning: The state of being full or gratified to or beyond the point of satisfaction.
Example: Carbohydrates, especially the starchy ones like pasta and potatoes, provide a feeling of satiety, both physiologically and psychologically.
(Marian Burros, "Eating Well", New York Times, October 19, 1988)

--Quote of the Day: Besides the practical knowledge which defeat offers, there are important personality profits to be taken. Defeat strips away false values and makes you realize what you really want. It stops you from chasing butterflies and puts you to work digging gold.
(William M. Marston)

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