January 28, 2013

Descriptive Jottings of London

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--Description: 18th C, McGonagall, William T., Humor, Tribute--



As I stood upon London Bridge and viewed the mighty throng
Of thousands of people in cabs and 'busses rapidly whirling along,
All furiously driving to and fro,
Up one street and down another as quick as they could go:

Then I was struck with the discordant sound of human voices there,
Which seemed to me like wild geese cackling in the air:
And the river Thames is a most beautiful sight,
To see the steamers sailing upon it by day and by night.

And the Tower of London is most gloomy to behold,
And the crown of Englandlies there, begemmed with precious stones and gold;
King Henry the Sixth was murdered there by the Duke of Glo'ster,
And when he killed him with his sword he called him an impostor.

St. Paul's Cathedral is the finest building that ever I did see;
There's nothing can surpass it in the city of Dundee,
Because it's most magnificent to behold
With its beautiful dome and spire glittering like gold.

And as for Nelson's Monument that stands in Trafalgar Square,
It is a most stately monument I most solemnly declare,
And towering defiantly very high,
Which arrests strangers' attention while passing by.

Then there's two beautiful water-fountains spouting up very high,
Where the weary travellers can drink when he feels dry;
And at the foot of the monument there's three bronze lions in grand array,
Enough to make the stranger's heart throb with dismay.

Then there's Mr Spurgeon, a great preacher, which no one dare gainsay
I went to hear him preach on the Sabbath-day.
And he made my heart feel light and gay
When I heard him preach and pray.

And the Tabernacle was crowded from ceiling to floor,
And many were standing outside the door;
He is an eloquent preacher, I solemnly declare,
And I was struck with admiration as I on him did stare.

Then there's Petticoat Lane I venture to say,
It's a wonderful place on the Sabbath day;
There wearing apparel can be bought to suit the young or old
For the ready cash-- silver, coppers, or gold.

Oh! mighty city of London! you are wonderful to see,
And thy beauties no doubt fill the tourist's heart with glee;
But during my short stay, and while wandering there,
Mr Spurgeon was the only man I heard speaking proper English I do declare.



William Topaz McGonagall

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--Did You Know: (March 1825 – 29 September 1902) William T. McGonagall was a Scottish weaver, doggerel poet and actor. He won notoriety as an extremely bad poet who exhibited no recognition of or concern for his peers' opinions of his work. He wrote about 200 poems, including his infamous "The Tay Bridge Disaster", which are widely regarded as some of the worst in English literature. Groups throughout Scotland engaged him to make recitations from his work; contemporary descriptions of these performances indicate that many listeners were appreciating McGonagall's skill as a comic music hall character, and his readings may be considered a form of performance art. Collections of his verse continue in popularity, with several volumes available today. McGonagall has been acclaimed as the worst poet in British history. The chief criticisms are that he is deaf to poetic metaphor and unable to scan correctly. In the hands of lesser artists, this might generate dull, uninspiring verse. McGonagall's fame stems from the humorous effects these shortcomings generate. Read more at: William T. McGonagall

--Word of the Day: birl \burl\, verb:

1. To spin or cause to rotate.
2. Chiefly Northern U.S. Lumbering. To cause (a floating log) to rotate rapidly by treading upon it.
3. British. A. To move or rotate rapidly. B. Informal. To spend money freely. C. Informal. To gamble.

noun:
1. British Informal. An attempt; a gamble.
Example:
I feel a bit light, then it's like my brain starts to birl in my head sending my thoughts and emotions cascading around.
-- Irvine Welsh, Filth

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--Quote of the Day: Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.
- Albert Schweitzer

--Language Arts-SPANISH: desvelar, verb
to reveal; to keep awake
Desvelar is a verb with two rather different meanings. It can mean to reveal something secret, such as names, identities, and mysteries.
Example:
El presidente de la comisión rehúsa desvelar los nombres.
The chairman of the commission refuses to reveal the names.


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January 24, 2013

A Study (A Soul)

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--Description: 19th C, Rossetti C., Faithfulness--


She stands as pale as Parian statues stand;
Like Cleopatra when she turned at bay,
And felt her strength above the Roman sway,
And felt the aspic writhing in her hand.
Her face is steadfast toward the shadowy land,
For dim beyond it looms the light of day;
Her feet are steadfast; all the arduous way
That foot-track hath not wavered on the sand.
She stands there like a beacon thro' the night,
A pale clear beacon where the storm-drift is;
She stands alone, a wonder deathly white;
She stands there patient, nerved with inner might,
Indomitable in her feebleness,
Her face and will athirst against the light.

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

--Poetry Terminology: Vers de Societe -
Form of light verse which concerns itself with the comings and goings of polite society. Matthew Prior and Henry Austin Dobson both specialised in vers de société. How to Get On in Society by John Betjeman is another example - although this poem is also satirical in tone.

--Word of the Day: violescent \vahy-uh-LES-uhnt\, adjective:
Tending to a violet color: a violescent twilight sky.
Example:
Scriabin's prelude is dark in color, violescent, like moiré unfurling in the evening wind.
-- Gabriele D'Annunzio, Notturno

--Quote of the Day: Patience is the ability to count down before you blast off.
~Author Unknown

--Language Arts-ITALIAN: baciare: to kiss / verb.
Example sentence: Alberto ha visto la moglie baciare un altro uomo!
Translation: Alberto saw his wife kissing another man!

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January 20, 2013

Laugh and Be Merry

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--Description: 20th C, Masefield J., Contentment, Joy--


Laugh and be merry, remember, better the world with a song,
Better the world with a blow in the teeth of a wrong.
Laugh, for the time is brief, a thread the length of a span.
Laugh and be proud to belong to the old proud pageant of man.

Laugh and be merry: remember, in olden time.
God made Heaven and Earth for joy He took in a rhyme,
Made them, and filled them full with the strong red wine of
His mirth
The splendid joy of the stars: the joy of the earth.

So we must laugh and drink from the deep blue cup of the sky,
Join the jubilant song of the great stars sweeping by,
Laugh, and battle, and work, and drink of the wine outpoured
In the dear green earth, the sign of the joy of the Lord.

Laugh and be merry together, like brothers akin,
Guesting awhile in the rooms of a beautiful inn,
Glad till the dancing stops, and the lilt of the music ends.
Laugh till the game is played; and be you merry, my friends.

John Masefield

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--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: preconcert \pree-kuhn-SURT\, verb:
1. To arrange in advance or beforehand, as by a previous agreement.
adjective:
1. Preceding a concert: a preconcert reception for sponsors.
Example:
Indeed she did not really suspect the visitor, who was one too ingenuous in his nature to preconcert so subtle and so wicked a scheme.
-- Anthony Trollope, Dr. Wortle's School

--Quote of the Day: In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful. ~Abram L. Urban

--Language Arts-ITALIAN: sognare: to dream / verb.
Example sentence: Stanotte ho sognato che ero in vacanza su un'isola tropicale!
Translation: Last night I dreamt that I was on vacation on a tropical island!

Suzanne Somers Sexy Forever
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January 13, 2013

To a Lady Very Well Known to the Whole Town

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--Description: 18th C, Voltaire, Beauty, Love, Nobility, Passion--



Phillis, how much the times are changed,
Since in a hack the town you ranged,
Since without finery or train you shone,
Conspicuous for your charms alone;
When though you supped on sorry fare,
You nectar seemed with gods to share.
You foolishly to one consigned
Beauty which might charm all mankind:
A desperate lover, who for life
Engaged you when he made his wife.
You then no treasure did inherit,
Your beauty was your only merit,
Your bosom charms divine displayed;
There Cupid still an ambush laid;
Your heart was tender, and your mind
To youthful frolics much inclined.
With so many charms endued,
What woman e'er could be a prude?
That fault, oh! beauty all divine,
Was very far from being thine;
Because of favors you were free,
You were the better liked by me.
How differently you live, grown great,
Your life is but the farce of state;
The hoary porter, who still plies
At your own door, and tells such lies,
Is a just emblem of the age,
His very looks ill-luck presage;
He thinks the duty of his place is
To drive away the loves and graces.
The tender swain's abashed, afraid
Your pompous palace to invade.
When you were young, to my amazement
I've seen them enter at the casement;
I've seen them enter every day,
And in your chamber nimbly play.
Not all your carpets, and your plate,
Not all your proud parade of state,
Those goblets which so brightly shine,
Graved by Germain with art divine;
Those closets nobly furnished, where
Martin's exceeds the China ware,
Your vases of Japan, and all
The brittle wonders of your hall;
Your diamond pendants which appear
With such bright lustre at each ear;
Your solitaires so dazzling bright,
Your pomp which strikes the gazer's sight,
Are worth one quarter of that bliss,
Which once you imparted by a kiss.


Voltaire

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--Did You Know: (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778) François-Marie Arouet, better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, essayist, and philosopher known for his wit and his defense of civil liberties, including both freedom of religion and free trade. Voltaire was a prolific writer and produced works in almost every literary form including plays, poetry, novels, essays, historical and scientific works, more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws and harsh penalties for those who broke them. A satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize Catholic Church dogma and the French institutions of his day. Voltaire was one of several Enlightenment figures (along with Montesquieu, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) whose works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions. Read more at:

--Word of the Day: pseudepigraphy \soo-duh-PIG-ruh-fee\, noun:
The false ascription of a piece of writing to an author.
Example:
But the apocalyptic seers were usually not content with mere anonymity; they generally practiced pseudepigraphy.
-- Shaye J. D. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah
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--Quote of the Day: We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
- Joseph Campbell

--Language Arts: descanso, noun
break; half time
Example:
Cada dos horas me tomo un descanso.
Every two hours I take a break.
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January 5, 2013

A Song for New Year's Eve

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"Happy New Year 2013 to our wonderful readers who enjoy and take delight as much as we do in beautiful poetry!
-----------------------------------

--Description: 19th C, Bryant W., Holidays, Hope




Stay yet, my friends, a moment stay
Stay till the good old year,
So long companion of our way,
Shakes hands, and leaves us here.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One little hour, and then away.

The year, whose hopes were high and strong,
Has now no hopes to wake;
Yet one hour more of jest and song
For his familiar sake.
Oh stay, oh stay,
One mirthful hour, and then away.

The kindly year, his liberal hands
Have lavished all his store.
And shall we turn from where he stands,
Because he gives no more?
Oh stay, oh stay,
One grateful hour, and then away.

Days brightly came and calmly went,
While yet he was our guest;
How cheerfully the week was spent!
How sweet the seventh day's rest!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One golden hour, and then away.

Dear friends were with us, some who sleep
Beneath the coffin-lid:
What pleasant memories we keep
Of all they said and did!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One tender hour, and then away.

Even while we sing, he smiles his last,
And leaves our sphere behind.
The good old year is with the past;
Oh be the new as kind!
Oh stay, oh stay,
One parting strain, and then away.


William Cullen Bryant
Did You Know: (November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878) William Cullen Bryant was an American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post. Bryant was born on November 3, 1794, in a log cabin near Cummington, Massachusetts; the home of his birth is today marked with a plaque. He was the second son of Peter Bryant (b Aug. 12, 1767, d. Mar. 20 1820) a doctor and later a state legislator, and Sarah Snell (b. Dec.4 1768 d. May 6 1847). His maternal ancestry traces back to passengers on the Mayflower; his father's, to colonists who arrived about a dozen years later. Bryant and his family moved to a new home when he was two years old. He was admitted to the bar in 1815. He then began practicing law in nearby Plainfield, walking the seven miles from Cummington every day. On one of these walks, in December 1815, he noticed a single bird flying on the horizon; the sight moved him enough to write "To a Waterfowl". Bryant developed an interest in poetry early in life. Under his father's tutelage, he emulated Alexander Pope and other Neo-Classic British poets. Read more at: William Cullen Bryant

Quote of the Day: This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best.
- William Arthur Ward

--Word of the Day: couthie \KOO-thee\, adjective:
Agreeable; genial; kindly.
Example:
Occasionally he'd stab one of the buttons, never managing to stop the machines' couthie chatter of grunts and whistles.
-- James Meek, The Heart Broke In


--Language Arts (SPANISH): cibernauta, noun / internet user
Example:
los cibernautas de todo el mundo
Internet users all round the world

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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.. We are also found on Pinterest and Google+.

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