Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Doth the Little Busy Bee

by Isaac Watts

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.

In works of labor or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left." Now, Einstein probably didn't say it. But since bees do 80% of the world's pollination, it probably doesn't matter who said it.

Cartoon of bee calling in sick

Saturday, January 30, 2010

THE BEST OF KID LOGIC

Mother Doesn't Want a Dog
by Judith Viorst

Mother doesn't want a dog.
Mother says they smell,
And never sit when you say sit,
Or even when you yell.
And when you come home late at night
And there is ice and snow,
You have to go back out because
The dumb dog has to go.

Mother doesn't want a dog.
Mother says they shed,
And always let the strangers in
And bark at friends instead,
And do disgraceful things on rugs,
And track mud on the floor,
And flop upon your bed at night
And snore their doggy snore.

Mother doesn't want a dog.
She's making a mistake.
Because, more than a dog, I think
She will not want this snake.
grinning little boy with a snake draped over his shoulders

Friday, January 29, 2010

CHANGE.

"Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don't "win," there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope. . . .

. . . And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory," - Howard Zinn, "The Optimism of Uncertainty," The Nation, 2004.

RIP - L.A.Times Obituary

The Dusk of Horses

silhouette of horse in heavy fog

by James Dickey

Right under their noses, the green
Of the field is paling away
Because of something fallen from the sky.

They see this, and put down
Their long heads deeper in grass
That only just escapes reflecting them

As the dream of a millpond would.
The color green flees over the grass
Like an insect, following the red sun over

The next hill. The grass is white.
There is no cloud so dark and white at once;
There is no pool at dawn that deepens

Their faces and thirsts as this does.
Now they are feeding on solid
Cloud, and, one by one,

With nails as silent as stars among the wood
Hewed down years ago and now rotten,
The stalls are put up around them.

Now if they lean, they come
On wood on any side. Not touching it, they sleep.
No beast ever lived who understood

What happened among the sun's fields,
Or cared why the color of grass
Fled over the hill while he stumbled,

Led by the halter to sleep
On his four taxed, worthy legs.
Each thinks he awakens where

The sun is black on the rooftop,
That the green is dancing in the next pasture,
And that the way to sleep

In a cloud, or in a risen lake,
Is to walk as though he were still
in the drained field standing, head down,

To pretend to sleep when led,
And thus to go under the ancient white
Of the meadow, as green goes

And whiteness comes up through his face
Holding stars and rotten rafters,
Quiet, fragrant, and relieved.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

RIP

Author and recluse, J.D. Salinger, has died. He was 91.

Salinger published only four books, after which he withdrew from public life altogether. Between 1951 and 1963 he published, "The Catcher in the Rye," "Nine Stories," "Franny and Zooey" and "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction."

Times cover j.d.Salinger 1961

"I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. 
I suspect people of plotting to make me happy."
- J.D. Salinger


L.A.Times Obituary
Biography

ARM CHAIR QUARTERBACKS TO BAT!

Yeah. I know.

Last week, SLATE columnist, Timothy Noah, called for his readers "to figure out a way to get the health care reform bill across the finish line." Here are two of the winners:
Eighth runner-up: Bruce Miller, Grand Ledge, Mich.:
Invent a time machine. Go back to 1974 and tell Ted Kennedy to take the health reform deal Nixon offered. Inventing the time machine is the hard part, but it is likely easier than getting this bill passed. I mourn for the millions of folks who stood to get help under this bill and am ashamed of our country for kicking them to the curb.

Seventh runner-up: George W. Bush, Crawford, Texas (as imagined by Michael W. Price):
Declare that the U.S. is at war with the forces of Death and Disease. Seek a joint resolution stating the same. Scare up support by telling voters they're all going to die. Have the office of legal counsel draft a memo declaring that the president has the inherent and unfettered authority to protect the nation against the evil "Duo of Demise." Implement the preferred version of health care reform through a secret executive order and pay for it with the 2010 war supplemental. Repeat as needed.
TO READ THE REST, CLICK here.

HEALTH REFORM: AN ONLINE GUIDE - (Links to just about everything you need to know about the Health Care Reform bill)

WHY IS THIS STILL REFERRED TO AS A SEDUCTION?

Painting of Leda and the Swan. Zeus disguised as a swan rapes Leda who bears him Helen of Troy.

Leda and the Swan
by W. B. Yeats

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
                    Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

FROM THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS TONIGHT

"Remember this - I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I can do it alone. Democracy in a nation of three hundred million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That's just how it is.
Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths. We can do what's necessary to keep our poll numbers high, and get through the next election instead of doing what's best for the next generation.
But I also know this: if people had made that decision fifty years ago or one hundred years ago or two hundred years ago, we wouldn't be here tonight. The only reason we are is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard; to do what was needed even when success was uncertain; to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and grandchildren."
Full text here.

WHICH CAME FIRST?

photo of four white chickens

Last Night I Dreamed of Chickens
by Jack Prelutsky

Last night I dreamed of chickens,
there were chickens everywhere,
they were standing on my stomach,
they were nesting in my hair,
they were pecking at my pillow,
they were hopping on my head,
they were ruffling up their feathers
as they raced about my bed.

They were on the chairs and tables,
they were on the chandeliers,
they were roosting in the corners,
they were clucking in my ears,
there were chickens, chickens, chickens
for as far as I could see...
when I woke today, I noticed
there were eggs on top of me.

photo of many eggs on shades of brown

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You Men

by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

(English)
   Silly, you men-so very adept
at wrongly faulting womankind,
not seeing you're alone to blame
for faults you plant in woman's mind.

   After you've won by urgent plea
the right to tarnish her good name,
you still expect her to behave—
you, that coaxed her into shame.

   You batter her resistance down
and then, all righteousness, proclaim
that feminine frivolity,
not your persistence, is to blame.

   When it comes to bravely posturing,
your witlessness must take the prize:
you're the child that makes a bogeyman,
and then recoils in fear and cries.

   Presumptuous beyond belief,
you'd have the woman you pursue
be Thais when you're courting her,
Lucretia once she falls to you.

   For plain default of common sense,
could any action be so queer
as oneself to cloud the mirror,
then complain that it's not clear?

   Whether you're favored or disdained,
nothing can leave you satisfied.
You whimper if you're turned away,
you sneer if you've been gratified.

   With you, no woman can hope to score;
whichever way, she's bound to lose;
spurning you, she's ungrateful—
succumbing, you call her lewd.

   Your folly is always the same:
you apply a single rule
to the one you accuse of looseness
and the one you brand as cruel.

   What happy mean could there be
for the woman who catches your eye,
if, unresponsive, she offends,
yet whose complaisance you decry?

   Still, whether it's torment or anger—
and both ways you've yourselves to blame—
God bless the woman who won't have you,
no matter how loud you complain.

   It's your persistent entreaties
that change her from timid to bold.
Having made her thereby naughty,
you would have her good as gold.

   So where does the greater guilt lie
for a passion that should not be:
with the man who pleads out of baseness
or the woman debased by his plea?

   Or which is more to be blamed—
though both will have cause for chagrin:
the woman who sins for money
or the man who pays money to sin?

   So why are you men all so stunned
at the thought you're all guilty alike?
Either like them for what you've made them
or make of them what you can like.

   If you'd give up pursuing them,
you'd discover, without a doubt,
you've a stronger case to make
against those who seek you out.

   I well know what powerful arms
you wield in pressing for evil:
your arrogance is allied
with the world, the flesh, and the devil!

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695, Mexico) was an exceptional seventeenth-century nun who set precedents for feminism long before the term or concept existed. Her "Respuesta" is a maverick work outlining the logical sense of women’s education more than 200 years before Woolf’s "A Room of One’s Own." Her poetry, meanwhile, states in bold language the potency of the feminine in both love and religion. - oldpoetry   



(Español)
   Hombres necios que acusáis
a la mujer sin razón,
sin ver que sois la ocasión
de lo mismo que culpáis:

   si con ansia sin igual
solicitáis su desdén,
¿por qué quereis que obren bien
si las incitáis al mal?

   Combatís su resistencia
y luego, con gravedad,
decís que fue liviandad
lo que hizo la diligencia.

   Parecer quiere el denuedo
de vuestro parecer loco,
al niño que pone el coco
y luego le tiene miedo.

   Queréis, con presunción necia,
hallar a la que buscáis,
para pretendida, Thais,
y en la posesión, Lucrecia

   ¿Qué humor puede ser más raro
que el que, falto de consejo,
el mismo empaña el espejo
y siente que no esté claro?

   Con el favor y el desdén
tenéis condición igual,
quejándoos, si os tratan mal,
burlándoos, si os quieren bien.

   Opinión, ninguna gana:
pues la que más se recata,
si no os admite, es ingrata,
y si os admite, es liviana

   Siempre tan necios andáis
que, con desigual nivel,
a una culpáis por crüel
y a otra por fácil culpáis.

   ¿Pues cómo ha de estar templada
la que vuestro amor pretende,
si la que es ingrata, ofende,
y la que es fácil, enfada?

   Mas, entre el enfado y pena
que vuestro gusto refiere,
bien haya la que no os quiere
y quejaos en hora buena.

   Dan vuestras amantes penas
a sus libertades alas,
y después de hacerlas malas
las queréis hallar muy buenas.

   ¿Cuál mayor culpa ha tenido
en una pasión errada:
la que cae de rogada
o el que ruega de caído?

   ¿O cuál es más de culpar,
aunque cualquiera mal haga:
la que peca por la paga
o el que paga por pecar?

   Pues ¿para quée os espantáis
de la culpa que tenéis?
Queredlas cual las hacéis
o hacedlas cual las buscáis.

   Dejad de solicitar,
y después, con más razón,
acusaréis la afición
de la que os fuere a rogar.

   Bien con muchas armas fundo
que lidia vuestra arrogancia,
pues en promesa e instancia
juntáis diablo, carne y mundo.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

CANNOT BE DENIED, BUT WILL NOT BE EXPLAINED


The Tyger
by William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests 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 sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & 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 water'd 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?

[The illustration is Blake's own, and will enlarge if you click on it.]

Friday, January 22, 2010

THIS ONE'S DEDICATED TO SOME PEOPLE I LOVE MUCH

Hyper-
by David Baker

Then a stillness descended the blue hills.
I say stillness. They were three deer, then four.
They crept down the old bean field, these four deer,
for fifteen minutes—more—as we watched them

in the field, in the soughing snow. That's how
slowly they moved in stillness, slender deer.
The fourth limped behind the other three,
we could see, even in the darkness, as it

dragged its right hindquarter where it was
hit or shot. Katie sat back on her heels.
The dog held in his prints, or Kate held him,
hardly breathing at first. Then we relaxed.

Blue night descended our neighbor's blown hills.
And the calm that comes with seeing something
beautiful but far from perfect descended—
absolute attention, a fixity.

I say absolute. It was stillness.


In the books we gathered, the first theory
holds that the condition's emergence is
most common at age eight, if less in girls
than boys, or more vividly seen in boys
whose fidgets, whose deficit attentions,
like little psycho-economic realms,
are prone to twitches-turned-to-virulence,
anxieties palpable in vocalized
explosions—though now we know in girls
it's only on the surface less severe,
which explains her months of bubbling tension,
her long blue drifts and snowy distractions.
I say distractions. Of course I mean how,
clinically, tyrosine hydroxylase
activity—the "rate limiting enzyme
in dopamine synthesis"—disrupts, burns,
then rewires her brain's chemical pathways.


Let me put it another way. After
twenty-four math problems, the twenty-fifth
still baffles her, pencil gnawed, eraser-
scuff-shadows like black veins on her homework.

It's not just the theory of division
she no longer gets, it's her hot clothes, her
itchy ear, the ruby-throated hummingbird's
picture on the fridge, what's in the fridge, whose

socks these are, why, until I'm exhausted
and yell again. Until she's gone away
to her room, lights off, to sulk, read, cry, draw.
No longer trusting to memory, she

writes everything in her journal now, then
ties it with a broken strand of necklace.
Of her friends: I am the funny one. Mom:
She has red hair and freckles to. Under Dad:

I have his bad temper. I know. I looked.

ABSTRACT RAINBOW COLORED PLANT

In one sketch she finished, just before we
learned what was wrong—I mean, before we knew
what to call what was wrong, how to treat it,
how to treat her—she captured her favorite
cat with a skill that skips across my chest.
He's on a throw rug, asleep. The rug's fringe
ruffles just so. The measure of her love is
visible in each delicate stroke, from
his fetal repose, ears down, eyes sealed
softly, paws curled inward, to the tiger lines
of his coat deepened by thick textures
where she's slightly rubbed away the contours
with her thumb to winter coat gray. He's soft,
he's purring, he's utterly relaxed asleep.
One day, before we learned what was wrong,
she taped it to a pillow on my bed.
Terry Is Tired she'd printed at the top.


How many ways do we measure things by
what they're not. I say things. Mostly her mind
is going too fast, yet the doctors give her,
I'm not kidding, amphetamines—

speed, we used to say, when we needed it—
Ritalin, which wears off hard and often,
Adderal, which lasts all day though her food's
untouched and sleep comes late. The irony

is the medicine slows her down. She pays
attention, understands things. The theory
is, AD/HD patients "aren't hyper-
aroused, they're underaroused," so they lurch

and hurtle forward, hungry for focus.
Another theory says the brain's two lobes
are missized. Their circuits "lose their balance."
One makes much of handedness—left—red hair,

allergies, wan skin, an Irish past . . .


We watched four deer in stillness walking there.
Stillness walking, like the young blue deer hurt
but beautiful. In her theory of
division, Katie's started drawing them—
her rendering's reduced them down to three.
She has carefully lined the cut bean rows
in contours like the dog's brushed coat. Snowflakes
dot the winter paper. Two small deer stand
alert on either side of the hurt one
leaning now to bite the season's dried-up stems.
Their ears are perched like hands, noses up, tails
tufted in a hundred tiny pencil lines.
She's been hunkered over her drawing pad,
humming, for an hour. So I watch. I say
watch. I ask why she's made the little hurt
one so big. Silly. He's not hurt that bad,
she says. She doesn't look up. That one's you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

CONTEMPTIBLE and CONTEMPTUOUS MEAN TWO DIFFERENT THINGS; BUT BOTH APPLY HERE, HERMAN.



Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.

- Herman Melville

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

While Reading Alone By Candle Light, As The Storm Shakes The House. Ooo. How Cool!

animated raven flying



The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door--
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
               Only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Lenore--
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
               Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;--
               This it is and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"--here I opened wide the door;----
               Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"--
               Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore--
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
               'Tis the wind and nothing more!"

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door--
                Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore--
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
               Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door--
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
               With such name as "Nevermore."

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered--not a feather then he fluttered--
Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other friends have flown before--
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
               Then the bird said "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore--
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
               Of 'Never--nevermore.'"

But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
               Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
               She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee--by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite--respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
               Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!--
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted--
On this home by Horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore--
Is there--is there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!"
               Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil--prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
                Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
               Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
               Shall be lifted--nevermore!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Doing Without
 - David Ray

         's an interesting
custom, involving such in-
         visible items as the food
that's not on the table, the clothes
         that are not on the back
the radio whose music
         is silence. Doing without
is a great protector of reputations
         since all places one cannot go
are fabulous, and only the rare and
         enlightened plowman in his field
or on his mountain does not overrate
         what he does not or cannot have.
Saluting through their windows
         of cathedral glass those restaurants
we must not enter (unless like
         burglars we become subject to
arrest) we greet with our twinkling
         eyes the faces of others who do
without, the lady with the
         fishing pole, and the man who looks
amused to have discovered on a walk
         another piece of firewood.

(This is Poem #78 on Poetry 180)


Monday, January 18, 2010

ARE WE THERE YET?

"I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."2

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

    My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

    Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

    From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

    Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

    Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

    Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

    Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

    Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

    Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

    Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

    From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

                Free at last! Free at last!

                Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Martin Luther King, Jr.
from "I Have a Dream" delivered 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.


Do you think Dr. King forsaw the vicious, ugly backlash that would be unleashed in our progressive, enlightened nation as this beautiful dream started coming to pass? Me, I have no doubt. He saw first hand the power of hatred and intolerance, and depth and breadth of  their root span.

INDEED!!!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy. I Miss You.

postcard of horse race at Hialeah race track in Florida

Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World

by Sherman Alexie

The morning air is all awash with angels . . .
                                            - Richard Wilbur

The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.
 
I wonder whom I should call? A plumber, 
Proctologist, urologist, or priest?

Who is most among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because

He's astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. "Hey, Ma, 

I say, "Can I talk to Poppa?" She gasps,  
And then I remember that my father 

Has been dead for nearly a year. "Shit, Mom," 
I say. "I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry—

How did I forget?" "It’s okay," she says.
"I made him a cup of instant coffee 

This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years—

And I didn't realize my mistake 
Until this afternoon." My mother laughs

At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days

And sing our praise to forgetfulness
Before they slap our souls with their cold wings.

Those angels burden and unbalance us.
Those fucking angels ride us piggyback.

Those angels, forever falling, snare us
And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

THE EPIC, IT ENDS HERE.



The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


















Part VII
This hermit good lives in that wood
Which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
He loves to talk with mariners 
That come from a far country.

He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve--
He hath a cushion plump:
It is the moss that wholly hides
The rotted old oak stump.

The skiff boat neared: I heard them talk, 
'Why, this is strange, I trow! 
Where are those lights so many and fair, 
That signal made but now?'

'Strange, by my faith!' the hermit said-- 
'And they answered not our cheer! 
The planks look warped! and see those sails, 
How thin they are and sere!
I never saw aught like to them, 
Unless perchance it were

Brown skeletons of leaves that lag
My forest-brook along;
When the ivy tod is heavy with snow,
And the owlet whoops to the wolf below,
That eats the she-wolf's young.'

'Dear Lord! it hath a fiendish look,' 
The pilot made reply, 
'I am a-feared'--'Push on, push on!' 
Said the hermit cheerily.

The boat came closer to the ship,
But I nor spake nor stirred;
The boat came close beneath the ship,
And straight a sound was heard.

Under the water it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread:
It reached the ship, it split the bay;
The ship went down like lead.

Stunned by that loud and dreadful sound,
Which sky and ocean smote
Like one that hath been seven days drowned
My body lay afloat;
But swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the pilot's boat.

Upon the whirl, where sank the ship,
The boat spun round and round;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.

I moved my lips--the pilot shrieked
And fell down in a fit;
The holy hermit raised his eyes,
And prayed where he did sit.

I took the oars: the pilot's boy,
Who now doth crazy go,
Laughed loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro.
'Ha! ha!' quoth he, 'full plain I see,
The devil knows how to row.'

And now, all in my own country,
I stood on the firm land!
The hermit stepped forth from the boat,
And scarcely he could stand.

'Oh shrieve me, shrieve me, holy man!' 
The hermit crossed his brow. 
'Say quick,' quoth he, 'I bid thee say--
What manner of man art thou?'

Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woeful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.

Since then, at an uncertain hour,
That agony returns:
And till my ghastly tale is told, 
This heart within me burns.

I pass, like night, from land to land;
I have strange power of speech;
The moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.

What loud uproar bursts from that door!
The wedding-guests are there:
But in the garden-bower the bride
And bridemaids singing are:
And hark the little vesper bell,
Which biddeth me to prayer!

O wedding-guest! This soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea:
So lonely 'twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.

Oh sweeter than the marriage feast, 
'Tis sweeter far to me, 
To walk together to the kirk 
With a goodly company!--

To walk together to the kirk,
And all together pray,
While each to his great Father bends,
Old men, and babes, and loving friends
And youths and maidens gay!

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou wedding-guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all."

The mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone: and now the wedding-guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.

Friday, January 15, 2010

YEP, YOU GUESSED IT. THE EPIC, IT'S CONTINUING.



The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Part VI
FIRST VOICE

'But tell me, tell me! speak again, 
Thy soft response renewing--
What makes that ship drive on so fast? 
What is the ocean doing?'

SECOND VOICE

'Still as a slave before his lord, 
The ocean hath no blast; 
His great bright eye most silently 
Up to the moon is cast--

If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously 
She looketh down on him.'

FIRST VOICE

'But why drives on that ship so fast, 
Without or wave or wind?'

SECOND VOICE

'The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind.

Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
Or we shall be belated:
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the mariner's trance is abated.'

I woke, and we were sailing on
As in a gentle weather:
'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
The dead men stood together.

All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fixed on me their stony eyes,
That in the moon did glitter.

The pang, the curse, with which they died,
Had never passed away:
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.

And now this spell was snapped: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen--

Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend 
Doth close behind him tread.

But soon there breathed a wind on me,
Nor sound nor motion made:
Its path was not upon the sea,
In ripple or in shade.

It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
Like a meadow-gale of spring--
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze--
On me alone it blew.

O dream of joy! is this indeed
The lighthouse top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own country?

We drifted o'er the harbour bar,
And I with sobs did pray--
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway!

The harbour bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn!
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the moon.

The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
That stands above the rock:
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.

And the bay was white with silent light,
Till rising from the same,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.

A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck--
O Christ! what saw I there!

Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
And, by the holy rood!
A man all light, a seraph man,
On every corse there stood.

This seraph band, each waved his hand:
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light;

This seraph band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart--
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.

But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the pilot's cheer;
My head was turned perforce away
And I saw a boat appear.

The pilot and the pilot's boy,
I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord in heaven! it was a joy
The dead men could not blast.

I saw a third--I heard his voice:
It is the hermit good!
He singeth loud his godly hymns
That he makes in the wood.
He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
The albatross's blood.




Thursday, January 14, 2010


THE EARTHQUAKE IN HAITI






The Big Picture takes us there.




Text "HAITI" to "90999"




The State Department offers the simplest way to donate ($10) to the relief efforts.




AND THE EPIC CONTINUES, STILL



The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Part V
Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary-Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from heaven,
That slid into my soul.

The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remained,
I dreamt that they were filled with dew;
And when I awoke, it rained.

My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.

I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I was so light--almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed ghost.

And soon I heard a roaring wind:
It did not come anear;
But with its sound it shook the sails,
That were so thin and sere.

The upper air bursts into life!
And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about!
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the sails did sigh like sedge;
And the rain poured down from one black cloud;
The moon was at its edge.

The thick black cloud was cleft, and still 
The moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag, 
A river steep and wide.

The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the moon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up-blew;
The mariners all 'gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools--
We were a ghastly crew.

The body of my brother's son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me."

"I fear thee, ancient mariner!" 
"Be calm, thou wedding-guest! 
'Twas not those souls that fled in pain, 
Which to their corses came again, 
But a troop of spirits blessed.

For when it dawned--they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound, 
Then darted to the sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again, 
Now mixed, now one by one.

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the skylark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!

And now 'twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel's song,
That makes the heavens be mute.

It ceased; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we silently sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe:
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath. 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.

The sun, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean:
But in a minute she 'gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion--
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go, 
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head, 
And I fell down in a swound.

How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
But ere my living life returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.

'Is it he?' quoth one, 'Is this the man? 
By him who died on cross, 
With his cruel bow he laid full low 
The harmless albatross.

The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.'

The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honeydew:
Quoth he, 'The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.'


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I JUST CAN'T KEEP SILENT

For the most part, I try to keep this blog out of politics and religious debates, staying as close to my goal of 'aid and comfort' as I can. But sometimes I get so angry, am so sickened, that I have to speak out. Today is one of those days. I am sick to my stomach.

Haiti, a country already plagued by poverty and disease, has been decimated by an earthquake. And our 'good Christian' friend Pat Robertson said, on The 700 Club, that the Haitians are responsible for their own misery.

"They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you'll get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal."

"ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other."  - Huffington Post (there's video)
More articles and in depth analysis can be found here,  and here, and here. The search words "Haiti," and "Pat Robertson" will net you link after link of journalists - msm and bloggers alike - calling Robertson out on his evil spewing. None that I have see so far have been conservative. Apparently they are not appalled by such naked victim blaming.

This is not the first time that disaster victims have been blamed for their fates by so called 'Christians.' New Orleans during Katrina, New York City on 9/11, to name just two (Robertson at these times as well). On which ring of Hell did Dante place judgmental hypocrites with no mercy?

I truly don't understand how a person can look at the suffering of others and see, not people in need, but an opportunity to score points for their own political and fund raising agendas.

'Real Christians' are caring people who try to live as Jesus, with love and forgiveness and mercy.


[UPDATE: APPARENTLY, SATAN HAS REBUTTED MR. ROBERTSON'S CLAIMS. This is just a small excerpt:

You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.
HIS REBUTTAL CAN BE READ IN FULL HERE.]

Advice from aid workers to donors on choosing organizations to donate to after disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti.

The choices donors make have a tremendous impact on how effective their donations are in aiding the people they wish to help.

Good Intentions Are Not Enough

The situation after a disaster can be chaotic, with a rush of international, national, and local aid agencies as well as individuals trying to help.

Only fund those that already have an office established in country because of the amount of time and money it takes to get anything more than just search and rescue up and running. Those with an already established presence will know the people and systems better and be able to work more quickly and less expensively.
Aid Watch: just asking that aid benefit the poor

Laura Freschi of AIDWATCH has a few suggestions for donations.

This is a hard time to be thinking about giving to charities, and no one needs to feel guilty for not being able. But please, if you are able, give from your heart.

AND THE EPIC CONTINUES, MORE



The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Part IV
"I fear thee, ancient mariner! 
I fear thy skinny hand!
And thou art long, and lank, and brown, 
As is the ribbed sea-sand.

I fear thee and thy glittering eye, 
And thy skinny hand, so brown."--
"Fear not, fear not, thou wedding-guest! 
This body dropped not down.

Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.

I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
But or ever a prayer had gushed,
A wicked whisper came, and made
My heart as dry as dust.

I closed my lids, and kept them close,
Till the balls like pulses beat;
For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
Lay like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.

The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they:
The look with which they looked on me
Had never passed away.

An orphan's curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man's eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.

The moving moon went up the sky,
And nowhere did abide:
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside--

Her beams bemocked the sultry main,
Like April hoar-frost spread;
But where the ship's huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.

Beyond the shadow of the ship,
I watched the water snakes:
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things! No tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.

The selfsame moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.
 





Tuesday, January 12, 2010

AND THE EPIC CONTINUES, AGAIN




The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge



















Part III
There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! A weary time!
How glazed each weary eye,
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist;
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared:
As if it dodged a water sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drouth all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.

See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal;
Without a breeze, without a tide,
She steadies with upright keel!

The western wave was all aflame.
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright sun;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the sun.

And straight the sun was flecked with bars,
(Heaven's mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon grate he peered
With broad and burning face.

Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the sun,
Like restless gossameres?

Are those her ribs through which the sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that woman all her crew?
Is that a Death? and are there two?
Is Death that woman's mate?

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The nightmare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thicks man's blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came, 
And the twain were casting dice; 
'The game is done! I've won! I've won!' 
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.

The sun's rim dips; the stars rush out:
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea,
Off shot the spectre bark.

We listened and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My lifeblood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dews did drip--
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The horned moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

One after one, by the star-dogged moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.

Their souls did from their bodies fly--
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul, it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my crossbow!"


Monday, January 11, 2010

AND THE EPIC CONTINUES


The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Part II
The sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.

And the good south wind still blew behind,
But no sweet bird did follow, 
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariners' hollo!

And I had done an hellish thing,
And it would work 'em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow!

Nor dim nor red, like an angel's head,
The glorious sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down, 
'Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break 
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean. 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deeps did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs 
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch's oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white.

And some in dreams assured were
Of the spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! wel-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the albatross
About my neck was hung.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

I FEEL AN EPIC COMING ON!

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Part I

It is an ancient mariner
And he stoppeth one of three.
--"By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, 
Now wherefore stoppest thou me?

The bridegroom's doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
Mayst hear the merry din."

He holds him with his skinny hand, 
"There was a ship," quoth he.
"Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!" 
Eftsoons his hand dropped he.

He holds him with his glittering eye-- 
The wedding-guest stood still,
And listens like a three-years' child:
The mariner hath his will.

The wedding-guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed mariner.

"The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared, 
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill, 
Below the lighthouse top.

The sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon--"
The wedding-guest here beat his breast, 
For he heard the loud bassoon.

The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The wedding-guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed mariner.

"And now the storm-blast came, and he 
Was tyrannous and strong; 
He struck with his o'ertaking wings, 
And chased us south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And forward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.

Listen, stranger! Mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice mast-high came floating by,
As green as emerald.

And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken--
The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there, 
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled, 
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As if it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.

It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play, 
Came to the mariners' hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moon-shine."

"God save thee, ancient mariner! 
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!--
Why lookst thou so?" "With my crossbow 
I shot the albatross.
 

 


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Trapeze

black and white photo of city street at dusk, circa 1950s
by Deborah Digges

See how the first dark takes the city in its arms
and carries it into what yesterday we called the future.

O, the dying are such acrobats.
Here you must take a boat from one day to the next,

or clutch the girders of the bridge, hand over hand.
But they are sailing like a pendulum between eternity and evening,

diving, recovering, balancing the air.
Who can tell at this hour seabirds from starlings,

wind from revolving doors or currents off the river.
Some are as children on swings pumping higher and higher.

Don't call them back, don't call them in for supper.
See, they leave scuff marks like jet trails on the sky.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I Wish I Had Written These Words

crochet lace covered grand piano

Piano
by D. H. Lawrence

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A GLORIOUS THOUGHT, BUT

so wrong that it is an ad for a plastic surgeon.

copy of God from Sistine chapel ceiling, on wall so when you press elevator button you are Adam receiving the gift of life

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

AND SO THE CHAIN IS FORGED, LINK BY LINK

small bouquet of forget-me-nots




Parents
by William Meredith

What it must be like to be an angel
or a squirrel, we can imagine sooner.

The last time we go to bed good,
they are there, lying about darkness.

They dandle us once too often,
these friends who become our enemies.

Suddenly one day, their juniors
are as old as we yearn to be.

They get wrinkles where it is better
smooth, odd coughs, and smells.

It is grotesque how they go on
loving us, we go on loving them

The effrontery, barely imaginable,
of having caused us. And of how.

Their lives: surely
we can do better than that.

This goes on for a long time. Everything
they do is wrong, and the worst thing,

they all do it, is to die,
taking with them the last explanation,

how we came out of the wet sea
or wherever they got us from,

taking the last link
of that chain with them.

Father, mother, we cry, wrinkling,
to our uncomprehending children and grandchildren.

Monday, January 4, 2010

salvador dali painting of woman looking out window at water and sail boat

I Am! 
by John Clare 

I am! yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
I am the self-consumer of my woes,
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am! and live with shadows tost

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And e'en the dearest—that I loved the best—
Are strange—nay, rather stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod;
A place where woman never smil'd or wept;
There to abide with my creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.

Painting: Salvador Dali Woman at the Window, 1925

Saturday, January 2, 2010

TWO GREAT VISIONARIES

This was always a favorite H.G. Wells quote of mine. It seems like common sense to me, but it is surprising how many people don't see it, even though it is played out daily around the world.

"If you make men sufficiently fearful or angry
the hot red eyes of cavemen will glare out at you."

- H.G.Wells

Just for fun, here is a video of Orson Welles interviewing H.G. Wells:



Here are some links with more information on both men:
H.G. Wells, Bio and works
The H.G. Wells Society
A complete list of works
The H.G. Wells Conservatory
The Estate of Orson Welles
The Mercury Theater (with original recordings of 'The War of the Worlds')


All's Welles that ends Wells! 
Or is it All's Wells That Ends Welles?