Friday, December 31, 2010

A Song for New Year's Eve

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.
Also by Bryant: THANONTOPSIS 


Happiness isn't something you experience;
it's something you remember.
-- Oscar Levant

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Supermarket In California

by Allen Ginsberg
What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whit-
man, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees
with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images,
I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of
your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole fam-
ilies shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives
in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you,
Garcнa Lorca, what were you doing down by the

I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old
grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator
and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed
the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of
cans following you, and followed in my imagination
by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in
our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every
frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.
Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors
close in an hour. Which way does your beard point
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the
supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets?
The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses,
we'll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming ofthe lost America of love
past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-
teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit
poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank
and stood watching the boat disappear on the black
waters of Lethe?

Berkeley 1955

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Crescent Moon

by Amy Lowell
Slipping softly through the sky
Little horned, happy moon,
Can you hear me up so high?
Will you come down soon?
On my nursery window-sill
Will you stay your steady flight?
And then float away with me
Through the summer night?
Brushing over tops of trees,
Playing hide and seek with stars,
Peeping up through shiny clouds
At Jupiter or Mars.
I shall fill my lap with roses
Gathered in the milky way,
All to carry home to mother.
Oh! what will she say!
Little rocking, sailing moon,
Do you hear me shout -- Ahoy!
Just a little nearer, moon,
To please a little boy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Girl

by Ezra Pound
The tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast-
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child - so high - you are,
And all this is folly to the world.

Monday, December 27, 2010


"Great minds discuss ideas. 
Average minds discuss events. 
Small minds discuss people." 

-- Eleanor Roosevelt.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Morn

by Claire Nixon
Cold frosty mornings
Ice on window pain
Huddle under coats
keep the warmth in
Tiptoe down the stairs
all quiet and hushed
barge through the door
to see what’s waiting for us.
A Christmas tree sparkling,
multi coloured lights,
large shiny baubles, and
an angel smiling with delight.
Paper chains, garlands
bells, stars and balloons
dangling from the ceiling.
Pine from the tree,
fresh cooked bread, cakes,
jam tarts and scones,
these are the scents waiting for us.
A coal fire burning
warmth is in our hearts
singing along to carols
on this cold and frosty morning.
This day may not be THE day,
but it is deep down in our hearts.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


bell in holly with red berries

Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Friday, December 24, 2010


hop on over to The Orwell Prize.

You'll find Christmas pudding, Orange Marmalade, and more.

A Christmas Ghost Story

by Thomas Hardy
South of the Line, inland from far Durban,
A mouldering soldier lies--your countryman.
Awry and doubled up are his gray bones,
And on the breeze his puzzled phantom moans
Nightly to clear Canopus: "I would know
By whom and when the All-Earth-gladdening Law
Of Peace, brought in by that Man Crucified,
Was ruled to be inept, and set aside?

And what of logic or of truth appears
In tacking 'Anno Domini' to the years?
Near twenty-hundred livened thus have hied,
But tarries yet the Cause for which He died."

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Christmas Trees
by Robert Frost
(A Christmas Circular Letter)

THE CITY had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine,
I said, “There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north.
He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

White Christmas

by Robert William Service
My folks think I'm a serving maid
Each time I visit home;
They do not dream I ply a trade
As old as Greece or Rome;
For if they found I'd fouled their name
And was not white as snow,
I'm sure that they would die of shame . . .
Please, God, they'll never know.

I clean the paint from off my face,
In sober black I dress;
Of coquetry I leave no trace
To give them vague distress;
And though it causes me a pang
To play such sorry tricks,
About my neck I meekly hang
A silver crufix.

And so with humble step I go
Just like a child again,
To greet their Christmas candle-glow,
A soul without a stain;
So well I play my contrite part
I make myself believe
There's not a stain within my heart
On Holy Christmas Eve.

With double natures we are vext,
And what we feel, we are;
A saint one day, a sinner next,
A red light or a star;
A prostitute or proselyte,
And in each part sincere:
So I become a vestal white
One week in every year.

For this I say without demur
From out life's lurid lore,
Each righteous women has in her
A tincture of the whore;
While every harpy of the night,
As I have learned too well;
Holds in her heart a heaven-light
To ransom her from hell.

So I'll go home and sweep and dust;
I'll make the kitchen fire,
And be a model of daughters just
The best they could desire;
I'll fondle them and cook their food,
And Mother dear will say:
"Thank God! my darling is as good
As when she went away."

But after New Year's Day I'll fill
My bag and though they grieve,
I'll bid them both good-bye until
Another Christmas Eve;
And then . . . a knock upon the door:
I'll find them waiting there,
And angel-like I'll come once more
In answer to their prayer.

Then Lo! one night when candle-light
Gleams mystic on the snow,
And music swells of Christmas bells,
I'll come, no more to go:
The old folks need my love and care,
Their gold shall gild my dross,
And evermore my breast shall bear
My little silver cross.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two Boys' Christmas

The Poor Boy’s Christmas
by Ellis Parker Butler
Observe, my child, this pretty scene,
And note the air of pleasure keen
With which the widow’s orphan boy
Toots his tin horn, his only toy.
What need of costly gifts has he?
The widow has nowhere to flee.
And ample noise his horn emits
To drive the widow into fits.


The philosophic mind can see
The uses of adversity.

*  *
The Rich Boy’s Christmas
by Ellis Parker Butler
And now behold this sulking boy,
His costly presents bring no joy;
Harsh tears of anger fill his eye
Tho’ he has all that wealth can buy.
What profits it that he employs
His many gifts to make a noise?
His playroom is so placed that he
Can cause his folks no agony.


Mere worldly wealth does not possess
The power of giving happiness.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Man Who Intervened in Domestic Assault 
Still Recovering From Injuries

On June 29th of this year, Chicago musician Matthew Leone witnessed a man beating his bleeding wife on the sidewalk and attempted to intervene in response to her pleas. He's still recovering from his injuries and his assailant is out on bond.

But when he turned toward the woman, who was sobbing and begging him not to leave, Leone says the man struck him from behind. 
What came next was a barrage of blows, one after another, that knocked Leone unconscious and sent him to a hospital with a broken nose, a dislocated jaw and head trauma so severe that surgeons had to remove a third of his skull to relieve the pressure on his brain.
Six months later, the 35-year-old Leone says he feels grateful to be alive. After two brain surgeries and months of rehabilitation, he still struggles with intense pain and a host of other health problems, including vertigo and memory loss. But he can walk and talk — abilities that doctors initially worried he might never have again.
To make matters worse Leone doesn't have health insurance and has had to rely on the generosity of others to help him meet his in-excess-of $300,000 medical bills and on the devotion of his brother to help him take care of himself. 
(If you'd like to donate, you can do so here. You'd be joining the likes of Billy Corgan and Gene Simmons in supporting Matthew.)
A Facebook group called Hope I Never Find You, Justin Pivec has sprung up, and the Chicago music community has rallied around Leone. Even so, the gross injustice in this case- a heroic gesture is repaid with a life-threatening injury- is made even more upsetting when you realize that the man at the center of all of this is back on the street.

And the initial assault on his wife? It was because she dared come home late.
- Jezebel

Sunday, December 19, 2010


"One of the paradoxes of living in a wealthy country is that we accumulate tremendous purchasing power, yet it’s harder and harder for us to give friends and family presents that are meaningful."

tiny child's hand in an adult hand

*Arzu ( employs women in Afghanistan to make carpets for export. The women get decent wages, but their families must commit to sending children to school and to allowing women to attend literacy and health classes and receive medical help in childbirth. Rugs start at $250 and bracelets at $10, or a $20 donation pays for a water filter for a worker’s family.

*First Book ( addresses a basic problem facing poor kids in America: They don’t have books. One study found that in low-income neighborhoods, there is only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. So First Book supports antipoverty organizations with children’s books — and above all, gets kids reading. A $100 gift will supply 50 books for a mentor to tutor a child in reading for a year. And $20 will get 10 books in the hands of kids to help discover the joys of reading.

*Fonkoze ( is a terrific poverty-fighting organization if Haiti is on your mind, nearly a year after the earthquake. A $20 gift will send a rural Haitian child to elementary school for a year, while $50 will buy a family a pregnant goat. Or $100 supports a family for 13 weeks while it starts a business.

*Another terrific Haiti-focused organization is Partners in Health, (, founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, the Harvard Medical School professor. A $100 donation pays for enough therapeutic food (a bit like peanut butter) to treat a severely malnourished child for one month. Or $50 provides seeds, agricultural implements and training for a family to grow more food for itself.

*Panzi Hospital ( treats victims of sexual violence in eastern Congo, rape capital of the world. It’s run by Dr. Denis Mukwege, who should be a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. A $10 donation pays for transport to the hospital for a rape survivor; $100 pays for counseling and literacy and skill training for a survivor for a month.

*Camfed (, short for the Campaign for Female Education, sends girls to school in Africa and provides a broad support system for them. A $300 donation pays for a girl to attend middle school for a year in rural Zambia, and $25 sends a girl to elementary school.

*The Nurse-Family Partnership program ( is a stellar organization in the United States that works with first-time mothers to try to break the cycle of poverty. It sends nurses to at-risk women who are pregnant for the first time, continuing the visits until the child turns 2. The result seems to be less alcohol and drug abuse during pregnancy, and better child-rearing afterward, so that the children are less likely to tangle with the law even years later. A $150 gift provides periodic coaching and support for a young nurse by a senior nurse for a month.

*Edna Hospital ( is a dazzling maternity hospital in Somaliland, an area with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Edna Adan Ismail, a Somali nurse- midwife who rose in the ranks of the World Health Organization and also served as Somaliland’s foreign minister, founded the hospital with her life’s savings and supports it with her United Nations pension. A $50 gift pays for a woman to get four prenatal visits, a hospital delivery, and one postnatal visit. Or $150 pays for a lifesaving C-section for a woman in obstructed labor.


(Norton Anthology of English Literature)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sleeping with Boa

by May Swenson

I show her how to put her arms around me,   
but she’s much too small.
What’s worse, she doesn’t understand.   
although she lies beside me, sticking   
out her tongue, it’s herself she licks.

She likes my stroking hand.   
even lets me kiss.
But at my demand:
“Now, do it to me, like this,”   
she backs off with a hiss.

What’s in her little mind?
Jumping off the bed,
she shows me her behind,
but curls up on the rug instead.
I beg her to return. At first, she did,   
then went and hid

under the covers. She’s playing with my feet!   
“Oh, Boa, come back. Be sweet,
Lie against me here where I’m nice and warm.   
Settle down. Don’t claw, don’t bite.
Stay with me tonight.”
Seeming to consent, she gives a little whine.

Her deep, deep pupils meet mine   
with a look that holds a flood ...   
But not my brand.
Not at all.
what‘s worse, she’s much too small.
from: Yale Review 81, no. 2 (January 1993). Copyright 1993.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Life Story

by Tennessee Williams
After you've been to bed together for the first time,
without the advantage or disadvantage of any prior acquaintance,
the other party very often says to you,
Tell me about yourself, I want to know all about you,
what's your story? And you think maybe they really and truly do

sincerely want to know your life story, and so you light up
a cigarette and begin to tell it to them, the two of you
lying together in completely relaxed positions
like a pair of rag dolls a bored child dropped on a bed.

You tell them your story, or as much of your story
as time or a fair degree of prudence allows, and they say,
       Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, until the oh
is just an audible breath, and then of course

there's some interruption. Slow room service comes up
with a bowl of melting ice cubes, or one of you rises to pee
and gaze at himself with the mild astonishment in the bathroom mirror.
And then, the first thing you know, before you've had time
to pick up where you left off with your enthralling life story,
they're telling you their life story, exactly as they'd intended to all along,

and you're saying, Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, the vowel at last becoming
no more than an audible sigh,
as the elevator, halfway down the corridor and a turn to the left,
draws one last, long, deep breath of exhaustion
and stops breathing forever. Then?

Well, one of you falls asleep
and the other one does likewise with a lighted cigarette in his mouth,
and that's how people burn to death in hotel rooms.
from: THE COLLECTED POEMS OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, copyright 1937, 1956, 1964, 2002.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

from: Changing What We Mean

by Eloise Klein Healy  

Turning your back, you button your blouse. That’s new.
You redirect the conversation. A man
has entered it. Your therapist has given you
permission to discuss this with me, the word
you’ve been looking for in desire.
You can now say “heterosexual” with me. We mean

different things when we say it. I mean
the life I left behind forever. For you, it’s a new
beginning, a stab at being normal again, a desire
to enter the world with a man
instead of a woman, and of course, there’s the word
you won’t claim for yourself anymore, you

who have children to think of, you
who have put me in line behind them and mean
to keep the order clear. It’s really my word
against yours anymore in this new
language, in this battle over how a man
is about to enter this closed room of desire

we’ve gingerly exchanged keys to, but desire
isn’t what’s at issue anyway, you
say to me. Instead I learn a man
can protect you in a way a woman only means
to but never can, and my world is too new
when there’s real life out there, word

after word for how normal looks, each word
cutting like scissors a profile of desire—
a man facing a woman, nothing particularly new
or interesting to me. I’ve wanted only to face you
and the world simultaneously, say what I mean
with my body, my choice to not be a man,

to be a woman with you, forget the man’s
part or how his body is the word
for what touch can contain, what love means.
If this were only about desire,
you say, I’d still desire you.
But it isn’t passion we’re defining, new

consequences emerge when a man and desire
are part of the words we hurl, you
changing how you mean loving—this terrible final news.

from: Passing. Copyright 2002.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Lay of the Links

by Arthur Conan Doyle 
It’s up and away from our work to-day,
    For the breeze sweeps over the down;
And it’s hey for a game where the gorse blossoms flame,
    And the bracken is bronzing to brown.
With the turf ’neath our tread and the blue overhead,
    And the song of the lark in the whin;
There’s the flag and the green, with the bunkers between—
    Now will you be over or in?

The doctor may come, and we’ll teach him to know
    A tee where no tannin can lurk;
The soldier may come, and we’ll promise to show
    Some hazards a soldier may shirk;
The statesman may joke, as he tops every stroke,
    That at last he is high in his aims;
And the clubman will stand with a club in his hand
    That is worth every club in St. James’.

The palm and the leather come rarely together,
    Gripping the driver’s haft,
And it’s good to feel the jar of the steel
    And the spring of the hickory shaft.
Why trouble or seek for the praise of a clique?
    A cleek here is common to all;
And the lie that might sting is a very small thing
    When compared with the lie of the ball.

Come youth and come age, from the study or stage,
    From Bar or from Bench—high and low!
A green you must use as a cure for the blues—
    You drive them away as you go.
We’re outward bound on a long, long round,
    And it’s time to be up and away:
If worry and sorrow come back with the morrow,
    At least we’ll be happy to-day.

Monday, December 13, 2010

so you want to be a writer?

     by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

from: sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way. Copyright 2003.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Messy Room

by Shel Silverstein

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.
His workbook is wedged in the window,
His sweater's been thrown on the floor.
His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,
And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.
His books are all jammed in the closet,
His vest has been left in the hall.
A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,
And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.
Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
Donald or Robert or Willie or--
Huh? You say it's mine? Oh, dear,
I knew it looked familiar!

Friday, December 10, 2010


from: The Invocation to Kali

Kali, be with us.
Violence, destruction, receive our homage.
Help us to bring darkness into the light,
To lift out the pain, the anger,
Where it can be seen for what it is—
The balance-wheel for our vulnerable, aching love.
Put the wild hunger where it belongs,
Within the act of creation,
Crude power that forges a balance
Between hate and love.statue of Hindu Goddess Kali

Help us to be the always hopeful
Gardeners of the spirit
Who know that without darkness
Nothing comes to birth
As without light
Nothing flowers.

Bear the roots in mind,
You, the dark one, Kali,
Awesome power.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. 

- U.S. CONSTITUTION, Bill of Rights, Amendment IX.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter: A Dirge

by Robert Burns

The wintry west extends his blast,
  And hail and rain does blaw;
Or the stormy north sends driving forth
  The blinding sleet and snaw:
While, tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
  And roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beast in covert rest,
  And pass the heartless day.

“The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,”
  The joyless winter day
Let others fear, to me more dear
  Than all the pride of May:
The tempest’s howl, it soothes my soul,
  My griefs it seems to join;
The leafless trees my fancy please,
  Their fate resembles mine!

Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme
  These woes of mine fulfil,
Here firm I rest; they must be best,
  Because they are Thy will!
Then all I want—O do Thou grant
  This one request of mine!—
Since to enjoy Thou dost deny,
  Assist me to resign.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010


President Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy . . .

(from National Geographic)
The USS Arizona at nps . gov.
Pear harbor . com.
If you'd rather read your history in depth,
some books on Pearl Harbor.

(photo NetGlimpse . com)

Monday, December 6, 2010


"These crimes will continue [terrorist activity blamed on the school's founder] as long as Spaniards maintain the freedom to read, to teach, and to think, from which come all these anti-social monsters."

Written about Escuala Moderna (the modern school) in spain in the early 1900s, by a right wing journalist of the time: it was basically a co-educational free school that was anti-government, anti-religion, and anti-military.  They believed in science and reason and secular schools, and were shut down after about 6 years. But there's a hell of a quote about it from a right wing journalist of the time:

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Don't get me wrong. I drink tea like most people drink coffee. My pot is even programmed to have it ready for me when I crawl out of bed in the morning. 

But anyone who truly loves tea knows there is a tremendous difference between the basic, serviceable grocery store offering and the fresh, loose, black gold found in tea shops.

I ordered several varieties from English Tea Store. Their link is found at the side bar under Comforts Let's Talk Tea.

I had to pull out all the requisite tea making paraphernalia that had been languishing in the cupboard. It took more time and effort than my automatic teapot. But it was well worth it when I curled up in my leather reading chair with an heirloom china cup full of strong, smooth brew and a good book.

I was transported to another world.

Well, maybe more like another city.

I was lucky enough to have some nice quite time to read and, trust me, that doesn't happen very often around here. 

Now, I have to admit to a guilty pleasure - Castle. I enjoyed Nathan Fillion in Firefly and Serenity, so when he showed up with a new show I had to watch it. And I love it. His character is a mystery writer and he has published two novels that he "wrote." I just read them both. 

Not too bad, and fun. I heard the voices and inflections of the actors as I read them. In this case it was a good thing. And when you have a tie in with characters that you enjoy it heightens the pleasure.

The big question is who actually wrote the books. Is the ghost writer one (or more) of the show's writers? Is it one of the best selling novelists who have graced the cameo list as Castle's poker buddys?

Stephen J. Cannell (in purple shirt in photo), fictional mystery novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion, in photo at right), Michael Connelly and James Patterson.


Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks

    by Jane Kenyon

I am the blossom pressed in a book,
found again after two hundred years. . . .

I am the maker, the lover, and the keeper. . . .

When the young girl who starves
sits down to a table
she will sit beside me. . . .

I am food on the prisoner's plate. . . .

I am water rushing to the wellhead,
filling the pitcher until it spills. . . .

I am the patient gardener
of the dry and weedy garden. . . .

I am the stone step,
the latch, and the working hinge. . . .

I am the heart contracted by joy. . .
the longest hair, white
before the rest. . . .

I am there in the basket of fruit
presented to the widow. . . .

I am the musk rose opening
unattended, the fern on the boggy summit. . . .

I am the one whose love
overcomes you, already with you
when you think to call my name. . . .

from: The Boat of Quiet Hours. Copyright 1986.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


A book club blog,
launched by Freddie de Boer.

The subject is Umberto Eco's 1980 novel In The Name Of The Rose.

Freddie is hoping to have participants start reading
on December 7th.

"Winter is a season for reading, for turning inwards, into interior warmth. I mean this in the simplest sense and less speakable ones as well. It's cold out, in winter, and to curl up with a book in the light of a fire in your own hearth is wonderful. Internally, too, it's often necessary to turn inward to artificial heat and light. And the best reading for those times, I think, is reading that is intricate and varied and rewarding and, yes, labyrinthine. The Name of the Rose is a book that you can retreat into, deep for a deep winter."

"Books are not made to be believed,
but to be subjected to inquiry."



You have not heard that a thousand times.

The Changing Light     
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The changing light
                 at San Francisco
       is none of your East Coast light
                none of your
                            pearly light of Paris
The light of San Francisco
                        is a sea light
                                       an island light
And the light of fog
                   blanketing the hills
          drifting in at night
                      through the Golden Gate
                                       to lie on the city at dawn
And then the halcyon late mornings
       after the fog burns off
            and the sun paints white houses
                                    with the sea light of Greece
                 with sharp clean shadows  
                       making the town look like
                                it had just been painted

But the wind comes up at four o'clock
                                     sweeping the hills

And then the veil of light of early evening

And then another scrim
                  when the new night fog
                                        floats in
And in that vale of light
                      the city drifts
                                    anchorless upon the ocean

from: How to Paint Sunlight. Copyright © 2000.

In 1994, San Francisco renamed a street in his honor. He was also named the first Poet Laureate of San Francisco in 1998. In 2000, he received the lifetime achievement award from the National Book Critics Circle. Currently, Ferlinghetti writes a weekly column for the San Francisco Chronicle. He also continues to operate the City Lights bookstore, and he travels frequently to participate in literary conferences and poetry readings. - Poets . org.

Friday, December 3, 2010


hosted by THE BIG PICTURE.

As usual, click on the image to embiggen.

close up on the smiling 3/4 profile of the wrinkled face of an old woman
A Wrinkle in Time. 
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 
(Photo and caption by Nikki Krecicki)

erupting volcano at night under full moon

Pure Elements. 
I drove my 4x4 over rivers to get a view of the Volcano eruption at "Fimmvorduhals" in Iceland. It was a full moon and strong winds gave me problems standing still outside the truck. I had my camera with me and zoom lens but no tripod, suddenly there was a magical moment, I was experiencing a display of nature rarely seen by man. I found my camera with the zoom lens, rushed out of the truck, trying to fight the strong wind. I pushed the camera on to the hood of the truck trying to stand still, holding my breath, I shot 30 frames, and only one shot was good. 
(Photo and caption by Olafur Ragnarsson)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Archaic Torso of Apollo

- Rilke

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,
gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.
Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:
would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Rates of new HIV infections are slowing, but what now?

. . . putting human rights approaches at the centre of the response is crucial to further progress.

“Prioritizing the rights people need to avoid exposure to infection, enabling people living with HIV to live with respect and dignity and protecting the rights of those who are marginalized or vulnerable is really what we're talking about when we mention human rights approaches,” says Allyson Leacock, chair of the World AIDS Campaign's Global Steering Committee, “raising rights awareness among key populations – such as women, youth, people who use drugs – is essential to the future of the HIV response.”

picture of light bulb with text keep the light on HIV and human rights


"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake,"