Saturday, March 31, 2012

Make SUPPORT OUR TROOPS More Than Just a Bumper Sticker.

Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.

"The spirit of service and selflessness that is seen in military communities across our country represents what is best about America, and as a Nation we owe our brave service members and their families more than gratitude - we owe them the support they have earned. Joining Forces will ask all Americans to take action, because each of us has a role to play in reconnecting with military families in our communities." 
-- First Lady Michelle Obama

Just some examples of ways to take action for 
America's military families:


Find Service Opportunities - Search for service opportunities by zip code or interest and take action in your community.

Pledge Service Hours - Pledge service hours in honor of the service military families, veterans and service members.

Send Your Message of Thanks - A simple act of kindness can mean so much. Say thanks to a military family today.

Share Your Story of Support - How are you serving our nation’s military families? Tell us your story.

Start Your Own Volunteer Project - Have an idea to support military families in your community? Create a project and invite others to join.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Four Ages of Man

 - W.B. Yeats

4 ages of man, baby, youth, adult, old man

He with body waged a fight,
But body won; it walks upright.

Then he struggled with the heart;
Innocence and peace depart.

Then he struggled with the mind;
His proud heart he left behind.

Now his wars on God begin;
At stroke of midnight God shall win.


The Station Master - Luisa Buehler   

And the saga continues . . . Well, it's not the same saga exactly, new murders and all. But the sub plots that weave in and around the main one connect back to the last book.

It's comfortable and familiar at the same time it presents its new mystery.

I am really enjoying the series. Can you tell?

NOTE: These are not, in any way, meant to be comprehensive reviews.  
They are intended to acknowledge that I have read the book and give my honest core impressions. 

If a real review is what you wish, there are many wonderful book blogs available, and I have provided some tools to find them under the tab marked "Useful."

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Quote of the Day

rolled scroll of constitution with the wordes WE THE PEOPLE

[I]t is the sacred duty of any democratic government - as the servant of We, the People - to recognize the inherent worth of every citizen, to treat each person with respect and to use the social conscience intrinsic to the spirit of democracy to act on behalf of the disenfranchised. 

 Occupying Democracy: A Moral Revolution for Social Justice.

Bad News Seems Endless These Days.

Adrienne Rich black and white picture

As nine government employees with single payer insurance debate depriving the majority of Americans of the protections afforded by the Affordable Care Act, one of my favorite poets left us.

Adrienne Rich, feminist poet and essayist, has died. - NYT.

Thank you for lending us your voice
 for as long as you did.

Dreams before Waking

Despair is the question
 - Elie Wiesel  

Hasta tu pais cambio. Lo has cambiado tu mismo.
- Nancy Morejon

Despair falls:
the shadow of a building
they are raising in the direct path
of your slender ray of sunlight
Slowly the steel girders grow
the skeletal framework rises
yet teh western light still filters
through it all
still glances off the plastic sheeting
they wrap around it
for dead of winter.

At the end of winter something changes
a faint subtraction
from consolations you expected
an innocent brilliance that does not come
through the flower shops set out
once again on teh pagement
their pots of tight-budded sprays
the bunches of jonquils stiff with cold
and at such a price
though someone must buy them
you study those hues as if with hunger

Despair falls
like the day you come home
from work, a summer evening
transparent with rose-blue light
and see they are filling in
the framework
the girders are rising
beyond your window
that seriously you live
in a different place
though you have never moved

and will not move, not yet
but will give away
your potted plants ot a friend
on the other side of town
along with the cut crystal
flashing in the window-frame
will forget the evenings
of watching the street, the sky
the planes in the feathered afterglow:
will learn to feel grateful simply for this foothold
where still you can manage
to go on paying rent

where still you can believe
it's the old neighborhood:
even the woman who sleeps at night
in the barred doorway -- wasn't she always there?
and the man glancing, darting
for food in the supermarket trash --
when did his hunger come to this?
what made the diffence?
what will make it for you?

What will make it for you?
you don't want to know the stages
and those who go through them don't want to tell
You have your four locks on the door
your savings, your respectable past
your strangely querulous body, suffering
sicknesses of the city no one can name
You have your pride, your bitterness
your memories of sunset
you think you can make it straight through
you don't speak of despair.

What would it mean to live
in a city whose people were changing
each other's despair into hope? --
You yourself must change it. --
what would it feel like to know
your country was canging? --
You yourself must change it. --
Though your life felt arduous
new and unmapped and strange
what would it mean to stand on the first
page to the end of despair? 


The Lion Tamer - Luisa Buehler  

Let's see . . . Interesting plot ... check. Compellingly woven continuing subplots ... check. Likeable characters ... check. Surprises along the way ... check.

Enough to keep me reading ... yes, I think so. It came in at 236 pages longer than the first and I hardly noticed.

So if you'll excuse me, kettle's calling. Well, that and the next in the series . . . The Station Master.

NOTE: These are not, in any way, meant to be comprehensive reviews.  
They are intended to acknowledge that I have read the book and give my honest core impressions. 

If a real review is what you wish, there are many wonderful book blogs available, and I have provided some tools to find them under the tab marked "Useful."

Go Ahead and Reblog This.

You never know who might need it. 

 (I lost the original link for this post, but many thanks to those who first put it together.)

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433

LifeLine: 1-800-273-8255

Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

Sexuality Support: 1-800-246-7743

Eating Disorders Hotline: 1-847-831-3438

Rape and Sexual Assault: 1-800-656-4673

Runaway: 1-800-843-5200, 1-800-843-5678, 1-800-621-4000

Exhale: After Abortion Hotline/Pro-Voice: 1-866-4394253

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In other words, sooner or later, everybody is going to have to eat their "broccoli."

chopped broccoli
But some people are going to get their "broccoli" for free while others will be paying extra for their "broccoli" because they’re covering the "broccoli" costs of all those freeloaders. 

Moreover, people all over the country are being bankrupted by the high cost of "broccoli" because they didn’t buy it when it was cheap but waited until they needed it. 

All of this is happening because there doesn’t exist a free market for "broccoli"; rather, that market is being controlled by middle men who’ve rigged the system to deny "broccoli" to those who need it most. 

Clearly then, the Congress has the needed authority - even the duty - to promote a fairer and more even playing field for consumers of "broccoli" by using its powers under the Commerce Clause to direct us all to buy "broccoli" - or to pay a "broccoli" fine - so that it’s available to us when we inevitably need it.
- Once again,
 with apologies to Andrew Sullivan and The Dish.

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

     - W.B. Yeats

two feet on a purple heart of rock in the stone walkway
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams.

For Anyone Who's Ever Gotten Caught Up In a Comment Thread . . .

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

POETRY: Read More, Blog More #3

I've been thinking a lot about Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's own." Yes, I realize that Virginia and her writing have nothing to do with poetry, but making a space 'your own' decidedly does.

My own "room" is about the size of a postage stamp. It is a functioning office for household management, a small business, and my career as a tutor, which makes me an independent contractor with its attendant paperwork. It also acts as nexus for my writing, and of course, this vital and terribly significant Blog, (averaging 150 hits a day!).
It may seem that squeezing that massive amount of function into such a tiny room would leave little space for comfort and warmth.

But Au contraire, mon ami. (That's French for nu uh)

When you're a bibliophile, my friends, decorating is not really that difficult. Book cases - bulging, surprise laden book cases - make any room.

"Still," I hear you saying, "Not. poetry."

We'll get there. I promise. But 'till then, stay close folks. Oh, and make a left here.

The anthologies on my shelves pay tribute to my days at university. (English teacher, here) They include the usual basic literary cannon fodder (see what I did there!?) but because of a wonderfully progressive and diverse faculty, my collection goes way beyond the basic OWM (old white men).

The jewel like seeds from my anthologies have, with the help of online used book "stores," germinated into fruit that spills abundantly from myriad countries, cultures, and times into all the rooms of my tiny home.

I've obviously found a way to survive the drought caused by the closing of our town's last book store.

OK. Here's the path again to your right.

My love of poetry has helped my collection to quietly overtake my office. One by one, authors slip out of tight fitting and restrictive anthologies to make themselves comfortable on the poetry book shelves. Greeting earlier arrivals and fitting in easily, they stake out their new territory.

And when I sit back in my reading chair in this sunny little room, I find myself surrounded by friends. Their easily accessible words comfort, admonish, amuse, and educate. They also help to make this space truly my own, a space to retreat, rewind, refill, and renew.

A room of my own.

My favorite wall decor? Book cases, overflowing and interspersed with treasured keepsakes gathered through the years.

Is there a poem that celebrates this love of books? Don't be silly. There's a poem for just about any occasion you could want.

Once again, Miss Emily Dickinson obliges us with a verse that captures the thought.

There is no frigate like a book
    - Emily Dickinson

There is no Frigate like a Book  
To take us Lands away,  
Nor any Coursers like a Page  
Of prancing Poetry –   
This Traverse may the poorest take         
Without oppress of Toll –   
How frugal is the Chariot  
That bears a Human soul.

A little library, growing larger every year, is an honorable part of a man's history. It is a man's duty to have books. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessaries of life.
 - Henry Ward Beecher