Friday, November 30, 2012

Quote of the Day

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
- Charles Darwin.

We Have Needed This for a Very Long Time!

The Museum of 

Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art

"The Knitted Brain"
 by Karen Norberg. 
On loan to the Boston Museum of Science.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Strive to excell

I Went for a Virtual Walk to Check in on Some Friends, and . . .

I stopped by Regular Rumination where Lu had posted some questions along with her the answers.
She then tossed out a few of her own questions for others to answer, so I thought I'd take the challenge.

Here goes nothing . . .

1. Is there anyone in your life who made you a reader? Who influenced your reading?
I think the most influential people in my life were my grandparents (both sets), immigrants who hadn't gotten beyond the sixth grade. Their homes were full of books and they were always reading. My parents, grew up in that tradition and our house was also full to overflowing with books. They were everywhere.  Reading was never something they told us we had to do, it was just something that was modeled for us as something everyone did. Frankly, I was surprised when I got to school and found that not only did everyone not do it, they didn't even want to!
2. Name one experience you had reading that changed your perspective on something.
This is a hard one. I credit reading with giving me the ability to see things from perspectives far different from my own, for strengthening my critical thinking skills, and for helping me to more readily empathize with others.

That being said, Reading regularly changes my perspectives. Reading the cogent offerings of intelligent conservative and evangelical writers has proven to me that the screeching, intolerant, hate-filled far right is only a small (albeit loud) group. Disagreement and debate are not bad things when they move us toward better caring for ourselves and others.
3. What was the most beautiful reading experience you had?
When I was young I would spend hours outside under our giant weeping willow tree. Its canopy spread wide enough and hung far enough down that it created an enclosed room. As the sun moved across the sky it sent dappled light playing through the leaves.

Reading was my first love. It transported me to countless worlds, introduced me to countless marvelous people, and expanded my life exponentially. The space beneath that tree became a magical place of dreams, and gave me many beautiful reading experiences.
4. If you could have any all-consuming hobby other than reading and blogging, what would it be?
Gardening. I have always loved working in my garden. It fuels my writing as well as the rest of my life. But physical disability has vastly curtailed both the time I can spend in the garden and the activities I am able to do, so I cherish the little time I am able to putter.
5. Tell me your favorite song right now. (Totally selfish – I would like new music to listen to.)
Sorry. Not up to date in that department. I was just listening to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." That song always goes directly to the core of me for some reason. I'm a Blues fan and listen to both Clapton and the many old Blues guys who influenced and inspired him.
6. Which character have you most identified with? The one character who, when you read about them, seemed eerily similar to you?
Mary Lennox. I was very young when I read "The secret Garden," but it touched me deeply. As a poor, bookish tomboy living in an upscale neighborhood, I felt very much the outsider. For years, I was Mary. I guess I romanticized her life as being so much better than mine for some reason. And then there was that happy ending thing. I knew she had one. I hoped I would too.
7. Because I want everyone to answer Claire’s final question: What is your favorite poem right now?

My favorite poem? That changes often. But it just as often changes back to this one by Emily Dickinson. The quality of light can take me to another time and place, and bring back old memories as if they were fresh. Sometimes this is wonderful, others, not so much. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

light shining into a dark room through leaded glass window
 A certain Slant of Light

There's a certain slant of light,
On winter afternoons,
That oppresses, like the weight
Of cathedral tunes.

Heavenly hurt it gives us;
We can find no scar,
But internal difference
Where the meanings are.

None may teach it anything,
'Tis the seal, despair,-
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.

When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This Beautiful Prayer for Those in Gaza and Israel . . .

was written by Rabbi (and poet) Rachel Barenblat, who writes the blog Velveteen Rabbi.
 On her site are notes and links that deepen the meaning and experience of the prayer.

Prayer for the Children of Abraham / Ibrahim

For every aspiring ballerina huddled
scared in a basement bomb shelter

    For every toddler in his mother's arms
    behind rubble of concrete and rebar

For every child who's learned to distinguish
"our" bombs from "their" bombs by sound

    For everyone wounded, cowering, frightened
    and everyone furious, planning for vengeance

For the ones who are tasked with firing shells
where there are grandmothers and infants

    For the ones who fix a rocket's parabola
    toward children on school playgrounds

For every official who sees shelling Gaza
as a matter of "cutting the grass"

    And every official who approves launching projectiles
    from behind preschools or prayer places
For every kid taught to lob a bomb with pride
And every kid sickened by explosions

    For every teenager who considers
    "martyrdom" his best hope for a future:

May the God of compassion and the God of mercy
God of justice and God of forgiveness

    God Who shaped creation in Her tender womb
    and nurses us each day with blessing

God Who suffers the anxiety and pain
of each of His unique children

    God Who yearns for us to take up
    the work of perfecting creation

God Who is reflected in those who fight
and in those who bandage the bleeding --

    May our Father, Mother, Beloved, Creator
    cradle every hurting heart in caring hands.

Soon may we hear in the hills of Judah
and the streets of Jerusalem

    in the olive groves of the West Bank
    and the apartment blocks of Gaza City

in the kibbutz fields of the Negev
and the neighborhoods of Nablus

    the voice of fighters who have traded weapons
    for books and ploughs and bread ovens

the voice of children on swings and on slides
singing nonsense songs, unafraid

    the voice of reconciliation and new beginnings
    in our day, speedily and soon.

And let us say:


Quote of the Day

I sure hope all these things I'm posting don't end up on the Internet.

- Abraham Lincoln.

Just . . .WOW!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quote of the Day

Monsters are real, ghosts are real too. 
They live inside us, and sometimes . . . they win.

- Stephen King. 

Let There Be . . . LOL . . . ?

detail of Sistine chapel with Adam holding a kitten

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kilt Monday!

Because let's face it, Mondays are hard rough difficult. 

Quote of the Day

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

- Carl Sagan 

Sunday, November 25, 2012


     - Emily Brontë
The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing dear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.


Brought to us by Booking in Heels, THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN Book Challenge for 2012 pushed me in directions I don't usually choose. When left to my own devices, for pleasure I tend to head straight for the mysteries. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen started as a graphic novel by Alan Moore (of Watchmen fame) featuring various classic book characters with the movie following in 2003. 

Here is my first set of reviews, 6 of the 9 books in the challenge.
Dracula by Bram Stoker  

Some of the reviews for this on are absolutely hilarious, or sad, depending on your point of view. I'll leave you to discover them for yourself, but here is an excerpt from: A. Barry "THE reviewer" (Elk Grove, CA) "What a terrible read. I couldn't stand it for long, so I started skimming through the thing. Turns out the vampire in this book is an old guy, and he lives in a castle! What?! Any vampire fan knows that vampires roam the streets of upper middle class suburbia and high schools. Whoever this Bram Stoker guy is, it's quite clear that he doesn't know a thing on vampires, and his attempt to cash in on the vampire craze is indeed a failure."
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea - Jules Verne    

Rediscovering an old friend is always a great way to pass the time. I think I was only twelve or thirteen when I last took a trip on the Nautilus with Captain Nemo. Beats the Love Boat hands down!
 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (ebook)   

I must confess to once having a crush, not on Tom, but on his life. As a bookish tomboy I loved the idea of adventure. As an adult, slowed by time and circumstances, I still love the idea of adventure. But the powerful social commentary looms much larger than it did when I was a naive teen.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson (ebook)    

This book never fails to make me think deep thoughts about heavy subjects. You know, our true natures, the fragments of our psyches, scary green men. Sorry, I just watched Marvel's The Avengers. (loved it)

Actually, Dr. Banner and his friend do relate to this story but I'm sorry, this is not the place for such deep thoughts.

The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux    

I was expecting beautiful music but there wasn't a note to be heard. As you can see, books do occasionally have their drawbacks but I still prefer the book to the movie. 
The Final Problem from The Complete Sherlock Holmes 
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (ebook)

A perennial favorite of mine is Sherlock Holmes. This particular short story by Dr. Watson unites Holmes, Moriarty, and the Reichenbach Falls. 

Reading this story again has gotten me to thinking. Have you noticed how fast paced today's mysteries are? We are so used to crimes being solved with cell phones, computers, fast cars, and guns, that it seems so strange when our sleuths are writing letters and walking or riding in carriages.

                                          Sorry, got side tracked again.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Quote of the Day

Every time you eat, drink, or draw a breath, you are demonstrating that you are not a self-contained unit. Your skin might give you a sense of boundaries, but in reality you are interconnected not only with others, but with all creation.

You are an organism in an environment, vitally connected and utterly dependent on resources outside yourself – elements and minerals; chemical, biological, geological, and even astrophysical processes; friends, family, mentors, public servants; ecological, social, political, and economic systems.

Your story flows from and into a million other stories; it’s hard to know where your story ends and others begin. … Ingratitude makes us foolishly forget the fragility of our skin and proudly deny our interdependency and interconnectedness. … You can see how essential the practice of gratitude must be.

To Dorothy

     - Marvin Bell
field of green grass under a deep blue sky
You are not beautiful, exactly.
You are beautiful, inexactly.
You let a weed grow by the mulberry
and a mulberry grow by the house.
So close, in the personal quiet
of a windy night, it brushes the wall
and sweeps away the day till we sleep.

A child said it, and it seemed true:
"Things that are lost are all equal."
But it isn't true. If I lost you,
the air wouldn't move, nor the tree grow.
Someone would pull the weed, my flower.
The quiet wouldn't be yours. If I lost you,
I'd have to ask the grass to let me sleep.

from: Nightworks: Poems 1962-2000. Copyright 2000. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

They're Talking About MY Blog . . .

Footprint on Your Heart

     - Gary Lenhart
footprints in the sand
Someone will walk into your life,
Leave a footprint on your heart,
Turn it into a mudroom cluttered
With encrusted boots, children's mittens,
Scratchy scarves—
Where you linger to unwrap 
Or ready yourself for rough exits 
Into howling gales or onto 
Frozen car seats, expulsions
Into the great outdoors where touch
Is muffled, noses glisten,
And breaths stab,
So that when you meet someone
Who is leaving your life
You will be able to wave stiff
Icy mitts and look forward
To an evening in spring
When you can fold winter away
Until your next encounter with
A chill so numbing you strew
The heart's antechamber
With layers of rural garble.
from: The World in a Minute. Copyright 2010. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I Am Thankful

I am thankful for our soldiers, who put themselves on the line without hesitation or relief. May you you find peace and support with your loved ones as quickly as possible.

I am thankful for our peace officers, who strive to hold themselves to both the letter and the spirit of the law to truly serve and protect all. May you flourish in light and grace ..

I am thankful for our fire fighters, who rush into hells that others flee. May your angels always be at your side, wrapping you in their protective wings.

I am thankful for our emergency responders, who give their all no matter the situation in which they find themselves.  May you be cloaked in the the love and gratitude of those you've touched.

I am thankful for our educators, who struggle against every foe that they may prepare our children to achieve the best of their potential. May your fulfillment also be your security.

I am thankful for our care takers who endeavor to refill the cups of others, often at the expense of their own. If ever it is in my capacity to lighten your load, I hope that I have the strength of character to do so. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Do You Have Any Quirky Thanksgiving Traditions?

drawing of the outline of a hand colored to look like a turkey

We do.

Arlo Guthrie's "Thanksgiving Day Massacre." You know, "Alice's Restaurant." It sparks laughter, heart to heart talks, and memories.

I hope you are all warm and well fed, but mostly, I hope you are happy. May you have much for which to be thankful, and pass on what good fortune you can.

And now,
I'd like to share our tradition with you:


        - W. S. Merwin
with the night falling we are saying thank you 
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings 
we are running out of the glass rooms 
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky 
and say thank you 
we are standing by the water thanking it 
smiling by the windows looking out 
in our directions 

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging 
after funerals we are saying thank you 
after the news of the dead 
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you 
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators 
remembering wars and the police at the door 
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you 
in the banks we are saying thank you 
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us 
our lost feelings we are saying thank you 
with the forests falling faster than the minutes 
of our lives we are saying thank you 
with the words going out like cells of a brain 
with the cities growing over us 
we are saying thank you faster and faster 
with nobody listening we are saying thank you 
we are saying thank you and waving 
dark though it is

from: Migration: New & Selected Poems. Copyright 1988. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thank You . . .

Please join me in reaching out to others in need in this holiday season.

There are charities which directly benefit Victims of domestic violence and charities which directly benefit Needy classrooms. InforUm Promotes a Nationwide Dialogue About Housing, Poverty, and Homelessness. Register to volunteer in disaster recovery at There is also Habitat For Humanity, and VolunteerMatch which can help you get started. 

These are just a few of the many opportunities available. Other possibilities can be found under my 'Reach Out' tab.

Post Traumatic Book Syndrome?

Around Us

          - Marvin Bell

We need some pines to assuage the darkness
when it blankets the mind,
we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly
as a plane's wing, and a worn bed of 
needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,
and a blur or two of a wild thing
that sees and is not seen. We need these things
between appointments, after work,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
lying down after a walk
and supper, with the fire hole wet down,
the whole night sky set at a particular
time, without numbers or hours, will cause
a little sound of thanks--a zipper or a snap--
to close round the moment and the thought
of whatever good we did.

from: Rampant. Copyright 2004.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Kilt Monday!

Because let's face it, Mondays are hard rough difficult. 


  - Eve Alexandra
explosion of different flowers at a flower stand with a symphony of colors
They are everywhere--those sunflowers with the coal heart center. They riot 
without speaking, huge, wet mouths caught at half-gasp, half-kiss.
Flowers she promises I’ll grow into, sweet gardener,
long luminous braids I’d climb like ladders, freckles scattered 
across our shoulders in a spell of pollen. She’s sleeping there--on that table
with its veneer slick as a glass coffin. She’s fed us fiddleheads, the tine fists
of Brussels sprouts, cupcakes, even the broken song of the deer’s neck. Singing.
Flowers everywhere. In my bedroom chaste daisies and the vigilance
of chrysanthemums. Dirt under my nails, pressing my cheek to the shag rug
with its million fingers. You could lose anything: a tooth, Barbie’s shoe,
this prayer. She loves me. She loves me not. I stare at my reflection, 
a posy of wishes. Morning glory, nightshade, tulip, rhododendron.
In this poem I would be the Wicked Witch and she Snow White. Waiting.
My father talks to me about their lovemaking. My mouth empty
as a lily. I try to remember the diagram. Which is the pistil?
Which is the stamen? Roads of desire circle our house: Lost Nation Severance,
Poor Farm. Branches catch the wings of my nightgown.
There is a crow and the smell of blackberries. 

from: The Drowned Girl.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Everyone Has Needs . . .

Here’s a great chance to do something for someone in need – even if you can only do a very little. Please check it out.

The concept of Holiday hands is simple. It is this: This holiday, I would rather my kids have three presents and your kids have three presents than my kids have six presents and yours have none.

That’s all.

The concept of Holiday Hands is SMALL. This is not a Love Flash Mob. We will not be building homes or paying off medical bills or purchasing vehicles.

We will be buying a helmet for a stranger’s son. We will be sending some trendy leg warmers to a preteen who’s mama doesn’t have STYLE in the budget this year. We might be providing a holiday meal for a family who wouldn’t have been able to fill every belly at the table otherwise. We might be covering Christmas or Hanukkah gifts for Sandy families so they can focus on rebuilding.

These sorts of things. Small things with great love. THAT IS WHAT WE ARE ABOUT HERE. SMALL things. We can each give or accept something small from a stranger this holiday season. From a fellow citizen. We can prove to each other that LOVE WINS.

Where Go the Boats?

- Robert Louis Stevenson

 rushing river with trees close by
Dark brown is the river.   
  Golden is the sand.   
It flows along for ever,   
  With trees on either hand.   
Green leaves a-floating,        
  Castles of the foam,   
Boats of mine a-boating—   
  Where will all come home?   
On goes the river   
  And out past the mill,   
Away down the valley,   
  Away down the hill.   
Away down the river,   
  A hundred miles or more,   
Other little children   
  Shall bring my boats ashore.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Few Words from a Concientious Objector in the War on the War on Christmas

It's starting again: manufactured outrage over holiday greetings.

I live in an area with wonderful people from all over the world and they hold many different beliefs. There are Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Wiccans, and many others. There are also non-believers. 

I say "Have a wonderful holiday," because there are a number of holidays celebrated at this time of year and, contrary to what some believe, you can't know everybody's religion just by looking at them.

Freedom of speech and Freedom of religion aside, it's about respecting other people. You know, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

So please join with me in wishing health and happiness to others in this holiday season, especially those whose lives have been touched by war and natural disaster. Perhaps a few dollars given to your favorite charity, or some time spent volunteering at a local shelter or food bank can help ease another's suffering. And that is my understanding of "the reason for the season."

holly branch

Have a Wonderful Holiday
I hope your new year is filled with love and peace and happiness

If you are curious about the many different holidays celebrated this time of year, or any time,
here are two holiday calendars. Take your pick: Calendar #1 & Calendar #2

What's Wrong With This Picture? . . . Anyone . . .

History of Hurricanes

     - Teresa Cader

hurricane cloud from above
Because we cannot know—

we plant crops, make love in the light of our not-knowing

A Minuteman prods cows from the Green with his musket,
his waxed paper windows snapping in the wind,
stiletto stalks in the herb garden upright—Now

blown sideways—Now weighted down in genuflection,

not toward,

And a frail man holding an Imari teacup paces at daybreak
     in his courtyard in Kyoto

a cherry tree petaling the stones pink and slippery 
     in the weeks he lay feverish

waiting for word from the doctor, checking for signs—Now

in the season of earthenware sturdiness and dependency
     it must begin, the season of his recovery

No whirling dervish on the radar, no radar, no brackets
no voices warning—no Voice—fugue of trees, lightning

Because we cannot know, we imagine

What will happen to me without you?

I know some things I remember—

the Delaware River two stories high inside the brick houses
cars floating past Trenton like a regiment on display
brown water climbing our basement stairs two at a time

Like months of remission—
          the eye shifts

the waxed paper windows
         burst behind the flapping shutters—

and how could he save his child after that calm,
a man who'd never seen a roof sheared off?

Across town the ninth graders in their cutoffs:
Science sucks, they grouse. Stupid History of hurricanes.

No one can remember one;

velocity, storm surge—
the earth churns as Isabel rips through Buzzard's Bay

A hurricane, as one meaning has it:
a large crowded assembly of fashionable people at a private house

The river cannot remember its flooding—
           I worry you will forget to check
   the watermarks in time

An echo of feet on stone is all the neighbors
            knew of their neighbor,
   a lover of cherry trees

and of his wife who prayed for him at the shrine,
her hair swept up in his favorite onyx comb

from: History of Hurricanes. Copyright 2009.

Friday, November 16, 2012

a woman had placed

- Anne Blonstein
                  after jorge luis borges

a yellow rose
in a hotel glass
the man had kissed her
on the neck
had kissed her
on the mouth

but these kisses belonged to yesterday
there would be no moment
of revernalization

yellow roses came from china
open in may before our hybrids
unfold pink rugosities and baroque scent
expose dusty fissured yellow pearls

from: Hairpin Loop. Copyright 2007.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day is today!

I know you've all been waiting anxiously, 

so best wishes
From my fridge to yours

An Old Man's Winter Night

      - Robert Frost

looking out an old window in winter
All out-of-doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him—at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off;—and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon—such as she was,
So late-arising—to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man—one man—can't keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How's Your Week Going?

Little Lion Face

by May Swenson
Little lion face
I stopped to pick
among the mass of thick
succulent blooms, the twice

streaked flanges of your silk
sunwheel relaxed in wide
dilation, I brought inside,
placed in a vase.  Milk

of your shaggy stem
sticky on my fingers, and
your barbs hooked to my hand,
sudden stings from them 

were sweet.  Now I'm bold
to touch your swollen neck,
put careful lips to slick
petals, snuff up gold

pollen in your navel cup.
Still fresh before night
I leave you, dawn's appetite
to renew our glide and suck.

An hour ahead of sun
I come to find you.  You're
twisted shut as a burr,
neck drooped unconscious,

an inert, limp bundle,
a furled cocoon, your
sun-streaked aureole
eclipsed and dun.

Strange feral flower asleep
with flame-ruff wilted,
all magic halted,
a drink I pour, steep

in the glass for your
undulant stem to suck.
Oh, lift your young neck,
open and expand to your

lover, hot light.
Gold corona, widen to sky.
I hold you lion in my eye
sunup until night.

from: In Other Words: New Poems. Copyright 1987. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Frozen Heat - Richard Castle   

Yes. I am a Castle fan. Yes, I read the books written by the lead character. And yes, you read that right. It is lead character, not lead actor. Also, if it is still not apparent, I really enjoy them. 

I posted about the franchise a couple of years ago and this is the fourth and latest book in in the series. It was as good as the others if not better. "Richard" seems to be hitting his stride with the voice of the novel. Or maybe I'm just settled in. Either way, I liked it.

I've noticed that the initial furor over who was actual, real life the writer behind "Richard Castle" has died down a bit, but I sometimes still wonder. Not that it really matters. I will continue reading.


      - Carl Sandburg
overview of late summer garden
The blossoms of lilac, 
  And shattered, 
The atoms of purple. 
Green dip the leaves,       
  Darker the bark, 
Longer the shadows. 
Sheer lines of poplar 
Shimmer with masses of silver 
And down in a garden old with years        
And broken walls of ruin and story, 
Roses rise with red rain-memories. 
  In the open world 
The sun comes and finds your face,        
  Remembering all.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kilt Monday!

Because let's face it, Mondays are hard rough difficult. 

Happy Birthday Elizabeth

November 12, 1815

Elizabeth Cady Stanton   
                                       and daughter Harriot

She was an Abolitionist and Women's Suffrage Activist among other things, all while raising seven children! (I need to sit down)

My favorite of her writings is Solitude of Self (text),
and The Women's Bible (text) (source) is also a wonderful piece of scholarship.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest We Forget

Has there been a generation in recent memory to grow up without war, (or police action) its build up, or aftermath? Perhaps one day we can answer that question with a resounding Yes!

But until that time, let us remember all those who answered the call of service . . .                        

For the Fallen
- Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children, 
England mourns for her dead across the sea. 
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit, 
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal 
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres. 
There is a music in the midst of desolation 
And a glory that shines upon our tears. 

They went with songs to the battle, they were young, 
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. 
They were staunch to the end against odds uncountered: 
They fell with their faces to the foe. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them. 

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; 
They sit no more at familiar tables at home; 
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; 
They sleep beyond England's foam. 

But where our desires are and our hopes profound, 
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight, 
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known 
As the stars are known to the Night; 

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, 
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain; 
As the stars are starry in the time of our darkness, 
To the end, to the end they remain. 

First published in 1914.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Herb Garden

- Timothy Steele
gecko on sandstone               "And these, small, unobserved . . . " - Janet Lewis

The lizard, an exemplar of the small,
Spreads fine, adhesive digits to perform
Vertical push-ups on a sunny wall;
Bees grapple spikes of lavender, or swarm
The dill's gold umbels and low clumps of thyme.
Bored with its trellis, a resourceful rose
Has found a nearby cedar tree to climb
And to festoon with floral furbelows.

Though the great, heat-stunned sunflower looks half-dead
The way it, shepherd's crook-like, hangs its head,
The herbs maintain their modest self-command:
Their fragrances and colors warmly mix
While, quarrying between the pathway’s bricks,
Ants build minute volcanoes out of sand.
from: Toward the Winter Solstice.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quote of the Day

For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.

Happy Birthday!

Erotic Energy

- Chase Twichell

tropical colored chrysanthemum
Don't tell me we're not like plants,
sending out a shoot when we need to,
or spikes, poisonous oils, or flowers.

Come to me but only when I say,
that's how plants announce

the rules of propagation.
Even children know this. You can
see them imitating all the moves

with their bright plastic toys.
So that, years later, at the moment

the girl's body finally says yes
to the end of childhood,
a green pail with an orange shovel

will appear in her mind like a tropical
blossom she has never seen before.

from: The Snow Watcher. Copyright 1998.