• Archives

  • Topics

  • Meta

  • Escort Duty

  • Via Serica

    Via Serica
  • Tales of the Minivandians

    Tales of the Minivandians
  • Join the NRA

    Join the NRA!

A Year of Poetry – Day 157

Round about the city rests. The illuminated streets grow

Quiet, and coaches rush along, adorned with torches.

Men go home to rest, filled with the day’s pleasures;

Busy minds weigh up profit and loss contentedly

At home. The busy marketplace comes to rest,

Vacant now of flowers and grapes and crafts.

But the music of strings sounds in distant gardens:

Perhaps lovers play there, or a lonely man thinks

About distant friends, and about his own youth.

Rushing fountains flow by fragrant flower beds,

Bells ring softly in the twilight air, and a watchman

Calls out the hour, mindful of the time.

Now a breeze rises and touches the crest of the grove —

Look how the moon, like the shadow of our earth,

Also rises stealthily! Phantastical night comes,

Full of stars, unconcerned probably about us —

Astonishing night shines, a stranger among humans,

Sadly over the mountain tops, in splendor.

— Friedrich Holderlin, Bread and Wine

Musings

  • Tonight, the first debate between the two major party nominees will occur.
    • Donald Trump will probably spend the evening trying to convince the American voter that he is a decent, competent human being.
    • Hillary Clinton will probably spend the evening trying to convince the American voter that she is human.
  • Since these modern debates are all about perception rather than reality, I’m sure that the Trump campaign has spent a lot of time figuring out how many lights to use, the intensity to set them to, and which hues will make their man look less like a carrot.
    • Mrs. Clinton’s team has probably brought in a rocket scientist to try to figure out how many warming lamps will be necessary to keep her upright after the sun goes down.
  • Donald Trump doesn’t have a hair on his ass if one of his retorts isn’t “Hillary, you ignorant slut!
  • Lester Holt will go way up in my estimations of him if he introduces Mr. Trump as “Donald Trump and his cranium squirrel” and Mrs. Clinton as “Patient Zero”.
  • In all seriousness, Mr. Trump will gain a lot of points if, in the event that Mrs. Clinton has a coughing fit, he pours a glass of water and offers it to her.
    • Of course, that’s assuming that he can wrap his hands around the carafe without help, and that she won’t start screaming about melting.
  • We went to a wedding on Saturday, and it was great to see so many family and friends.
    • It was held at a brandy distillery.
    • There was an open bar.
    • No, I did not take pictures. I choose life.
    • Irish Woman now has a new tipple that will warm her heart when the sun only makes brief appearances every day.
      • At $40 a bottle, it better.
  • At a cross-country meet on Saturday, it occurred to me that the winners of the races for the younger children all seemed to be the smaller children, who ran the course as if they were storming Hamburger Hill.
  • Boo went to a birthday party on Saturday.
    • It included several zip lines, multiple bouncy houses, a pool, and many other distractions for the little tykes.
    • Meanwhile, in the event that Boo has a birthday party next spring, I’m going to try to do it somewhere that doesn’t cost more than a house payment and we have to do as little work as possible.
  • I’m pretty sure that Irish Woman would be more rational if she suspected me of cheating than she is when somebody messes up her take-out order.

A Year of Poetry – Day 156

My grand-father’s clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a penny weight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopp’d short never to go again
When the old man died.

Ninety years, without slumbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
His life seconds numbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
It stopp’d short never to go again
When the old man died.

In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,
Many hours had he spent while a boy;
And in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know
And to share both his grief and his joy.
For it struck twenty-four when he entered at the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride;
But it stopp’d short never to go again
When the old man died.

Ninety years, without slumbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
His life seconds numbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
It stopp’d short never to go again
When the old man died.

My grandfather said that of those he could hire,
Not a servant so faithful he found;
For it wasted no time, and had but one desire —
At the close of each week to be wound.
And it kept in its place — not a frown upon its face,
And its hands never hung by its side;
But it stopp’d short never to go again
When the old man died.

Ninety years, without slumbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
His life seconds numbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
It stopp’d short never to go again
When the old man died.

It rang an alarm in the dead of the night —
An alarm that for years had been dumb;
And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight —
That his hour of departure had come.
Still the clock kept the time, with a soft and muffled chime,
As we silently stood by his side;
But it stopp’d short never to go again
When the old man died.

Ninety years, without slumbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
His life seconds numbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
It stopp’d short never to go again
When the old man died.

— Henry Clay Work, Grand-Father’s Clock

A Year of Poetry – Day 155

Her house is empty and her heart is old,
And filled with shades and echoes that deceive
No one save her, for still she tries to weave
With blind bent fingers, nets that cannot hold.
Once all men’s arms rose up to her, ‘tis told,
And hovered like white birds for her caress:
A crown she could have had to bind each tress
Of hair, and her sweet arms the Witches’ Gold.

Her mirrors know her witnesses, for there
She rose in dreams from other dreams that lent
Her softness as she stood, crowned with soft hair.
And with his bound heart and his young eyes bent
And blind, he feels her presence like shed scent,
Holding him body and life within its snare.

— William Faulkner, After Fifty Years

A Year of Poetry – Day 154

Like a joy on the heart of a sorrow,
The sunset hangs on a cloud;
A golden storm of glittering sheaves,
Of fair and frail and fluttering leaves,
The wild wind blows in a cloud.

Hark to a voice that is calling
To my heart in the voice of the wind:
My heart is weary and sad and alone,
For its dreams like the fluttering leaves have gone,
And why should I stay behind?

— Sarojini Naidu, Autumn Song

A Year of Poetry – Day 153

Genius, like gold and precious stones,
is chiefly prized because of its rarity.

Geniuses are people who dash of weird, wild,
incomprehensible poems with astonishing facility,
and get booming drunk and sleep in the gutter.

Genius elevates its possessor to ineffable spheres
far above the vulgar world and fills his soul
with regal contempt for the gross and sordid things of earth.

It is probably on account of this
that people who have genius
do not pay their board, as a general thing.

Geniuses are very singular.

If you see a young man who has frowsy hair
and distraught look, and affects eccentricity in dress,
you may set him down for a genius.

If he sings about the degeneracy of a world
which courts vulgar opulence
and neglects brains,
he is undoubtedly a genius.

If he is too proud to accept assistance,
and spurns it with a lordly air
at the very same time
that he knows he can’t make a living to save his life,
he is most certainly a genius.

If he hangs on and sticks to poetry,
notwithstanding sawing wood comes handier to him,
he is a true genius.

If he throws away every opportunity in life
and crushes the affection and the patience of his friends
and then protests in sickly rhymes of his hard lot,
and finally persists,
in spite of the sound advice of persons who have got sense
but not any genius,
persists in going up some infamous back alley
dying in rags and dirt,
he is beyond all question a genius.

But above all things,
to deftly throw the incoherent ravings of insanity into verse
and then rush off and get booming drunk,
is the surest of all the different signs
of genius.

— Mark Twain, Genius

A Year of Poetry – Day 152

I

O fairest flower no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft silken Primrose fading timelesslie,
Summers chief honour if thou hadst outlasted
Bleak winters force that made thy blossome drie;
For he being amorous on that lovely die
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss
But kill’d alas, and then bewayl’d his fatal bliss.

II

For since grim Aquilo his charioter
By boistrous rape th’ Athenian damsel got,
He thought it toucht his Deitie full neer,
If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away th’ infamous blot,
Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld,
Which ‘mongst the wanton gods a foul reproach was held.

III

So mounting up in ycie-pearled carr,
Through middle empire of the freezing aire
He wanderd long, till thee he spy’d from farr,
There ended was his quest, there ceast his care
Down he descended from his Snow-soft chaire,
But all unwares with his cold-kind embrace
Unhous’d thy Virgin Soul from her fair hiding place.

IV

Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand
Whilome did slay his dearly-loved mate
Young Hyacinth born on Eurotas’ strand,
Young Hyacinth the pride of Spartan land;
But then transform’d him to a purple flower
Alack that so to change thee winter had no power.

V

Yet can I not perswade me thou art dead
Or that thy coarse corrupts in earths dark wombe,
Or that thy beauties lie in wormie bed,
Hid from the world in a low delved tombe;
Could Heav’n for pittie thee so strictly doom?
O no! for something in thy face did shine
Above mortalitie that shew’d thou wast divine.

VI

Resolve me then oh Soul most surely blest
(If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear)
Tell me bright Spirit where e’re thou hoverest
Whether above that high first-moving Spheare
Or in the Elisian fields (if such there were.)
Oh say me true if thou wert mortal wight
And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight.

VII

Wert thou some Starr which from the ruin’d roofe
Of shak’t Olympus by mischance didst fall;
Which carefull Jove in natures true behoofe
Took up, and in fit place did reinstall?
Or did of late earths Sonnes besiege the wall
Of sheenie Heav’n, and thou some goddess fled
Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar’d head

VIII

Or wert thou that just Maid who once before
Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth
And cam’st again to visit us once more?
Or wert thou that sweet smiling Youth!
Or that c[r]own’d Matron sage white-robed Truth?
Or any other of that heav’nly brood
Let down in clowdie throne to do the world some good.

Note: 53 Or wert thou] Or wert thou Mercy — conjectured by
John Heskin Ch. Ch. Oxon. from Ode on Nativity, st. 15.

IX

Or wert thou of the golden-winged boast,
Who having clad thy self in humane weed,
To earth from thy praefixed seat didst poast,
And after short abode flie back with speed,
As if to shew what creatures Heav’n doth breed,
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire
To scorn the sordid world, and unto Heav’n aspire.

X

But oh why didst thou not stay here below
To bless us with thy heav’n-lov’d innocence,
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe
To turn Swift-rushing black perdition hence,
Or drive away the slaughtering pestilence,
To stand ‘twixt us and our deserved smart
But thou canst best perform that office where thou art.

XI

Then thou the mother of so sweet a child
Her false imagin’d loss cease to lament,
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild;
Think what a present thou to God hast sent,
And render him with patience what he lent;
This if thou do he will an off-spring give,
That till the worlds last-end shall make thy name to live.

— John Milton, On The Death Of A Fair Infant Dying Of A Cough

A Year of Poetry – Day 151

The Oriole sings in the greening grove
As if he were half-way waiting,
The rosebuds peep from their hoods of green,
Timid, and hesitating.
The rain comes down in a torrent sweep
And the nights smell warm and pinety,
The garden thrives, but the tender shoots
Are yellow-green and tiny.
Then a flash of sun on a waiting hill,
Streams laugh that erst were quiet,
The sky smiles down with a dazzling blue
And the woods run mad with riot.

— Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Summer in the South

A Year of Poetry – Day 150

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!’

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought —
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

‘And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

— Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky

Musings

  • I finished watching “The Tudors” the other night, and decided I’d like to watch something where the characters are good people, where there isn’t much gruesome bloodshed, and where the bed-hopping was implied rather than annotated.
    • So, I’ve watched half of the first season of “Borgias“.
    • George R.R. Martin ain’t got nothing on actual human history.
  • My circadian rhythm needs to stop drinking and go to church more often.
  • There are few things more frustrating than having to go back three chapters and rewrite something that you specifically told yourself not to write in the first place.
  • This is that wonderful time of year in Kentucky where you still sweat like a whore in church, but you have to decide how long you can wait before raking leaves.
  • Our new neighbor has a dog named “Frisbee.”  He’s a sweet hound, and he seems to get along with our dogs.  Crash, the Siamese psychopath, looks at him like he’s wondering what a saddle and some spurs would cost.
%d bloggers like this: