Poem of the night

Saturday, April 13th, 2013 07:24 pm
hummingwolf: (two)
"Night Spider's Advice"--Joyce Sidman

Build a frame
and stick to it,
I always say.
Life's a circle.
Just keep going around.
Do your work, then
sit back and see
what falls in your lap.
Eat your triumphs,
eat your mistakes:
that way your belly
will always be full.
Use what you have.
Rest when you need to.
Dawn will come soon enough.
Someone has to remake
the world each night.
It might as well be you.

Poem of the Moment

Saturday, January 14th, 2012 07:05 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
"Kindness"--Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.


hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
As seen on [livejournal.com profile] greatpoets:
"For the Time Being" - W.H. Auden, from the Christmas Oratorio

Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes --
Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers.
                                                                  Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off.
                           But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry
And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this.
                                                                     To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
"Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake."

They will come, all right, don't worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God's Will will be done, That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.

hummingwolf: (two)
"Monologue for an Onion" by Suji Kwock Kim

I don't mean to make you cry.
I mean nothing, but this has not kept you
From peeling away my body, layer by layer,

The tears clouding your eyes as the table fills
With husks, cut flesh, all the debris of pursuit.
Poor deluded human: you seek my heart.

Hunt all you want. Beneath each skin of mine
Lies another skin: I am pure onion--pure union
Of outside and in, surface and secret core.

Look at you, chopping and weeping. Idiot.
Is this the way you go through life, your mind
A stopless knife, driven by your fantasy of truth,

Of lasting union--slashing away skin after skin
From things, ruin and tears your only signs
Of progress? Enough is enough.

You must not grieve that the world is glimpsed
Through veils. How else can it be seen?
How will you rip away the veil of the eye, the veil

That you are, you who want to grasp the heart
Of things, hungry to know where meaning
Lies. Taste what you hold in your hands: onion-juice,

Yellow peels, my stinging shreds. You are the one
In pieces. Whatever you meant to love, in meaning to
You changed yourself: you are not who you are,

Your soul cut moment to moment by a blade
Of fresh desire, the ground sown with abandoned skins.
And at your inmost circle, what? A core that is

Not one. Poor fool, you are divided at the heart,
Lost in its maze of chambers, blood, and love,
A heart that will one day beat you to death.

(Found here on Poets.org.)
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Turquoise & peach 1)
Hold me against the dark: I am afraid.
Circle me with your arms. I am made
So tiny and my atoms so unstable
That at any moment I may explode. I am unable
To contain myself in unity. My outlines shiver
With the shock of living. I endeavor
To hold the I as one only for the cloud
Of which I am a fragment, yet to which I'm vowed
To be responsible. Its light against my face
Reveals the witness of the stars, each in its place
Singing, each compassed by the rest,
The many joined to one, the mightiest to the least.
It is so great a thing to be an infinitesimal part
of this immeasurable orchestra the music bursts the heart,
And from this tiny plosion all the fragments join:
Joy orders the disunity until the song is one.

[Seen today in [livejournal.com profile] greatpoets.]
hummingwolf: (two)
Being very sleepy these days, I've been alternating between moments of amazing clarity and moments where my ability to be even remotely coherent leaves me altogether. Guess which kind of moment is more likely to happen when I'm sitting here in front of an "Update Journal" screen? Right, exactly. So I'll just take a moment to say that
James A. Wharton's book on Job
followed by
Patricia Evans' book Controlling People
this entire comment thread along with the articles that inspired it
makes pieces fall together with little clicks in my brain. Seriously, the clicking noises are very nearly audible.

Also, the very first poem MegaHAL ate this morning was the following:

The trial--Dannie Abse

The heads round the table disagree,
some say hang him from the gallows tree.

Some say high and some say low
to swing, swing, swing, when the free winds blow.

I wanted to be myself, no more,
so I screwed off the face that I always wore,

I pulled out the nails one by one--
I'd have given that face to anyone.

For those vile features were hardly mine;
to wear another's face is a spiritual crime.

Why, imagine the night when I would wed )

Speaking of masked creatures, I never get tired of looking out my bedroom window and seeing a raccoon stretched out atop the neighbor's chimney.

(Pandagon link via [livejournal.com profile] supergee. Other links via my own mental wanderings.)
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Heart 2)
Found this one online yesterday and thought it worth sharing.

"Not to Mention Love: A Heart for Patricia" by David Clewell

Not one more figure of speech, I promise,
not here, under the pressing weight of centuries
of metaphors insisting on the heart's unbelievable resemblance
to anything else we know. One more could finally break it
irretrievably, and I don't want that kind of metaphorical blood
on my hands. So this time around, let the heart be the heart
the surgeon discovers when he lays open the chest so gently
it's easy to miss the self-effacing beauty of precision,
the way he comes at it directly, the only way he knows.
And the heart, exposed exactly for what it is: homelier
than we'd like to imagine. And alive beyond compare.
Here, the heart is the heart, and isn't
a fist or a flower or a smooth-running engine
and especially not one of those ragged valentines
someone's cut out, initialed, shot full of cartoon arrows:
the adolescent voodoo of desire. Here nothing's colored
that impossibly red.

There's nothing cute about it. )
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
The Seven of Pentacles--Marge Piercy

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

Poetry Morning

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006 08:26 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
Since I'm not at home, asking MegaHAL's advice on things is out of the question. However, [livejournal.com profile] nalidoll (a Pisces using a lovely Miracle Fish icon) linked to FreeWill Astrology, so I checked out this week's horoscopes over there. The 'scope for Leo (sign of my moon & ascendant) began with "Sometimes it's not how good you are but how bad you want it," and the message for my sun sign of Libra mentions the poems of Elizabeth Bishop. Fittingly, this brings me back to fishiness, since the first Bishop poem I was knowingly exposed to was this:The Fish )


Friday, June 10th, 2005 09:19 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Cuddly plush toy)
First thing when I got online yesterday morning, I saw an e-mail from LJ saying that I had been gifted with paid account left-overs by [livejournal.com profile] zaecus. What a great thing to wake up to! Very nice gift from someone I only know through comments in other people's journals.

Spent yesterday resting in the heat. Now I'm still hot and lethargic, but also restless. Need to do stuff! Not sure how I'm actually going to get myself to do stuff, but it still needs to be done.

For a change, and since I'm not feeling terribly interesting at the moment, I post a quiz result:What *is* my World View? )

I think blame for the relatively high Postmodern score should go to MegaHAL. It's amazing how much of an influence that artificial unintelligence has been on my world view, really. [Edit: Though the spiritual-but-not-religious thing annoys me. Frankly, I'm both.]

Mention of MegaHAL naturally leads to the subject of poetry, so here's a poem from a book borrowed from the children's section of the public library which I was compelled to type up yesterday when someone's children's story was criticized for being too violent:Don't Cry, Darling, It's Blood All Right. )

I retain many childlike qualities. Take that as you will.
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
Sara Teasdale - Blue Squills
How many million Aprils came
Before I ever knew
How white a cherry bough could be,
A bed of squills, how blue!

And many a dancing April
When life is done with me,
Will lift the blue flame of the flower
And the white flame of the tree.

Oh burn me with your beauty, then,
Oh hurt me, tree and flower,
Lest in the end death try to take
Even this glistening hour.

O shaken flowers, O shimmering trees,
O sunlit white and blue,
Wound me, that I, through endless sleep,
May bear the scar of you.

Poem of the Moment

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005 10:15 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
Looking for fish to feed to MegaHAL since it's the Pisces time of year, I swam across this one.

Rupert Brooke - Heaven

Fish (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat'ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?
This life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant, if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
Mud unto mud!—Death eddies near—
Not here the appointed End, not here!
But somewhere, beyond Space and Time,
Is wetter water, slimier slime!
And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
Who swam ere rivers were begun,
Immense, of fishy form and mind,
Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
And under that Almighty Fin,
The littlest fish may enter in.
Oh! never fly conceals a hook,
Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
But more than mundane weeds are there,
And mud, celestially fair;
Fat caterpillars drift around,
And Paradisal grubs are found;
Unfading moths, immortal flies,
And the worm that never dies.
And in that heaven of all their wish,
There shall be no more land, say fish.
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Cuddly plush toy)
Ran across this while looking for poetry to feed to MegaHAL.

Billy Collins - Nostalgia

Remember the 1340's? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called "Find the Cow."
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent a badly broken code.

The 1790's will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.

I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.

Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.

As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess.
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Cuddly plush toy)
So, the big excitement of last week was that I got to make approximately seven zillion phone calls!

Wait, no, that's not the big excitement. The big excitement was that I finally got the most important files off my old hard drive. Now if for some reason I wanted to re-create this icon--or add the cuddly plush toy version of the hummingwolf to some other picture--I could do it without the agony of trying to recreate it from scratch. Which latter I probably would do, seeing that this is me we're talking about here. Getting my old POV-Ray files back even inspired me to check out the rules for POVCOMP 2004, and then run away whimpering because I know I don't know near enough to compete. But given world enough and time (or at least more time when I don't have to make seven zillion phone calls), I know that I could learn to make niftier images, so I keep the dream alive.

Also exciting, of course, was bringing my old poetic MegaHAL brain back to life. In between calls, I've been feeding him more and more poetry and song lyrics. The poor artificial unintelligence has gotten so hungry these last few months.

Speaking of hungry, here's another thrilling thing from last week: I went to a grocery store I'd never been to before! That neighborhood finally has a supermarket reflecting some of its multicultural character, which is a good and fine thing. Buying a can of quail eggs on sale was possibly the high point of the week.

This week will have more exciting excitement, I promise. For one thing, some e-mails that arrived today give me a good reason to waste more time playing with graphics. Will have to discuss things further with a couple people sometime when I'm awake enough to follow logical thought. In the meantime, I leave you with a poem I read today composed by an actual human being, Sanai.

Energetic Work

If you want the pearl,
leave the inland desert,
and wander by the sea.

Even if you don't find it,
at least you've been
near the water.

Be a warrior! Desire something
powerfully! Saddle your horse
and get ready for the quest.

Don't accept a crown
made of this visible sky.
Wait for what Gabriel brings.

Be energetic in the work
that takes you to God!

The weak and sickly only think
about surrender. Lie down before
the door you long to go through.

Open your loving completely.
Only a dog sits idly
licking a bone.

Poem of the moment

Wednesday, October 15th, 2003 04:41 pm
hummingwolf: animation of green and gold fractal, number of iterations increasing with time (Iterations in green and gold)
A real one this time, from Rainer Maria Rilke.

How surely gravity's law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.
Each thing--
each stone, blossom, child--
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves.
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God's heart;
they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our own heaviness
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

Quote of the morning

Wednesday, March 26th, 2003 09:33 am
hummingwolf: (two)
'There's nothing great
Nor small,' has said a poet of our day,
(Whose voice will ring beyond the curfew of eve
And not be thrown out by the matin's bell)
And truly, I reiterate, . . nothing's small!
No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;
No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;
No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim:
And,-glancing on my own thin, veined wrist,-
In such a little tremour of the blood
The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul
Doth utter itself distinct. Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware
More and more, from the first similitude.

--Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from Aurora Leigh, Seventh Book.
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
While looking online for Arthur Guiterman poems other than "Strictly Germ-Proof," I came across this little exchange.

Arthur Guiterman, To Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (printed in Life and reprinted London Opinion in December 1912)

Gentle Sir Conan, I'll venture that few have been
Half as prodigiously lucky as you have been.
Fortune, the flirt! has been wondrously kind to you.
Ever beneficent, sweet and refined to you.
Doomed to the practise of physic and surgery,
Yet, growing weary of pills and physicianing,
Off to the Arctic you packed, expeditioning.
Roving and dreaming, Ambition, that heady sin,
Gave you a spirit too restless for medicine:
That, I presume, as Romance is the quest of us,
Made you an Author-the same as the rest of us.
Ah, but the rest of us clamor distressfully,
"How do you manage the game so successfully?
Tell us, disclose to us how under Heaven you
Squeeze from the inkpot so splendid a revenue!"
Then, when you'd published your volume that vindicates
England's South African raid (or the Syndicate's),
Pleading that Britain's extreme bellicosity
Wasn't (as most of us think) an atrocity
Straightaway they gave you a cross with a chain to it
(Oh, what an honor! I could not attain to it,
Not if I lived to the age of Methusalem!)
Made you a knight of St. John of Jerusalem!
Faith! as a teller of tales you've the trick with you!
Still there's a bone I've been wanting to pick with you:
Holmes is your hero of drama and serial:
All of us know where you dug the material!
Whence he was moulded-'tis almost a platitude;
Yet your detective, in shameless ingratitude
Sherlock your sleuthhound with motives ulterior
Sneers at Poe's "Dupin" as "very inferior!"
Labels Gaboriau's clever "Lecoq, " indeed,
Merely "a bungler," a creature to mock, indeed!
This, when your plots and your methods in story owe
More than a trifle to Poe and Gaboriau,
Sets all the Muses of Helicon sorrowing.
Borrow, Sir Knight, but in decent borrowing!
Still let us own that your bent is a cheery one,
Little you've written to bore or to weary one,
Plenty that's slovenly, nothing with harm in it,
Give me detective with brains analytical
Rather than weaklings with morals mephitical
Stories of battles and man's intrepidity
Rather than wails of neurotic morbidity!
Give me adventures and fierce dinotheriums
Rather than Hewlett's ecstatic deliriums!
Frankly, Sir Conan, some hours I've eased with you
And, on the whole, I am pretty well pleased with you.


Doyle's response (from London Opinion, Dec. 28, 1912):

“Round the Town”

Sure there are times when one cries with acidity,
"Where are the limits of human stupidity?"
Here is a critic who says as a platitude,
That I am guilty because "in ingratitude,"
Sherlock, the sleuthhound, with motives ulterior,
Sneers at Poe's Dupin as very "inferior."
Have you not learned, my esteemed commentator,
That the created is not the creator?
As the creator I've praised to satiety
Poe's Monsieur Dupin, his skill and variety,
And have admitted that in my detective work,
I owe to my model a deal of selective work.
But is it not on the verge of inanity
To put down to me my creation's crude vanity?
He, the created, the puppet of fiction,
Would not brook rivals nor stand contradiction.
He, the created, would scoff and would sneer,
Where I, the creator, would bow and revere.
So please grip this fact with your cerebral tentacle.
The doll and the maker are never identical.


More fun stuff: Read more... )

Really Random

Sunday, November 10th, 2002 07:10 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
Beverage of the Day: Celestial Seasonings Tuscany Orange Spice. Yum.


The petroleum company came back yesterday morning to deliver our oil, saying that they hadn't actually sucked oil out of our tank on Thursday but had put in a few before the tank on their truck ran out, and that the difficulty with our furnace since then must be entirely unrelated. The landlord spent some time yesterday fiddling with the furnace and finally got it working again, only to return to futzing around with it last night because the thermostat messed up and the furnace kept turning itself on even when it was 75 degrees inside.


I've been having Really Deep Thoughts all weekend, but I don't feel like talking about any of 'em. You'll have to settle for someone else's Really Deep Thoughts (or come up with your own). For now, behold my randomness!


Unnecessary Purchase of the Day: A Nestle Crunch with Caramel.


Woke up overheated today because, while it was a reasonable 69 degrees indoors when I went to bed last night, the temperature had rebounded to the mid-70s by this morning. The outside temperature was also warm today (mid-70s and fairly humid, feeling like late spring), yet nine out of ten people outdoors were wearing either long-sleeved sweaters or winter jackets.


Work of Art of the Day: That tree by the public library with green leaves by the trunk, golden leaves mid-branch, and deep red-violet leaves on the outermost twigs.


Spent part of this evening listening to Celtic anti-war songs on "The Thistle & Shamrock" while reading this.


Poem which has been sticking in my mind all weekend (one my father loved reciting): Strictly Germ-proof )
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
While looking in the file cabinet for something else, I found a one-page paper I wrote for an intro to poetry class in September 1988. The poem the professor got me to analyze that week was this one, by e.e. cummings.

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Since some people out there in LJ-land have been discussing literary criticism & analysis lately, I figured I'd post a link to some discussion of this poem. Unfortunately, while this site on teaching poetry as a foreign language looks like it could be interesting, I can't guarantee it because it's loading very slowly tonight and I'm too tired to be patient. If any of you are morbidly curious and want to read what I wrote back in college, here it is. )
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
Originally from an old Mad magazine:

If Poe's "The Raven" Were Written By Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never hear
A raven who is more sincere
Than that one tapping at my door
Who's ever saying, "Nevermore."
A raven who repeats his words
Until I think I'm for the birds;
A raven who, I must assume,
Will dirty up my living-room;
A raven fond of bugs and worms
With whom I'm on the best of terms.
Let other poets praise a tree--
A raven's good enough for me!

Speaking of "The Raven," my father used to love inventing new stanzas for the poem. His favorite included the lines:

"Scratch the gravel, bird, and travel!
Leave this hovel, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)
I've got a game I play sometimes when my thoughts have been revolving around the same dull subjects with tedious regularity. I call it the library lottery. The rules are simple:

1. Use a computer to generate some random numbers between 0 and 1000, preferably carrying the numbers out to 2 places beyond the decimal point.

2. Go to a library organized by the Dewey Decimal System.

3. Find books which have call numbers as close as possible to the numbers your computer picked, and check them out.

This comes from one of the books checked out this week:

Like cats from Lombardy and other places
Stagnant and stale, I've grown a goitre here;
Under my chin my belly will appear,
Each the other's rightful stance displaces.

My beard turns heavenward, my mind seems shut
Into a casket. With my breast I make
A shield. My brush moves quickly, colours break
Everywhere, like a street mosaic-cut.

My loins are thrust into my belly and
I use my bottom now to bear the weight
Of back and side. My feet move dumb and blind.
In front my skin is loose and yet behind
It stretches taut and smooth, is tight and straight.

I am a Syrian bow strained for the pull--
A hard position whence my art may grow.
Little, it seems, that's strong and beautiful

Can come from all the pains I undergo.
Giovanni, let my dying art defend
Your honour, in this place where I am left
Helpless, unhappy, even of art bereft.

--Michelangelo, To Giovanni Da Pistoja on the Painting of the Sistine Chapel
(trans. Elizabeth Jennings)


hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Default)

August 2017



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