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Reading meme day. And I've been reading. Some.


Great Short Poems from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century ed. Dorothy Belle Pollack, who translated the Greek and Latin selections (and I suspect at least some of the uncredited translations from French and German). I want to like this, especially given how many unfamiliar poems it has. And yet ... the cumulative result is a bit thin, almost monotonous. The book's large trim size for presenting small poems does not help, nor the arbitrary arrangement (alphabetical by author within period). Possibly it's the tight focus on lyrics, with minimal epigrams? Dunno. Regardless, the result is not what I hoped for.

The Improvatrice by Letitia Elizabeth Landon, an intriguing but not entirely successful verse tale. It has some excellent elements, including a female protagonist from Renaissance Florence who is both musician and painter, and some of the songs she improvises are quite appealing. There are interesting signs that what Landon's actually doing is a critique of Romanticism. And yet ... and yet ... the tale is so episodic that I found myself skimming the last third, only to find that ultimately our titular heroine dies of a broken heart -- over a guy named Lorenzo. (My reactions to that last may be more personal than yours.)


I Shall Seal the Heavens by Er Gen continues on -- I'm up to around chapter 1180, approaching the sum of what's been translated. Which is part of the reason for my slowing down -- another part being, the initial new venue of book 7 did not excite me, though what was made of it did indeed turn out tasty. (No "and yet" for this one ... yet.)

Plus various rounds of poetry both lyric and narrative.


Subject quote from "Time After Time," Cyndi Lauper.
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More poetry for a Monday:

Origami, Bob Newman

One coloured square of paper has untold
Potential which an expert can release.
Whole zoos for those well-versed in how to fold
One coloured square.

Seals, whales, storks, elephants, bears, monkeys, geese,
And more, can all be made by young and old.
Menageries on your own mantelpiece!

The creatures you can make are manifold.
The size of your collection will increase.
What do you get from each when you unfold?
One coloured square!

Almost all internet sources attribute this to Swinburne, which it patently cannot be. Leaving aside the issues that it sounds completely unlike Swinburne and that it doesn't appear in his collected works, it is anachronistic for a Victorian poet to talk about origami animals that are not traditional Japanese models. (Yes, I did notice this issue first. Origami geek, much?) I think all of these come from a misreading of this page, which correctly cites Swinburne as the inventor of the form. The page does not attribute the sample verse to the site owner, but other on the site, for other forms, do -- so assigning to him with 90% confidence.

Subject quote is because it's an origami poem, that's good enough for me.


Subject quote from "C Is for Cookie", Joe Raposo.
larryhammer: a naked woman lying prone with Greek text painted on her back, label: Greek poetry is sexy (greek poetry is sexy)
In lieu of a Wednesday reading post, a more in depth report on Guy Vernon (see also) by John Townsend Trowbridge, a novelette in verse per the subtitle, and a shockingly overlooked gem:
                    After many tears, and blind,
Swift gusts of passion, she accepted Guy.—
    All which sounds commonplace enough, I find.
    But somehow it seems better, to my mind,
The muse should be a trifle too familiar,
Than pompous, adipose, and atrabiliar,

Singing the past in those false tones I loathe.
    Some poets seem oppressed with the conviction,
That to be classic, they must still re-clothe
    The venerable forms of antique fiction
    In what they deem approved poetic diction;
And so they let their unpruned fancies roll
Round some old theme, like hop-vines round a pole.

Give me the living theme, and living speech—
    The native stem and its spontaneous shoots,
Fibres and foliage of the soul that reach
    Deep down in human life their thrilling roots,
    And mould the sunshine into golden fruits,
Not ashes to the taste, but fit to feed
The highest and the humblest human need!

O singers of the sunset! is there naught
    Remaining for the muse, but just to fill
Old skins of fable with weak wine of thought?
    The child, Imagination, at his will
    Reshakes to wondrous forms of beauty still
A few bright shards of common joy and hope,
And turns the world in his kaleidoscope.
While I can't say for certain that Byron's Beppo was the most influential poem of the 19th century, especially given Marmion, it was by gum the most fruitful influence.

Fair warning to those who attempt this: set just before the Civil War, it has period-typical racism, only some of which is directly questioned by the story. And the resolution is … a muddled disappointment -- at least the title character's part, as the arcs of his wife and her former beau are handled perfectly a la genre's mode. But along the way, we get a marriage of North and South, a Grub Street writer, pointed satire of period manners, and a deft hand with the verse. Not to mention deft hand with the manner, as every digression (fewer than Byron's) is spot on the point.

This was not a success when first published, and Trowbridge never again attempted anything like this -- he is best known as a hack writer of adventure stories. I can only whimper in frustration -- but at least we have this.

(Historical trivia: it was published anonymously in an anthology that had one few poems of Emily Dickinson's published in her lifetime.)


Subject quote from, well, "Guy Vernon."
larryhammer: a whisp of smoke, label: it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls (twirls)
For Poetry Monday:

August à la Poussin, Louis MacNeice

The shutter of time darkening ceaselessly
Has whisked away the foam of may and elder
And I realise how now, as every year before,
Once again the gay months have eluded me.

For the mind, by nature stagey, welds its frame
Tomb-like around each little world of a day;
We jump from picture to picture and cannot follow
The living curve that is breathlessly the same.

While the lawn-mower sings moving up and down
Spirting its little fountain of vivid green,
I, like Poussin, make a still-bound fête of us
Suspending every noise, of insect or machine.

Garlands at a set angle that do not slip,
Theatrically (and as if for ever) grace
You and me and the stone god in the garden
And Time who also is shown with a stone face.

But all this is a dilettante’s lie,
Time’s face is not stone nor still his wings;
Our mind, being dead, wishes to have time die,
For we, being ghosts, cannot catch hold of things.

Titled as first published in 1933, later called just "August" in his collected poems. Poussin is, of course, the French Baroque painter, frequently of historical subjects and landscapes. I'm not finding a painting with that title, but the details suggest the speaker is thinking of A Dance to the Music of Time (formerly known as The Dance of the Seasons). MacNeice is, of course, is the too-often overlooked friend and collaborator of Auden, who was never as radical as others of the Auden Group ("MacSpaunday") but stayed liberal to the end.


Subject quote from "Take a Picture," Filter.
larryhammer: a naked woman lying prone with Greek text painted on her back, label: Greek poetry is sexy (greek poetry is sexy)

Lullabies and Poems for Children ed. by Diana Secker Larson, another Everyman's Library anthology that's pretty tasty -- lots of traditional wind-down songs, well-known and obscure, including additional verses for some usually heard in curtailed form. Pity lullabies have been pretty much nixed in our household for almost a year. The slimmer second half is disappointing, however: heavy on nonsense, making the couple selections of Blake a breath of fresh air. Recommended for the lullabies only.


I Shall Seal the Heavens through chapter 1004, finishing book 6 -- so about ⅝ done. Whew!


Subject quote from "New-Mexican Love Song," Mary Austin.
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For Poetry Monday, another 19th century woman writing in a ballad form:

Up-Hill, Christina Rossetti

Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
    Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
    From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
    A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
    You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
    Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
    They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
    Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
    Yea, beds for all who come.

As you know, Bob, while Rossetti increasingly devoted herself to devotional writings as she got older, she wrote religious poetry from the start -- often in a deceptively simple manner. This is from early in her career, first published the year before her first collection, Goblin Market and Other Poems (which included it).


Subject quote from "Bring the Night On," Eve 6 (neither woman nor victorian).
larryhammer: a whisp of smoke, label: it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls (spirals)
TBD is three years and ten months old, a.k.a. "going on four." Very going.

Achievements unlocked this last month: closing only one eye, continuously hopping on one foot, eating chicken drumsticks, clucking tongue, subtraction ("If there's three things, and I take one, then there are two" said at random without reference to any physical objects), and numbers in the teens (with glimpses of how further two-digit numbers work: "They keep circling around!").

FWIW, we are raising the sort of child who gets annoyed when a classmate claims that only bees sting, because they know that other insects also do (some from personal experience). It's one of those things, when reading a book about bugs, that you ask about, for every bug.

For a while, the planets were the current subject of interest, as in reading about, asking questions, absorbing the answers, and making connections. (Also being absorbed, less obsessively: dinosaurs and the human body.) To be clear, grownups do the actual reading -- though TBD now finds not being able to read deeply frustrating. As a result, now that numerals are down solid, we're trying hard to learn the alphabet, making this the current absorbing interest -- including repeatedly requesting books that tutor the reader in letters (such as Curious George Learns the Alphabet) and self-drilling using fridge-magnet letters.

Yes, self-drills. This, and asking us to drill them, still floors me. Self-motivated learner much?

Current favorite play at home: cars/trucks/planes, jigsaw puzzles, Busytown: Eye Found It, pretend games, and reading, with relative preferences constantly fluctuating. Current favorite tv: Wonder Pets! and Hurray for Huckle!, with Peppa Pig waning.

In the daily living side of things, we have a growing wardrobe crisis: winter shirts that were comfortably large at the start of the season are now noticeably too short in the torso, leaving us with little more than a week's worth of truly acceptable outfits, slowly added the past two months. Oops. Since most of short-sleeved tops are the same size, we'll have to replace all of those RSN. Hello, consignment shops, we've missed you.

New lisp: initial and medial /l/ often sounds closer to /w/ -- used to be clearer. Dunno what's up with that. Nor with the occasional lingering noun-swaps, as in "There's a sock in your hole" (though subject-object swaps are more common).

And speaking of speaking, talking talking continues:

"Maybe we can play that we are on a march."
(why, yes, we have been to a few protests, why do you ask?)

"I won't lick my friends, only grown-ups."

"Everything is in something."
(welcome to beginning set theory; the context, fwiw, was talking about what's inside stuffies and pillows)

"I'm going to fart at you guys. Daddy, stand back."

Me: "No, flipping the calendar forward a month doesn't make your birthday come any faster."
TBD: "Aw, man."

"I never tried it before so I don't want it."
(Janni considers this karmic revenge, as she got away with this for far too long during her childhood; it turned out to be yummy)

"When I get bigger, I won't know my name."
(lol whut?)

"What happens if you are driving, and there's someone in the back, going to the hospital, and you're driving fast, and you get to construction?"
(Translation: Do you have to slow down for road-work when you have a medical emergency? Janni interprets this as a truck fan's equivalent of "Who would win, Batman or Superman?") (FWIW, an ambulance-driver friend says her SOP is to cuss and then go around the construction.)

"You're so Daddy."
(multiple times, in the intonation of "You're so silly")

"Daddy might know. Daddy might know everything."
(no, I don't -- I'm only a Daddy)

(at bedtime) "I can't lie down because I have so many things to do."

Yes -- yes, you do. (But you still need to go night-night.)


Subject quote from "Just So," Agnes Obel.
larryhammer: a naked woman lying prone with Greek text painted on her back, label: Greek poetry is sexy (greek poetry is sexy)
A reading of a Wednesday, a reading of a meme:


Marriage Poems ed. John Hollander, who does a good job of keeping the anthology from getting monotonous or predictable. Good and bad experiences are neatly balanced, without hammering on any one note. That said, there's more of Meredith's "Modern Love" than usual for this sort of thing (this is not a defect).

In progress:

I Shall Seal the Heavens by Er Gen to around chapter 765. Bounding along nicely, with scope and stakes scaling with the protagonist's power-ups. Soon, if I'm reading the signs aright, he'll finally find his family and heritage. Plus we're about due for a tragic beat in his arc.

Villanelles ed. Finch & Mali to a little less than ½ in. I find I can read only 10-12 contemporary examples a session before they start blurring and I need a break -- so now it's lunchtime reading at work.


Subject quote from "Assault and Battery," Howard Jones.
larryhammer: a whisp of smoke, label: it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls (twirls)
For a Poetry Monday:

"I like to see it lap the Miles," Emily Dickinson

I like to see it lap the Miles—
And lick the Valleys up—
And stop to feed itself at Tanks
And then—prodigious step

Around a Pile of Mountains—
And supercilious peer
In Shanties—by the sides of Roads—
And then a Quarry pare

To fit its sides and crawl between
Complaining all the while
In horrid—hooting stanza—
Then chase itself down Hill—

And neigh like Boanerges—
Then—prompter than a Star
Stop—docile and omnipotent
At its own stable door—

A riddle poem, probably intended for children (she liked to write poems for neighbor children) -- the answer being, of course, a train with a steam engine. Dickinson's father was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Amherst, and the station was not far from the family house.


Subject quote from "A Boy's Poem," Alexander Smith.
larryhammer: a naked woman lying prone with Greek text painted on her back, label: Greek poetry is sexy (greek poetry is sexy)
Since All Knowledge Is Contained On Social Networks, a question for you all:

I'm noticing that most of the narrative poems I reread are by men. This … could stand correcting. There's Goblin Market of course, and Aurora Leigh plus Tighe's Psyche, though those two last are on the long side for casual reading.

What am I missing?

Can be new or old, though I'm more in the mood for older poetry at the moment -- I can save the modern/contemporary poems for another time.


Subject quote from "Gratiana Dancing," Richard Lovelace.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (protection)
A pome for a moon-day:

On a Beach at Night, Walt Whitman

On the beach at night,
Stands a child with her father,
Watching the east, the autumn sky.

Up through the darkness,
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
Lower sullen and fast athwart and down the sky,
Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east,
Ascends large and calm the lord-star Jupiter,
And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
Swim the delicate sisters the Pleiades.

From the beach the child holding the hand of her father,
Those burial-clouds that lower victorious soon to devour all,
Watching, silently weeps.

Weep not, child,
Weep not, my darling,
With these kisses let me remove your tears,
The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious,
They shall not long possess the sky, they devour the stars only in apparition,
Jupiter shall emerge, be patient, watch again another night, the Pleiades shall emerge,
They are immortal, all those stars both silvery and golden shall shine out again,
The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again, they endure,
The vast immortal suns and the long-enduring pensive moons shall again shine.

Then dearest child mournest thou only for Jupiter?
Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars?

Something there is,
(With my lips soothing thee, adding I whisper,
I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and indirection,)
Something there is more immortal even than the stars,
(Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing away,)
Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter
Longer than sun or any revolving satellite,
Or the radiant sisters the Pleiades.

Offered in honor of yet another family viewing of an ISS transit being blocked by overcast. Wet winter means fewer chances to wave hello to the astronauts (current number: 6). Contrast this, if you dare, with Spring and Fall.


Subject quote from "Ode to West Wind," Percy Shelley.
larryhammer: a woman wearing a chain mail hoodie, label: chain mail is sexy (chain mail is sexy)
A reading of a Wednesday meme. Or something like that. I guess.


The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery, a comfort reread during the flu.

In progress:

Am bounding along with I Shall Seal the Heavens and now just shy of 500 chapters in out of 1600+ total, ~¾ of which are available in English. I should however flag a content warning: an element that early on is handled as gruesome humor is later given a morally dark and potentially triggery explanation, at which time the narrative does not clearly signal understanding of just how dark it swerved; I am staying with it because the author has shown multiple times that he plays a long game and other moral issues have been returned to for questioning (and requestioning). This aside, it's working quite well as an adventure story with an ever-expanding canvas, and I've finally reached a point where there's glimmerings as to the meaning and significance of the title. Ultimate Vexation is a lot fun, but I understand how it would have gotten tiresome (both to write and read) if it hadn't been eventually suppressed.

Plus I've been reading two poetry anthologies of note:
  1. Villanelles ed. Annie Finch & Marie-Elizabeth Mali is an excellent collection. There's a historical section (as well an illuminating introduction: it did not originate as a French peasant form, despite what French poets told themselves) but the bulk is contemporary poets, including variations on the form. Unexpected inclusions of note include Ursula Le Guin, Tom Disch, and an ex-girlfriend. The layout is sweet: a pocket-sized hardcover just large enough that a standard 19-line beastie exactly fits on one page. I'm about ⅓ through, but still highly recommend this one.

  2. Obsession: Sestinas in the Twenty-First Century ed. Carolyn Beard Whitlow & Marilyn Krysl is another single-form collection built on contemporary poets, where the book is laid out such that a standard example fits on a page, and that has poem by an ex (same one). Haven't gotten as far in this one yet -- a 39-line layout means it's not as portable.

This hasn't been my only poetry reading, natch: I'm not noting other anthologies now because too scattered -- if/when I finish one, I'll record it then.

Other fiction, I've bounced around with unsettled mind, picking up many things and putting each down after a chapter. This happens betimes.


Subject quote from "The Wish," Abraham Cowley.
larryhammer: a whisp of smoke, label: it comes in curlicues, spirals as it twirls (spirals)
Links, links, my bedroom for some links.

How Iceland reduced teen drinking and drug use, as in from 42% of teens drinking to just 5%. (via)

Timelapse of sunset at Griffith Observatory.

NCG 2936 a.k.a. the Porpoise Galaxy.


Subject quote from "Much Ado About Nothing," II.1, William Shakespeare.
larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (shopping cart of love)
For Poetry Monday, as I recover from a flu caught from TBD:

Axe Handles, Gary Snyder

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
"When making an axe handle
          the pattern is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with—"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-—in the
Preface: "In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand."
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see: Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

Another pome on children and teaching.

Subject quote from "The Excursion," William Wordsworth.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (wonder)
For Poetry Monday, an old favorite:

For a Five-Year-Old, Fleur Adcock

A snail is climbing up the window-sill
into your room, after a night of rain.
You call me in to see and I explain
that it would be unkind to leave it there:
it might crawl to the floor; we must take care
that no one squashes it. You understand,
and carry it outside, with careful hand,
to eat a daffodil.

I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails:
your gentleness is moulded still by words
from me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds,
from me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed
your closest relatives and who purveyed
the harshest kind of truth to many another,
But that is how things are: I am your mother,
And we are kind to snails.

For us, it's small beetles ("buggies!") in the house, but same message. "We are kind to snails" was a code phrase in our house for many years prior child.


Subject quote from "The Snow-Storm," Ralph Emerson.
larryhammer: a woman wearing a chain mail hoodie, label: chain mail is sexy (warrior babe)
Wednesday for a reading. More meme. Combined with Poetry Monday, this makes more than half my posting these days memeage. Ah, well.


Child of Light (光之子) by Tang Jia San Shao in a semi-official translation, a fantasy (magic academy flavor) in a genre roughly equivalent to a Japanese light novel, with all the benefits (quick brainless read) and annoyances (annoying "hero" getting worse over time) this implies. Got four volumes in but I won't be continuing any time soon, if ever, because I started ...

In progress:

... I Shall Seal the Heavens (我欲封天) by Ergen, also in semi-official translation. This one is a much more congenial xianxia, a genre blending wuxia with Taoism, Buddhism, and Chinese mythology -- what happens when Chinese fantasy writers use their rich (read: old) local traditions for worldbuilding. Lots of spiritual cultivators getting their qi on as they strive to become immortals. This book in particular is praised for its literary gravitas, a quality that carries over in this translation -- and much preferable over the bluster-based humor of so much Chinese popular fiction. That said, at around chapter 125, I seem to have wandered into an extended tournament arc (?!). At least it's a race against an obstacle course instead of a battle tourney. This one will take a while: there's over 1200 chapters available in English -- Alexandre Dumas, eat your heart out.

The Truth-Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn, reread of a YA fantasy -- or in theory, I'm still in progress on this: I was halfway through when I mislaid the volume. (It's around here somewhere, I know it, lose my head next.)

Songs for the Open Road: Poems of Travel & Adventure ed. Carroll and Maclean, an original publication from Dover Books (they do that sometimes). Some nice discoveries here, as well as some interesting choices. It's a cheap volume, too, well worth tracking down if you need poetry browsing of a long evening (or middle of the night).

And speaking of poetry browsing, for those with smartphones, a recommendation: the Poetry Foundation's Poetry app is excellent for thematic browsing as well as searching for old favorites. There's a generous selection of modern as well as classic poems, the former slanted somewhat towards those appearing in Poetry magazine (I'm guessing because rights were easier). Accessing bios requires a connection, but not browsing itself.


Subject quote from "Scythe Song," Andrew Lang.
larryhammer: stylized figures of a man and a woman on either side of a shopping cart carrying a heart (shopping cart of love)
TBD is three years and nine months old, and almost daily anticipates turning four. ("Will I get presents for my birthday?" "Can we get a jumping castle at my party?" "Is my birthday tomorrow?")

Achievements unlocked this last month: the only one I noted was pumping self on swing. There was lots of practice towards mastering previous achievements, including buttons and storytelling (now up two sentences long).

In books, now that we've all-but-exhausted the Elephant & Piggie series, we're working our way through the empire of Curious George. While there's been a few more chapter books, including some Winnie the Pooh (I have to viciously hack away skip a lot of verbal murbling) and various series by friends of Janni, mostly we're still in the land of picture books + early readers* -- the latter with an emphasis on Marvel superheroes (Spider Man, Iron Man, Avengers) and nonfiction about the natural world and space (Dorrington-Kindersley, Cat in the Hat science books).

FWIW, current favorite superhero is Batman. (Batman shirts and underwear are worn as soon as washed.) Much effort is being spent trying to reconcile Hulk's anger with being one of the good guys. And on the difference between stories and reality.

We still go out to wave at the astronauts during visible ISS transits, bath-and-bedtime permitting. Growing up to be an astronaut ("I'm going to drive a rocket ship") has been insistent/consistent/persistent for a couple months now. We're trying to encourage this without pushing too hard.

After seeing snippets of American football at Grandpa's house, TBD came away with this understanding of how you play: one person throws a ball, then the other person catches it and falls down. This is not actually wrong. This makes for an entertaining indoor game.

In other pastimes, the Busytown: Eye Found It game has been successfully introduced. We've made many trips to the nearest used book store, as each visit we allow one new jigsaw puzzle (as well as yay books).**

Numeral recognition is down cold, but numbers past 9 are still confusing -- as is, to be fair, counting past 13. This somewhat hinders the lessons in clock-reading, requested every couple days. Some basic words are recognized as a whole pattern ("No", "Roar"), but less than half the alphabet can be identified.

In current pronunciations, for a while "Daddy" often resolved closer to dah-tee than dah-dee -- I blame Peppa Pig. (Not my favorite TV show, but it's relatively innocuous and introduced the Tooth Fairy so we don't have to. Also current watching: Paw Patrol and Hurray for Huckle). Sentences grow in complexity, including more careful use of conditionals and subjunctives. Time beyond yesterday and tomorrow is still somewhat fuzzy: "tomorrow" often means "the next day," as in "tomorrow and tomorrow is (event)" for something the day after tomorrow.

And then there's the talking, talking:

(swooping about a bunny) "Help! I'm flying instead of hopping!"

"Wolves blow down houses only in stories?"

TBD: "Once upon a time there was a king who lived in a castle for three days."
Janni: "Then what happened?"
"Then a dinosaur came and ate him up."

"In stuffies there is stuff."

TBD: "I wish I was a clock."
Janni: "So you'd always know what time it is?"
(laugh) "That clock doesn't know what time it is."
(apparently this is funny because it's inanimate)

Janni: "You don't want to watch the rest of Cars?"
TBD: "Because I don't like Mater and Lightning."
"Because Lightning McQueen is mean?"
"I think he's going to learn to be nicer."
"I don't want that story."

(evening after the post-inaugural march)
"How was your day?"
"What was the best part?"
"The $friendsname part."
(we marched with said friend, who had a two-seater stroller enclosed against icy rain -- TBD carried a sign saying "DON'T BE MEAN" and friend "BE KIND")

"Oh no, the plate is sneaking away without any food on it!"



* As a book, I'm especially impressed with a retelling of the first five minutes of A New Hope from the droids' point of view, called Escape from Darth Vader. It's a complete, if open-ended, story.

** Props to Melissa & Doug for their high quality floor puzzles.


Subject quote from "Kiss," Prince.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: some guy (Default)
Monday, Monday, poetry for a Monday.

Ceremonies for Candlemas Eve, Robert Herrick

Down with the rosemary and bays,
    Down with the misletoe;
Instead of holly, now up-raise
    The greener box, for show.

The holly hitherto did sway;    
    Let box now domineer,
Until the dancing Easter-day,
    Or Easter’s eve appear.

Then youthful box, which now hath grace
    Your houses to renew,
Grown old, surrender must his place
    Unto the crispèd yew.

When yew is out, then birch comes in,
    And many flowers beside,
Both of a fresh and fragrant kin,
    To honour Whitsuntide.

Green rushes then, and sweetest bents,
    With cooler oaken boughs,
Come in for comely ornaments,
    To re-adorn the house.
Thus times do shift; each thing his turn does hold;
New things succeed, as former things grow old.

I was going to post this next week, but I just realized that this Thursday is already the February 2 -- the Feast of the Purification or Presentation of Christ in the Temple. This was called Candlemas in the early Church from the practice of carrying lighted candles in procession in memory of Simeon's words during the presentation of the infant Jesus, "to be a Light to lighten the Gentiles." Traditionally, Christmas decorations in churches remained up until this day, when they're finally taken down. And Herrick, like the traditional parish priest that he was (*cough*cough*), knew this custom very well.

Herrick actually published two poems on the subject: the other is here. The titles are easily confuseable in google searches.


Subject quote from "Hydriotaphia, Urn-Burial," Thomas Browne.
larryhammer: a naked woman lying prone with Greek text painted on her back, label: Greek poetry is sexy (greek poetry is sexy)
Hello, Monday. Have a poem.

Prof of Profs, Geoffrey Brock

I was a math major—fond of all things rational.
It was the first day of my first poetry class.
The prof, with the air of a priest at Latin mass,
told us that we could “make great poetry personal,”

could own it, since poetry we memorize sings
inside us always. By way of illustration
he began reciting Shelley with real passion,
but stopped at “Ozymandias, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!” —
because, with that last plosive, his top denture
popped from his mouth and bounced off an empty chair.

He blinked, then offered, as postscript to his lecture,
a promise so splendid it made me give up math:
“More thingth like that will happen in thith clath.”

For those who don't remember their Shelley, here's the poem in question.


Subject quote from "Troilus and Cressida," V.iii, William Shakespeare.

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