larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)
Characters frequently appearing in this drama:

  • I - your humble narrator, sometime writer and poet (preferred pronoun: he/him/his)

  • Janni - spouse and writer (preferred pronoun: she/her/her)

  • Eaglet - nom de internet of our child, formerly known as TBD, not yet a writer (preferred pronoun: they/them/their)
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (protection)
For Poetry Monday, a 15-line variant sonnet:


The Kraken, Alfred the Tennyson

Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.


Even young Tennyson had a way with sounds. It took a while to temper the pomposity, though. And how to better land the ending (those last two lines need a little more development to really stick it -- either start using Revelations imagery earlier, right after the delayed volta, or give up the already creaking sonnet form and spin it out a few more lines).

---L.

Subject quote from .
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (protection)
This morning, after helping me make brei, the Eaglet tried some plain matzoh, declared they like it, and cheerfully took half a square to the couch to munch on.

During Passover cleaning, New Cat (aka Princess Mischa Fuzzybutt) got outside three times -- and attempted several more breaks. She is totally getting locked in the bedroom for the seder. We do not need her personally welcoming Elijah.

A safe and happy Pesach to you all.

(Especially all firstborn children -- be careful tonight!)

---L.

Subject quote from La Belle Dame sans Merci, John Keats.
larryhammer: a woman wearing a chain mail hoodie, label: "chain mail is sexy" (fantasy)
I'm sure there's a commonality to these links if I squint in the right direction …

Velvet worms: macro-sized tardigrades that look like squishy centipedes. (via)

Barcelona from above. (via)

On fixing the plothole in The Princess Bride that is Buttercup by turning her into a poet. (via)

---L.

Subject quote from The Indian Serenade, Percy Buttercup Shelley.
larryhammer: a symbol used in a traditional Iceland magic spell of protection (protection)
For Poetry Monday:


A Sea-Prayer, William Stanley Braithwaite

Lord of wind and water
Where the ships go down
Reaching the sunrise,
Lifting like a crown,

Out of the deep-hidden
Wells of night and day—
Mind the great sea-farers
On the open way.

When the last lights darken
On the far coastline,
Wave and port and peril
Sea-Lord—all are thine.


Braithwaite (1878-1962) was an American poet, critic, editor, and anthologist. His maternal grandmother was a slave in North Carolina, and he was a professor of creative literature at Atlanta University before his retirement to Harlem.

---L.

Subject quote from In Memoriam CXVII, Alfred the Tennyson.
larryhammer: canyon landscape with saguaro and mesquite trees (cactus)
It's Wednesday, and despite Things, I've been reading deeply. A very deep dive, as it were:

Finished:

Somewhere between three and four heaps of nautical poetry, depending on how you count, including Solley & Steinbaugh's Moods of the Sea, McClatchy's Poems of the Sea, Masefield's A Sailor's Garland, Masefield's Salt Water Ballads, Kipling's The Seven Seas, Carman's Ballads of Lost Haven, Fox Smith's Rovings, Fox Smith's Ships and Folks, Fox Smith's Small Craft, Fox Smith's Sailor Town, Sharp's Sea Music, Patterson's The Sea's Anthology, Longfellow* & Higginson's Thalatta, Chadwick's The Two Voices, Adams's Sea Song & River Rhyme, and Ward's Surf and Wave, plus relevant sections of miscellaneous collections and anthologies.

(Not that I've been a teeny bit obsessive or anything.)

The Shipwreck, William Falconer -- Exactly what it says on the tin: Falconer was a sailor on a merchant ship that ran into foul weather and then aground in the Aegean Sea in 1750, and lived to write a narrative poem about it. I want to find the first (1762) edition, before he expanded it with soap-operatics among the crew in an attempt to add human interest, as those parts are precisely the least interesting and vivid.

(Nope, not obsessive.)

Squire and Lady Knight, Tamara Pierce -- Comfort rereads of books 3-4 of The Protector of the Small.

In progress:

Immortal and Martial Dual Cultivation, Fiery Moon -- Up to chapter 351. High hough adventuring away.

Dauber, John Masefield -- a reread of his only book-length narrative poem about the sea. You know that sort of self-consciously "gritty" literary novel from the early 20th century that's got occasional lovely descriptive bits between the depressing Life Is Crushing "realism"? All that, in verse. Has more lovely, even stunning, descriptive oceanic bits than typical, but the depressing "gritty" parts are all there.

DNF:

The Isle of Palms, John Wilson -- A south-seas castaway narrative by a minor Romantic-era poet. The descriptions of the ocean voyage, storm, and tropical island are much more successful than the goopy sentimentality of the romantic leads' romance -- and the latter is pretty much all we get starting about halfway through.

(Okay, maybe a little obsessive … )


* Not Henry Wadsworth, but his younger brother Samuel, best known in their day as a hymnist.


---L.

Subject quote from Stanzas Written in Dejection, near Naples, Percy Shelley.
larryhammer: a wisp of colored smoke, label: "softly and suddenly vanished away" (disappeared)
Last Poetry Monday, it was an answer to Frost, so how about some Frost himself:


Departmental, Robert Frost

An ant on the table cloth
Ran into a dormant moth
Of many times his size.
He showed not the least surprise.
His business wasn’t with such.
He gave it scarcely a touch,
And was off on his duty run.
Yet if he encountered one
Of the hive’s enquiry squad
Whose work is to find out God
And the nature of time and space,
He would put him onto the case.
Ants are a curious race;
One crossing with hurried tread
The body of one of their dead
Isn’t given a moment’s arrest—
Seems not even impressed.
But he no doubt reports to any
With whom he crosses antennae,
And they no doubt report
To the higher up at court.
Then word goes forth in Formic:
“Death’s come to Jerry McCormic,
Our selfless forager Jerry.
Will the special Janizary
Whose office it is to bury
The dead of the commissary
Go bring him home to his people.
Lay him in state on a sepal.
Wrap him for shroud in a petal.
Embalm him with ichor of nettle.
This is the word of your Queen.”
And presently on the scene
Appears a solemn mortician;
And taking formal position
With feelers calmly atwiddle,
Seizes the dead by the middle,
And heaving him high in air,
Carries him out of there.
No one stands round to stare.
It is nobody else’s affair.

It couldn’t be called ungentle.
But how thoroughly departmental.


In the table of contents from the 1936 collection it appeared in, it was given the subtitle "The End of My Ant Jerry." I do not know why the misgendering of worker ants bothers me more here than most other places, but so it is.

---L.

Subject quote from The Tay Bridge Disaster, William McGonagall.
larryhammer: Yotsuba Koiwai running, label: "enjoy everything" (enjoy everything)
TBD turns six years old at the end of the month, and given how long it’s been since my last development report, it’s time to officially declare these an irregular feature. Achievements and notes have grown enough in complexity they are hard to jot down, just as Talking, Talking is more whole conversations instead of quick exchanges.

To mark this transition, I’m changing their nom de internet to Eaglet.

(I will continue to use gender-neutral pronouns, and ask that those who know their real-life gender identity do the same.)

But to report what I have jotted down:

Achievements unlocked these past handful of months: consistent single-digit subtraction, word find puzzles, holding playing cards in hands, dominoes, slicing bread, reading early readers, carrying cats.

Achievements leveled up: basic paper airplanes, grooming own hair, reading phonetic-spelling words, social assurance, awesomeness, mimetic drawing, the losing of milk-teeth, naming cats, soccer.

That last is the easiest to expand on: we marked growing from baby!jock into jock-in-training by joining a U6 soccer club. The joy on Eaglet’s face at the end of first practice proved the decision. We’re already on break for the summer (we get hot early, here in the desert) but summer day camps will be sports camps.

Current games include Uno, Crazy Eights, Go Fish (sometimes played in Chinese), Sorry!, Race for the Treasure, Outfoxed, Scrabble Junior, dominos, and kicking around a soccer ball. Recent media consumed include Wild Kratts, various Power Rangers series, Octonauts, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and Captain Underpants (tra-la-LA!). Current books are all over the map, but include a special concern for medieval knights and castles, racing cars, and eagles. When being read to, they almost have enough attention span to get through an early chapter book without an illustration every page.

And in the end, I did capture a couple talking, talking bon mots:

(singing)
“Uh oh, Power Rangers!
Didn’t I tell you never stop?”

“I like itchy spots because you can scratch them as much as you like.”

“John Philip Sousa ... I like his music because they’re like marches. It sounds like Star Wars.”

(on a road trip, parents are jamming out to My Little Pony’s “Time To Be Awesome”)
(slightly whiny) “When can we hear John Philip Sousa?”

“I have a crush on muffins.”

“Why does [the Statue of] Liberty have a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other?”

Good question, Eaglet -- it does look like one, doesn’t it.

---L.

Subject quote from On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, John Keats.
larryhammer: a wisp of colored smoke, label: "softly and suddenly vanished away" (disappeared)
Dream tropes for our times:

I kept plugging in my phone only to find out later, when I unplugged it, that it hadn't taken any charge.

---L.

Subject quote from Evening Walk by the Bay, Samuel Longfellow.
larryhammer: drawing of a wildhaired figure dancing, label: "La!" (celebrate)
Oh, right, Monday is the day for Poetry Monday. More fool me:


Not Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, Jennifer Hecht

I

Promises to keep was a lie, he had nothing. Through
the woods. Over the river and into the pain. It is an addict's
talk of quitting as she's smacking at a vein. He was always
going into the woods. It was he who wrote, The best way

out is always through. You'd think a shrink, but no, a poet.
He saw the woods and knew. The forest is the one that holds
promises. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, they fill
with a quiet snow. Miles are traveled as we sleep. He steers

his horse off the road. Among the trees now, the blizzard
is a dusting. Holes in the canopy make columns of snowstorm,
lit from above. His little horse thinks it is queer. They go
deeper, sky gets darker. It's the darkest night of the year.

II

He had no promises to keep, nothing pending. Had no bed
to head to, measurably away in miles. He was a freak like me,
monster of the dawn. Whose woods these are I think I know,
his house is in the village though. In the middle of life

he found himself lost in a dark woods. I discovered myself
in a somber forest. In between my breasts and breaths I got
lost. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I've got promises
to keep, smiles to go before I leap. I'm going into the woods.

They're lovely dark, and deep, which is what I want, deep lovely
darkness. No one has asked, let alone taken, a promise of me,
no one will notice if I choose bed or rug, couch or forest deep.
It doesn't matter where I sleep. It doesn't matter where I sleep.


Hecht is a poet and popular historian.

---L.

Subject quote from A Channel Crossing, Algernon Swinburne.
larryhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (seasons)
For Poetry Monday, another modern if not contemporary sonnet:


Mid-March, Lizette Woodworth Reese

It is too early for white boughs, too late
For snows. From out the hedge the wind lets fall
A few last flakes, ragged and delicate.
Down the stripped roads the maples start their small,
Soft, ’wildering fires. Stained are the meadow stalks
A rich and deepening red. The willow tree
Is woolly. In deserted garden-walks
The lean bush crouching hints old royalty,
Feels some June stir in the sharp air and knows
Soon ’twill leap up and show the world a rose.

The days go out with shouting; nights are loud;
Wild, warring shapes the wood lifts in the cold;
The moon’s a sword of keen, barbaric gold,
Plunged to the hilt into a pitch black cloud.


I've posted a Reese poem before: she's an early 20th century Marylander.

---L.

Subject quote from Lines Written in the Album at Elbingerode, in the Hartz Forest, Samuel Coleridge.
larryhammer: text: "space/time OTP: because their love is everything" (spacetime)
Still tired and coughing, but throat no longer sore -- so the antibiotics are working yays. In honor of that, some science and science-related links:

Another entry in the Annals of False Dichotomies: that twins are either fraternal or identical. Sesquizygotic twins share identical maternal DNA but have different paternal DNA -- so an egg split a la identical twins before being fertilized by different sperms a la fraternal twins. (via)

The world's oldest known spreadsheet errors are in a Babylonian tablet listing Pythagorean triplets from c.1800 BCE. (via)

I got told what to call this poem by my male colleague” (via)

---L.

Subject quote from La Belle Dame sans Merci, John Keats.
larryhammer: pen-and-ink drawing of an annoyed woman dressed as a Heian-era male courtier saying "......" (annoyed)
It bugs me that the three Subaru Foresters at work that park in the same small stretch of lot never end up all next to each other.

(They trade off which two are together, and sometimes a Subaru Crosstrek joins the two, but it's never all three in a row.)

---L.
larryhammer: a wisp of colored smoke, label: "softly and suddenly vanished away" (disappeared)
For Poetry Monday, after that palate cleanser, another contemporary sonnet:


And Day Brought Back My Night, Geoffrey Brock

It was so simple: you came back to me
And I was happy. Nothing seemed to matter
But that. That you had gone away from me
And lived for days with him—it didn’t matter.
That I had been left to care for our old dog
And house alone—couldn’t have mattered less!
On all this, you and I and our happy dog
Agreed. We slept. The world was worriless.

I woke in the morning, brimming with old joys
Till the fact-checker showed up, late, for work
And started in: Item: it’s years, not days.
Item: you had no dog. Item: she isn’t back,
In fact, she just remarried. And oh yes, item: you
Left her, remember? I did? I did. (I do.)


From 2005, and there's a video of it. The title refers to a Milton sonnet.

---L.

Subject quote from Open Arms, Tracy Chapman.
larryhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (birds)
The typo on the cover of the revised edition of One Hundred People, One Poem Each has been fixed, so it's safe to order it. Yays! And speaking of translations, a review of the Komachi thing.

Which means it's time for some fluffy links:

Extensive list of one person's analysis of which Pokémon are kosher to eat. (via)

An extract from Gilbert & Sullivan's Xena; or, The Warrior Princess. (via)

A year of haiku about my kids,” one of them newborn as of the first one. Parenting’s hard when / You have to make rules like, “no / Bare butts on the couch.” (via)

---L.

Subject quote is someone's deliberate mangling of a Yogi Berra quote.
larryhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (birds)
(This post will seriously annoy archivists and other document management specialists, and for that I apologize.)

Back when I posted this announcement, I thought I would simply port that round of changes into the print edition. However, comma, getting Ice Melts in the Wind out the door reminded me that I had retranslated of some of the poems that are in the Kokinshu, and I really ought to update those. While working on that, I realized that there’s other translations that no longer matched my practice evolved for the Kokinshu poems and notes. Not to mention having a somewhat better grasp of Japanese.

In other words, this is a completely revised One Hundred People, One Poem Each, with 20-odd translations revised and updates to commentaries throughout. Because this does not match the ebook that’s labeled “Second Edition” and calling this a third edition would be confusing when there’s no print 2e., it’s officially a “Revised Edition.”
Around 1235, Japanese poet and scholar Fujiwara no Teika compiled for his son’s father-in-law a collection of one hundred poems by one hundred poets. Within its summary of six centuries of Japanese literature, Teika arranged a poetic conversation that ebbs and flows through various subjects. The collection became the exemplar of the genre—a mini-manual of classical poetry, taught in the standard school curriculum and used in a memory card game still played during New Years.

One Hundred People, One Poem Each contains the best that classical Japanese poetry has to offer—now in a revised verse translation.

Cover of the revised edition of 100 People, 1 Poem Each
Wider distribution, lower price, and better poems—what’s not to want?

Available in both paper and electronic editions from all the usual fine retailers: print | Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Smashwords | et cetera | as well as orderable through your local bookstore (ISBN 978-1790497690).

If you do read it, please consider reviewing or at least rating. Every tick-mark counts. Review copies can be arranged.

---L.
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)
For Poetry Monday, I need a break from all these modern sonnets. This looks good enough:


Greenland's Icy Mountains )


Okay, fine, I may have stretched the definition of "good" past the breaking point. But you have to admit, McGonagall is entirely different from anything in the last several months and so works to cleanse the palate. I do wonder what travel writing he was reading.

---L.

Subject quote from The Old Dope Peddler, Tom Lehrer.

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