Saturday, October 22, 2011

Here We Go...

Last Sunday, the big, hairy man gave the old lady a push and they ran four miles together. She had on a brace for her ankle, but it hurt more than the running. Since then, we've done another nine miles throughout the week. Today, we were able to get about six miles done... 5.81 to be exact- without stopping.
I am pretty proud of the lady for not stopping and getting the higher mileage on. It still hurts her pushing it up the hills, but you know what they say, "No pain, no gain."

We are getting ready for the Hot Chocolate 15K on December 3rd. We've gotta get back into the ten mile distance by the second week of November. I have little doubt that we can do it. I mean, look at the first week! Almost twenty miles in a week? Pretty good, if I do say so myself!

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Few from Christina Rossetti

Christina G. Rossetti was among the foremost poets of Victorian England. While in her lifetime, she was overshadowed by her more flamboyant brother, Dante Gabriel, the cloistered Rossetti's poetry is now recognized as among the most dramatic and stylistically innovative of her time. Among women of the period, she is perhaps outperformed only by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Best known for "Goblin Market," a much longer poem, I thought that a few short poems would be nice.

It is a land with neither night nor day,
Nor heat nor cold, nor any wind, nor rain,
Nor hills nor valleys; but one even plain
Stretches thro' long unbroken miles away,
While thro' the sluggish air a twilight grey
Broodeth; no moons or seasons wax and wane,
No ebb and flow are there among the main,
No bud-time no leaf-falling there for aye,
No ripple on the sea, no shifting sand,
No beat of wings to stir the stagnant space,
No pulse of life thro' all the loveless land
And loveless sea; no trace of days before,
No guarded home, no toil-won restingplace
No future hope, no fear for evermore.
- 1855
Frost-locked all the winter,
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
What shall make their sap ascend
That they may put forth shoots?
Tips of tender green,
Leaf, or blade, or sheath;
Telling of the hidden life
That breaks forth underneath,
Life nursed in its grave by Death.
Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly,
Drips the soaking rain,
By fits looks down the waking sun:
Young grass springs on the plain;
Young leaves clothe early hedgerow trees;
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
Swollen with sap put forth their shoots;
Curled-headed ferns sprout in the lane;
Birds sing and pair again.
There is no time like Spring,
When life's alive in everything,
Before new nestlings sing,
Before cleft swallows speed their journey back
Along the trackless track---
God guides their wing,
He spreads their table that they nothing lack,---
Before the daisy grows a common flower,
Before the sun has power
To scorch the world up in his noontide hour.
There is no time like Spring,
Like Spring that passes by;
There is no life like Spring-life born to die,---
Piercing the sod,
Clothing the uncouth clod,
Hatched in the nest,
Fledged on the windy bough,
Strong on the wing:
There is no time like Spring that passes by,
Now newly born, and now
Hastening to die.
The hope I dreamed of was a dream,
Was but a dream; and now I wake
Exceeding comfortless, and worn, and old,
For a dream's sake.

I hang my harp upon a tree,
A weeping willow in a lake;
I hang my silenced harp there, wrung and snapt
For a dream's sake.

Lie still, lie still, my breaking heart;
My silent heart, lie still and break:
Life, and the world, and mine own self, are changed
For a dream's sake.
- 1860

Enjoy! I welcome suggestions, so feel free to comment.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ambrose Bierce

Bierce (1842-1914) was unsentimental, critical, sardonic, and lucid when sappy, romantic sentimentalism was at its most popular, a trait that has kept his writing (along with that of Melville [ LINK ], who had to be rediscovered, and a few others) current while consigning many of his more popular contemporaries to dust in recent years. It also earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce," notable because his criticism was said to make or break a writer's career. His civil war diaries (he was an officer) provide one of the most widely-known and journalistic commentaries on the war. Best known for his Devil's Dictionary, his poetry is likewise outstanding. Below are a few prominent examples.

My Monument

It is pleasant to think, as I'm watching my ink
A-drying along my paper,
That a monument fine will surely be mine
When death has extinguished my taper.

From each pitiless scribe of the critic tribe
Purged clean of all sentiments narrow,
A pebble will mark his respect for the stark
Stiff body that's under the barrow.

Thus stone upon stone by reviewers thrown,
Will make my celebrity deathless.
O I wish I could think, as I gaze at my ink,
They'd wait till my carcass is breathless.

The Valley of Dry Bones (1896)

With crow bones all the land is white,
From the gates of morn to the gates of night.
Picked clean, they lie on the cumbered ground,
And the politician's paunch is round;
And he strokes it down and across as he sings:
"I've eaten my fill of the legs and wings,
The neck, the back, the pontifical nose,
Breast, belly and gizzard, for everything goes.
The meat that's dark (and there's none that's white)
Exceeded the need of my appetite,
But I've bravely stuck to the needful work
That a hungry domestic hog would shirk.
I've eaten the fowl that the Fates commend
To reluctant lips of the People's Friend.
Rank unspeakably, bitter as gall,
Is the bird, but I've eaten it, feathers and all.
I'm a dutiful statesman, I am, although
I really don't like a diet of crow.
So I've dined all alone in a furtive way,
But my platter I've cleaned every blessed day.
They say that I bolt; so I do---my bird;
They say that I sulk, but they've widely erred!
O Lord! if my enemies only knew
How I'm full to the throat with the corvic stew

They'd open their ears to hear me profess
The faith compelled by the corvic stress,
(For, alas! necessity knows no law)
In the heavenly caucus---'Caw! Caw! Caw!'"

And that ornithanthropical person tried
By flapping his arms on the air to ride;
But I knew by the way that he clacked his bill
He was just the poor, featherless biped, Dave Hill.

The Passing Show


I know not if it was a dream. I viewed
A city where the restless multitude,
Between the eastern and the western deep
Had reared gigantic fabrics, strong and rude.

Colossal palaces crowned every height;
Towers from valleys climbed into the light;
O'er dwellings at their feet, great golden domes
Hung in the blue, barbarically bright.

But now, new-glimmering to-east, the day
Touched the black masses with a grace of gray,
Dim spires of temples to the nation's God
Studding high spaces of the wide survey.

Well did the roofs their solemn secret keep
Of life and death stayed by the truce of sleep,
Yet whispered of an hour when sleepers wake,
The fool to hope afresh, the wise to weep.

The gardens greened upon the builded hills
Above the tethered thunders of the mills
With sleeping wheels unstirred to service yet
By the tamed torrents and the quickened rills.

A hewn acclivity, reprieved a space,
Looked on the builder's blocks about his base
And bared his wounded breast in sign to say:
"Strike! 'tis my destiny to lodge your race.

"'Twas but a breath ago the mammoth browsed
Upon my slopes, and in my caves I housed
Your shaggy fathers in their nakedness,
While on their foemen's offal they caroused."

Ships from afar afforested the bay.
Within their huge and chambered bodies lay
The wealth of continents; and merrily sailed
The hardy argosies to far Cathay.

Beside the city of the living spread---
Strange fellowship!---the city of the dead;
And much I wondered what its humble folk,
To see how bravely they were housed, had said.

Noting how firm their habitations stood,
Broad-based and free of perishable wood---
How deep in granite and how high in brass
The names were wrought of eminent and good,

I said: "When gold or power is their aim,
The smile of beauty or the wage of shame,
Men dwell in cities; to this place they fare
When they would conquer an abiding fame."

From the red East the sun---a solemn rite---
Crowned with a flame the cross upon a height
Above the dead; and then with all his strength
Struck the great city all aroar with light!


I know not if it was a dream. I came
Unto a land where something seemed the same
That I had known as 'twere but yesterday,
But what it was I could not rightly name.

It was a strange and melancholy land,
Silent and desolate. On either hand
Lay waters of a sea that seemed as dead,
And dead above it seemed the hills to stand.

Grayed all with age, those lonely hills---ah me,
How worn and weary they appeared to be!
Between their feet long dusty fissures clove
The plain in aimless windings to the sea.

One hill there was which, parted from the rest,
Stood where the eastern water curved a-west.
Silent and passionless it stood. I thought
I saw a scar upon its giant breast.

The sun with sullen and portentous gleam
Hung like a menace on the sea's extreme;
Nor the dead waters, nor the far, bleak bars
Of cloud were conscious of his failing beam.

It was a dismal and a dreadful sight,
That desert in its cold, uncanny light;
No soul but I alone to mark the fear
And imminence of everlasting night!

All presages and prophecies of doom
Glimmered and babbled in the ghastly gloom,
And in the midst of that accursèd scene
A wolf sat howling on a broken tomb.
As always, I hope you enjoy. Send me any questions you may have, and thanks for reading!
currently on miPod - "Pennies From Heaven" - Billie Holiday - Don't Be That Way