Thursday, November 23, 2006

Faith's Review and Expectation by John Newton (Amazing Grace, that is)

originally a poem

written with William Cowper (1731-1800)

by Rev. John Newton (1725-1807)

Faith's Review and Expectation

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!

Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be for ever mine.


Duration 3:51

performed by LeAnn Rimes

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found.
I was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to feel
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed.

When we've been dead ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Then when we first begun.

Amazing grace, O how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found.
I was blind, but now I see.


Duration 6:00

in Cherokee

u ne la nv i u we tsi
i ga go yv he i
hna quo tso sv wi yu lo se
i ga gu yv ho nv
a se no i u ne tse i
i yu no du le nv
ta li ne dv tsi lu tsi li
u dv ne u ne tsv
e lo ni gv ni li squa di
ga lu tsv he i yu
ni ga di da ye di go i
a ni e lo hi gv
u na da nv ti a ne hv
do da ya nv hi li
tsa sv hna quo ni go hi lv
do hi wa ne he sdi


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Over Emily Dickinson's for Thanksgiving: 16 Poems

Emily Dickinson


A Bird came down the Walk

        A Bird came down the Walk--
        He did not know I saw--
        He bit an Angleworm in halves
        And ate the fellow, raw,

        And then he drank a Dew
        From a convenient Grass--
        And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
        To let a Beetle pass--

        He glanced with rapid eyes
        That hurried all around--
        They looked like frightened Beads, I thought--
        He stirred his Velvet Head

        Like one in danger, Cautious,
        I offered him a Crumb
        And he unrolled his feathers
        And rowed him softer home--

        Than Oars divide the Ocean,
        Too silver for a seam--
        Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon
        Leap, plashless as they swim.


God gave a Loaf to every Bird

        God gave a Loaf to every Bird--
        But just a Crumb--to Me--
        I dare not eat it--tho' I starve--
        My poignant luxury--

        To own it--touch it--
        Prove the feat--that made the Pellet mine--
        Too happy--for my Sparrow's chance--
        For Ampler Coveting--

        It might be Famine--all around--
        I could not miss an Ear--
        Such Plenty smiles upon my Board--
        My Garner shows so fair--

        I wonder how the Rich--may feel--
        An Indiaman--An Earl--
        I deem that I--with but a Crumb--
        Am Sovereign of them all--


He ate and drank the precious Words

        He ate and drank the precious Words--
        His Spirit grew robust--
        He knew no more that he was poor,
        Nor that his frame was Dust--

        He danced along the dingy Days
        And this Bequest of Wings
        Was but a Book--What Liberty
        A loosened spirit brings--


I bring an unaccustomed wine

        I bring an unaccustomed wine
        To lips long parching
        Next to mine,
        And summon them to drink;

        Crackling with fever, they Essay,
        I turn my brimming eyes away,
        And come next hour to look.

        The hands still hug the tardy glass--
        The lips I would have cooled, alas--
        Are so superfluous Cold--

        I would as soon attempt to warm
        The bosoms where the frost has lain
        Ages beneath the mould--

        Some other thirsty there may be
        To whom this would have pointed me
        Had it remained to speak--

        And so I always bear the cup
        If, haply, mine may be the drop
        Some pilgrim thirst to slake--

        If, haply, any say to me
        "Unto the little, unto me,"
        When I at last awake.


I had been hungry, all the Years

        I had been hungry, all the Years--
        My Noon had Come--to dine--
        I, trembling, drew the Table near--
        And touched the Curious Wine--

        'Twas this on Tables I had seen--
        When turning, hungry, Home
        I looked in Windows, for the Wealth
        I could not hope--for Mine--

        I did not know the ample Bread--
        'Twas so unlike the Crumb
        The birds and I had often shared
        In Nature's Dining-Room--

        The Plenty hurt me--'twas so new--
        Myself felt ill--and odd--
        As Berry--of A Mountain Bush
        Transplanted--to the Road--

        Nor was I hungry--so I found
        That Hunger--was a way
        Of Persons outside Windows--
        The Entering--takes away--


I meant to have but modest needs

        I meant to have but modest needs--
        Such as Content--and Heaven--
        Within my income--these could lie
        And Life and I--keep even--

        But since the last--included both--
        It would suffice my Prayer
        But just for One--to stipulate--
        And Grace would grant the Pair--

        And so--upon this wise--I prayed--
        Great Spirit--Give to me
        A Heaven not so large as Yours,
        But large enough--for me--

        A Smile suffused Jehovah's face--
        The Cherubim--withdrew--
        Grave Saints stole out to look at me--
        And showed their dimples--too--

        I left the Place, with all my might--
        I threw my Prayer away--
        The Quiet Ages picked it up--
        And Judgment--twinkled--too--
        Tat one so honest--be extant--
        It take the Tale for true--
        That "Whatsoever Ye shall ask--
        Itself be given You"--

        But I, grown shrewder--scan the Skies
        With a suspicious Air--
        As Children--swindled for the first
        All Swindlers--be--infer--


I worked for chaff and earning Wheat

        I worked for chaff and earning Wheat
        Was haughty and betrayed.
        What right had Fields to arbitrate
        In matters ratified?

        I tasted Wheat and hated Chaff
        And thanked the ample friend--
        Wisdom is more becoming viewed
        At distance than at hand.


It sifts from Leaden Sieves

        It sifts from Leaden Sieves--
        It powders all the Wood.
        It fills with Alabaster Wool
        The Wrinkles of the Road--

        It makes an Even Face
        Of Mountain and of Plain--
        Unbroken Forehead from the East
        Unto the East again--

        It reaches to the Fence--
        It wraps it Rail by Rail
        Till it is lost in Fleeces--
        It deals Celestial Veil

        To Stump and Stack--and Stem--
        A Summer's empty Room--
        Acres of Joints where Harvests were,
        Recordless, but for them--

        It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
        As Ankles of a Queen--
        Then stills its Artisans--like Ghosts,
        Denying they have been--


One Blessing had I than the rest

        One Blessing had I than the rest
        So larger to my Eyes
        That I stopped gauging--satisfied--
        For this enchanted size--

        It was the limit of my Dream--
        The focus of my Prayer--
        A perfect--paralyzing Bliss--
        Contented as Despair--

        I knew no more of Want--or Cold--
        Phantasms both become
        For this new Value in the Soul--
        Supremest Earthly Sum--

        The Heaven below the Heaven above--
        Obscured with ruddier Blue--
        Life's Latitudes leant over--full--
        The Judgment perished--too--

        Why Bliss so scantily disburse--
        Why Paradise defer--
        Why Floods be served to Us--in Bowls--
        I speculate no more--


One Day is there of the Series

        One Day is there of the Series
        Termed Thanksgiving Day.
        Celebrated part at Table
        Part in Memory.

        Neither Patriarch nor Pussy
        I dissect the Play
        Seems it to my Hooded thinking
        Reflex Holiday.

        Had there been no sharp Subtraction
        From the early Sum--
        Not an Acre or a Caption
        Where was once a Room--

        Not a Mention, whose small Pebble
        Wrinkled any Sea,
        Unto Such, were such Assembly
        'Twere Thanksgiving Day.


Prayer is the little implement

        Prayer is the little implement
        Through which Men reach
        Where Presence--is denied them.
        They fling their Speech

        By means of it--in God's Ear--
        If then He hear--
        This sums the Apparatus
        Comprised in Prayer--


They won't frown alway--some sweet Day

        They won't frown alway--some sweet Day
        When I forget to tease--
        They'll recollect how cold I looked
        And how I just said "Please."

        Then They will hasten to the Door
        To call the little Girl
        Who cannot thank Them for the Ice
        That filled the lisping full.


'Twas just this time, last year, I died

        'Twas just this time, last year, I died.
        I know I heard the Corn,
        When I was carried by the Farms--
        It had the Tassels on--

        I thought how yellow it would look--
        When Richard went to mill--
        And then, I wanted to get out,
        But something held my will.

        I thought just how Red--Apples wedged
        The Stubble's joints between--
        And the Carts stooping round the fields
        To take the Pumpkins in--

        I wondered which would miss me, least,
        And when Thanksgiving, came,
        If Father'd multiply the plates--
        To make an even Sum--

        And would it blur the Christmas glee
        My Stocking hang too high
        For any Santa Claus to reach
        The Altitude of me--

        But this sort, grieved myself,
        And so, I thought the other way,
        How just this time, some perfect year--
        Themself, should come to me--

        It was too late for man,
        But early yet for God;
        Creation impotent to help,
        But prayer remained our side.

        How excellent the heaven,
        When earth cannot be had;
        How hospitable, then, the face
        Of our old neighbor, God!


Undue Significance a starving man attaches

        Undue Significance a starving man attaches
        To Food--
        Far off--He sighs--and therefore--Hopeless--
        And therefore--Good--

        Partaken--it relieves--indeed--
        But proves us
        That Spices fly
        In the Receipt--It was the Distance--
        Was Savory--


Unto my Books--so good to turn

        Unto my Books--so good to turn--
        Far ends of tired Days--
        It half endears the Abstinence--
        And Pain--is missed--in Praise--

        As Flavors--cheer Retarded Guests
        With Banquettings to be--
        So Spices--stimulate the time
        Till my small Library--

        It may be Wilderness--without--
        Far feet of failing Men--
        But Holiday--excludes the night--
        And it is Bells--within--

        I thank these Kinsmen of the Shelf--
        Their Countenances Kid
        Enamor--in Prospective--
        And satisfy--obtained--


Victory comes late

        Victory comes late--
        And is held low to freezing lips--
        Too rapt with frost
        To take it--
        How sweet it would have tasted--
        Just a Drop--
        Was God so economical?
        His Table's spread too high for Us--
        Unless We dine on tiptoe--
        Crumbs--fit such little mouths--
        Cherries--suit Robbins--
        The Eagle's Golden Breakfast strangles--Them--
        God keep His Oath to Sparrows--
        Who of little Love--know how to starve--



Wednesday, November 15, 2006

From Pining Poem to Haunting Anthem: "Dark Eyes" by Yevhen Hrebinka

Duration 2:12

Chet Atkins (1924-2001)


originally a poem in Ukrainian

by Yevhen Hrebinka (1812-48)

composer unknown

Dark Eyes (The Gypsy Anthem)

Eyes of ecstacy, always haunting me,
Always taunting me, with your mystery,
Tell me tenderly, you belong to me
For eternity--dark eyes talk to me!

Eyes so dark and dear, eyes of loveth here,
Beauty full and true, I'm in love with you.
Give me eyes of love, like the stars above.
You stole my heart. May we ever part!

Gypsy melody that has haunted me,
Won't you set me free of all memory:
Of the time that's waste, of the path we traced
Of the pain we taste--so endlessly!


К. П. Гребенка

Очи черные, очи страстные !
Очи жгучие и прекрасные !
Как люблю я вас! Как боюсь я вас !
Знать, увидел вас я в недобрый час !

Ох, недаром вы глубины темней !
Вижу траур в вас по душе моей,
Вижу пламя в вас я победное:
Сожжено на нем сердце бедное.

Но не грустен я, не печален я,
Утешительна мне судьба моя:
Все, что лучшего в жизни бог дал нам,
В жертву отдал я огневым глазам !


Duration 2:02

Dmitri Hvorostovsky (b. 1962)


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Verse for Veterans: First Foe to Flanders Fields

by Richard Lovelace (1618-1658)

To Lucasta, Going to the Wars

Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind,
    That from the nunnery
Of thy chaste breast and quiet mind
    To war and arms I fly.

True, a new mistress now I chase,
    The first foe in the field;
And with a stronger faith embrace
    A sword, a horse, a shield.

Yet this inconstancy is such
    As thou too shalt adore;
I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
    Loved I not Honor more.


at sea in the First Dutch War (1665) the night before an engagement

by Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset (1638-1706)

Song, Written at Sea

To all you ladies now at land
        We men at sea indite;
But first would have you understand
        How hard it is to write:
The Muses now, and Neptune too,
We must implore to write to you--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.

For though the Muses should prove kind,
        And fill our empty brain,
Yet if rough Neptune rouse the wind
        To wave the azure main,
Our paper, pen, and ink, and we,
Roll up and down our ships at sea--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.

Then if we write not by each post,
        Think not we are unkind;
Nor yet conclude our ships are lost
        By Dutchmen or by wind:
Our tears we'll send a speedier way,
The tide shall bring them twice a day--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.

The King with wonder and surprise
        Will swear the seas grow bold,
Because the tides will higher rise
        Than e'er they did of old:
But let him know it is our tears
Bring floods of grief to Whitehall stairs--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.

Should foggy Opdam chance to know
        Our sad and dismal story,
The Dutch would scorn so weak a foe,
        And quit their fort at Goree:
For what resistance can they find
From men who've left their hearts behind?--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.

Let wind and weather do its worst,
        Be you to us but kind;
Let Dutchmen vapor, Spaniards curse,
        No sorrow we shall find:
'Tis then no matter how things go,
Or who's our friend, or who's our foe--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.

To pass our tedious hours away
        We throw a merry main,
Or else at serious ombre play:
        But why should we in vain
Each other's ruin thus pursue?
We were undone when we left you--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.

But now our fears tempestuous grow
        And cast our hopes away;
Whilst you, regardless of our woe,
        Sit careless at a play:
Perhaps permit some happier man
To kiss your hand, or flirt your fan--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.

When any mournful tune you hear,
        That dies in every note
As if it sighed with each man's care
        For being so remote,
Think then how often love we've made
To you, when all those tunes were played--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.

In justice you cannot refuse
        To think of our distress,
When we for hopes of honor lose
        Our certain happiness:
All those designs are but to prove
Ourselves more worthy of your love--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.

And now we've told you all our loves,
        And likewise all our fears,
In hopes this declaration moves
        Some pity for our tears:
Let's hear of no inconstancy--
We have too much of that at sea--
                With a fa, la, la, la, la.


by Robert Burns (1759-1796)

My Bonnie Mary

Go fetch to me a pint o' wine,
And fill it in a silver tassie,
That I may drink, before I go,
A service to my bonnie lassie.
The boat rocks at the pier o' Leith,
Fu' loud the wind blaws frae the ferry,
The ship rides by the Berwick-law,
And I maun leave my bonnie Mary.

The trumpets sound, the banners fly,
The glittering spears are ranked ready;
The shouts o' war are heard afar,
The battle closes thick and bloody;
But it's no the roar o' sea or shore
Wad mak me langer wish to tarry;
Nor shout o' war that's heard afar--
It's leaving thee, my bonnie Mary!


by William Cowper (1731-1808)

The Nightingale and Glow-Worm

A nightingale, that all day long
Had cheered the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When, looking eagerly around,
He spied far off, upon the ground,
A something shining in the dark,
And knew the glow-worm by his spark;
So, stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop.
The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangued him thus, right eloquent:
"Did you admire my lamp," quoth he,
"As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song;
For 'twas the self-same Power Divine
Taught you to sing, and me to shine;
That you with music, I with light,
Might beautify and cheer the night."
The songster heard his short oration,
And warbling out his approbation,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.
Hence jarring sectaries may learn
Their real interest to discern;
That brother should not war with brother,
And worry and devour each other;
But sing and shine by sweet consent,
Till life's poor transient night is spent,
Respecting in each other's case
The gifts of nature and of grace.
Those Christians best deserve the name
Who studiously make peace their aim;
Peace both the duty and the prize
Of him that creeps and him that flies.


by Edmund Hamilton Sears (1810-1876)

It Came upon the Midnight Clear

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, good will to men
From heaven's all-gracious King"--
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel-sounds
The blessed angels sing.

But with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;--
Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!

And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;--
Oh, rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When Peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.


by Louise Driscoll (1875-1957)

The Highway

All day long on the highway
The King's fleet couriers ride;
You may hear the tread of their horses sped
Over the country side.
They ride for life and they ride for death
And they override who tarrieth.
With show of color and flush of pride
They stir the dust on the highway.

Let them ride on the highway wide.
Love walks in little paths aside.

All day long on the highway
Is a tramp of an army's feet;
You may see them go in a marshaled row
With the tale of their arms complete:
They march for war and they march for peace,
For the lust of gold and fame's increase,

For victories sadder than defeat
They raise the dust on the highway.

All the armies of earth defied,
Love dwells in little paths aside.

All day long on the highway
Rushes an eager band,
With straining eyes for a worthless prize
That slips from the grasp like sand.
And men leave blood where their feet have stood
And bow them down unto brass and wood--
Idols fashioned by their own hand--
Blind in the dust of the highway.

Power and gold and fame denied,
Love laughs glad in the paths aside.


by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918)

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Friday, November 10, 2006

September 30, 2006: Massacre. September 29, 1960: Tenzin Gyatsu's prayer.

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.

--Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama


A Romanian ProTV station on a massacre of Tibetan refugees by Chinese soldiers on Nangapa pass in the Himilayas on Sept. 30, 2006. See more coverage and get involved in the struggle to free Tibet at Students for a Free Tibet and Tibet Will Be Free.


from his website

a prayer

by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet

Words of Truth

Honoring and Invoking the Great Compassion
of the Three Jewels; the Buddha, the Teachings,
and the Spiritual Community

O Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and disciples
of the past, present, and future:
Having remarkable qualities
Immeasurably vast as the ocean,
Who regard all helpless sentient beings
as your only child;
Please consider the truth of my anguished pleas.

Buddha's full teachings dispel the pain of worldly
existence and self-oriented peace;
May they flourish, spreading prosperity and happiness throughout this spacious world.
O holders of the Dharma: scholars
and realized practitioners;
May your ten fold virtuous practice prevail.

Humble sentient beings, tormented
by sufferings without cease,
Completely suppressed by seemingly endless
and terribly intense, negative deeds,
May all their fears from unbearable war, famine,
and disease be pacified,
To freely breathe an ocean of happiness and well-being.
And particularly the pious people
of the Land of Snows who, through various means,
Are mercilessly destroyed by barbaric hordes
on the side of darkness,
Kindly let the power of your compassion arise,
To quickly stem the flow of blood and tears.

Those unrelentingly cruel ones, objects of compassion,
Maddened by delusion's evils,
wantonly destroy themselves and others;
May they achieve the eye of wisdom,
knowing what must be done and undone,
And abide in the glory of friendship and love.

May this heartfelt wish of total freedom for all Tibet,
Which has been awaited for a long time,
be spontaneously fulfilled;
Please grant soon the good fortune to enjoy
The happy celebration of spiritual with temporal rule.

O protector Chenrezig, compassionately care for
Those who have undergone myriad hardships,
Completely sacrificing their most cherished lives,
bodies, and wealth,
For the sake of the teachings, practitioners,
people, and nation.

Thus, the protector Chenrezig made vast prayers
Before the Buddhas and Bodhisativas
To fully embrace the Land of Snows;
May the good results of these prayers now quickly appear.
By the profound interdependence of emptiness
and relative forms,
Together with the force of great compassion
in the Three Jewels and their Words of Truth,
And through the power
of the infallible law of actions and their fruits,
May this truthful prayer be unhindered
and quickly fulfilled.

This prayer, Words of Truth, was composed by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, on 29 September 1960 at his temporary headquarters in the Swarg Ashram at Dharamsala, Kangra District, Himachal State, India. This prayer for restoring peace, the Buddhist teachings, and the culture and self-determina-tion of the Tibetan people in their homeland was written after repeated requests by Tibetan government officials along with the unanimous consensus of the monastic and lay communities.



If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

I am sorry you had to leave Reine

in response to Linda Ronstadt singing Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou"

alongside a Dag Hol painting of Reine, Lofoten, when unfinished

(Click to enlarge)

I am sorry you had to leave Reine

You could not stay with me, a middle-aged
woman of the fjord, who from birth has never left
her hamlet, living here on a shore at the base
of this jagged new mountain, where fresh clouds are not stroked up,
but come and go, where stars, the moon, and snow counter
winter noon when the thousands, like you, have come and gone--
to a world where imaginary replicas of my psyche get studied

in cozy jet-set universities. You cannot see me now so far away
from you. And I would not enter your red-bottomed oil.
A chasm's mantra wall of molten marble would have come
between me and my focus. Nor could seafarers coax
me into their crafts, with bottoms only the painted-on lipstick red
of waiting souls and bodies--how ships and art take on
their captains' fantasies, cool vessels that calmly fall off the far

edge of the earth and its realities each day.
Here in the great North, the world funnels up, small enough
for any traveller's vision to fit, and like fluid brick all fit
together. So I would not go into Reine for the proceedings
when my mother died. My red lava feet would have chilled
to pipegray. My steps would have become watery, then airy with
a summer's skyblue, my head following ghosts through openings

in clouds. My shoes would be like yours, permanently separated
from the blood. Look at them. You cannot have your molten feet back:
how you look for the crescent moon, the way you think it chases--
then waits on--some circling midnight sun for light. I remain here
and real, not art nor a paragraph like you seem to want to be.
Ask yourself how far away must a midnight sun be to leave the crescent
on the sky. It is not on the horizon. We will never get there.

October 8, 2006

note: for "Reine" say "RAY-neh"



Friday, November 03, 2006

Wrestling With Poetry in November

by Homer (ca. 8th century BCE)

translated by Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

The Iliad

Book 23: Funeral Games in Honour of Patroclus
[wherein Achilles bestows on Nestor the unawarded fifth prize, the two-handled urn]

        Achilles this to reverend Nestor bears.
        And thus the purpose of his gift declares:
        "Accept thou this, O sacred sire! (he said)
        In dear memorial of Patroclus dead;
        Dead and for ever lost Patroclus lies,
        For ever snatch'd from our desiring eyes!
        Take thou this token of a grateful heart,
        Though 'tis not thine to hurl the distant dart,
        The quoit to toss, the ponderous mace to wield,
        Or urge the race, or wrestle on the field:
        Thy pristine vigour age has overthrown,
        But left the glory of the past thy own."

        He said, and placed the goblet at his side;
        With joy the venerable king replied:

        "Wisely and well, my son, thy words have proved
        A senior honour'd, and a friend beloved!
        Too true it is, deserted of my strength,
        These wither'd arms and limbs have fail'd at length.
        Oh! had I now that force I felt of yore,
        Known through Buprasium and the Pylian shore!
        Victorious then in every solemn game,
        Ordain'd to Amarynces' mighty name;
        The brave Epeians gave my glory way,
        AEtolians, Pylians, all resign'd the day.
        I quell'd Clytomedes in fights of hand,
        And backward hurl'd Ancaeus on the sand,
        Surpass'd Iphyclus in the swift career,
        Phyleus and Polydorus with the spear.
        The sons of Actor won the prize of horse,
        But won by numbers, not by art or force:
        For the famed twins, impatient to survey
        Prize after prize by Nestor borne away,
        Sprung to their car; and with united pains
        One lash'd the coursers, while one ruled the reins.
        Such once I was! Now to these tasks succeeds
        A younger race, that emulate our deeds:
        I yield, alas! (to age who must not yield?)
        Though once the foremost hero of the field.
        Go thou, my son! by generous friendship led,
        With martial honours decorate the dead:
        While pleased I take the gift thy hands present,
        (Pledge of benevolence, and kind intent,)
        Rejoiced, of all the numerous Greeks, to see
        Not one but honours sacred age and me:
        Those due distinctions thou so well canst pay,
        May the just gods return another day!"


I have been tired and often not feeling well the past couple months, nothing serious, just part of being me with the maladies I have. This is one reason for the slowdown in posts. I work well over 40 hours a week, and work on a poetry column that takes 20-30 hours a week as well, so the Bud Bloom time is what's left after taking care of personal and family matters.

A second reason has turned up the past couple weeks. That has to do with the Pocha Pocha project, the Positive Change Poetry Channel. I want to get that off the ground, and I'm thinking that literature, visuals, and music forums should go up first, then possibly a mixed-media periodical, and then the development of a resource center for artistic expression, a site that is not nationalistic in any unnecessary sense, that reaches to be there for anyone, anywhere, any language. There are other steps that will become goals beyond the internet, some expressed in the post linked to above, but this is the beginning. I want to be up as soon as reasonably possible.

But the third reason is another online identity I have, which moved me to make this post. As a practical matter, I will be spending hours and hours this month with another pseudonym. The Massachusetts wrestling community knows me as "dansdad". Seriously, I have walked into tournaments and heard "Hey, that's dansdad".

At, I am a moderator for the articles, and the College forum. November means that colleges nationwide (California's a bit different) are beginning their programs, and have their rosters and schedules up online. I serve the wrestling community across the country by making lists of the colleges with wrestling programs, sorting them A to Z, and by state (and for you clickers, I don't know how those "?"'s got in there this past year).

I then take the up-to-date alphabetical list, and click into all the rosters of all the colleges, looking for the wrestlers from Massachusetts. I create directories of them by school and alphabetically. Someone's got to do it.

So now, priorities get switched, because the wrestling project is time sensitive. I really ought to have everything up by the end of the month. Usually, I am jamming with my Thanksgiving Day time off, to get it all near complete.

I don't know how this will work out. I have never been Bud Bloom and dansdad at the same time. In fact, I have only been Bud Bloom while looking forward to going to readings and festivals, never local meets and tournaments. I was at the high school tournament below, for instance, and will be there this year too. But I hope to bring some interesting and high quality poetry blog posts for you here this month.

Thanks very much.


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