Thursday, April 30, 2009

Benediction

Benediction

Blessings be with them, and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares!
The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
Of truth, and pure delight, by heavenly lays.
O might my name be numbered among theirs,
Then gladly would I end my mortal days!”


William Wordsworth

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Acrostic

Acrostic


Maiden, though thy heart may quail
And thy quivering lip grow pale,
Read the Bellman's tragic tale!

Is it life of which it tells?
Of a pulse that sinks and swells
Never lacking chime of bells?

Bells of sorrow, bells of cheer,
Easter, Christmas, glad New Year,
Still they sound, afar, anear.

So may Life's sweet bells for thee,
In the summers yet to be,
Evermore make melody!


Lewis Carroll

Monday, April 27, 2009

Your turn: submit a limerick

I can't think of anything good for today's post, so it's up to you, readers.

Today's assignment: submit a limerick.

It could be an old favorite, or if you're in need of a challenge, submit one of your own.....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Arbor Day

Plant a Tree

He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
Rootlets up through fibres blindly grope;
Leaves unfold into horizons free.
So man's life must climb
From the clods of time
Unto heavens sublime.
Canst thou prophesy, thou little tree,
What the glory of thy boughs shall be?

He who plants a tree
Plants a joy;
Plants a comfort that will never cloy;
Every day a fresh reality,
Beautiful and strong,
To whose shelter throng
Creatures blithe wih song.
If thou couldst but know, thou happy tree,
Of the bliss that shall inhabit thee!

He who plants a tree,--
He plants peace.
Under its green curtains jargons cease.
Leaf and zephyr murmur soothingly;
Shadows soft with sleep
Down tired eyelids creep,
Balm of slumber deep.
Never has thou dreamed, thou blessèd tree,
Of the benediction thou shalt be.

He who plants a tree,--
He plants youth;
Vigor won for centuries in sooth;
Life of time, that hints eternity!
Boughs their strength uprear:
New shoots, every year,
On old growths appear;
Thou shalt teach the ages, sturdy tree,
Youth of soul is immortality.

He who plants a tree,--
He plants love,
Tents of coolness spreading out above
Wayfarers he may not live to see.
Gifts that grow are best;
Hands that bless are blest;
Plant! life does the rest!
Heaven and earth help him who plants a tree,
And his work its own reward shall be.


Lucy Larcom

Friday, April 24, 2009

Epigram

On Shakespear[e]

What needs my Shakespeare for his honored bones
The labor of an age in pilèd stones?
Or that his hallowed relics should be hid
Under a star-ypointing pyramid?
Dear son of memory, great heir of fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Has built thyself a livelong monument.
For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavoring art,
Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book
Those Delphic lines with deep impression took;
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving,
And so sepulchred in such pomp dost lie
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.


John Milton

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shakespeare

It is widely held that William Shakespeare was born this day in 1564. It is a matter of historical record that he did die on this day, 1616.


Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosèd here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Patriot's Day

Lines Suggested by the Graves of Two English Soldiers on Concord Battle-Ground

The same good blood that now refills
The dotard Orient's shrunken veins,
The same whose vigor westward thrills,
Bursting Nevada's silver chains,
Poured here upon the April grass,
Freckled with red the herbage new;
On reeled the battle's trampling mass,
Back to the ash the bluebird flew.

Poured here in vain;—that sturdy blood
Was meant to make the earth more green,
But in a higher, gentler mood
Than broke this April noon serene;
Two graves are here: to mark the place,
At head and foot, an unhewn stone,
O'er which the herald lichens trace
The blazon of Oblivion.

These men were brave enough, and true
To the hired soldier's bull-dog creed;
What brought them here they never knew,
They fought as suits the English breed:
They came three thousand miles, and died,
To keep the Past upon its throne;
Unheard, beyond the ocean tide,
Their English mother made her moan.

The turf that covers them no thrill
Sends up to fire the heart and brain;
No stronger purpose nerves the will,
No hope renews its youth again:
From farm to farm the Concord glides,
And trails my fancy with its flow;
O'erhead the balanced hen-hawk slides,
Twinned in the river's heaven below.

But go, whose Bay State bosom stirs,
Proud of thy birth and neighbor's right,
Where sleep the heroic villagers
Borne red and stiff from Concord fight;
Thought Reuben, snatching down his gun,
Or Seth, as ebbed the life away,
What earthquake rifts would shoot and run
World-wide from that short April fray?

What then? With heart and hand they wrought,
According to their village light;
'T was for the Future that they fought,
Their rustic faith in what was right.
Upon earth's tragic stage they burst
Unsummoned, in the humble sock;
Theirs the fifth act; the curtain first
Rose long ago on Charles's block.

Their graves have voices; if they threw
Dice charged with fates beyond their ken,
Yet to their instincts they were true,
And had the genius to be men.
Fine privilege of Freedom's host,
Of humblest soldiers for the Right!—
Age after age ye hold your post,
Your graves send courage forth, and might.


James Russell Lowell

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kalamazoo

A B C D E F G H
I got a gal
In Kalamazoo.
Don't wanna boast,
But I know she's the toast
Of Kalamazoo zoo zoo, zoo zoo zoo.
Years have gone by,
My, my, how she grew.
I liked her looks
When I carried her books
In Kalamazoo zoo zoo zoo zoo.
I'm gonna send a wire,
Hoppin' on a flyer,
Leavin' today.
Am I dreamin'
I can hear her screamin',
“Hiya, Mister Jackson,”
Ev'rything's O K
A L A M A Z
O oh, what a gal,
A real pipperoo.
I'll make my bid
For that freckle-faced kid
I'm hurrying to.
I'm goin' to Michigan to
See the sweetest gal
In Kalamazoo.
Zoo zoo zoo zoo,
Zoo!


Mack Gordon

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Your turn: submit a haiku

Now it's your turn to work, readers. Today's assignment: submit a haiku poem.

It could be one that you are personally fond of , or write your own!

Possible topics:
Spring
Faith
Growth
A sweaty toothed mad man
Children
The Office
Rain
Mud
Friendship
Blogs
Pets

Have fun!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nebraska

The Kinkaiders

1

You ask what place I like the best,
The sand hills, O the old sand hills;
The place Kinkaiders make their home,
And prairie chickens freely roam.

Chorus:
 In all Nebraska's wide domain
 'Tis the place we long to see again;
 The sand hills are the very best,
 She is the queen of all the rest.

2

The corn we raise is our delight,
The melons, too, are out of sight.
Potatoes grown are extra fine
And can't be beat in any clime.

3

The peaceful cows in pastures dream
And furnish us with golden cream,
So I shall keep my Kinkaid home
And never far away shall roam.

Chorus:
 Then let us all with hearts sincere
 Thank him for what has brought us here,
 And for the homestead law he made,
 This noble Moses P. Kinkaid.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Books

I cannot think the glorious world of mind,
 Embalm'd in books, which I can only see
In patches, though I read my moments blind,
Is to be lost to me.

I have a thought that, as we live elsewhere,
 So will those dear creations of the brain;
That what I lose unread, I'll find, and there
Take up my joy again.

O then the bliss of blisses, to be freed
 From all the wants by which the world is driven;
With liberty and endless time to read
The libraries of Heaven!


Robert Leighton

Thursday, April 16, 2009

In honor of my Grandmothers, Cora Frank and Irma Nothwehr

Grandma


I know what makes a Grandma grand—she always has a treat,
A cookie or a piece of cake or apple pie to eat,
And when we go to visit her she gets the good things out,
And we don't have to ask for more as long as she's about.
Then Ma will say:
“That's all to-day;
Don't give them any more;
You'll make them ill.
I know you will,
To-night we'll walk the floor.”

A Grandma never punishes or says that we are bad,
She always takes us on her knee and tells us she is glad
To have us racing round the house, and when we get too smart,
An' Pa an' Ma are awful cross, she always takes our part.
And once when I
Had told a lie
And had to go to bed
Without my tea,
She came to me
And brought me jam and bread.

Ma says it's funny Grandma acts the way she does to-day;
When she was Grandma's little girl she couldn't disobey,
Or only eat the things she liked an' get the stomach ache,
Or pick the chocolate frosting off an' never touch the cake.
When she was bad
She always had
The punishment to bear,
But we can be
Much worse than she
An' Grandma doesn't care.

Pa says that Grandmas are alike; their job of training's done,
They don't like tears to come along and spoil the children's fun.
They love to see the youngsters eat, an', though it isn't right.
They never have to walk the floor or stay up all the night.
An' children know
The times they go
To Grandma's house to play,
Though bad they are,
Their Ma and Pa
Can't have a word to say.



Edgar Albert Guest

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

RIP Abraham Lincoln, 1865

O Captain! my Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.


Walt Whitman

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

RIP Titanic, 1912

The Convergence of the Twain


In a solitude of the sea
Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.

Steel chambers, late the pyres
Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres.

Over the mirrors meant
To glass the opulent
The sea-worm crawls--grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.

Jewels in joy designed
To ravish the sensuous mind
Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.

Dim moon-eyed fishes near
Gaze at the gilded gear
And query: "What does this vaingloriousness down here?" . . .

Well: while was fashioning
This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything

Prepared a sinister mate
For her--so gaily great--
A Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate.

And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.

Alien they seemed to be:
No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their later history,

Or sign that they were bent
By paths coincident
On being anon twin halves of one august event,

Till the Spinner of the Years
Said "Now!" And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.



Thomas Hardy

Monday, April 13, 2009

This day, in 1387, would have been the first day of the fictional pilgrimage that takes place in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter poem

The Cross and the Tomb

“He died,” saith the cross, “my very name”
 Was a hated thing and a word of shame;
But since Christ hung on my arms out-spread,
 With nails in His hands and thorns on His head,

They do but measure—set high, flung wide—
 The measureless love of the Crucified.”
“He rose,” said the tomb, “I was dark and drear,
 And the sound of my name wove a spell of fear;

But the Lord of Life in my depths hath lain
 To break Death's power and rend his chain;
And a light streams forth from my open door,
 For the Lord is risen; He dies no more.”


Annie Johnson Flint

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hymn

O Saviour of a World Undone

1. O Saviour of a world undone!
Whose dying sorrows blot the sun,
Whose painful groans and bowing head
Could rend the vail and wake the dead,
Say, from that execrated tree
Descends the ruddy tide for me?

2. For me did he who reigns above,
The object of paternal love,
Consent a servant's form to bear
That I a kingly crown might wear?
Is his deep loss my boundless gain,
And comes my victory from his pain?

3. O, let me own the deep decree
That wounded him and rescued me!
His death, his cross, his funeral sleep,
Instruct repentance how to weep;
He poured for me the vital flood;
My tears shall mingle with his blood.


Leonard Withington

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sonnet

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising
Haply I think on thee and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

William Shakespeare

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Indiana

OUR Land—our Home!—the common home indeed
 Of soil-born children and adopted ones—
 The stately daughters and the stalwart sons
Of Industry:—All greeting and god-speed!
O home to proudly live for, and, if need
 Be, proudly die for, with the roar of guns
 Blent with our latest prayer.—So died men once. . . .
Lo, Peace! . . . As we look on the land They freed—
Its harvest all in ocean-overflow
Poured round autumnal coasts in billowy gold—
  Its corn and wine and balmèd fruits and flow'rs,—
We know the exaltation that they know
 Who now, steadfast inheritors, behold
  The Land Elysian, marveling “This is ours!”

James Whitcomb Riley

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Anyone know why this is today's pick?

Hey Jude

Hey Jude, don't make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.

Hey Jude, don't be afraid.
You were made to go out and get her.
The minute you let her under your skin,
Then you begin to make it better.

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain,
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders.
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder.

Na na na na na na, na na na, hey Jude...

Hey Jude, don't let me down.
You have found her, now go and get her.
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.

So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin,
You're waiting for someone to perform with.
And don't you know that it's just you, hey Jude, you'll do,
The movement you need is on your shoulder.

Na na na na na na, na na na, hey Jude...

Hey Jude, don't make it bad.
Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let her under your skin,
Then you'll begin to make it
Better better better better better better, oh.

Na na na na na na, na na na, hey Jude...


Paul McCartney

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

William Wordsworth born today, 1770

Composed by the Sea-Shore



What mischief cleaves to unsubdued regret,
How fancy sickens by vague hopes beset;
How baffled projects on the spirit prey,
And fruitless wishes eat the heart away,
The Sailor knows; he best, whose lot is cast
On the relentless sea that holds him fast
On chance dependent, and the fickle star
Of power, through long and melancholy war.
O sad it is, in sight of foreign shores,
Daily to think on old familiar doors,
Hearths loved in childhood, and ancestral floors;
Or, tossed about along a waste of foam,
To ruminate on that delightful home
Which with the dear Betrothèd was to come;
Or came and was and is, yet meets the eye
Never but in the world of memory;
Or in a dream recalled, whose smoothest range
Is crossed by knowledge, or by dread, of change,
And if not so, whose perfect joy makes sleep
A thing too bright for breathing man to keep.
Hail to the virtues which that perilous life
Extracts from Nature's elemental strife;
And welcome glory won in battles fought
As bravely as the foe was keenly sought.
But to each gallant Captain and his crew
A less imperious sympathy is due,
Such as my verse now yields, while moonbeams play
On the mute sea in this unruffled bay;
Such as will promptly flow from every breast,
Where good men, disappointed in the quest
Of wealth and power and honours, long for rest;
Or, having known the splendours of success,
Sigh for the obscurities of happiness.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis

1

When Louis came home to the flat,
  he hung up his coat and his hat,
He gazed all around, but no wifey he found,
  so he said, “Where can Flossie be at?”
A note on the table he spied,
  he read it just once, then he cried.
It ran, “Louis dear, it's too slow for me here,
  so I think I will go for a ride.

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair ,
Don't tell me the lights are shining
   any place but there ;
We will dance the Hoochee Koochee ,
   I will be your tootsie wootsie ;
If you will meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair .”

2


The dresses that hung in the hall
  were gone, she had taken them all;
She took all his rings and the rest of his things;
  the picture he missed from the wall.
“What! moving!” the janitor said,
  “your rent is paid three months ahead.”
“What good is the flat?” said poor Louis, “read that.”
  And the janitor smiled as he read:

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair ,
Don't tell me the lights are shining
   any place but there;
We will dance the Hoochee Koochee ,
   I will be your tootsie wootsie;
If you will meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair .”

3


Lew Woods was the name of a horse,
  that ran at the New Orleans course,
I played him one day for a dollar each way,
  and I charged it to profit and loss;
He started to run in the wet,
  the son of a gun's running yet,
That crazy old skate, he made straight for the gate,
  and I hollered, “Hey Lew! don't forget.”

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair ,
Take my tip and don't stop running
   until you are there;
You're a wonder that's no liesky ,
   if you don't fall down and diesky ,
Meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair .

4


There came to the gay tenderloin,
  a Jay who had money to burn,
The poor simple soul, showed a girlie his roll,
  and she said, “for some wine dear, I yearn.”
A bottle and bird right away,
  she touched him then said, “I can't stay.”
He sighed, “Tell me, sweet, where can you and I meet?”
  and the orchestra started to play.

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair ,
Don't tell me the lights are shining
   any place but there ;
I'll be waiting there, my honey ,
   to divorce you from your money ,
Meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair .

5


The clerks in the bank said, “It's queer,
  did anyone see the cashier?
It's way after time, and we haven't a dime,
  we can't open the safe 'till he's here.”
The President shook his gray head,
  “Send out for an expert,” he said,
The door's opened wide, not a cent was inside,
  just a card, that was all, and it read:

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair ,
All the boys and all the girls
   are going to be there ;
If they ask about the cashier ,
   you can say he cuts a dash here ,
Meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair .

6


In church sat a man near the door,
  asleep, he was starting to snore,
The Minister rose, and he said, “We will close
  singing, Meet on the Beautiful Shore.”
The man in the back then awoke,
  he caught the last words that he spoke;
He said, “Parson White, you can meet me alright,
  but The Beautiful Shore is a joke.”

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair ,
Don't tell me the lights are shining
   any place but there ;
I'll be waiting at the station ,
   for the whole darned congregation ,
Meet me in St. Louis, Louis ,
   meet me at the fair .


Andrew B. Sterling


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Algernon Charles Swinburne born today, 1837

April

When the fields catch flower
 And the underwood is green,
And from bower unto bower
 The songs of the birds begin,
 I sing with sighing between.
When I laugh and sing,
 I am heavy at heart for my sin;
I am sad in the spring
 For my love that I shall not win,
For a foolish thing.

This profit I have of my woe,
 That I know, as I sing,
I know he will needs have it so
 Who is master and king,
 Who is lord of the spirit of spring.
I will serve her and will not spare
 Till her pity awake,
Who is good, who is pure, who is fair,
 Even her for whose sake
Love hath ta'en me and slain unaware.

O my lord, O love,
 I have laid my life at thy feet;
Have thy will thereof,
 Do as it please thee with it,
 For what shall please thee is sweet.
I am come unto thee
 To do thee service, O Love;
Yet cannot I see
 Thou wilt take any pity thereof,
And mercy on me.

But the grace I have long time sought.
 Comes never in sight,
If in her it abideth not,
 Through thy mercy and might,
 Whose heart is the world's delight.
Thou hast sworn without fail I shall die,
 For my heart is set
On what hurts me, I wot not why,
 But cannot forget
What I love, what I sing for and sigh.

She is worthy of praise,
 For this grief of her giving is worth
All the joy of my days
 That lie between death's day and birth,
 All the lordship of things upon earth.
Nay, what have I said?
 I would not be glad if I could;
My dream and my dread
 Are of her, and for her sake I would
That my life were fled.

Lo, sweet, if I durst not pray to you,
 Then were I dead;
If I sang not a little to say to you,
 (Could it be said)
 O my love, how my heart would be fed;
Ah, sweet, who hast hold of my heart,
 For thy love's sake I live,
Do but tell me, ere either depart,
 What a lover may give
For a woman so fair as thou art.

The lovers that disbelieve,
 False rumors shall grieve
And evil-speaking shall part.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

El-a-noy

Way down upon the Wabash,
Sich land was never known,
If Adam had passed over it,
The soil he'd surely own.

He'd think it was the garden,
He'd played in when a boy,
And straight pronounce it Eden,
In the State of Elanoy.

Chorus
Then move your family westward,
Good health you will enjoy,
And rise to wealth and honor,
In the State of Elanoy.

2


'Twas here the Queen of Sheba came,
With Solomon of old,
With an ass-load of spices,
Pomegranates and fine gold.

And when she saw this lovely land,
Her heart was filled with joy,
Straightway she said,
“I'd like to be a Queen in Elanoy!”

Chorus
Then move your family westward,
Good health you will enjoy,
And rise to wealth and honor,
In the State of Elanoy.


3


She's bounded by the Wabash,
The Ohio and the Lakes,
She's crawfish in the swampy lands,
The milk-sick and the shakes;

But these are slight diversions,
And take not from the joy
Of living in this garden land,
The State of Elanoy.

Chorus
Then move your family westward,
Good health you will enjoy,
And rise to wealth and honor,
In the State of Elanoy.

Friday, April 03, 2009

George Herbert born today, 1593

Evensong

The Day is spent, and hath his will on me:
 I and the Sun have run our races,
 I went the slower, yet more paces,
For I decay, not he.

Lord make my losses up, and set me free:
 That I who cannot now by day
 Look on his daring brightness, may
Shine then more bright than he.

If thou defer this light, then shadow me:
 Lest that the Night, earth's gloomy shade,
 Fouling her nest, my earth invade,
As if shades knew not Thee.

But Thou art Light and Darkness both together:
 If that be dark we cannot see:
 The sun is darker than a Tree,
And thou more dark than either.

Yet Thou art not so dark, since I know this,
 But that my darkness may touch thine:
 And hope, that may teach it to shine,
Since Light thy Darkness is.

O let my Soul, whose keys I must deliver
 Into the hands of senseless Dreams
 Which know not thee, suck in thy beams
And wake with thee for ever.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Triolet

A Triolet

Molly raised shy eyes to me,
On an April day;
Close we stood beneath a tree;
Molly raised shy eyes to me,
Shining sweet and wistfully,
Wet and yet quite gay;
Molly raised shy eyes to me,
On an April day


Angelina Weld Grimke


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April is Poetry Month

Oh Did You Hear?

Oh did you hear?
The President has measles,
The Principal has just burned down the school,
Your hair is filled with jam
and purple weasels

April Fool!


Shel Silverstein