“I’m Nobody/Who are You?” Emily Dickinson: Major New Book & Exhibit

Posted in Literature, poetry, Emily Dickinson Poetry, American Literature | 1 Comment

Is It Just Me, or that “The World Is too Much with Us?”

william-wordsworth

I woke up at two a.m. this morning with this well-known masterpiece by the incomparable English bard Wordsworth coiling through my mind.

This sonnet was penned in Britain just as the Industrial Revolution was upending the trusted old courtesies and mores, and wreaking widespread damage in English cities and the countryside. It seems incredibly current and timely today. Amazing, because no one in the eighteenth or nineteenth century could have anticipated the incipient mess could have swollen to the size and seriousness confronting us today.

“The World Is Too Much With Us”
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
Posted in Literary Classics, Literature, poetry, poets | Tagged | 9 Comments

Baby, it’s cold inside …

The "Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is."
Wallace Stevens was a seminal, groundbreaking American modernist poet.  A contemporary of Eliot, he flipped the archetype of the wan, pale, misunderstood verbal virtuoso.  Instead, he pursued a lucrative career as a vice president of Hartford Life Insurance and yet somehow was also able to simultaneously write and publish mind-bending original verse in a distinctively American idiom.  Go figure.  Right brain, left brain, maybe. But that’s one of the hallmarks of genius in my book.
Anyway, here is one of his more popular poems to ponder and parse if you are so inclined. Stay warm, stay well.  Spring will be here before you know it, with its birds, bees and own distinctive conundra and delights.
                                          “The Snow Man”
                                           Wallace Stevens
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
—————————————————————
Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man” from The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Copyright © 1954 by Wallace Stevens and renewed 1982 by Holly Stevens. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Posted in American Literature, Literature, poetry, poets | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

The Father’s Eye. . .

I clipped this beautiful poem from the New York Times years ago.  It still remains one of my all-time Christmas favorites. So subtle, understated and allusive.  Thought I’d share while wishing you the joy of this miraculous season! Pardon the watermarks; it’s survived a lot of handling.

star of the nativity brodsky

fav Russian emigre poet

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Posted in Joseph Brodsky, Literature, poetry, poets | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Joy to the World!

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
 Let earth receive her King;
 Let every heart prepare Him room,
 And Heaven and nature sing,
 And Heaven and nature sing,
 And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.
 
 Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
 Let men their songs employ;
 While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
 Repeat the sounding joy,
 Repeat the sounding joy,
 Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.
 
 No more let sins and sorrows grow,
 Nor thorns infest the ground;
 He comes to make His blessings flow
 Far as the curse is found,
 Far as the curse is found,
 Far as, far as, the curse is found.
 
 He rules the world with truth and grace,
 And makes the nations prove
 The glories of His righteousness,
 And wonders of His love,
 And wonders of His love,
 And wonders, wonders, of His love.
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My Life as a Turkey (really)

turkeys2

Young wild turkeys on my farm, Spring/fall 2016

Apropos of the holiday, I thought I’d share a curious life-changing experience I had this year with respect to (you got it) turkeys.

For some reason, a number of large wild turkey mamas decided to use my place to feed and raise their babies.  How interesting and what fun…

I watched the babies sprout from tiny little poults (see bottom photo) to the hefty adolescents you see above.

Strangely, my big dogs and horses got along with them famously. Smart move on their part because no one in his right mind would want to tangle with a mama turkey standing watch over her brood. They are gentle but ferocious when it comes to taking care of their babies.

As a captivated spectator of this wonderful exhibit of mother nature at work, I learned so much about their behavior and habits, and I was won over to the turkey “cause,” you might say. They have eyes like ours and are great mothers who make their chicks behave! They sleep (roost) in trees or on fences, love bugs, worms and cracked corn — and the bigger they get, the more land they need to forage. The Florida Wildlife Commission agents who came over and visited with me about how to care for them said grown wild turkeys need 100 sq. miles to forage effectively!

After playing turkey nursemaid for so many months, I suppose it’s no surprise that I’ve lost my taste for turkey and will be celebrating with other festive choices on the holiday dinner table.

Happy Thanksgiving one and all! Thanks for stopping by …

turkeys3

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Posted in Humor, Literature | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Lady Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free ….”

The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

“The Mother of Exiles,” a gift from France and dedicated in Oct. 1886, stands tall in New York Harbor, and welcomes all comers yearning to breathe free; immigrants, exiles, the homeless, refugees. Let’s not forget that with the exception of Native Americans, all Americans are the descendants of wave after wave of immigrants. Americans come in all colors, shapes and sizes,  and as a composite, we are as richly textured as all humanity, and yet …

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

statue-of-liberty-evacuation

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” – Thomas Jefferson 1743 – 1826

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Posted in American Literature, Literature, poets, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments