Thursday, February 5, 2015



"One thing I am very sure of: and that is, that if all mankind agreed to meet, and everyone brought his own sufferings along with him for the purpose of exchanging them for somebody else's, there is not a man who, after taking a good look at his neighbor's sufferings, would not be only too happy to return home with his own."
 Herodotus
(Quoted from Herodotus: The Histories, p421. Penguin Classics, London & New York, 1972. Translation published 1954 by Aubrey Selincourt.)



 






 
 
 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015




As someone who fanaticizes about living in a simpler age, the attached photo was of great interest to me. It was taken in 1941 at New York's famous Grand Central Station. Note the clothing styles, and the light in the photo.


Friday, December 19, 2014


 
TO THE DEAD IN THE GRAVEYARD UNDERNEATH MY WINDOW

How can you lie so still? All day I watch
And never a blade of all the green sod moves
To show where restlessly you turn and toss,
Or fling a desperate arm or draw up knees
Stiffened and aching from their long disuse;
I watch all night and not one ghost comes forth
To take its freedom of the midnight hour.
Oh, have you no rebellion in your bones?
The very worms must scorn you where you lie,
A pallid, moldering, acquiescent folk,
Meek habitants of unresented graves
Why are you there in your straight row on row
Where I must ever see you from my bed?
That in your mere dumb presence iterate
The text so weary in my ears: “Lie still
And rest: be patient and lie still and rest.”
I’ll not be patient! I will not lie still!
There is a brown road runs between the pines,
And further on the purple woodlands lie,
And still beyond the blue mountains lift and loom;
And I will walk the road and I would be
Deep in the wooded shade and I would reach
The windy mountain tops that touch the clouds.
My eyes may fallow but my feet are held
Recumbent as you others must I too’
Submit? Be mimic of your movelessness
With pillow and counterpane for stone and sod?
And if the many sayings of the wise
Teach of submission I will not submit
But with a spirit all unreconciled
Flash an unquenched defiance to the stars.
Better it is to walk, to run, to dance,
Better it is to laugh, and leap and sing,
To know the open skies of dawn and night,
To move untrammeled down the flaming noon,
And I will clamour it though weary days
Keeping the edge of deprivation sharp,
Nor with the pliant speaking of my lips
Of resignation, sister to defeat.
I will not be patient. I will not lie still.
And in ironic quietude who is
 The despot of our days and lord of dust
Needs but, scarce heeding, wait to drop
Grim casual comment on rebellion’s end
“Yes,   yes…  Willful and petulant but now
As dead and quiet as the others are.”
And this each day body and ghost of you hath heard
That in your graves do therefore lie so still.

 
Saranac Lake, New York, 1914   From: VERSE:  by Adelaide Crapsey Published by Alfred Knopf, New York 1915, 1922, 1925 
NOTE: The above poem was written in 1914 by the 36 year old Adelaide Crapsey as she lay dying in her sick bed at Saranac Lake, New York. She was born in 1878 and spent her young girlhood in Rochester, NY. After attending a preparatory school she entered Vassar College in 1901. Upon her graduation in 1905 she began teaching but soon left for Europe to study at the School of Archaeology in Rome. Soon after, she resumed a teaching career as a lecturer in Literature and History at the renowned Miss Lowe’s Preparatory school in Connecticut. But only after two years, due to ill health, she abandoned her teaching career and left for Europe once again. She lived in both Rome and London during the following two years and worked on her “Analysis of English Metrics,” which she planned as her lifelong work. Then returning to America and after teaching at Smith College for a short period, her illness became worse forcing her to once again abandon her ambitions.
This poem was written at the end of her final poetic phase, and very soon before her death.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014



A GARLAND I HAVE SEEN

A garland have I seen
So fair, that every flower
Will cause my sighs to flow.
 
Lady, I saw a garland borne by you,
     Lovely as fairest flower;
     And blithely fluttering over it, beheld
A little angel of Love’s gentle quire,
Who sung an artful lay,
Which said, who me beholds
     Shall praise my sovereign lord.

Let me be found where tender floweret blooms,
     Then will my sighs break forth.
     Then shall I say, my lady fair and kind
     Bears on her head the flowerets of my Sire;
     But to increase desire,
     Soon shall my lady come
     Crowned by the hand of love.

Of flowers these new and trifling rhymes of mine
     A ballad have composed;
     From them, to win a grace, have ta’en a robe
That never to another hath been given;
     Therefore let me entreat,
When ye shall sing the lay,
That ye will do it honor.

 A sonnet by Dante, from The Portable Dante,  “The Rhymes” (translation by D.G. Rossetti) pp621-622. The Viking Press, New York, 1948. (This book was originally purchased in 1948 by Geneva Shields)

 

Saturday, December 6, 2014



WASHINGTON, December 7, 1941: (1:40pm) 08.10 hrs.

“AIR RAID PEARL HARBOR. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

When that message reached the Secretary of Navy Knox, his reply was, “My God! This can’t be true!” But it was!
 
The following list reports the losses:

PENNSYLVANNIA: DAMAGED

ARIZONA: SUNK

NEVADA: SERIOUSLY DAMAGED

OKLAHOMA: SUNK

CALIFORNIA: SUNK

MARYLAND: DAMAGED

WEST VIRGINIA: SUNK

TENNESSEE: MINOR DAMAGE

NEWBURY: MINNOR DAMAGED

RELEIGH: DAMAGED

HONOLULU: DAMAGED

ST. LOUIS: MINOR DAMAGE

HELENA: SERIOUS DAMAGE

CUMMINGS: MINOR DAMAGE

ALYWIN: MINOR DAMAGE

CASSIN: HEAVY DAMAGE

SHAW: HEAVY DAMAGE

BAGLEY: MINOR DAMAGE

HELM: MINOR DAMAGE

HENLEY: MINOR DAMAGE

OGLALA: SUNK

CURTISS: MINOR DAMAGE

PYRO: MINOR DAMAGE

TANGIER: MINOR DAMAGE

VESTAL: DAMAGED

RIGET: MINOR DAMAGE

UTAH: SUNK

SUMNER: MINOR DAMAGE

 

DEATHS: 2407 (of which 1177 were aboard the USS Arizona, 429 aboard the USS Oklahoma)

Thursday, December 4, 2014



 
A segment of a poem for this day

“Muscle and pluck forever!
What invigorates life, invigorates death,
And the dead advance as much as the living advance,
And the future is no more uncertain than the present,
And the roughness of the earth and of man encloses
As much as the delicatesse of the earth and of man,
And nothing endures but personal qualities.”

From Chance Democratic by Walt Whitman from
Whitman’s Political Works. p99. Thomas Crowell & Co., publisher,
(First Edition) New York, 1902.

 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014



The following are concluding lines from an old poem called simply, “Lucille.”
“The moon was, in fire, carried up through the fog;
The loud fortress bark’d at her feet like a chained dog.
The horizon fortress pulsed flame, the air sound.
All without
War and winter, and twilight, and terror, and doubt;
All within, light, warmth, calm!
In the twilight,
Long while Eugene de Luvois with a deep thoughtful smile
Linger’d, looking, and listening, lone by the tent.
At last he withdrew, and night closed as he went.”

“Lucille” by Owen Meredith,
Ticknor and Fields, Boston (First Ed.) 1866