Poem of the day

The New Dodo
by Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803-1849)

Squats on a toad-stool under a tree
      A bodiless childfull of life in the gloom,
Crying with frog voice, “What shall I be?
Poor unborn ghost, for my mother killed me
      Scarcely alive in her wicked womb.
What shall I be? shall I creep to the egg
      That’s cracking asunder yonder by Nile,
                  And with eighteen toes,
                  And a snuff-taking nose,
      Make an Egyptian crocodile?
Sing, ‘Catch a mummy by the leg
            And crunch him with an upper jaw,
            Wagging tail and clenching claw;
            Take a bill-full from my craw,
            Neighbour raven, caw, O caw,
            Grunt, my crocky, pretty maw!

“Swine, shall I be you? Thou’rt a dear dog;
      But for a smile, and kiss, and pout,
      I much prefer your black-lipped snout,
            Little, gruntless, fairy hog,
            Godson of the hawthorn hedge.
      For, when Ringwood snuffs me out,
            And ’gins my tender paunch to grapple,
            Sing, ‘’Twixt your ancles visage wedge,
                  And roll up like an apple.’

“Serpent Lucifer, how do you do?
Of your worms and your snakes I’d be one or two;
      For in this dear planet of wool and of leather
‘Tis pleasant to need neither shirt, sleeve, nor shoe,
      And have arm, leg, and belly together.
      Then aches your head, or are you lazy?
      Sing, ‘Round your neck your belly wrap,
      Tail-a-top, and make your cap
            Any bee and daisy.’

“I’ll not be a fool, like the nightingale
Who sits up all midnight without any ale,
            Making a noise with his nose;
Nor a camel, although ’tis a beautiful back;
Nor a duck, notwithstanding the music of quack,
                  And the webby, mud-patting toes.
I’ll be a new bird with the head of an ass,
            Two pigs’ feet, two mens’ feet, and two of a hen;
Devil-winged; dragon-bellied; grave-jawed, because grass
      Is a beard that’s soon shaved, and grows seldom again
            Before it is summer; so cow all the rest;
            The new Dodo is finished. O! come to my nest.”

Views: 60

Poem of the day

L’Infinito
by Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837)

Sempre caro mi fu quest’ermo colle,
e questa siepe, che da tanta parte
dell’ultimo orizzonte il guardo esclude.
Ma sedendo e mirando, interminati
spazi di là da quella, e sovrumani
silenzi, e profondissima quïete
io nel pensier mi fingo; ove per poco
il cor non si spaura. E come il vento
odo stormir tra queste piante, io quello
infinito silenzio a questa voce
vo comparando: e mi sovvien l’eterno,
e le morte stagioni, e la presente
e viva, e il suon di lei. Così tra questa
immensità s’annega il pensier mio:
e il naufragar m’è dolce in questo mare.

Views: 39

The schadenfreude is strong

After all, depriving millions of Americans of their health insurance in the middle of a pandemic is a remarkably stupid idea, even for this administration. Republicans deserve to suffer at the polls for this.

The solicitor general says a vote for the GOP tax cuts was a vote to eliminate protections for preexisting conditions.

Views: 47

Game of the week

Another case of sibling rivalry. Two weeks ago, it was the Byrne brothers, this week it’s Eugene and John Meyer, who have been mainstays of the DC chess scene for decades. Currently, Eugene, an International Master, is rated sixth on the USCF’s top over 65 list while John, a FIDE Master and USCF Life Master, is tied for 35th. Unfortunately, Eugene belongs to the Dark Side.

Views: 86

Poem of the day

The Old School Clock
by John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-1890)

Old memories rush o’er my mind just now
⁠      Of faces and friends of the past;
Of that happy time when life’s dream was all bright,
⁠      E’er the clear sky of youth was o’ercast.

Very dear are those mem’ries,—they’ve clung round my heart.
⁠      And bravely withstood time’s rude shock;
But not one is more hallowed or dear to me now
⁠      Than the face of the Old School Clock.

’Twas a quaint old clock with a quaint old face,
⁠      And great iron weights and chain;
It stopped when it liked,—and before it struck
⁠      It creaked as if ’twere in pain;

It had seen many years, and it seemed to say,
⁠      —“I’m one of the real old stock,”
To the youthful fry, who with reverence looked
⁠      On the face of the Old School Clock.

How many a time have I labored to sketch
⁠      That yellow and time-honored face,
With its basket of flowers, its figures and hands,
⁠      And the weights and the chains in their place!

How oft have I gazed with admiring eye.
⁠      As I sat on the wooden block.
And pondered and guessed at the wonderful things
⁠      That were inside that Old School Clock!

What a terrible frown did the old clock wear
      To the truant, who timidly cast
⁠An anxious eye on those merciless hands,
      That for him had been moving too fast!

But it lingered not long, for it loved to smile
⁠      On the thoughtless, noisy flock,
And it creaked and whirred and struck with glee,—
⁠      Did that genial, good-humored old clock.

Well, years had passed, and my mind was filled
⁠      With the world, its cares and ways.
When again I stood in that little school
⁠      Where I passed my boyhood’s days.

My old friend was gone! and there hung a thing
⁠      That my sorrow seemed to mock.
As I gazed with a tear and a softened heart
⁠      At a new-fashioned German clock.

’Twas a gaudy thing with bright-painted sides,
⁠      And it looked with insolent stare
On the desks and the seats and oh everything old
⁠      And I thought of the friendly air—

Of the face that I missed, with its weights and chains,—
⁠      All gone to the auctioneer’s block:
’Tis a thing of the past,—never more shall I see
⁠      But in mem’ry that Old School Clock.

’Tis the way of the world: old friends pass away.
⁠      And fresh faces arise in their stead;
But still ’mid the din and the bustle of life
⁠      We cherish fond thoughts of the dead.

Yes, dear are those memories—they’ve cling round my heart,
⁠      And bravely withstand Time’s rude shock;
But not one is more dear or more hallowed to me
⁠      Than the face of that Old School Clock.

Views: 41

Poem of the day

Emancipation
by Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

Fling out your banners, your honors be bringing,
Raise to the ether your paeans of praise.
Strike every chord and let music be ringing!
Celebrate freely this day of all days.

Few are the years since that notable blessing,
Raised you from slaves to the powers of men.
Each year has seen you my brothers progressing,
Never to sink to that level again.

Perched on your shoulders sits Liberty smiling,
Perched where the eyes of the nations can see.
Keep from her pinions all contact defiling;
Show by your deeds what you’re destined to be.

Press boldly forward nor waver, nor falter.
Blood has been freely poured out in your cause,
Lives sacrificed upon Liberty’s alter.
Press to the front, it were craven to pause.

Look to the heights that are worth your attaining
Keep your feet firm in the path to the goal.
Toward noble deeds every effort be straining.
Worthy ambition is food for the soul!

Up! Men and brothers, be noble, be earnest!
Ripe is the time and success is assured;
Know that your fate was the hardest and sternest
When through those lash-ringing days you endured.

Never again shall the manacles gall you
Never again shall the whip stroke defame!
Nobles and Freemen, your destinies call you
Onward to honor, to glory and fame.

Views: 37

Poem of the day

Sehnsucht
by Julius Grosse (1828-1902)

Sehnsucht, auf den Knieen
Schauest du himmelwärts.
Einzelne Wolken ziehen,
Kommen und entfliehen,
Ewig hofft das Herz.

Liebe, himmlisch Wallen
Goldener Jugendzeit!
Einzelne Strahlen fallen
Wie durch Pfeilerhallen
In das Leben weit.

Einsam in alten Tagen
Lächelt Erinnerung;
Einzelne Wellen schlagen
Rauschen herauf wie Sagen:
Herz, auch du warst jung!

Views: 34

Poem of the day

To Mark Anthony in Heaven
by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

This quiet morning light
reflected, how many times
from grass and trees and clouds
enters my north room
touching the walls with
grass and clouds and trees.
Anthony,
trees and grass and clouds.
Why did you follow
that beloved body
with your ships at Actium?
I hope it was because
you knew her inch by inch
from slanting feet upward
to the roots of her hair
and down again and that
you saw her
above the battle’s fury—
clouds and trees and grass—

For then you are
listening in heaven.

Views: 44