Poem of the day

The Mirror
by A.A. Milne (1882-1956)

Between the woods the afternoon
Is fallen in a golden swoon.
The sun looks down from quiet skies
To where a quiet water lies,
      And silent trees stoop down to trees.
And there I saw a white swan make
Another white swan in the lake;
And, breast to breast, both motionless,
They waited for the wind’s caress . . .
      And all the water was at ease.

Views: 41

Game of the week

Yesterday was Grandmaster Keene’s 74th birthday.

Views: 28

Poem of the day

Rose Aylmer
by Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864)

Ah! what avails the sceptred race,
      Ah! what the form divine!
What every virtue, every grace!
      Rose Aylmer, all were thine.

Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes
      May weep, but never see,
A night of memories and of sighs
      I consecrate to thee.

Views: 43

Inflation explained

From the NYT: “The reopening of the economy after the initial lockdowns brought a surge in demand, which was bolstered by the trillions of dollars in aid that the federal government provided to households and businesses. But supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages and other issues meant that businesses could not fully meet that demand. Strong demand plus limited supply is a recipe for inflation.

“What happens next is less clear. If companies are able to hire more workers and pick up production, then supply will be able to meet demand. …

“But if supplies can’t rebound, then either we will continue to burn off excess demand in the form of inflation, or demand will have to fall. Either scenario would make it harder for the economy to rebound fully from the shock of the pandemic.”

Views: 32

Poem of the day

The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“ ‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
                  Only this, and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had tried to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
                  Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“ ‘Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
                  This it is, and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
                  Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”
                  Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
                  ‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not an instant stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
                  Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore,—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
                  Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
                  With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
                  Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
                  Of ‘Never—Nevermore!’ ”

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
                  Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er,
                  She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose faint foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
                  Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
                  Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
                  Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
                  Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
                  Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Views: 35

Poem of the day

Under Ben Bulben
by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


Swear by what the sages spoke
Round the Mareotic Lake
That the Witch of Atlas knew,
Spoke and set the cocks a-crow.

Swear by those horsemen, by those women
Complexion and form prove superhuman,
That pale, long-visaged company
That air in immortality
Completeness of their passions won;
Now they ride the wintry dawn
Where Ben Bulben sets the scene.

Here’s the gist of what they mean.


Many times man lives and dies
Between his two eternities,
That of race and that of soul,
And ancient Ireland knew it all.
Whether man die in his bed
Or the rifle knocks him dead,
A brief parting from those dear
Is the worst man has to fear.
Though grave-digger’s toil is long,
Sharp their spades, their muscles strong,
They but thrust their buried men
Back in the human mind again.


You that Mitchel’s prayer have heard,
“Send war in our time, O Lord!”
Know that when all words are said
And a man is fighting mad,
Something drops from eyes long blind,
He completes his partial mind,
For an instant stands at ease,
Laughs aloud, his heart at peace.
Even the wisest man grows tense
With some sort of violence
Before he can accomplish fate,
Know his work or choose his mate.


Poet and sculptor, do the work,
Nor let the modish painter shirk
What his great forefathers did,
Bring the soul of man to God,
Make him fill the cradles right.

Measurement began our might:
Forms a stark Egyptian thought,
Forms that gentler Phidias wrought,

Michael Angelo left a proof
On the Sistine Chapel roof,
Where but half-awakened Adam
Can disturb globe-trotting Madam
Till her bowels are in heat,
Proof that there’s a purpose set
Before the secret working mind:
Profane perfection of mankind.

Quattrocento put in paint
On backgrounds for a God or Saint
Gardens where a soul’s at ease;
Where everything that meets the eye,
Flowers and grass and cloudless sky,
Resemble forms that are or seem
When sleepers wake and yet still dream,
And when it’s vanished still declare,
With only bed and bedstead there,
That heavens had opened.

                                    Gyres run on;
When that greater dream had gone
Calvert and Wilson, Blake and Claude,
Prepared a rest for the people of God,
Palmer’s phrase, but after that
Confusion fell upon our thought.


Irish poets, learn your trade,
Sing whatever is well made,
Scorn the sort now growing up
All out of shape from toe to top,
Their unremembering hearts and heads
Base-born products of base beds.
Sing the peasantry, and then
Hard-riding country gentlemen,
The holiness of monks, and after
Porter-drinkers’ randy laughter;
Sing the lords and ladies gay
That were beaten into clay
Through seven heroic centuries;
Cast your mind on other days
That we in coming days may be
Still the indomitable Irishry.


Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:

         Cast a cold eye
         On life, on death.
         Horseman, pass by!

Views: 28

Poem of the day

The Walrus and the Carpenter
by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

The sun was shining on the sea,
         Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
         The billows smooth and bright—
And this was odd, because it was
         The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
         Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
         After the day was done—
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
         “To come and spoil the fun!”

The sea was wet as wet could be,
         The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
         No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead—
         There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
         Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
         Such quantities of sand:
“If this were only cleared away,”
         They said, “it would be grand!”

“If seven maids with seven mops
         Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
         “That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
         And shed a bitter tear.

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
         The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
         Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
         To give a hand to each.”

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
         But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
         And shook his heavy head—
Meaning to say he did not choose
         To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
         All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
         Their shoes were clean and neat—
And this was odd, because, you know,
         They hadn’t any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
         And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
         And more, and more, and more—
All hopping through the frothy waves,
         And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
         Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
         Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
         And waited in a row.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
         “To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
         Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
         And whether pigs have wings.”

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
         “Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
         And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
         They thanked him much for that.

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
         “Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
         Are very good indeed—
Now if you are ready, Oysters dear,
         We can begin to feed!”

“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
         Turning a little blue.
“After such kindness, that would be
         A dismal thing to do!”
“The night is fine,” the Walrus said.
         “Do you admire the view?

“It was so kind of you to come!”
         “And you are very nice!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
         “Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf—
         I’ve had to ask you twice!”

“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
         “To play them such a trick,
After we’ve brought them out so far,
         And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
         “The butter’s spread too thick!”

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said.
         “I deeply sympathize!”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
         Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
         Before his streaming eyes.

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
         “You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?”
         But answer came there none—
And this was scarcely odd, because
         They’d eaten every one.

Views: 32

Poem of the day

Old Adam, the Carrion Crow
by Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803-1849)

Old Adam, the carrion crow,
            The old crow of Cairo;
      He sat in the shower, and let it flow
            Under his tail and over his crest;
              And through every feather
              Leak’d the wet weather;
            And the bough swung under his nest;
            For his beak it was heavy with marrow.
              Is that the wind dying? O no;
              It’s only two devils, that blow,
              Through a murderer’s bones, to and fro,
              In the ghosts’ moonshine.
         Ho! Eve, my grey carrion wife,
            When we have supped on king’s marrow,
      Where shall we drink and make merry our life?
            Our nest it is queen Cleopatra’s skull,
              ‘Tis cloven and crack’d,
              And batter’d and hack’d,
            But with tears of blue eyes it is full:
            Let us drink then, my raven of Cairo!
              Is that the wind dying? O no;
              It’s only two devils, that blow
              Through a murderer’s bones, to and fro,
              In the ghosts’ moonshine.

Views: 29