AirToob Lightning

Tags  →  poetry

Hockley Valley

“Morning on the Farm”

“Jenne Farm”

Beautiful images of autumn (or fall) in Canada, © by Magda Bognar

From the page Fall or autumn: the Canadian dilemma:

If you like this...

[Autumn and winter images by Anka Zhuravleva]

A collection of fine actors read truly great poetry - a feast of sheer quality packed into less than 2 minutes.

This is a real treat... don't miss it!

The Quangle Wangle's Hat

Click the image for one of Gatorindo's many great posts, this one being a short musical version of Edward Lear's poem, together with a lot of the other good information that he always provides.

[Lake District visit continued from Part 2]

From the web site:

"Rydal Mount, in the heart of the Lake District, lies between Ambleside and Grasmere and commands glorious views of Lake Windermere, Rydal Water and the surrounding fells.

"This was Wordsworth's best loved family home for the greater part of his life from 1813 to his death in 1850 at the age of 80. It was here that he wrote many of his poems, revised and improved much of his earlier works and published the final version of his most famous poem 'Daffodils'."

Rydal Water, a short distance north of Windermere and east of Grasmere, seen from Wordsworth's garden

Rydal Water

Bluebells... I'm sure they were very early this year (for the Lake District)

Loughrigg from Wordsworth's garden, looking south

A feature of the garden

The mound

View from the Norse Mound

This little girl looked so cute, couldn't resist taking a photo

Wordsworth's house is perched on the hillside above Rydal Water

A lovely place to have a greenhouse

View from inside the house. Unlike many historic homes that you visit, photography is allowed if you don't use a flash.

Wordsworth's drawing room... and you can sit on most of the seats and sofas in this house, except for delicate ones specially marked. It's a very homely place and if you want sit and read a book for half an hour, no problem! (HDR photo)

...and his study up in the attic, from which you can see all the way to Windermere

[Lake District visit continues in Part 4]

(Original post: March 5th, 2011)

The Open Library is a great site for book lovers.

From the page:

One web page for every book ever published. It's a lofty but achievable goal.

To build Open Library, we need hundreds of millions of book records, a wiki interface, and lots of people who are willing to contribute their time and effort to building the site.

To date, we have gathered over 20 million records from a variety of large catalogs as well as single contributions, with more on the way.

Open Library is an open project: the software is open, the data are open, the documentation is open, and we welcome your contribution. Whether you fix a typo, add a book, or write a widget--it's all welcome. We have a small team of fantastic programmers who have accomplished a lot, but we can't do it alone!

I came across it when my daughter was given a beautiful copy of "A Child's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson (the facsimile edition), for our granddaughter (who is not able to read it for herself just yet).

The book is generally regarded as one of the greatest recollections of childhood in verse.

If you have read it, you may remember closing it on this last poem:

"Romance d'automne" by Evgenia Karica (elle-cannelle)

(and a poem with that title here)

Found on the always-beautiful pages of my friend chaotiqual.

Spray and acrylic painting by the French street artist Liliwenn, the title of which comes from the first line of this poem:

Give yourself a treat and click on the text above, which will take you a page where you can listen to this poem being read in the beautiful French language.

If you like this, you might like...

[Samba Saravah, from "Un Homme Et Une Femme"]

Caretake this moment.
Immerse yourself in its particulars.
Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed.

Quit the evasions.
Stop giving yourself needless trouble.
It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.
You are not some disinterested bystander.
Exert yourself.

Respect your partnership with providence.
Ask yourself often, How may I perform this particular deed
such that it would be consistent with and acceptable to the divine will?
Heed the answer and get to work.

When your doors are shut and your room is dark you are not alone.
The will of nature is within you as your natural genius is within.
Listen to its importunings.
Follow its directives.

As concerns the art of living, the material is your own life.
No great thing is created suddenly.
There must be time.

Give your best and always be kind.

~ Epictetus ~

(Epictetus: The Art of Living a New Interpretation by Sharon Lebell.)

Thanks to my friend Sandy for this one!

From Sharon Lebell's page:

Sharon Lebell has built her life and livelihood around "rescuing philosophy from philosophers," freeing important, popularly overlooked philosophical ideas from arid, archaic language and obfuscation... In Sharon Lebell's hands the originally practical, earthy spirit of Stoic philosophy comes alive, making available to all this great tradition's wealth of helpful inspiration and timeless life guidance...

Sharon is also a master player of the hammered dulcimer, a stringed instrument of ancient middle-eastern origin. With her books and musical composition and performance she seeks to accomplish the same purpose: to spread a little sweetness and ease into the world.

(It happens that I have a weakness for the hammered dulcimer. If you haven't heard one played with the effect that Sharon tries to achieve, see here for some good examples!)

"Ballston surf", an amazing oil painting by the naturalistic artist Jon Friedman

If I came across one of Jon Friedman's paintings in an art gallery, I would be quite capable of sitting there for 20 minutes just looking at it. That's about as far from "normal" Stumbling as you can get (and why I am glad to be here on Categorian).

Free association...

[Green Waves, a beautiful song from Secret Garden]
["Spannungsbogen", the opposite of Stumbling]


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

- Max Ehrmann

Thanks for the picture (author unknown) and for the prose poem (a long-time favourite in our family) to my SU friends Mark (FredZepp) and Janine Flynn, who have sadly left SU (probably for better things) and who so far haven't left a trail...

Max Ehrmann, it surprised me to find out, was an attorney from Indiana. More about him here.

If you like this poem, do check out the poetry site on which it appears. It offers "a range of spiritual and illuminating poetry from a diverse range of cultural and poetic traditions", and there is some wonderful stuff there.

This poem features on my web page that I call The Bright Side.

Shel's official site for kids is an absolute joy, beautifully designed and full of brilliant animation and humour. I suspect that many adults (especially parents and teachers) will enjoy it as much as I did - and children will absolutely love it.

I haven't read Shel Silverstein for a very long time; when I went hunting for his work on the web I was reminded of what great stuff I had been missing.

I found this poem on the wonderful pages of my friend succes (Rita/Renée), now tragically passed away. Her pages are all that many Stumblers and ex-Stumblers have left of her; if you are reading this before October 24th 2011 (when SU destroys all blogs with images, colours and links) then you may want to save at least some of her pages as a keepsake (see here).

[More Shel Silverstein links]
[My books page]


The Antennae Galaxies NGC 4038-4039

From the (literally) wonderful Hubble Telescope Site

I wrote this when I was studying physics at university, somewhere around 1967, as I was beginning to appreciate what a truly awesome place the universe that we live in is, and how great were the minds that could comprehend even the shallow end of it:

To a Physicist

Have you ever heard the clang
Of a tiny particle, swollen by its speed
A trillionth of a trillionth of a grain of sand
Come round its last lap, and with frightful energy
Deal a reverberating sledge-hammer blow
Smashing the lock of Nature's secrets?

Have you ever suffered vertigo
From viewing octaves of infinity on either side
Where Space of an exactly calculable radius
Laughs emptily into never-ending distance?
Or to the inverse powers turn, and feel your soul
Plummet in the chasms of the infinitely small?

Or have you ever felt the unit pulse
That beats beneath the mightiest structures of the Universe
And on discovering (scarcely with surprise) the laws
That state what you are
not allowed to know
Do you not scoot back to the nursery,
Ignore the blasts outside, and tinker happily with 'science' --
Thankful for childhood?

If you like this kind of thing...

[Nikon Universcale (interactive illustration of the scale of the universe)]
["Powers of Ten" (1977 documentary film)]

Stealing from an Eye

May zephyrs ferry me so far,
To brush the tips of dusty stars;
To slip within a shadow's sigh;
And take the twinkle from an eye...

May final quietus interpose,
To shake the rhyming from the prose;
To face a door that will not pry;
And take the teardrops from an eye...

May faded cadence trill away,
To serenade a heart of clay;
To lead an army out to die;
And take the beauty from an eye...

May lonely letters slowly drown,
To turn a smile to a frown;
To cast a restless soul awry;
And take perception from an eye...

I have seen this great photo-montage on many blogs, but here is the original.

The photo-montage is by ~calico901, and if you click the picture you will see that she credits the sources that she used to put the picture together.

The wonderful words, which are the original ones that went with this picture, are by ~Felixavier. ~calico901 and ~Felixavier kind of did this together as a joint project. Thanks, guys!

For Johnny

Do not despair
For Johnny-head-in-air;
He sleeps as sound
As Johnny underground.
Fetch out no shroud
For Johnny-in-the-cloud;
And keep your tears
For him in after years.

Better by far
For Johnny-the-bright-star,
To keep your head,
And see his children fed.

The picture is of a Lancaster bomber on the night of 16/17 April 1943 over Ludwigshafen, and was painted by Marek Dziewa, as described in this story of commemoration and reconciliation.

The poem is by John Pudney.

The connection between the two (in my mind) is the classic British film The Way To The Stars, which was derived from Terence Rattigan's play Flare Path. It's one of my favourites: a simple and moving story of British and American pilots based at an airfield in the Midlands during the Second World War, and the relationships that they form with the local community. John Pudney's poem is given to one of the characters, and is always remembered by those who have seen the movie.

(If you are interested, I describe some of my other movie favourites here.)

The old sun sighs and slips away
And night creeps over the everyday
And sleepy children climb the stairs
Cuddling toys and teddy bears
The endless boxes grown-ups made
For packing people neat and tight
Melt into twinkling rivulets of light
And gulfs of soft, mysterious shade

Then small bold spirits rise and fly
In the evening air of a different sky

(One of the few poems that I ever wrote, a long, long, long time ago)