Sunday, April 26, 2015

Day After Caturday Post: Scaramouche, Master of Concealment

Darlings, I moved recently and I have been too tired and too busy for poetry.  Scaramouche, my large black and white cat, has been demonstrating that he is still master of concealment.

Can you spot the black and white kitten?

What about now?  (Tamerlaine is not the master of concealment)

Hint, you really have to get on the floor to see him. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Poetry Month: Moving with Rumi

I've finally begun sleeping in my new apartment!  I feel so much better now.  Everything is a mess still, but the mess can now begin to become better.  Also, it's MY Mess, not a roommate's mess. I am, however, too exhausted to come up with anything apropos, so here is one of my favorite lines of Rumi.

We are a garden
with plants and birdsong moving through us like rain.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Poetry Month: Moving with Basho

Darlings, I am in the soul sucking process of packing my life into boxes and moving the boxes somewhere else, and during the entirety of this, nothing will be clean or tidy and I get nothing done.  Nonetheless, as Basho pointed out.

Even a thatched hut
May change with a new owner
Into a doll's house. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Poetry Month: (The Most Predictable) Baudelaire for a Bad Day

Darlings, I am inundated with first world problems.  The washing machine is leaking and there is too much water.  Just too much water!  Also, the battery in my car died, causing me to miss my massage appointment.  Baudelaire is the obvious poetry choice, but because I am moving soon my Baudelaire is in a box somewhere.  Instead of flipping through his poetry at leisure and with wine, I am relaying "To the Reader" because that's the only one of his I really remember.

Folly and error, avarice and vice, 
Employ our souls and waste our bodies' force. 
As mangey beggars incubate their lice, 
We nourish our innocuous remorse.

Our sins are stubborn, craven our repentance. 
For our weak vows we ask excessive prices. 
Trusting our tears will wash away the sentence, 
We sneak off where the muddy road entices.

Cradled in evil, that Thrice-Great Magician, 
The Devil, rocks our souls, that can't resist; 
And the rich metal of our own volition 
Is vaporised by that sage alchemist.

The Devil pulls the strings by which we're worked: 
By all revolting objects lured, we slink 
Hellwards; each day down one more step we're jerked 
Feeling no horror, through the shades that stink.

Just as a lustful pauper bites and kisses 
The scarred and shrivelled breast of an old whore, 
We steal, along the roadside, furtive blisses, 
Squeezing them, like stale oranges, for more.

Packed tight, like hives of maggots, thickly seething
Within our brains a host of demons surges. 
Deep down into our lungs at every breathing, 
Death flows, an unseen river, moaning dirges.

If rape or arson, poison, or the knife 
Has wove no pleasing patterns in the stuff 
Of this drab canvas we accept as life — 
It is because we are not bold enough!

Amongst the jackals, leopards, mongrels, apes, 
Snakes, scorpions, vultures, that with hellish din, 
Squeal, roar, writhe, gambol, crawl, with monstrous shapes, 
In each man's foul menagerie of sin — 

There's one more damned than all. He never gambols,
Nor crawls, nor roars, but, from the rest withdrawn,
Gladly of this whole earth would make a shambles
And swallow up existence with a yawn...

Boredom! He smokes his hookah, while he dreams 
Of gibbets, weeping tears he cannot smother. 
You know this dainty monster, too, it seems — 
Hypocrite reader! — You! — My twin! — My brother!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Caturday Poetry: Welcome Summer

Now welcome Summer with thy sunne soft,
That hast this winter`s weathers overshake,
And driven away the longe nighties black.
~Geoffrey Chaucer

It's starting to be green and hot here, which causes my kitties to start flattening out and getting a bit melty around the edges.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Poetry Month: An Evening Thunderstorm with Basho

I dislike rain, but Basho didn't.

In the twilight rain
These brilliant hued hibiscus...
A lovely sunset.  

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Poetry Month: H. D.

My mama recently sent me a link to a list of female poets, including the fabulous Hilda Doolittle, who was BFFs with Ezra Pound et al. This is from her Eurydice.

So you have swept me back,
I who could have walked with the live souls
above the earth,
I who could have slept among the live flowers
at last;

so for your arrogance
and your ruthlessness
I am swept back
where dead lichens drip
dead cinders upon moss of ash;

so for your arrogance
I am broken at last,
I who had lived unconscious,
who was almost forgot;

if you had let me wait
I had grown from listlessness
into peace,
if you had let me rest with the dead,
I had forgot you
and the past.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Poetry Month: Beaumarchais via Da Ponte

I went to the Atlanta Opera's presentation of Marriage of Figaro last night.  That company has really stepped up its game the last two productions.  Now, instead of being adequate but not fabulous, they are moments of fabulosity marred at times by ragged singing and really annoying technical issues with their supertitle system.

So while overall I loved it, I was disappointed in the non-audibility of their Don Bartolo, who is actually one of my more favorite villains.  Kurt Moll, however, will show us how it's done.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Poetry Month: In Which McSweeney's Tackles a Shakespearean Issue that has Always Sort of Bugged Me

Read MacBeth and MacDufff arguing semantics here.

Personally, I think the Scottish play would have been infinitely improved by a woman killing MacBeth.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Poetry Month: More Marlowe

Let it never be said that any words in the mouth of Tamburlaine great were not epic.

Come, let us march against the powers of heaven,
And set black streamers in the firmament,
To signify the slaughter of the gods.

I tried today to convince a coworker that instead of inspirational quotes from various businesspersons, his email signature should contain statements from Tamburlaine the Great.  After all, which of our clients would dare to complain to or neglect their bills from a corporation which is the hate and scourge of god? Unfortunately, corporate culture is far more accepting of inspirational slogans than of chasing the stars from heaven.  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Poetry Month: Bread Baking with Rumi

If you are ever in need of a kiss, bring to mind the smell of fresh bread
And taste again a touch you once loved or are hoping for.

Following this recipe, I've spent the last few days making croissants.  I made them once before, following the old Joy of Cooking I got from my late and beloved grandmother.  I think the Joy of Cooking version tasted better but this version is so flaky! 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Poetry Caturday: Desire

Where true Love burns Desire is Love’s pure flame;
It is the reflex of our earthly frame,
That takes its meaning from the nobler part,
And but translates the language of the heart.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Friday, April 3, 2015

Poetry Month: Exploding Planets

A planet doesn’t explode of itself," said drily
The Martian astronomer, gazing off into the air.
"That they were able to do it is proof that highly
Intelligent beings must have been living there.
~John Hall Wheelcock

Thursday, April 2, 2015

National Poetry Month: Iambs

Today for poetry month, I demanded that requests for me to write new puppet code be submitted in iambic pentameter.  My professional email was much more interesting today.   Speaking of iambic pentameter, this is one of the speeches of Marlow's Tamburlaine (the Great).  As befitting one with the great as an epithet, every word from the dude's mouth is rather epic.

In thee, thou valiant man of Persia,
I see the folly of thy emperor.
Art thou but captain of a thousand horse,
That, by characters graven in thy brows
And by thy martial face and stout aspect,
Deserv'st to have the leading of an host?
Forsake thy king, and do but join with me,
And we will triumph over all the world.
I hold the Fates bound fast in iron chains,
And with my hand turn Fortune's wheel about;
And sooner shall the sun fall from his sphere
Than Tamburlaine be slain or overcome.
Draw forth thy sword, thou mighty man-at-arms,
Intending but to race my charméd skin,
And Jove himself will stretch his hand from heaven
To ward the blow and shield me safe from harm.
See how he rains down heaps of gold in showers,
As if he meant to give me soldiers pay!
And, as a sure and grounded argument
That I shall be the monarch of the East,
He sends this soldan's daughter, rich and brave,
To be my queen and portly emperess.
If thou wilt stay with me, renownéd man,
And lead thy thousand horse with my conduct,
Besides thy share of this Egyptian prize,
Those thousand horse shall sweat with martial spoil
Of conquered kingdoms and of cities sacked.
Both we will walk upon the lofty clifts;
And Christian merchants that with Russian stems
Plow up huge furrows in the Caspian sea
Shall vail to us as lords of all the lake.
Both we will reign as consuls of the earth,
And mighty kings shall be our senators.
Jove sometime maskéd in a shepherd's weed;
And by those steps that he hath scaled the heavens
May we become immortal like the gods!
Join with me now in this my mean estate
(I call it mean because, being yet obscure,
The nations far removed admire me not),
And, when my name and honor shall be spread
As far as Boreas claps his brazen wings,
Or fair Boötes sends his cheerful light,
Then shalt thou be competitor with me,
And sit with Tamburlaine in all his majesty.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

National Poetry Month Again!

It's that month again, darlings, whan that April with its showers, etc.  I will be working on  becoming mad, bad, and dangerous to know, so let's have a ghost poem:

"Where you coming from, Lomey Carter,
So airly over the snow?
And what's them pretties you got in your hand,
And where you aiming to go?

"Step in, Honey: Old Christmas morning
I ain't got nothing much;
Maybe a bite of sweetness and corn bread,
A little ham meat and such,

"But come in, Honey! Sally Anne Barton's
Hungering after your face.
Wait till I light my candle up:
Set down! There's your old place.

Now where you been so airly this morning?"
"Graveyard, Sally Anne.
Up by the trace in the salt lick meadows
Where Taulbe kilt my man."

"Taulbe ain't to home this morning . . .
I can't scratch up a light:
Dampness gets on the heads of the matches;
But I'll blow up the embers bright."

"Needn't trouble. I won't be stopping:
Going a long ways still."
"You didn't see nothing, Lomey Carter,
Up on the graveyard hill?"

"What should I see there, Sally Anne Barton?"
"Well, sperits do walk last night.
There were an elder bush a-blooming
While the moon still give some light."

"Yes, elder bushes, they bloom, Old Christmas,
And critters kneel down in their straw.
Anything else up in the graveyard?
One thing more I saw:

I saw my man with his head all bleeding
Where Taulbe's shot went through."
" What did he say?" " He stooped and kissed me."
"What did he say to you?"

"Said, Lord Jesus forguv your Taulbe;
But he told me another word;
He said it soft when he stooped and kissed me.
That were the last I heard."

"Taulbe ain't to home this morning."
"I know that, Sally Anne,
For I kilt him, coming down through the meadow
Where Taulbe kilt my man.

"I met him upon the meadow trace
When the moon were fainting fast,
And I had my dead man's rifle gun
And kilt him as he come past."

"But I heard two shots." "'Twas his was second:
He shot me 'fore be died:
You'll find us at daybreak, Sally Anne Barton:
I'm laying there dead at his side."

~Roy Helton