Friday, June 22, 2007

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wade;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree.
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came wiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
--Lewis Carroll

Mike actually memorized this poem before I did. There was a certain amount of competition in our family growing up--I don't know if the boys noticed it, but I felt like I had to be able to do certain things that they could do, or I'd lose some respect. I had no great personal need to memorize the alphabet backwards, but since Mike and Doug could, I felt like I had to as well, so every time I got one of those alphabet plates at lunch, I'd practice. That's also the only reason I ever climbed up and crossed the rope bridge. I had to practice doing that too, so that the boys couldn't tell just how much it scared me (even going into the little treehouse scared me, to be honest). So anyway, when Mike memorized this poem, I felt like I had to as well. I later used it to fulfill an assignment for Mrs. Mertz's class (5th or 6th grade English), where we were supposed to memorize and recite a poem. I didn't get very good peer reviews, because none of them said they could understand my enunciation--they didn't get that it was supposed to be gibberish. Oh, well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Love (Genevieve) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge


All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.

Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o'er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay,
Beside the ruined tower.

The moonshine, stealing o'er the scene
Had blended with the lights of eve:
And she was there, my hope, my joy,
My own dear Genevieve!.

She leant against the arméd man,
The statue of the arméd knight:
She stood and listened to my lay,
Amid the lingering light.

Few sorrows hath she of her own,
My hope ! my joy ! my Genevieve !
She loves me best, whene'er I sing
The songs that make her grieve.

I played a soft and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving story-
An old rude song, that suited well
That ruin wild and hoary.

She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace:
For well she know, I could not choose
But gaze upon her face.

I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand:
And that for ten long years he wooed
The Lady of the Land.

I told her how he pined : and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sang another's love,
Interpreted my own.

She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace:
And she forgave me, that I gazed
Too fondly on her face!.

But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely Knight,
And that he crossed the mountain-woods,
Nor rested day nor night:

That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny glade,-

There came and looked him in the face
An angel beautiful and bright:
And that he knew it was a Fiend,
This miserable Knight!.

And that unknowing what he did,
He leaped amid a murderous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death
The Lady of the Land!.

And how she wept, and clasped his knees:
And how she tended him in vain-
And ever strove to expiate
The scorn that crazed his brain ;-

And that she nursed him in a cave:
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest-leaves
A dying man he lay ;-

His dying words -but when I reached
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My faultering voice and pausing harp
Disturbed her soul with pity!.

All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve:
The music and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve:

And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherished long!.

She wept with pity and delight,
She blushed with love, and virgin-shame:
And like the murmur of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.

Her bosom heaved -she stepped aside,
As conscious of my look she stepped-
The suddenly, with timorous eye
She fled to me and wept.

She half enclosed me with her arms,
She pressed me with a meek embrace:
And bending back her head, looked up,
And gazed upon my face.

'Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly 'twas a bashful art,
That I might rather feel, than see,
The swelling of her heart.

I calmed her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride:
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous Bride.
--Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Here's another poem I discovered recently. I think it will become one of my long term favorites. It shows all the romance of the old romances--and there's a reason why the one term came to mean the other thing. I'm not really sure how I feel about the whole Lancelot and Guenevere story--it's terribly romantic with forbidden love and conflicting loyalties and duty. On the other hand, it was forbidden, and rather than pining and going mad over it (and ruining the kingdom in the process), they should have given it up and gotten on with their lives. I do think, that the ending is entirely stupid. Once Arthur is dead, there's no reason for Guenevere to suddenly get all virtuous and go into a convent instead of marrying Lancelot once and for all.

Oh well, at least they've inspired lots of wonderful literature including this poem.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Wreck of the Julie Plante by William Henry Drummond

The Wreck of the "Julie Plante": A Legend of Lac St. Pierre

On wan dark night on Lac St. Pierre,
De win' she blow, blow, blow,
An' de crew of de wood scow "Julie Plante"
Got scar't an' run below—
For de win' she blow lak hurricane,
Bimeby she blow some more,
An' de scow bus' up on Lac St. Pierre
Wan arpent from de shore.

De captinne walk on de fronte deck,
An' walk de hin' deck too—
He call de crew from up de hole,
He call de cook also.
De cook she 's name was Rosie,
She come from Montreal,
Was chambre maid on lumber barge,
On de Grande Lachine Canal.

De win' she blow from nor' -eas' -wes',--
De sout' win' she blow too,
W'en Rosie cry, "Mon cher captinne,
Mon cher, w'at I shall do ?"
Den de captinne t'row de beeg ankerre,
But still de scow she dreef,
De crew he can't pass on de shore,
Becos' he los' hees skeef.

De night was dark lak wan black cat,
De wave run high an' fas',
W'en de captinne tak' de Rosie girl
An' tie her to de mas'.
Den he also tak' de life preserve,
An' jomp off on de lak',
An' say, "Good-bye, ma Rosie dear,
I go drown for your sak'."

Nex' morning very early
'Bout ha'f-pas' two—t'ree—four—
De captinne—scow—an' de poor Rosie
Was corpses on de shore,
For de win' she blow lak hurricane,
Bimeby she blow some more,
An' de scow bus' up on Lac St. Pierre,
Wan arpent from de shore.


Now all good wood scow sailor man
Tak' warning by dat storm
An' go an' marry some nice French girl
An' leev on wan beeg farm.
De win' can blow lak hurricane
An' s'pose she blow some more,
You can't get drown on Lac St. Pierre
So long you stay on shore.
--William Henry Drummond

I like how this poem is entirely readable and understandable when read aloud, though it might be a little odd to look at. When I read it, it reminded me of a book I got from the library once called Petite Rouge A Cajun Red Riding Hood. It's written in entirely the same style-- for read aloud with an accent-- but the subject matter is a little more cheerful.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Frog and the Fly by Anonymous

The Frog and the Fly

An old frog sat
On a water lily.
He opened his mouth
And looked so silly.

A young fly passed
And laughed to see
Him sitting there
So foolishly.

“You’re a funny thing,”
The young fly cried.
Frog closed his mouth –
With the fly inside.

I don't know the author of this poem, and a quick Google search didn't turn anything up. If you know the author, please post a comment. I found this poem while going through old papers in my quest to help Mom clean out the attic and get rid of stuff I don't need her to keep for me anymore. I'm taking home a LOT of stuff, but it was a good trip since we got rid of a LOT more (we're up to three carloads to Goodwill, and PILES of trash).

Anyway, If I remember correctly, in first or second grade, as a handwriting exercise, Mrs. Chrysler had us copy this poem -- either from dictation or off the board, I don't remember.

As a special bonus today, since I didn't remember to post this yesterday, you get to see some poems I wrote and illustrated in 9th grade English class. I forget the teacher's name -- I think it started with a G and was possibly Italian. I do remember that she gave me a B+ one semester and I thought it was a TRAGEDY! Ah well...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
--Lord Byron

I don't know much about Lord Byron. What Ido know comes from two sources which, though I wouldn't call them especially reliable in the specific, do try to portray at least the public image of historical characters accurately. The first was in the Highlander TV series episode The Modern Prometheus in which he's shown as one of the immortals drinking and debauching his way through history till in modern times he's shown as a rockstar that is constantly high on something, but never happy.

The other is in the book Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (and by the way, if you haven't yet read this book, it's well worth it -- click on the link to get Amazon's summary and reviews). The novel's hero spends some time travelling in the fashionable circles of the English continental Europe, and becomes friendly with Byron and his friends -- a little to friendly for the taste of some of his other friends and acquaintances who wish he would be a little more discreet.

So anyway, I have an image in my head of somebody sort of like the moviestars types of today -- going to parties and getting involved in various scandals, and occasionally making great art. Wikipedia says I'm pretty much right: "Lord Byron's fame rests not only on his writings but also on his life, which featured extravagant living, numerous love affairs, debts, separation, etc. He was famously described by Lady Caroline Lamb as 'mad, bad, and dangerous to know.' "

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

This Is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams

This Is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
--William Carlos Williams

This poem is another new one for me. Mom suggested it when I told her it was time for a short poem. I'm not generally a fan of free verse, but as long as it's not overused, it can be forgiven. I think that to qualify as a poem (in my book at least), and not just fancily formatted prose, it has to act like a poem. this one certainly provides us a glimpse of a moment in time, and of a person who's feeling a little guilty--but not really.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Garden of Proserpine by Algernon Charles Swinburne

The Garden of Proserpine

Here, where the world is quiet;
Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds' and spent waves' riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest-time and mowing,
A sleepy world of streams.

I am tired of tears and laughter,
And men that laugh and weep;
Of what may come hereafter
For men that sow to reap:
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.

Here life has death for neighbour,
And far from eye or ear
Wan waves and wet winds labour,
Weak ships and spirits steer;
They drive adrift, and whither
They wot not who make thither;
But no such winds blow hither,
And no such things grow here.

No growth of moor or coppice,
No heather-flower or vine,
But bloomless buds of poppies,
Green grapes of Proserpine,
Pale beds of blowing rushes
Where no leaf blooms or blushes
Save this whereout she crushes
For dead men deadly wine.

Pale, without name or number,
In fruitless fields of corn,
They bow themselves and slumber
All night till light is born;
And like a soul belated,
In hell and heaven unmated,
By cloud and mist abated
Comes out of darkness morn.

Though one were strong as seven,
He too with death shall dwell,
Nor wake with wings in heaven,
Nor weep for pains in hell;
Though one were fair as roses,
His beauty clouds and closes;
And well though love reposes,
In the end it is not well.

Pale, beyond porch and portal,
Crowned with calm leaves, she stands
Who gathers all things mortal
With cold immortal hands;
Her languid lips are sweeter
Than love's who fears to greet her
To men that mix and meet her
From many times and lands.

She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born;
Forgets the earth her mother,
The life of fruits and corn;
And spring and seed and swallow
Take wing for her and follow
Where summer song rings hollow
And flowers are put to scorn.

There go the loves that wither,
The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken,
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
Red strays of ruined springs.

We are not sure of sorrow,
And joy was never sure;
To-day will die to-morrow;
Time stoops to no man's lure;
And love, grown faint and fretful,
With lips but half regretful
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful
Weeps that no loves endure.

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Then star nor sun shall waken,
Nor any change of light:
Nor sound of waters shaken,
Nor any sound or sight:
Nor wintry leaves nor vernal,
Nor days nor things diurnal;
Only the sleep eternal
In an eternal night.
--Algernon Charles Swinburne

I'm home in Ohio today, and I've borrowed my mom's copy of Best Loved Poems of the American People. It's the first book of poetry that I really spent a lot of time reading as a child -- beyond Mother Goose and A Child's Garden of Verses of course. As I was flipping through, I found a bit of paper stuck in the page with this poem -- perhaps it was a coincidence, but as I was intending to post this poem sometime anyway, I decided today was as good a day as any.

It's a pretty depressing poem all in all. The author seems to be saying that it sure is a good thing that we are able to die and be done with this whole weary living and loving business, and he sure is glad that death is the end of it, and there's nothing after that worth mentioning. That made it a perfect poem for Lemony Snicket to reference in his book The Slippery Slope. After deciphering a code, the children realize they have to find the last quatrain of the eleventh stanza of The Garden of Proserpine by Algernon Charles Swinburne. It tells them that all of the men in their lives that had died-their father, Jacques, Uncle Monty, etc were really dead and were never coming back to life, and that they needed to follow the weary river (or Stricken Stream) to the sea to find the last safe place.

Anyway, I looked up the whole poem and liked it. I'm not sure I agree with the sentiment, but it certainly conjures up a mood.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Consider the Lilies by William Channing Gannett

Consider the Lilies

He hides within the lily
A strong and tender care,
That wins the earth-born atoms
To glory of the air:
He weaves the shining garments
Unceasingly and still,
Along the quiet waters,
In niches of the hill.

We linger at the vigil
With him who bent the knee,
To watch the old-time lilies
In distant Galilee;
And still the worship deepens
And quickens into new,
As brightening down the ages
God’s secret thrilleth through.

O toiler of the lily,
Thy touch is in the Man!
No leaf that dawns to petal
But hints the angel-plan.
The flower horizon’s open!
The blossom vaster shows!
We hear the wide world’s echo, –
See how the lily grows!
--William Channing Gannett

Not much to say tonight. I hadn't heard of this poem before, but it seemed nice enough for a pleasant summer Sunday. We spent the evening having dinner with extended family out on Peter's parents' deck looking at the beauties of nature and hard work that combine to make their backyard so lovely. There's a nice metphor right there that kind of matches this poem. God gives us all kinds of miracles all the time, but it has to be through our own efforts that we recognize them and make them part of our lives.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

OZYMANDIAS by Percy Bysshe Shelley


I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
--Percy Bysshe Shelley

Here's a good poem to do a comparison with. Shelley and a friend both wrote a poem on the same subject at the same time. They both got published, but nobody remembers the other guy's name or poem except to say that it wasn't as good as Shelley's. Read below asn see if you can see why. What do you like better about either one? Really think about it for three whole seconds before reading what I say.

In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
"I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
"The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
"The wonders of my hand." The City's gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.
--Horace Smith.

Both poems are sonnets, and follow the rules of sonnets in rhyme and meter, so we can leave structure out of the equation. I like how the first one tells a story--he met somebody who had seen this, and told him about it. In the second, the poet tells us it exists, but there's less of a personal connection. The first one spends most of the poem describing the statue and inscription. The second one spends almost half the poem moralizing. The first one has several instances of words with double meanings: most notably in the most quoted line of the poem, "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" We can see without anybody telling us that the king meant that we should despair of ever building anything as amazing, but also see the ironic message that as great as we think we are, everything we do will crumble and be forgotten, and so we should despair of making a difference. We don't need him to waste half his space telling us that London will one day be a wasteland.

So to summarize, great poetry is more than just following rules. Word choice matters, but it's really all about seetting a scene and communicating mood. It doesn't have to be explicit, you can hint at things and the reader can figure them out. If you want to say everything and be very clear and precise, you should use prose instead.

Friday, June 8, 2007

To a Mouse by Robert Burns

To a Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave 'S a sma' request:
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' wast,
An' weary Winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald.
To thole the Winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!
--Robert Burns

Here's another Burns Scotts dialect poem. Sorry to have it so close to the other one, but I don't have my list of poem ideas with me on vacation, and I have to remember what was there. This poem, besides the great line Helena quoted in her comment on last week's poem, "Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim'rous beastie," which is the perfect description for a cornered fieldmouse, has the oft quoted "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley," or, as it's commonly translated, "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

I had thought about posting the poem, Sabrina Fair from John Milton today, since we watched the movie Sabrina tonight (the 1995 version with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond). the trouble is, that I looked up the poem, and other than a line or two here and there, I found that I didn't like the poem. I decided that no matter how famous or appropriate, if I didn't like the poem, I wouldn't post it here, so there.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Shipwreck by William Falconer

The Shipwreck

Oh were it mine with sacred Maro's art
To wake to sympathy the feeling heart,
Then might I, with unrivaled strains deplore
Th' impervious horrors of a leeward shore.
--Patrick O'Brian's Mr. Mowett

Oh, were it mine with sacred Maro's art,
To wake to sympathy the feeling heart;
Like him, the smooth and mournful verse to dress
In all the pomp of exquisite distress;
Then, too severely taught by cruel fate,
To share in all the perils I relate,
Then might I, with unrivall'd strains, deplore
The impervious horrors of a leeward shore.
--William Falconer

I always suspected that Patrick O'Brian was quoting actual published poetry rather than writing his own. I find nothing wrong with that. There's no way I would have read the whole of that Shipwreck poem (which goes on forever) to find that little gem. I do wonder, however, whether he sites his sources anywhere. I never read them in print, so I don't know whether there's any sort of index or specific acknowledgements.

I found this one, by the way, in a Google Books Result which not only showed me that it was in The Ionian Mission, but also showed me the page, so I could transcribe those lines. Pretty cool, eh?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Eagle by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Eagle

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
-- Alfred, Lord Tennyson

This poem was labeled as a fragment by Tennyson, but I think it's the perfect length. It is a beautiful moment or two in time captured in all its majesty. I'm not sure why, but I really didn't want to use a bald eagle for the picture here. Perhaps it's because Tennyson would probably have been writing about the types of eagles you see in England or Europe, and from what I understand, they're not of the bald variety. More than that, though, I didn't want to bring the symbolic baggage that the bald eagle carries with it. It may be very noble and good things that he represents, but he's always representing something, and I wanted this post to be about the bird himself.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

Casey at the Bat

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play,
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, "If only Casey could but get a whack at that—
We'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a hoodoo, while the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despisèd, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It pounded on the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile lit Casey's face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped—
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore;
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand;
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey's visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the dun sphere flew;
But Casey still ignored it and the umpire said, "Strike two!"

"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate,
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate;
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.
--Ernest Lawrence Thayer

Most of us know this from the Disney short which took great liberties with the poem -- mostly by adding more lines about other players in the early parts of the poem. The later stanzas are just about accurate. I'm picking it today because it's easy to find, and I'm still borrowing Peter's computer which makes typing difficult.

People sometimes ask me if I like a given baseball team. I generally say something along the lines that I root for whatever team the people in the room are rooting for, or whoever is playing especially well. I can enjoy a good game--I know enough to appreciate a good play, and I like the feeling of excitement that builds when the local team is on a winning streak into the playoffs. I just can't seem to make myself care once the show is over.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Road Goes Ever On by JRR Tolkien

The Road Goes Ever On

From the Hobbit:

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains of the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

From the LotR:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.
-- J R R Tolkien

This is the poem I like to read when moving. It seems appropriate for when you walk out the front door, and you know you're never coming back. It's kind of sad and kind of exciting. You never know just where this new path will take you, who you'll meet, and what adventures and troubles await.

I also relate to the part about weary feet. We had amazing help from the Elders quorum and missionaries during the move. Four of the guys even drove down to Torrance with us and stayed until 11:30 to UNpack the truck after they had loaded it! Talk about above and beyond the call of duty. I didn't have to carry anything, but getting everything ready, packing up the last boxes of stuff, and directing all the traffic still wiped me out. Peter has been marvelously willing to work until everything's done no matter how tired. We slept a LOT today though!