Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Strike Among the Poets by Anonymous

A Strike Among the Poets

In his chamber, weak and dying,
While the Norman Baron lay,
Loud, without, his men were crying,
'Shorter hours and better pay.'

Know you why the ploughman, fretting,
Homeward plods his weary way
Ere his time? He's after getting
Shorter hours and better pay.

See! the Hesperus is swinging
Idle in the wintry bay,
And the skipper's daughter's singing,
'Shorter hours and better pay.'

Where's the minstrel boy? I've found him
Joining in the labour fray
With his placards slung about him,
'Shorter hours and better pay.'

Oh, young Lochinvar is coming;
Though his hair is getting grey,
Yet I'm glad to hear him humming,
'Shorter hours and better pay.'

E'en the boy upon the burning
Deck has got a word to say,
Something rather cross concerning
Shorter hours and better pay.

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make as much as they,
Work no more, until they find us
Shorter hours and better pay.

Hail to thee, blithe spirit! (Shelley)
Wilt thou be a blackleg? Nay.
Soaring, sing above the melee,
'Shorter hours and better pay.'
-- Anonymous

I was looking for a poem about being on strike -- maybe a ballad from the labor movement -- and came across this humorous piece. Each stanza refers to another famous poem, and has the main characters stop whatever they're doing in the other poem and go on strike. This link shows what those other poems are, if you're interested.

Elizabeth has been growing, and has several new tricks -- not all of them fun.
She's getting better with her hands, and can often coordinate both of then to maneuver something into her mouth -- though she hasn't really figured out the idea of picking something up. When she's nursing, she does a funny thing with her free hand waving it and grabbing at my shirt over and over almost hypnotically. The motion kind of reminds me of how your hand goes when you stick it out the window of a moving car and play with the air currents.

She is just starting to figure out that her legs can be used to move her around. If I leave her on her back or belly, she'll kick and kick and sometimes get enough purchase to scootch an inch or two. The other day, I watched her push her entire upper body under the pack-and-play crib before she ran into one of the legs and got stuck.

She hasn't learned to laugh yet, but she still knows how to tell us she's pleased. She gets a huge grin on her face and curls her arms and legs up toward her belly like she can't contain her glee.

We took her swimming the other day. Peter's friend at work was having a birthday party, and they specifically included me and the baby in Peter's invitation. She was a real hit at the party, since most of the people there are single and pretty clueless about babies. She was her usual charming, mellow self, and when we all got in the heated pool, she looked so interested, we thought we'd give it a try. We stripped her down to her diaper and I held her in the water. She seemed to float pretty well -- though I never stopped supporting her head. I'm not really sure whether she liked it or not. She got a very serious concentrated look on her face, and flung her arms out like she thought she was falling, but didn't complain at all. I'm not sure she had really figured out whether she liked it or not. It was just an interesting new experience.

Now to the not so fun. She decided last week to go on a nursing strike. From what I can tell, there may have been several reasons -- I was giving her bottles too often while out and about, I was trying to multitask while nursing so I wasn't relaxed enough for a fast let-down, she's getting old enough to see and understand things around her so she's distracted, she just got lazy, maybe she's starting to get a tooth coming in, I don't know -- but whatever the reason, she simply refused to nurse. She'd make hungry noises (that cute little "feed me" cough she has) and root around if I put my finger to her lips, but if I even lay her down in nursing position, she'd start to fuss. If I actually offered her the breast she'd toss her head, arch her back, and scream angrily as if I had offended her sensibilities by suggesting that she might want to nurse. I know it wasn't the flavor of the milk, because if I pumped it out and put it in a bottle, she'd suck hungrily. I know it wasn't gas making her uncomfortable lying in that position, because I insisted that she lay that way with the bottle, and she didn't resist. She just decided she wanted a bottle thank you very much, and no amount of coaxing was going to convince her otherwise.

The problem with this scenario is that even though I have a good electric pump now, I simply can't pump out as much milk as the baby can suck, so she's never satisfied, and I'm never empty, so along with a fussy baby, and the hassle of pumping, I'm in constant pain from engorged breasts with plugged ducts. After reading some websites, I tried giving her a special Avent bottle that's harder to suck from (no effect) and then a sippy cup that's even harder to suck from (she was NOT impressed). By the time 10 or 11 o'clock had rolled around on the second day of the strike, she had finished the sippy cup, having dribbled and spat most of the milk down my now very wet and sticky arm and into her hair. At that point, she was exhausted enough to give in and take the breast (the websites say instinct takes over more late at night and early in the morning too). We still had a rough couple of days ahead, and she insisted on nursing on her terms (quiet room, Mom's full attention, often preferring just the right side, etc). Also, instead of ravenously smashing her face into it and horking down as much as she can get, now she looks at it and daintily latches on with almost a sneer on her face. Sigh... And then last night she started biting! I do enjoy being able to nurse her, but I sure hope she starts cooperating again.

She's been standing, supported, for at least a month now, and LOVES it. She seriously thinks it's the funnest thing in the world, and will often smile and laugh when you stand her up, even if she's been fussing before. We have an exersaucer for her (It's like the old walkers we had when I was little, but with a stationary base instead of wheels so the baby doesn't fall down the stairs). She stands, and bounces, and tries to play with the toys. She's not very good at making them do much yet, but she's getting better, and seems to have a fun time trying.

Here's a youtube video this last trick. I shot it with my camera turned sideways, not realizing that I can't turn videos as easily as photos. Peter managed to turn it, but something went wrong with the start of it. Also, you can't really hear what Peter is saying (he's telling me the plot of a book he's listening to in the car, so it's completely irrelevant to the video), but the point of it is that Elizabeth is cute, standing there, wiggling.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Sneezed A Sneeze by Ish Kabibble

I Sneezed A Sneeze

I sneezed a sneeze into the air.
It fell to earth I know not where.
But you shoulda seen the looks on those
In whose vicinity I snoze.
--Merwyn Bogue AKA Ish Kabibble

This is one of the poems Peter suggested when I began the blog. As you know, he's a fan of comic poetry, especially when it has clever use of rule breaking. This poem is exactly the sort of thing that he likes to read and memorize.

You may or may not know that Peter's computer died the week Elizabeth was born. He was able to resurrect it, but only by completely disabling the wireless card. Since it's a laptop, used mostly for surfing the web while sitting in the living room, this pretty much killed its usefulness.

Peter started talking wistfully about getting a new computer about two years ago, walking around the Apple Store at the mall and drooling. I told him then, and later, that when his computer couldn't do what he wanted it to do anymore, then we'd get a new one, but with the speed of technology advancement, it's just not cost effective to stay at the cutting edge. Since then, I've been mentally socking away a hundred dollars a month towards a new computer. We also cancelled our Cable service, so that saves a lot too.

Well, I certainly believe that this calamity counts as "not being able to do what you want it to do," so I told Peter to start looking around for a new computer (by the way, rereading this, it sounds like I'm in charge and he has to ask my permission. We each have to get the other's approval for large purchases, so it works both ways). He found that Apple was going to be launching a new something-or-other shortly, so if he waited a couple of weeks, he could get the model he wanted for less, since it wouldn't be as top-of-the-line anymore. He also found that he could get a refurbished one at a discount as well (refurbished means that when they tested it, coming off of the assembly line, something didn't work. So they replaced the defective part with a working one -- it's still brand new and in perfect condition). It took him quite a while to reach a final decision, and even then he waited to make sure we were still making more than we were spending each month now that Elizabeth is here. So last week, he finally sat down to place the order. He got almost done, but it was getting late, and he didn't want to make a decision about a printer that night, so he put it off till the next day.

The next day the computer he had chosen, a laptop the same size as his current one, but with better speed and memory, was out of stock. And since it's an older model, and refurbished to boot, there was no guarantee that there would ever be any more. He came to me horrified, and asked what he should do.

I was secretly pleased. An Apple laptop, no matter how out of date and refurbished, costs a LOT of money, and I personally thought it was excessive for the way he uses it. At the same time, he doesn't spend a lot of money on smaller purchases, and gets a lot of joy out of his computer and spending time with his online friends, so I couldn't feel good about telling him he couldn't have the computer he wanted. This setback was the perfect opportunity for me to get him to step outside of his preconceived ideas about what his computer had to be like.

"When something like this happens to me," I said slyly, "I generally take a step back and reexamine the entire purchase." I don't remember whether I said it was a sign from heaven, but I certainly implied it. "Does it have to be a Macintosh? Dell has some pretty good deals on laptops. Does it even have to be a laptop? You can get a lot more computer in a desktop version, and honestly, when was the last time you took your laptop anywhere?" Peter took the hint, and spent a couple of hours looking around on the site. we discussed the alternatives, and he decided on an iMac with better specs than the laptop, but at a lower price.

The last time I looked at what "iMac" meant was years ago when they first came out in fruit flavors. I was totally unprepared for what arrived at our house a few days later. His computer is a GIGANTIC flat screen on a stand with all the components built into the back of the screen. There's also a very thin aluminum keyboard and a mouse. But the screen--it's seriously a Thing Of Beauty. It's 22 1/2" wide by 18" high (visible area is 20 1/2" x 12 3/4" or 24" diagonal) and it's only 1 1/4" wide at edges to about 2" thick in the middle. The keyboard is 17" x 4 1/2" but only 1/4" thick including the keys sticking up.

Peter is in love. He was positively drooling over it and caressing it when he got it set up. He could hardly believe it was his, and talked about coveting it. He's spent the last few days customizing it and putting it through its paces. He downloaded the Indiana Jones trailer in HD to watch in all its glory. It has a built in camera and microphone that automatically took his picture while he was setting up his account (anybody wanna try videoconferencing?). He's downloading print quality cover artwork from the Manga he works on to use as background art. It's a joy to behold him having so much fun.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Night Watch by Karen Stay Ahlstrom

Night Watch

I see the starscape before me
A million pinpoints of light
I know my new home is there somewhere
Past thousands of miles of night

I hear the engines whisper
Their constant murmuring hum
And the quiet breath of my crewmates
As they wait for dreams to come

They say that the night watch is lonely
But it never was so to me
I sit and guard the darkness
And the darkness sets me free

One day we’ll find our new world
And there our new lives will start
Till then I will sit and listen
To the beat of my waiting heart
--Karen Stay Ahlstrom

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my poetry blog! I didn't get around to posting yesterday because I had a VERY busy day, but I thought that to honor the day, I'd post one of my own poems.

I wrote this one after reading Heinlein's anthology The Past Through Tomorrow. I was intending to write a story called "The Jupiter-Pluto Run" with this poem in it. The idea is that though science has come up with a good method of cryogenic sleep, somebody on the ship has to be awake to make minor course corrections and tend to the sleepers. Because of life support cost issues, there can only be one person awake and breathing so it's a very long, very lonely trip, surrounded by crewmates, yet alone for months on end. Most people can't take the isolation, but the pay is good, so our hero has signed up for one more trip so that he can come home and marry the girl he loves.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Six Word Memoirs by Various Authors

Six Word Memoirs

Three sons, eleven cats, and Yvonne.
Michael Govan

Foetus, son, brother, husband, father, vegetable.
Dick Hadfield

Conceived,implored, employed, adored, retired, ignored.
Joy MacKenzie

Slow lane. Fast lane. Hard shoulder.
Alex Hansen Today.

Bantam, Anglia, Midget, Alfa, Volvo Estate.
Neil Feldman.

Womb, Play, Learn, Work, Decline, Tomb.
Jacquie Smith

Start - programme - error - control - alt. - delete.

Battered ball-bearing traversing pinball machine.
Nancy Connolly

Unravelled career reknitted as baby blankets.
Clare Hobba

Started, farted, stood up, faced the wind.
Helen Eclair

Head in books, feet in flowers.
--Heather Thomson

Trust me, I did my best.
--Ray Kemp

An embroidered sampler, with some unpicking.
--Sian Martin

Dazed and confused? No. Existential angst.
--Chris Miles

I'm just happy to be here!
--Graham Marsh

Four Weddings, Three kids, then cancer.
--Gillian Johnson

Hasn't Been A Jane Austen Romance.
--Alexandra Lackey

Bored, so bored, so very bored.
--John Doyle

Run over twice, thankfully still alive.
--Trudi Evans

Aged child actress still seeking fame.

Married childhood sweetheart. Two kids. Content.
--Steve McMullen

Born London, lived elsewhere, died inside.

I heard about these six word life stories on the BBC World Service while driving to Grandma Holt's house after dropping Peter at the SLC airport at 4am in March. I thought it was a neat idea, and wondered what I would have sent in. Fairly quickly, I came up with what I think is a pretty good summary of my life so far:

Tried to be happy. Finally succeeded.

I think these are beautiful. Some are so sad. Others sound contented, like writing this helped the make peace and put their lives in perspective. While most are not intended to be "poetry" they have the simple elegance of well chosen words that is characteristic of the best poetry. I think, reading these, that I have a better understanding of Haiku. Here we have a very prescribed form, an extremely limited amount of space, trying to express something much larger and essentially inexpressible in the first place.

What's your six word life story?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Faery Foster-Mother by William Cosmo Monkhouse

The Faery Foster-Mother

Bright Eyes, Light Eyes! Daughter of a Fay!
I had not been a wedded wife a twelvemonth and a day,
I had not nurs’d my little one a month upon my knee,
When down among the blue-bell banks rose elfins three times three,
They gripp’d me by the raven hair, I could not cry for fear,
They put a hempen rope around my waist and dragg’d me here,
They made me sit and give thee suck as mortal mothers can,
Bright Eyes, Light Eyes! strange and weak and wan!

Dim Face, Grim Face! lie ye there so still?
Thy red, red lips are at my breast, and thou may’st suck thy fill;
But know ye, tho’ I hold thee firm, and rock thee to and fro,
‘Tis not to soothe thee into sleep, but just to still my woe?
And know ye, when I lean so calm against the wall of stone,
‘Tis when I shut my eyes and try to think thou art mine own?
And know ye, tho’ my milk be here, my heart is far away,
Dim Face, Grim Face! Daughter of a Fay!

Gold Hair, Cold Hair! Daughter to a King!
Wrapp’d in bands of snow-white silk with jewels glittering,
Tiny slippers of the gold upon thy feet so thin,
Silver cradle velvet-lin’d for thee to slumber in,
Pygmy pages, crimson-hair’d, to serve thee on their knees,
To fan thy face with ferns and bring thee honey bags of bees,—
I was but a peasant lass, my babe had but the milk,
Gold Hair, Cold Hair! raimented in silk!

Pale Thing, Frail Thing! dumb and weak and thin,
Altho’ thou ne’er dost utter sigh thou’rt shadow’d with a sin;
Thy minnie scorns to suckle thee, thy minnie is an elf,
Upon a bed of rose’s-leaves she lies and fans herself;
And though my heart is aching so for one afar from me,
I often look into thy face and drop a tear for thee,
And I am but a peasant born, a lowly cotter’s wife,
Pale Thing, Frail Thing! sucking at my life!

Weak Thing, Meek Thing! take no blame from me,
Altho’ my babe may moan for lack of what I give to thee;
For though thou art a faery child, and though thou art my woe,
To feel thee sucking at my breast is all the bliss I know;
It soothes me, tho’ afar away I hear my daughter call,
My heart were broken if I felt no little lips at all!
If I had none to tend at all, to be its nurse and slave,
Weak Thing, Meek Thing! I should shriek and rave!

Bright Eyes, Light Eyes! lying on my knee!
If soon I be not taken back unto mine own countree,
To feel my own babe’s little lips, as I am feeling thine,
To smooth the golden threads of hair, to see the blue eyes shine,—
I ’ll lean my head against the wall and close my weary eyes,
And think my own babe draws the milk with balmy pants and sighs,
And smile and bless my little one and sweetly pass away,
Bright Eyes, Light Eyes! Daughter of a Fay!
--William Cosmo Monkhouse

Such a sad poem. Especially since I spend so much time nursing nowadays. I hope somebody took care of her baby while she was gone.

I wanted to tell this very cute story:

Peter was holding Elizabeth when he noticed she was staring very intently at the arm of the couch. When she does this, we sometimes move her closer so she can touch whatever it is she's staring at. She does what my books describe as a raking grab -- kind of like she's scratching it with four fingers. It's hard to tell if he expects things like striped couch cushions to be grabbable, or if that's just the only way she knows how to touch and feel things right now.

Anyway, he moved her close to the arm, and I started filming with the camera. She grabbed at the remote control that was lying there, and merely succeeded in knocking it off. Peter thought this was hilarious. After I stopped filming and she'd knocked over the other remote too, he said, "Baby, you have 0 DEX!" It was very funny.

As you can see from the video, she may have 0 DEX, but her CHR is pretty darn high (is 18 the highest you can get? I've forgotten). I tried to find a D&D poem, but sifting through all that bad filk and all those character class haikus for something worth posting was too daunting a task for me today.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bobby Shafto by Mother Goose

Bobby Shafto

Bobby Shafto's gone to sea, silver buckles on his knee,
He'll come back and marry me, Bonny Bobby Shafto

Bobby Shafto's tall and slim, he's always dressed so neat and trim
The lasses they all smile at him! Bonny Bobby Shafto

Bobby Shafto's tall and fair, combing down his yellow hair;
He's my love forever more, Bonny Bobby Shafto!
--Mother Goose

Here are some sights around our house that Elizabeth likes to look at. She also likes to reach out and touch these things if she can. She looks at all sorts of other things, but she is consistently fascinated by these particular sights. I think she likes the patterns and colors.

Couch cushion with squares

Couch cushion with stripes

Holly Hobby quilt ties


The other thing that never fails to capture her attention is the balloon. She likes to see the colors and shiny mylar. She likes to hold it in her hand and make it crinkle and move, but what she really loves is to watch it float up to the ceiling. She really seems to understand physics and that gravity usually makes things fall down, and that this is magical somehow.

I finally figured out how to compress my video for youtube, so here's Elizabeth talking about her rattle.

PS: I forgot to write what I really wanted to say about all the things she looks at. Elizabeth does a lot of communicating with her eyes. In the case of the balloon for instance, she'll look at the balloon, then when she notices that I've noticed her looking, she'll look at me, then look at the balloon, then look at me kind of sideways. This is my cue to pull the balloon down. Her eyes will get all big and excited at this point, and she'll often reach out and grab at the balloon. Next, she'll look at the balloon, then look at me, then look at the ceiling, repeating this a few times till I get the message and let the balloon go. It floats up and bounces off the ceiling making Elizabeth gleeful and ready for the whole process to start again.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Robert Buchanan by William Cosmo Monkhouse

Robert Buchanan

’T was the body of Judas Iscariot
Lay in the Field of Blood;
’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot
Beside the body stood.

Black was the earth by night
And black was the sky;
Black, black were the broken clouds,
Tho’ the red Moon went by.

’T was the body of Judas Iscariot
Strangled and dead lay there;
’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot
Look’d on it in despair.

The breath of the World came and went
Like a sick man’s in rest;
Drop by drop on the World’s eyes
The dews fell cool and blest.

Then the soul of Judas Iscariot
Did make a gentle moan—
“I will bury underneath the ground
My flesh and blood and bone.

“I will bury deep beneath the soil,
Lest mortals look thereon,
And when the wolf and raven come
The body will be gone!

“The stones of the field are sharp as steel,
And hard and bold, God wot;
And I must bear my body hence
Until I find a spot!”

’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot
So grim, and gaunt, and gray,
Rais’d the body of Judas Iscariot,
And carried it away.

And as he bare it from the field
Its touch was cold as ice,
And the ivory teeth within the jaw
Rattled aloud, like dice.

As the soul of Judas Iscariot
Carried its load with pain,
The Eye of Heaven, like a lanthorn’s eye,
Open’d and shut again.

Half he walk’d, and half he seem’d
Lifted on the cold wind;
He did not turn, for chilly hands
Were pushing from behind.

The first place that he came unto
It was the open wold,
And underneath were prickly whins,
And a wind that blew so cold.

The next place that he came unto
It was a stagnant pool,
And when he threw the body in
It floated light as wool.

He drew the body on his back,
And it was dripping chill,
And the next place that he came unto
Was a Cross upon a hill.

A Cross upon the windy hill,
And a Cross on either side,
Three skeletons that swing thereon,
Who had been crucified.

And on the middle crossbar sat
A white Dove slumbering;
Dim it sat in the dim light,
With its head beneath its wing.

And underneath the middle Cross
A grave yawn’d wide and vast,
But the soul of Judas Iscariot
Shiver’d, and glided past.

The fourth place that he came unto
It was the Brig of Dread,
And the great torrents rushing down
Were deep, and swift, and red.

He dar’d not fling the body in
For fear of faces dim,
And arms were wav’d in the wild water
To thrust it back to him.

’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot
Turn’d from the Brig of Dread,
And the dreadful foam of the wild water
Had splash’d the body red.

For days and nights he wander’d on
Upon an open plain,
And the days went by like blinding mist,
And the nights like rushing rain.

For days and nights he wander’d on,
All thro’ the Wood of Woe;
And the nights went by like moaning wind,
And the days like drifting snow.

’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot
Came with a weary face—
Alone, alone, and all alone,
Alone in a lonely place!

He wander’d east, he wander’d west,
And heard no human sound;
For months and years, in grief and tears,
He wander’d round and round.

For months and years, in grief and tears,
He walk’d the silent night;
Then the soul of Judas Iscariot
Perceiv’d a far-off light.

A far-off light across the waste,
As dim as dim might be,
That came and went like a lighthouse gleam
On a black night at sea.

’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot
Crawl’d to the distant gleam;
And the rain came down, and the rain was blown
Against him with a scream.

For days and nights he wander’d on,
Push’d on by hands behind;
And the days went by like black, black rain,
And the nights like rushing wind.

’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot,
Strange, and sad, and tall,
Stood all alone at dead of night
Before a lighted hall.

And the wold was white with snow,
And his footmarks black and damp,
And the ghost of the silver Moon arose,
Holding her yellow lamp.

And the icicles were on the eaves,
And the walls were deep with white,
And the shadows of the guests within
Pass’d on the window light.

The shadows of the wedding guests
Did strangely come and go,
And the body of Judas Iscariot
Lay stretch’d along the snow.

The body of Judas Iscariot
Lay stretch’d along the snow;
’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot
Ran swiftly to and fro.

To and fro, and up and down,
He ran so swiftly there,
As round and round the frozen Pole
Glideth the lean white bear.

’T was the Bridegroom sat at the tablehead,
And the lights burn’d bright and clear—
“Oh, who is that,” the Bridegroom said,
“Whose weary feet I hear?”

’T was one look’d from the lighted hall,
And answer’d soft and slow,
“It is a wolf runs up and down
With a black track in the snow.”

The Bridegroom in his robe of white
Sat at the tablehead—
“Oh, who is that who moans without?”
The blessed Bridegroom said.

’T was one look’d from the lighted hall,
And answer’d fierce and low,
“’T is the soul of Judas Iscariot
Gliding to and fro.”

’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot
Did hush itself and stand,
And saw the Bridegroom at the door
With a light in his hand.

The Bridegroom stood in the open door,
And he was clad in white,
And far within the Lord’s Supper
Was spread so long and bright.

The Bridegroom shaded his eyes and look’d,
And his face was bright to see—
“What dost thou here at the Lord’s Supper
With thy body’s sins?” said he.

’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot
Stood black, and sad, and bare—
“I have wander’d many nights and days;
There is no light elsewhere.”

’T was the wedding guests cried out within,
And their eyes were fierce and bright—
“Scourge the soul of Judas Iscariot
Away into the night!”

The Bridegroom stood in the open door,
And he wav’d hands still and slow,
And the third time that he wav’d his hands
The air was thick with snow.

And of every flake of falling snow,
Before it touch’d the ground,
There came a dove, and a thousand doves
Made sweet sound.

’T was the body of Judas Iscariot
Floated away full fleet,
And the wings of the doves that bare it off
Were like its winding-sheet.

’T was the Bridegroom stood at the open door,
And beckon’d, smiling sweet;
’T was the soul of Judas Iscariot
Stole in, and fell at his feet.

“The Holy Supper is spread within,
And the many candles shine,
And I have waited long for thee
Before I pour’d the wine!”

The supper wine is pour’d at last,
The lights burn bright and fair,
Iscariot washes the Bridegroom’s feet,
And dries them with his hair.

--William Cosmo Monkhouse

I'm not sure why this poem is called "Robert Buchanan". It's also sometimes called "The Ballad of Judas Iscariot" though sometimes that's a subtitle. It's sometimes attributed to Robert Buchanan, who was a poet around the same time as Monkhouse, but I think that's an error. He did write a poem called "The Wandering Jew" and perhaps this is a reference to that.

At any rate, I meant to post this poem for Easter -- I had been saving it for months -- but as you'll see below, I didn't get much done that day. I like the idea behind this poem more than the poem itself, which I think is overlong. I think that we punish ourselves much more harshly than God would punish us for most things. I also think that Christ's mercy is infinite, and that he would, of course, forgive a truly repentant Judas. It is an idea that has helped me forgive both myself and others -- if He could forgive that, then He can forgive this, and so should I.

On the personal side, I had big plans for Easter weekend. Peter and I were going to color eggs, then have a little hunt so that I could "find" the candy I'd bought for myself (Peter doesn't eat candy). We'd then turn the hard boiled eggs into devilled eggs (one of Peter's favorites). Sunday, after church, we'd head down to G&G Stay's where I'd make Easter Dinner: Au Gratin Potatoes and Fried Ham. We'd eat more eggs, and visit and be happy.

Well, I did get the candy into plastic eggs on Saturday, and I boiled the ones we were going to color, but with one thing and another, we never got around to doing it. On Sunday, I put Elizabeth into her Ducky dress and fuzzy sweater and First Easter bib. I gave her the matching Velveteen Rabbit toy and book I'd bought and she was unimpressed (I hope she'll like it later on). We took some pictures of her cuteness (The fuzzy sweater makes her look like a little chicky herself), then Peter had to go off to choir practice. Church was OK, but I was feeling sleep deprived, and struggled to get through. Somebody had locked the Mother's room, and I forgot to bring a bottle to church, so I ended up nursing her in the closet during RS.

By the time we got home, my body was completely worn out, and I couldn't even get my arms to pick Elizabeth up anymore. I collapsed into bed and left Peter to fend for himself in feeding and diapering and entertaining her. When I woke up at about 5, they had both survived, so I didn't feel too bad. It was far too late at that point to start for Huntington Beach, or make a big dinner, so I just heated up some leftovers. It was pretty anti-climactic.

Peter's parents came to visit the next week -- Kathey is seeing a doctor out here. They planned to stay for a couple of days, but their flight was delayed for something like 5 hours (evidently the FAA found out that week that airlines were fudging on maintenance, so everybody grounded half their fleets to check them over), and that pretty much cut out the first day. The next day, Kirsten stayed with me while Kathey and Jim went to the Doctor. We decorated eggs, did puzzles, and watched old episodes of The Electric Company (It's funny to see very young Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno and Bill Cosby at work). That evening, we all went out to Claim Jumper. The food was very tasty (at least mine was -- I got a pot roast with vegetables) but the portion sizes were huge (and so were the chunks -- there was a giant piece of meat, a quarter of an onion, two half potatoes, a couple of whole carrots, and a hunk of some kind of squash which, when covered in beef gravy, was the tastiest I've ever eaten -- and I generally don't eat squash at all!). We took home lots of leftovers, and when you consider that Peter and I each got three big meals out of it, the price becomes more economical than many fast food places :) Unfortunately, they had to go home the very next day, so it was a short visit indeed.