Tuesday Musings

I’m going to be on a panel this Friday with two other folks from LAS. I have to talk about astronomy and poetry as this panel is spin off of our bigger project here at school, The Year of Galileo. I’ve been playing around with topics for the last few weeks, but yesterday I finally had a breakthrough, which is good because I have to talk for about 15 minutes or so. I’m going to lead off talking a little about Galileo as a poet (he wrote a few poems in an obscure Italian form and also a few sonnets) and use a riddle that he starts with at the beginning of his poem “Enigma.” The riddle is about a comet, so I figure it segues nicely into Stanley Kunitz’s poem “Halley’s Comet” and then we’ll move in “Bright Star by” John Keats. I have a small Whitman poem if we have time, but I also have “I Remember Galileo” by Gerald Stern, so I think I’m covered in terms of material.

I’m going to put a brief power point presentation together and ask for audience participation. Here’s hoping it goes off well, or that I can at least take up my 15 minutes.
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I sent a few more submissions out this week, but my eight week class is coming to a close, so the next week is going to be a bit chaotic. Thankfully, once that class is over, my schedule improves significantly.

We’re conducting the inspection on the house we’re looking to purchase today, so here’s hoping that goes smoothly. This whole process has been a bit of a roller coaster, and I will continue to keep quiet about it (blogwise) until we close on October 30th.
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Autumn

The music of the autumn wind sings low,
Down by the ruins of the painted hills,
Where death lies flaming with a marvellous glow,
Upon the ash of rose and daffodils.
But I can find no melancholoy here
To see the naked rocks and thinning trees;
Earth strips to grapple with the winter year—
I see her gnarled hills plan for victories!

I love the earth who goes to battle now,
To struggle with the wintry whipping storm
ANd brings the glorious spring out from the night,
I see earth’s muscles bared, her battle brow,
And am not sad, but feel her marvelous charm
As splendidly she plunges in the fight.

Edwin Curran

The Sirens

I never knew the road
From which the whole earth didn’t call away,
With wild birds rounding the hill crowns,
Haling out of the heart and old dismay,
Or the shore somewhere pounding its slow code,
Or low-lighted towns
Seeming to tell me, stay.

Lands I have never seen
And shall not see, loves I will not forget,
All I have missed, or slighted, or foregone
Call to me now. And weaken me. And yet
I would not walk a road without a scene.
I listen going on,
The richer for regret.

Richard Wilbur

Monday (Welcome Spring!) Musings

While I enjoy traveling, I’m glad to be back at home. Our trip to Cabo was excellent but the flight back was a bit of a nightmare (7 hours in the Houston airport) but overall a great trip. We got home yesterday from the wedding, which was also enjoyable but as RJ put it, “I’m glad we’re not going anywhere for awhile.”

I’m going to post a separate photo collage of Mexico soon.
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A Riddle

Where far in forest I am laid,
In a place ringed around by stones,
Look for no melancholy shade,
And have no thoughts of buried bones;
For I am bodiless and bright,
And fill this glade with sudden glow;
The leaves are washed in under-light;
Shade lies upon the boughs like snow.

Richard Wilbur
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Monday (Freezing Rain) Musings

Your poem for the week (courtesy of The New Yorker. Yes, I’m still catching up):

Terza Rima

In this great form, as Dante proved in Hell,
There is no dreadful thing that can’t be said
In passing. Here, for instance, one could tell

How our jeep skidded sideways toward the dead
Enemy soldier with the staring eyes,
Bumping a little as it struck his head,

And then flew on, as if toward Paradise.

Richard Wilbur

Note about the form:

Terza rima is a rhyming verse stanza form that consists of an interlocking three line rhyme scheme. It was first used by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Terza rima is a three-line stanza using chain rhyme in the pattern a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c, d-e-d. There is no limit to the number of lines, but poems or sections of poems written in terza rima end with either a single line or couplet repeating the rhyme of the middle line of the final tercet. The two possible endings for the example above are d-e-d, e or d-e-d, e-e. There is no set rhythm for terza rima, but in English, iambic pentameters are generally preferred.
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This is too perfect considering R has been a part of both an ugly sweater party and a mustache party…

“Hey man, nice sweater. It’s so ugly.”
“Yeah, when my family first got to this country we had to shop at Goodwill, this is the first one my father bought to get him through his first winter here. Good thing they didn’t have these parties back then, right? He would have died.”
“Geez, man, I’m sorry, you can cut in line for egg nog.”

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Lying about something you’ve read to impress someone you’re taken with comes second after telling untruths about sexual conquests, but ahead of lying about your age or job.

Monday (Back from TG) Musings

Poem for the week:

Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple
As false dawn.
Outside the open window
The morning air is awash with angels.

Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,
Some are in smocks: but truly they are.
Now they are rising together in calm swells
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;

Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.
The soul shrinks

From all that it is about to remember,
From the punctual rape of every blessed day,
And cries,
“Oh let there be nothing on earth but laundry,
Nothing by rosy hand in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven.”

Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world’s hunks and colors,
The soul descends once more in bitter love
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,

“Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;
Let lovers go fresh and sweet and be undone,
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating
Of dark habits,
keeping their difficult balance.”

Richard Wilbur
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Thanksgiving was hectic but enjoyable. Pittsburgh for two dinners and then off to Erie for one more. I am looking forward to the Christmas holiday. I just need to push through this week and finish up my manuscript.

It is snowing here in Indy. I have a lot of work to do tonight and I’ve been up since 5:30…kind of sounds like a country song…
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