incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
After all that prattle about the Gashleycrumb Tinies, I have a Cunning Plan. (cackles, rubs hands together) Soon. Very soon.

The day was full of work. One of those days. Coworker appreciated her 60th birthday present (from the team, which I had been coordinating contributions/purchase of) - a bottle of champagne. Good champagne, even. Phew.


(more Gorey limericks from The Listing Attic)

A young man of acumen and daring
Who'd amassed a great fortune in herring
Was left quite alone
When it soon became known
That their use at his board was unsparing.

As the breeches-buoy swung towards the rocks,
Its occupant cried, "Save my socks!
I could not bear the loss,
For with scarlet silk floss
My mama has embroidered their clocks."

A lady both callous and brash
Met a man with a vast black moustache;
She cried, "Shave it, O do!
And I'll put it with glue
On my hat as a sort of panache."

A lady born under a curse
Used to drive forth each day in a hearse;
From the back she would wail
Through a thickness of veil,
"Things do not get better, but worse."
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
Should I try to supply ICD-10 codes for all of these?

(Probably not.)


The Gashleycrumb Tinies

A is for Amy who fell down the stairs
B is for Basil assaulted by bears
C is for Clara who wasted away
D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh
E is for Ernest who choked on a peach
F is for Fanny sucked dry by a leech
G is for George smothered under a rug
H is for Hector done in by a thug
I is for Ida who drowned in a lake
J is for James who took lye by mistake
K is for Kate who was struck with an ax
L is for Leo who swallowed some tacks
M is for Maud who was swept out to sea
N is for Neville who died of ennui
O is for Olive run through with an awl
P is for Prue trampled flat in a brawl
Q is for Quentin who sank in a mire
R is for Rhoda consumed by a fire
S is for Sarah who perished of fits
T is for Titus who flew into bits
U is for Una who slipped down the drain
V is for Victor squashed under a train
W is for Winnie embedded in ice
X is for Xerxes devoured by mice
Y is for Yorick whose head was knocked in
Z is for Zillah who drank too much gin

- Edward Gorey
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
A very boring meeting today, which took half an hour to get started due to problems with the audiovisual links to other sites, and which then wandered through a morass of vague complaints and passive-aggressive whining. Let us change the subject to something more, um, well, agreeable might not be quite the right word. More interesting, perhaps.

In honour of Halloween, today's entry will be enlivened by various disconnected limericks from Edward Gorey, from his book The Listing Attic.


The sight of his guests filled Lord Cray
At breakfast with horrid dismay,
So he launched off the spoons
The pits from his prunes
At their heads as they neared the buffet.

There was a young lady named Rose
Who fainted whenever she chose
She did so one day
While playing croquet
But was quickly revived with a hose.

A lady was seized with intent
To revise her existence misspent,
So she climbed up the dome
Of St Peter's in Rome,
Where she stayed through the following Lent.

A gift was delivered to Laura
From a cousin who lived in Gomorrah;
Wrapped in tissue and crepe,
It was peeled like a grape
And emitted a pale, greenish aura.

There was a young woman named Plunnery
Who rejoiced in the practice of gunnery
Till one day unobservant,
She blew up a servant,
And was forced to retire to a nunnery.

The babe, with a cry brief and dismal,
Fell into the water baptismal;
Ere they'd gathered its plight,
It had sunk out of sight,
For the depth of the font was abysmal.

Augustus, for splashing his soup,
Was put out for the night on the stoop;
In the morning he'd not
Repented a jot,
And next day he was dead of the croup.
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
Had a pleasant time sorting through yesterday's purchases. (The word "fondling" is inappropriate. Really. Honestly.) A nice quiet day, which was exactly what I needed.

Less than three weeks till America and a real holiday. But a lot of stuff to get through first.

Must also go through and tag older poetry stuff.


The Searched Soul

When I consider, pro and con,
What things my love is built upon -
A curly mouth; a sinewed wrist;
A questioning brow; a pretty twist
Of words as old and tried as sin;
A pointed ear; a cloven chin;
Long, tapered limbs; and slanted eyes
Not cold nor kind nor darkly wise -
When so I ponder, here apart,
What shallow boons suffice my heart,
What dust-bound trivia capture me,
I marvel at my normalcy.

-- Dorothy Parker
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
The perils of memory. I was trying to remember a quote I'd once read concerning the movie The Vampyr by Dreyer, and while I could remember that I'd quoted it here on this livejournal, and it had been within the first couple of years of creating the lj, I couldn't remember exactly when...

... so I have been having an entertaining re-read. Fortunately I mentioned the quote in that lj-entry's title, so it was easier to locate than it might have been otherwise.

I really need to go through past lj entries and tag them, especially the ones with good bits of poetry on them which I will never find again.


I Saw Three Witches

I saw three witches
That bowed down like barley,
And took to their brooms 'neath a louring sky,
And, mounting a storm-cloud,
Aloft on its margin,
Stood black in the silver as up they did fly.

I saw three witches
That mocked the poor sparrows
They carried in cages of wicker along,
Till a hawk from his eyrie
Swooped down like an arrow,
And smote on the cages, and ended their song.

I saw three witches
That sailed in a shallop
All turning their heads with a truculent smile
Till a bank of green osiers
Concealed their grim faces,
Though I heard them lamenting for many a mile.

I saw three witches
Asleep in a valley,
Their heads in a row, like stones in a flood,
Till the moon, creeping upward,
Looked white through the valley,
And turned them to bushes in bright scarlet bud.

-- Walter de la Mare
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
Offhand, I can think of four poets (well, sort of) who I could actually name, and books of whose poetry I actually troubled to read, when I was a child/teenager. Well, all right, so there were many other bits and pieces, and I have a Golden Treasury and a Faber's Popular Reciter and I had run across other poems, and I could manage the first verse of a certain poem vis-a-vis Horatius and bridges as well as anyone ("Lars Porsena of Clusium, by the nine gods he swore that the great house of Tarquin should suffer wrong no more...") But there were four poets in particular.

Alfred Noyes
GK Chesterton
WS Gilbert (as in Gilbert and Sullivan - I believe this counts as poetry and will challenge anyone who says otherwise to a duel ("You mean of course by duel, verbum sat., a Statutory Duel." "Why, what's that?")

(This was probably at least partly due to running across a book of the author's poetry and hitting a particular poem at a particularly impressionable point. I still remember the art teacher looking at me slightly sidelong at age 12 when we were supposed to be writing out a poem and decorating it in pseudo-calligraphic style, and I chose a verse from Swinburne's Garden of Proserpine. Though she let me do it.)

(It was the "From too much love of living," verse, for the record.)

This has probably had a permanent effect on my poetry and prose. We all have to start somewhere.



Swallow, my sister, O sister swallow,
How can thine heart be full of the spring?
A thousand summers are over and dead.
What hast thou found in the spring to follow?
What hast thou found in thine heart to sing?
What wilt thou do when the summer is shed?

O swallow, sister, O fair swift swallow,
Why wilt thou fly after spring to the south,
The soft south whither thine heart is set?
Shall not the grief of the old time follow?
Shall not the song thereof cleave to thy mouth?
Hast thou forgotten ere I forget?

Sister, my sister, O fleet sweet swallow,
Thy way is long to the sun and the south;
But I, fulfilled of my heart's desire,
Shedding my song upon height, upon hollow,
From tawny body and sweet small mouth
Feed the heart of the night with fire.

I the nightingale all spring through,
O swallow, sister, O changing swallow,
All spring through till the spring be done,
Clothed with the light of the night on the dew,
Sing, while the hours and the wild birds follow,
Take flight and follow and find the sun.

Sister, my sister, O soft light swallow,
Though all things feast in the spring's guest-chamber,
How hast thou heart to be glad thereof yet?
For where thou fliest I shall not follow,
Till life forget and death remember,
Till thou remember and I forget.

Swallow, my sister, O singing swallow,
I know not how thou hast heart to sing.
Hast thou the heart? is it all past over?
Thy lord the summer is good to follow,
And fair the feet of thy lover the spring:
But what wilt thou say to the spring thy lover?

O swallow, sister, O fleeting swallow,
My heart in me is a molten ember
And over my head the waves have met.
But thou wouldst tarry or I would follow,
Could I forget or thou remember,
Couldst thou remember and I forget.

O sweet stray sister, O shifting swallow,
The heart's division divideth us.
Thy heart is light as a leaf of a tree;
But mine goes forth among sea-gulfs hollow
To the place of the slaying of Itylus,
The feast of Daulis, the Thracian Sea.

O swallow, sister, O rapid swallow,
I pray thee sing not a little space.
Are not the roofs and the lintels wet?
The woven web that was plain to follow,
The small slain body, the flowerlike face,
Can I remember if thou forget?

O sister, sister, thy first-begotten!
The hands that cling and the feet that follow,
The voice of the child's blood crying yet
Who hath remembered me? who hath forgotten?
Thou hast forgotten, O summer swallow,
But the world shall end when I forget.

-- Swinburne
incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
Our little block of desks is currently modelling new entries for the update to one of our classifications. As one of our mob remarked at a meeting today, if you see smoke coming from our desk island, that's why.

Fortunately we are all in agreement that it is better to raise a hand and ask the person opposite you what she meant/how she interpreted/how she has done a particular thing, and take a few minutes to go through it then and there while in the early stages of the modelling, than to leave it till several attempts later and possibly build up a whole stack of errors. (You may laugh, but this is not always the case in areas where I have worked. Alas.)

Picked up half a metre of a particular fabric on Saturday (Fabulous Felines, by Clothworks - entry Y1105-3M, on the top left) and happened to bring it into work today. A coworker has requested two cushions made of it. (Well, two cushions with that on the front, and one of the subsidiary colours as a backing.) Easy come, easy go. Must keep an eye out for more of it.


Entre deux belles femmes dans un seul lit
Un homme se sentant interdit.
Des convenances n'ose pas faire foin
Mais opte pour elle qu'il aime le moins.

Entre deux beaux hommes en pareil cas,
Une femme sans moeurs si delicat,
Mais sans s'exprimer en termes crus
Se penche vers lui qu'elle aime le plus.

-- quoted from Robert Graves

Between two beautiful women in one bed
A man, speechless,
Does not dare cause a scandal
But opts for the one he loves the least.

Between two handsome men in such a case,
A woman without such delicate morals,
But without expressing herself crudely
Leans toward the one she loves the most.

-- literal translation by Texanne

Literal translation makes figurative translation possible, however crudely:

When three ways simmer down to two
A man who knows not what to do
Will not just laugh and stay between
But coldly sacrifice his queen.

A lady at the same divide
Who's as resigned to take a side
Won't curse the game, or snarl and fight,
But lose the pawn, and play the knight.

-- John M Ford
incandescens: (Default)
The sky was a leering livid leaden grey for most of the day. It began snowing earlier this evening, and it looks like sticking around for a while. Ah, winter.

How nice to be inside with the door shut.

Spent a while earlier cutting pieces for a new quilt. (Yes, I already have at least three others in progress. Hush, you.) A very fulfilling action. One feels halfway there already.


A Spell for Sleeping

Sweet william, silverweed, sally-my-handsome.
Dimity darkens the pittering water.
On gloomed lawns wanders a king's daughter.

Curtains are clouding the casement windows.
A moon-glade smurrs the lake with light.
Doves cover the tower with quiet.

Three owls whit-whit in the withies.
Seven fish in a deep pool shiver.
The princess moves to the spiral stair.

Slowly the sickle moon mounts up.
Frogs hum under moss and mushroom.
The princess climbs to her high hushed room.

Step by step to her shadowed tower.
Water laps the white lake shore.
A ghost opens the princess's door.

Seven fish in the sway of the water.
Six candles for a king's daughter.
Five sighs for a drooping head.
Four ghosts to gentle her bed.
Three owls in the dusk falling.
Two tales to be telling.
One spell for sleeping.

Tamarisk, trefoil, tormentil.
Sleep rolls down from the clouded hill.
A princess dreams of a silver pool.

The moonlight spreads, the soft ferns flitter.
Stilled in a shimmering drift of water,
Seven fish dream of a lost king's daughter.

-- Alastair Reid
incandescens: (Default)
PDR went well. Phew.

I am not impressed by the Budget or by the plans to halt the deficit by cutting all sorts of public spending. Unfortunately, I can't really wish an ignominious failure on plan and Tories alike, because that would mean problems for the country. I will settle for hoping that they do come to grief and get proved wrong in some way without actually doing too much damage in the process. (Or, I suppose, that they get proved right and we get hauled out of the recession. But I'm not convinced that will happen.

England is playing someone in the World Cup tomorrow -- Slovenia, I think. I believe this is one of those matches which will determine who gets to go forward for the group. As such, and since it will be taking place at around 3pm our time, it is inevitably going to be discussed all over the place at work. Even if we are supposed to be working. One of my coworkers has declared he's going to have it recorded for him at home and not watch it till he gets there. We were speculating on how he's going to stay happily ignorant and unspoilered all afternoon while working in the same (large) room as a lot of people who are bound to be discussing it. I think his solution involved his iPod and headphones. Good luck to him.



Old Man Faust was verging on senility,
Long and lean and hoary were the whiskers that he wore.
"I'm getting old," he'd mutter as he mourned his lost virility,
"I'm not the gay young rascal that I was in days of yore."

"There was a time, alas now gone, when all the flappers fell for me.
My prowess was a legend and a source of local pride;
But now I'm known as Grandpa Faust which, honestly, is hell for me.
The embers of my flaming youth lamentably have died."

"A neat and well turned female form that once disturbed me fearfully
My aged eyes now look upon with retrospective gloom.
Could I regain my vanished youth my soul I'd part with cheerfully --"
A clap of thunder rent the air and sulphur filled the room.

Beside him stood a stranger diabolical and sinister.
A smile of grim malevolence was on his handsome phiz.
Said Faust, "I'm almost certain this is not our local minister,
But I hate to think this bird's the bird I really think he is."

"My name is Mephistopheles," the stranger murmured pleasantly,
"Though all my little playmates call me Lucifer or Nick.
The metamorphosis you ask I'll manage for you presently.
For one of my accomplishments it's quite a simple trick."

"Just kindly sign this document prepared by my solicitor.
These legal technicalities at times seem rather strange,
Right here upon the dotted line . . . Ah, thank you," said the visitor.
"Now gaze into that mirror - Yes, I thought you'd like the change."

Before him stood a paragon of virile masculinity.
"It's many years," Faust chuckled, "since I used to feel this way.
I know a dame named Marguerite who lives in this vicinity,
Let's drop around and visit her." The Devil said, "O.K."

With grim and tragic ruthlessness the plot moves forward hastily
As Faust, rejuvenated, makes amends for past delay;
Till Marguerite soon finds herself in what our parents tastily
With delicate periphrasis would call The Family Way.

A rather narrow prejudice prevailed in that locality,
Which indicates the queer naive conventions of the time,
For in that straitlaced atmosphere of primitive morality
Infanticide was looked upon as somewhat of a crime.

The poor unwanted infant there reclining by its mama's side,
To use a current metaphor, was put upon the spot;
And Marguerite quite promptly was arrested, charged with homicide,
And left to mourn her tragedy upon a prison cot.

And there, her reason tottering beneath the sharp impacts of life,
Poor Marguerite bemoans her sad and melancholy fate.
"Oh why did no one tell me anything about the facts of life,
And not to trust a city chap, before it was too late?"

With this she dies, and Faustus, too, conveniently perishes,
While Mephistopheles looks on with wild frustrated rage.
He says, "The next time any guy a notion like that cherishes
I'll simply say, 'Forget it, Kid, and try to be your age.'"

-- Newman Levy
incandescens: (Default)
Title: AU: downtown doggerel
Requester: [ profile] ojuzu
Series: Bleach
Requested Topic: Hmmm . . . What if the new Bleach ending was canon?
Due to

(I'm sorry. I have absolutely no idea where this came from.)

There’s a rumour in the alleys that there’s something to be found,
That someone’s in deep hiding and that someone’s underground;
That bodies six feet under have begun to come to light
And that certain buried skeletons are now in public sight.

The Aizen Private Agency (Our Prices Are The Best)
Has all its ‘tecs out on the street, and cards close to its chest,
For something very valuable has recently gone walkabout
And all that Aizen says is that it’s something he won’t talk about.

The fresh-faced news reporters are all out investigating
(And then dodging frequent bullets from the gangsters who are waiting)
Hisagi Shuuhei told us it’s the biggest scoop in ages
And he plans to get the details and then put them on front pages.

Miss Unohana Retsu has informed us most politely
That she’s absolutely innocent of what may happen nightly
And her gracious home is known throughout the city for discreetness
And the pretty young maidservants with their meekness and their neatness.

When staggering on homewards Mr Kyouraku said
That’d he’d love to talk it over but he had to get to bed
For the ladies walking with him needed care and fond attention
(Though said ladies told us flatly that was something not to mention.)

The Famous Lone Detective, Ulquiorra Schiffer,
Was seen brooding in an alleyway on nothing in particular,
The notorious young Quincy, noted pool shark of the halls,
Had nothing that he’d say to us except for simply, “Balls.”

The local gangster populace is hanging round in mobs
And certain dubious gentlemen are taking dubious jobs.
The Grimmjow Gang is lurking and the Barragan Gang’s stalking,
And if they’ve any sense at all, the other gangs are walking.

The ladies at the nightclub all know absolutely nothing
For their heads are full of feathers and of cute and fuzzy stuffing
And Miss Yoruichi never heard of anyone improper
And does her number nightly with a smile that’s quite a topper.

(And as for certain rumours that you can get certain things
By talking to the ‘barman’ or the ladies three who sing,
We’re sure that is unfounded and they wouldn’t take such actions
And the guns are pure insurance for Miss Harribel and Fraccions.)

And as for all the guys and girls who’ve kept themselves off screen,
To dodge the roving cameras and keep their noses clean…
We’re sure of their involvement, for the sharks are out and biting,
And if there’s one thing sure in Bleach – it’s that there will be fighting.
incandescens: (Default)
It's always annoying when a pair of jeans finally decides it's giving up the ghost. Even if you have another pair.

(Must lose weight.)

So very glad that it's the weekend.


Two translations of the "Ballade des Pendus" by Villon:

First, one by Swinburne: )


And translated by Peter Dale: )


I think I just prefer the Swinburne translation's cadence, really. Though both are good.

There's a song in the Threepenny Opera which I think is based off this. I should try to find it.
incandescens: (Default)
This would make sense to coders. Well, some sense.

A was an Author who added new stuff,
B was the Book that was quite big enough,
C was the Chemo (not sugar or spice),
D was Delivery, needing advice,
E was the Editing it underwent,
F was the Forwarding (emails were sent),
G was the Guidance which people demanded,
H was the Hordes who did not understand it,
I were the Idiots who didn't read it,
J were the Jerks all refusing to heed it,
K were the error Keys auditors used,
L was the Lexscape the Class Team abused,
M was the Manual that needed rewriting,
N were the Nails that the coders were biting,
O was OPCS -- glorious visions,
P was the Portal for brand new submissions,
Q were the Queries that to us were bleated,
R were the Regimens that were deleted,
S were Submissions that needed supporting,
T were the Trials (that needed deporting),
U were the U-HRGS meaning error,
V -- Validations that filled us with terror,
W was the (re-)Writing in bright red ink,
X were the X-rays that drove us to drink,
Y's Y98 that drove us all demented,
Z's the last letter -- till more are invented.


Feb. 11th, 2009 11:44 am
incandescens: (Default)
A grook about the impermanence of language

I see myself and what I write enclosed in
an hour-glass's uppermost retort.
The very stuff my patterns are composed in
must fall away, and crumble down to naught.

Yet stubbornly, and in despite of reason,
I still believe that what is fashioned there
will, when the sands run out in destined season,
remain unchanged, suspended in the air.

-- Piet Hein
incandescens: (Default)
Sometimes you just want to find a poem that you remember, and then enjoy it again.


Bazaar Day: Ballad

A fat brocaded merchant sang the praises of his merchandise
His audience a soldier and a beggar bent and gray
The beggar no more drew his eyes than common rats or summer flies
His mind was on the man in steel, and on his monthly pay.

"I'll sell you guns and powder and I'll sell you pikes and shining swords
And drink to blunt your senses to the daily thrust and cut
I'll dress you up in bronze and cords, and finally in six pine boards
And then sell you the hammers for to nail your coffins shut."

The soldier smiled and reached into his purse, and then the beggar said
"Do you recall this hammer that you sometime sold to me?"
The soldier frowned and turned his head, and signed against the Eye, and fled
The merchant's eyes turned evil then, quite terrible to see.

"Why should I know your hammer? Is there reason that I ought to do?
Or do you mean to tell me?" and his voice turned very hard:
"That you're a thief I know is true, perhaps you've other talents too
So if your story's good enough, I might not call the guard."

The beggar said, "I soldiered once, a green recruit from up the hills,
My company supplied from you when first we mustered in
It's not the shine on swords that kills, it's steel that pays the butchers' bills,
I learned that proof the hard way, from your worthless piece of tin.

"It might have been on mountainsides, it might have been in meadows gay
It might have been in forests or upon a hill of slag
It might have been by night or day, it doesn't matter anyway
The murky morning after no one rallied to the flag.

"Alone against one final foe, my situation mighty tough
I had to strike, and hot, or I should nevermore be free
Your other goods were shoddy stuff; your hammer it was good enough
To kill the man who tried so hard to do the same to me."

The merchant said, "My sorry friend, now even if your story's true
You cannot have a reason to be angry, sir, with me
Let credit fall where credit's due; you're here because I dealt with you:
I think you got your money's worth: how can you disagree?"

The crooked little beggar turned the shining hammer in his hand
Said, "Let me end my story, then you tell me what it's worth:
I think you still don't understand: I said I killed the bloody man,
I never said I fought him anywhere upon the earth."

And now the twisted beggarman looked bigger than these words can tell
With thunder in his bootheels and the lightning in his eye
"You never gave a spit in hell for anything you couldn't sell,
But I've come up from underground with something you can't buy!"

He struck the hammer on the stone; it made the cobbles quake and ring
The merchant started pleading and the wind began to wail
The air began to crack and sing as tents and poles and everything
Came down like so much paper in the fury of a gale.

There's darkness on the Merchant's Row and stillness in the great bazaars
An emptiness in doorways and a silence in the stalls
The merchant and the man of wars are gone into the summer stars
They're gone into the thunder when the final hammer falls.

-- John M Ford
incandescens: (Default)
Work quite good today; better than I'd expected. Decent weather, too. Maybe we're actually getting into Spring at last.

A bit brain-dead this evening, though. Drat.


Ghazal of the Lagoon

Morning, on the promenade, there's a break in the light
rain here in the serene republic. I take in the light.

Every walker gets lucky at this gaming table,
where the gondoliers, like croupiers, rake in the light.

Through the glare of a restaurants window, I see
fish glinting, like spear points that shake in the light.

I could sit on the edge and get wet forever,
all to consider a speed boat's wake in the light.

Furnaces burn. We sweat until we shine, fired up
by the wavy vases glassblowers make in the light.

Row me out, friars, in your _sandolo_ on the waves
that glitter like ducats, for God's sake, in the light.

-- John Drury
incandescens: (Default)
I have had a lovely peaceful relaxing day in which I have done very little.

I am also very much enjoying Halting State by Charles Stross.


In the Neomythic Age

(Written as a Foreword to Suppressed Transmission 2, by Ken Hite.)

In the Pretabloidal Era, when the steam that blew up Thera
Started Solon on a tale of Once Upon,
Plato first, and Donnelly too, then Mr Churchward with his Mu
Blew it up again into Atlantis Gone

Now, there's never been a story that somebody couldn't quarry
For a wagonload of iron-pyrite ore
There's a lizard in the loch! There's a Bigfoot down the block!
And each time they're bigger than the time before

We are pattern-forming critters; dangling ends give us the jitters
And the truth is that it happens pretty often
There's a stunning declaration of a shocking revelation
In the recipe for Strudel mit Kartoffeln

Yellowed papers flake off hints and faded photos offer glints
Of a doppelganger world behind the fog
But clues are where you find 'em, and the chap who walks behind 'em
May spot giant footnotes on the Holmesward bog

What frightens you? What's groovy? Shouldn't life be like a movie?
Will Paul be dead if you reverse the song?
It's the thrill of exploration, and the shining exaltation
Of knowing everyone but you is wrong.

Grab your therapeutic magnets and your psychic Aunty Agnes
As seen on television of the night
Here's a second thrilling season of the dreams of sleeping reason
And every single one of them is Hite.

-- John M Ford
incandescens: (Default)
It would have been easier to pick up my parcel if the post office had still been functioning. As it apparently closed just before Christmas -- well, it was not still functioning. Must arrange pickup from another post office.

Must also sleep.

5.5K/15K done.


On Angels

All was taken away from you: white dresses,
wings, even existence.
Yet I believe you,

There, where the world is turned inside out,
a heavy fabric embroidered with stars and beasts,
you stroll, inspecting the trustworthy seams.

Short is your stay here:
now and then at a matinal hour, if the sky is clear,
in a melody repeated by a bird,
or in the smell of apples at close of day
when the light makes the orchards magic.

They say somebody has invented you
but to me this does not sound convincing
for the humans invented themselves as well.

The voice -- no doubt it is a valid proof,
as it can belong only to radiant creatures,
weightless and winged (after all, why not?),
girdled with the lightning.

I have heard that voice many a time when asleep
and, what is strange, I understood more or less
an order or an appeal in an unearthly tongue:

day draw near
another one
do what you can.

-- Czeslaw Milosz
incandescens: (Default)
Threnody to the memory of books which one only realises too late that one should have bought, even though they seemed so ridiculously expensive at the time.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er hill and dale;
When all at once I cried aloud,
I'd seen a sign: "Old books for sale".
A hundred saw I at a glance
I broke into a little dance.

May Baldwin, Oxenham, Brazil,
Brent-Dyer, Needham, D.F.B.,
A reader there could browse at will
Through such a jocund company.
I looked inside - I almost spat:
"The books aren't worth a fifth of that!"

Now oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon the inward eye
The curse of readers' solitude.
I realise now, with bitter pain,
I'll never see those books again.

-- (anon) Found off
incandescens: (Default)
Grr. Irritation. The online yarn store littleknits has been affected by changes in American postage, and now the postage to buy yarn from there (for me) costs more than the yarn itself.

Though I really _have_ a big enough stash as it is, don't I? (Enough is never enough.)

Friend visiting tomorrow and over the weekend. Should be excellent. I've almost managed to clear the futon/sofa for her to sleep on . . .


The Pelagian Drinking Song

Pelagius lived at Kardanoel
And taught a doctrine there
How, whether you went to heaven or to hell
It was your own affair.
It had nothing to do with the Church, my boy,
But was your own affair.

No, he didn't believe
In Adam and Eve
He put no faith therein!
His doubts began
With the Fall of Man
And he laughed at Original Sin.
With my row-ti-tow
He laughed at original sin.

Then came the bishop of old Auxerre
Germanus was his name
He tore great handfuls out of his hair
And he called Pelagius shame.
And with his stout Episcopal staff
So thoroughly whacked and banged
The heretics all, both short and tall --
They rather had been hanged.

Oh he whacked them hard, and he banged them long
Upon each and all occasions
Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and strong
Their orthodox persuasions.
With my row-ti-tow
Their orthodox persuasions.

Now the faith is old and the Devil bold
Exceedingly bold indeed.
And the masses of doubt that are floating about
Would smother a mortal creed.
But we that sit in a sturdy youth
And still can drink strong ale
Let us put it away to infallible truth
That always shall prevail.

And thank the Lord
For the temporal sword
And howling heretics too.
And all good things
Our Christendom brings
But especially barley brew!
With my row-ti-tow
Especially barley brew!

-- Hillaire Belloc
incandescens: (Default)
Not much to say today. In remembrance of John M Ford, here's one of my favourite poems of his.

Winter Solstice, Camelot Station )


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September 2017

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