Friday, July 31, 2009

Coraline Was Bored

Rereading CORALINE for the umpteenth time. Haven't seen the movie yet; I'm a little nervous that it will taint the way I see the story in my own mind.

Here is one of my favorite scenes from early in the book, before the adventure begins.

Coraline was bored.

She flipped through a book

Friday, July 10, 2009

Glory Be To God For Dappled Things

Another from Gerard Manley Hopkins.


Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Christ At All Hazards

Gerard Manley Hopkins was converted to Roman Catholicism as an adult, and soon committed himself to the strict life of a Jesuit monk. Along with his renunciation of the world, he renounced poetry, though he secretly longed to be reunited with it, until such a time as his superiors would give it back to him. In fact he burned most of his earlier poetry (what a loss to the world!).

In reality, there was nothing in the vows that forbade poetry. He was free to pursue a literary life and be a devout Jesuit. It seems that he turned his back on poetry in some sort of extrapolation of a vow of silence. He makes a couple of veiled references to a similar idea.

But while he longed to return to poetry

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Kind Of Thing That Always Does Take Place

"Poetry is the most direct and simple means of expressing oneself in words: the most primitive nations have poetry, but only quite well developed civilizations can produce good prose. So don't think of poetry as a perverse and unnatural way of distorting ordinary prose statements: prose is a much less natural way of speaking than poetry is. If you listen to small children,

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Naw Sir, I Ain't Got It Yit

I found that Zora Neale Hurston story I was looking for.

Hurston was many things: poet, fiction writer, public speaker, political essayist, social critic, center of the Harlem Renaisance, America's premier folklorist. And she was a first rate anthropologist.

As a folklorist and anthropologist she travelled the American south collecting the old tales that had been passed down through the African American community since the days of slavery. And thank God she did, for within a few years it would have been impossible to collect such stories from people who had been born under slavery. Not only did she collect the stories,

Monday, July 6, 2009

Upon Nothing

Aphra Behn based some of the most baudy characters in her plays on John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, whom she knew because they were both among the most notable figures of the court of Charles II. Wilmot was, in a court of outrageous hooligans, perhaps the most perverse of them all.

Yet, I am reminded of Salieri's complaint, that God should have chosen to give such talent to such a childish reprehensible fool as Mozart. (At least such a rephrehensible fool as the movie version of Mozart.) For Wilmot's talent as a wordsmith is great,

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Love In Fantastic Triumph Sate

Aphra Behn wrote in the days just after Shakespeare. She was, by all accounts, not your average woman.

As a Tory she staunchly defended the King, against the Parliament. She believed in kings in the abstract sense. Which king it happened to be made little difference. He could be a good king or a bad king, a wise king or a foolish king. In fact this particular king was neither good nor wise, as Aphra Behn would learn. Charles II perfectly fit his epitaph, written by his close friend John Wilmot the Earl of Rochester:

Here lies our Sovereign Lord the King,
Whose word no man relies on,
Who never said a foolish thing,
Nor ever did a wise one.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

O Captain! My Captain! Rise Up And Hear The Bells!

The Revolution was fought to procure "freedom" for the inhabitants of America. But it was eighty years before that freedom was extended to a very large segment of the American population.

Somehow much of the white population was content to live in the freedom that we had gained, but felt no need to see that freedom made universal. Really that isn't much different than the Church, is it? Don't we all to often get comfortable in our own freedom but feel little need to see that freedom made universal? If the apathy of the majority of Americans in our first eighty years seems pathetic (and it does!) then what of our own apathy?

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Sunshine Patriot

In the year leading up to the American Revolution there were many opinions among the people as to what the status of the colonies should be. A slowly growing number favored independence, but at the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence it was far from unanimous. In fact loyalty to the English Crown was still high in many people's hearts. So many had been born there, or their parents had. To be loyal to the Crown was to be a patriot. To be disloyal was to be a traitor. And nobody wants to be a traitor.

And this was a religious land. To fight against the king whom God had placed over us was not only traitorous, many thought it blasphemous.

In order for the revolutionary conspirators to gain the public sympathy, and the public rifles, they had to wage a war of words

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Shot Heard Round The World

Sixty-three years after the signing of the Declaration, sixty-four years after the Revolution began, a monument was put up near a bridge that Paul Revere had ridden over on his historic messenger ride. His ride began in the evening of the 18th of April; Emerson's poem commemorates the events that it caused on the 19th.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled;

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Accepts, But Does Not Clutch The Crown

As Americans we are not really big on dates. There are only two that we really tend to remember.

One is coming up in a few days. We all know that on the fourth of July, in 1776, our forefathers signed a document that declared our land to be free from the rule of England. It took another seven years of war to make that declaration of independence accepted by England and the rest of the world.

But that document did not begin the war.