Thursday, December 24, 2009

That's How I Believe

Here is a snippet from BRIDESHEAD REVISITED, by Evelyn Waugh. Charles Ryder, the atheist, and Sebastian Flyte, the Catholic, are discussing religion.

"Oh dear, it's very difficult being Catholic."

"Does it make much difference to you?"

"Of course. All the time."

"Well, I can't say I've noticed it. Are you struggling against temptation? You don't seem much more virtuous than me."

"I'm very, very much wickeder," said Sebastion indignantly.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

As I Bent Beneath The Rod

Rather than introducing this poem, today I will let Robert Service introduce it. Here is his poem The Quest along with his own preface to it.

"Calvert tries to paint more than the thing he sees; he tries to paint behind it, to express its spirit. He believes the Beauty is God made manifest, and that when we discover Him in Nature we discover Him in ourselves.

But Calvert did not always see thus. At one time he was a Pagan,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Am The Beauty That I See


I wish that I could understand
The moving marvel of my Hand;
I watch my fingers turn and twist,
The supple bending of my wrist,
the dainty touch of finger-tip,
The steel intensity of grip;
A tool of exquisite design,
With pride I thnk: "It's mine! It's mine!"

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Hour Divinely Closes

Robert Service, in a voice that hardly will recall to mind his older Cheechako ballads. In this one do you hear just a little bat-squeak echo of James Thurber's "Secret Life of Walter Mitty."


Day after day behold me plying
My pen within an office drear;
The dullest dog, till homeward bound hieing,
Then lo! I reign a king of cheer.
A throne have I of padded leather,
A little court of kiddies three,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

If The Worst Had Been The Best

I have posted poems from Robert Service before, so I won't introduce him. If you are interested, just find his name in the list on the left and see my other posts on him.

This poem allows for at least two widely divergent readings. I find them both intriguing and can't quite decide which to allow precedence in my mind.

When I read it I think of a painting by Dante Rossetti, but I am not quite sure that Service had the same painting in mind

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Goodest Man Ever You Saw

Yesterday we saw a snippet from the life of the real and original Raggedy Ann. Today we have a picture (a word picture) of the real and original Raggedy Andy. Written by the Raggedy Man's good friend, Bud (aka James Whitcomb Riley).


O The Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;
An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An' Dry the Orphant's Tear

Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy were real people! Who knew? Not me!
Their original names were Mary Alice Smith Gray and Wesley Gray. I highly recommend reading the history of these two.

Or you can take the version I will post here (Annie today, Andy tomorrow) written by a man who knew them well decades before they became dolls and one of the most instantly recognizable images in the modern age.

Incidentally it was Mary Alice (or Raggedy Ann, or Annie) who first prompted the young Bud to begin writing. And it was his writing that turned her into a worldwide sensation that now includes poems, songs, dolls, Broadway and movies.


To all the little children: - The happy ones; and sad ones;

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Old Aunt Mary's

James Whitcomb Riley would have been my neighbor, almost. Just a few short miles between our homes. A few short miles and about a hundred years. But, had our times coincided, we might have met. And he would have been glad to meet me! He was just that kind of person, the kind of person who when he meets you he really meets you. When he sees you, he really sees you. When you talk, he actually listens. He was a truly unusual person in this regard.

He has few if any rivals to the title of America's humblest poet. Nearly as popular in America as Mark Twain for their humorous lectures, in personality and biography the two could hardly be more different. The one arrogant and self promoting, the other intentionally introspective and self effacing. The one ostentatious to the point that he bankrupted his own millions, the other frugal and generous and simple in his habits.

Don't get me wrong, I love Mark Twain also, but for a neighbor or a friend I'd always choose James Whitcomb Riley!


Wasn't it pleasant. O brother mine,
In those old days of the lost sunshine

Monday, December 7, 2009

We Got Talking

From the man who gave us The House At Pooh Corner:

Puppy and I

I met a Man as I went walking;
We got talking,
Man and I.
"Where are you going to, Man?" I said