Thursday, June 24, 2010
But there was one other poem out of the collection which thoroughly delighted me, so here it is:
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The Congo, as you will have gathered, is the book in which the poem originally appeared; I can't tell you whether the rest of it is any good or not, as I found the poem in a high school reader.
Earlier in the week, I ran across another observation on human weakness, though this time from Ogden Nash, who rightly remarked:
Well I have learned that life is something about which you can't conclude anything except that it is full of vicissitudes.
And when you expect logic you only come across eccentricitudes.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
There is a very good website-in-progress on the 51st Highland Division here, which includes some information about the events leading to the surrender and subsequent 5-year imprisonment of some 8,000 men. P/M MacLean's tune is not the only one with a title that stands as a memorial to the hardships they endured: there is also a hornpipe by John Wilson, who was, like MacLean and P/M Donald MacLeod, taken prisoner at St.Valéry . The tune, played by the composer, is the first listed on this page.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
And here the composer of the tune above does all manner of impossible things to a jig, reel and hornpipe set, including a rendition of his own "The Fourth Floor" at 5:12.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
From the description in Growing California Native Plants, I think this is Chlorogalum pomeridianum (soap plant). If that is correct, perhaps I needn't be so surprised that I only noticed the flowers on my way back from the lesson--according to the Pacific Bulb Society website the delicate, short-lived blossoms only appear in the evening.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
What prompted this particular post--I was at work on Saturday when the "Prelude" from Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major came on the radio. That is a piece I very much enjoy, though, truth be told, I could probably listen to many a more mundane composition being turned out on a rich-sounding cello and still think I was on the borders of heaven. The interesting thing this time around was that the "Prelude" wasn't being played on a cello at all; the airwaves were transporting the clean, woody tones of a guitar. My intelligent reaction to this innovation was: "Who woulda thunk it?"
When I got home and started digging around for recorded proof, however, I discovered that I had been the last to get the memo about playing the aforesaid prelude on the guitar--everybody does it, to all appearances. Here is one of the more popular (in YouTube's estimation), a Norwegian guitarist named Tor Inge, who takes it a good deal more slowly than many other players--exactly where I like to hear it:
It's like comparing apples and oranges (so I am thankfully relieved of any obligation to compare) but I had the fortune to happen upon this steel-string guitar arrangement, which is similarly enthralling. The guitarist here, whose versatility made yesterday's post, has a quality-not-quantity YouTube channel called guitarvangelist:
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
I have proof, in pencil and watercolor, that I came across a somewhat similar insect (the-other-one) when I was at school. It would appear that I had no camera at the time, and, I hope, no midterms either. The penciled remarks, meant to supplant the inaccuracies of the depiction, have long since been rubbed into oblivion, but I seem to recall that one of them stated that the beetle was more slender and graceful than the drawing made it appear:
I don't know how closely related it is to the creature I ran into last month, but it had an odd, jerky, and waspish gait to go with the waspish stripes.
*As I understand it, these are an East Coast species, but the pictures on BugGuide certainly resemble the one that got away (it's hard to forget the bright stripes, the reddish cast of the shell, and a beetle with legs quite that long). A quick search for a related West Coast species turned up an animal evidently related, but not at all the one I saw. Suggestions greatly appreciated, as usual.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
But a weekend of inestimably engaging conversation and company, mixed with a heavy dose of high granite mountains, pines, and hints of rain left me so delighted that I, this morning, found the last line of the poem below running through my head. Chesterton gets his due after all.
It is something to have wept as we have wept,
It is something to have done as we have done,
It is something to have watched when all men slept,
And seen the stars which never see the sun.
It is something to have smelt the mystic rose,
Although it break and leave the thorny rods,
It is something to have hungered once as those
Must hunger who have ate the bread of gods.
To have seen you and your unforgotten face,
Brave as a blast of trumpets for the fray,
Pure as white lilies in a watery space,
It were something, though you went from me today.
To have known the things that from the weak are furled,
Perilous ancient passions, strange and high;
It is something to be wiser than the world,
It is something to be older than the sky.
In a time of sceptic moths and cynic rusts,
And fattened lives that of their sweetness tire
In a world of flying loves and fading lusts,
It is something to be sure of a desire.
Lo, blessed are our ears for they have heard;
Yea, blessed are our eyes for they have seen:
Let the thunder break on man and beast and bird
And the lightning. It is something to have been.