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For Poetry Monday:

The Thrush, Edward Thomas

When Winter's ahead,
What can you read in November
That you read in April
When Winter's dead?

I hear the thrush, and I see
Him alone at the end of the lane
Near the bare poplar's tip,
Singing continuously.

Is it more that you know
Than that, even as in April,
So in November,
Winter is gone that must go?

Or is all your lore
Not to call November November,
And April April,
And Winter Winter—no more?

But I know the months all,
And their sweet names, April,
May and June and October,
As you call and call

I must remember
What died into April
And consider what will be born
Of a fair November;

And April I love for what
It was born of, and November
For what it will die in,
What they are and what they are not,

While you love what is kind,
What you can sing in
And love and forget in
All that's ahead and behind.

Another early modernist: for a long time, Edward Thomas was remembered largely as a friend of Robert Frost (and inspiration for the speaker in "The Road Not Taken"). There's been more attention paid lately to his general influences on the Movement, and his death is yet another reason to damn the Great War for the voices it silenced.


Subject quote from "The Day is Done," Henry Longfellow.


Reading, wednesday, meme, all that.

Have been reading up on my canon for my Yuletide assignment, while still managing to get ⅔ or so through The Wheel, the Horse, and Language, to the discussion of the Yamnaya horizon and subsequent splitting of PIE into the various branches.

Between that, the in odd moments stuff, still randomwalking through The Library of the World's Best Literature -- the index (such as, say, the poems with title starting with D) and the study guide (for example, Dutch and Belgian literature) are both good ways to reslice the alphabetical arrangement -- or when I want nonfiction, slowmarching through Encyclopedia Britannica 11e. (1911) v11 -- am up to the article on Giuseppe Garibaldi.


Subject quote from "Won't You Be My Neighbor," Fred Rogers.

For Poetry Monday, returning to the sea, or at least the sea-shore:

In Romney Marsh, John Davidson

As I went down to Dymchurch Wall,
    I heard the South sing o’er the land;
I saw the yellow sunlight fall
    On knolls where Norman churches stand.

And ringing shrilly, taut and lithe,
    Within the wind a core of sound,
The wire from Romney town to Hythe
    Alone its airy journey wound.

A veil of purple vapour flowed
    And trail’d its fringe along the Straits;
The upper air like sapphire glow’d;
    And roses fill’d Heaven’s central gates.

Masts in the offing wagg’d their tops;
    The swinging waves peal’d on the shore;
The saffron beach, all diamond drops
    And beads of surge, prolong’d the roar.

As I came up from Dymchurch Wall,
    I saw above the Downs’ low crest
The crimson brands of sunset fall,
    Flicker and fade from out the west.

Night sank: like flakes of silver fire
    The stars in one great shower came down;
Shrill blew the wind; and shrill the wire
    Rang out from Hythe to Romney town.

The darkly shining salt sea drops
    Streamed as the waves clashed on the shore;
The beach, with all its organ stops
    Pealing again, prolong’d the roar.

Davidson was one of the poets of the 1890s that T.S. Eliot read and learned from, especially such poems as "Thirty Bob a Week" and "In the Isle of Dogs" (echoes of which can be heard in "The Wasteland").


Subject quote from "In the Isle of Dogs," John Davidson.


Repeat After Me, a comic by Maki Naro about psychology's reproducibility problem. (via)

The Saga-Steads of Iceland, a blog documenting reading the Icelandic sagas in the locations where each is set. (via)

I really want a Finnish-speaker's opinion on what it's like to read The Song of Hiawatha in Finnish. (Did the translator use the Kalevala meter that Longfellow was imitating, or did they imitate the imitation? And what would THAT sound like?)


Subject quote from "Life Less Ordinary," Carbon Leaf.

All Knowledge Is Contained Et Cet.

My current office building has a stairwell with 8 flights up, which is great for stair-walking in breaks away from the desk. This needs a playlist with a measured walking pace -- tracks roughly 60-70 bpm, preferably without words, or at least without English lyrics. Current favorites are:

Love Beat, Yoshinori Sunahara
Make the Road by Walking, Menahan Street Band
Solamente, Pretty Lights

I need more. What else should I add?


Subject quote from "Vuelvo al Sur," Gotan Project, another on this playlist.


For Poetry Monday:

D'Avalos' Prayer, John Masefield

When the last sea is sailed and the last shallow charted,
    When the last field is reaped and the last harvest stored,
When the last fire is out and the last guest departed,
    Grant the last prayer that I shall pray, Be good to me, O Lord!

And let me pass in a night at sea, a night of storm and thunder,
    In the loud crying of the wind through sail and rope and spar;
Send me a ninth great peaceful wave to drown and roll me under
    To the cold tunny-fishes’ home where the drowned galleons are.

And in the dim green quiet place far out of sight and hearing,
    Grant I may hear at whiles the wash and thresh of the sea-foam
About the fine keen bows of the stately clippers steering
    Towards the lone northern star and the fair ports of home.

Masefield is IMHO underappreciated these days, but he was tucked into the Poet Laureateship (1930-1967) for good reason. This is from his first collection, Salt-Water Ballads, which also included "Sea-Fever."


Subject quote from "When Earth's Last Picture is Painted," Rudyard Kipling, which this greatly reminded me of.


Triple Spiral. Domino arrangement techniques have been seriously leveling up the past decades. It reminds me of what happened in origami in the '90s and '00s. (via)

Apparently, it's a thing that young kiwis get rambunctious and bounce around. Who knew? (via)

The beauty of terraced fields (via?)


Subject quote from "Never Look Away," Vienna Teng.


Dear Yulemouse 2016

(Context: Yuletide is an annual fanfiction gift exchange for very small fandoms, notable for its large number of participants and the high average quality of stories. I took the last couple years off because toddler, but I'm participating again this year, once more offering and requesting only public-domain fandoms.)

Dear Yulemouse,

Thank you for wanting to write in one of these fandoms. They are awesome, and you are too. I can only hope you enjoy writing a story as much as I will reading it -- for certainly, there will be squees ringing off the mountains when it arrives given, dude, it's in a fandom I wanted.

The best way you can please me is if you have fun. Wit, sex, and cracktasticly silly rom-com are all possibilities, but go with whatever floats your boats. Slash, het, poly, and gen are all great. Turn-offs are humilation-based humor and torture for its own sake. Find something and make it your own, the thing you love writing, and easy odds are I'll like it.

The rest of this is really just expansions on my Optional Details Are Optional.

Tang Dynasty RPFCollapse )

Song of Everlasting Sorrow - Bái JūyìCollapse )

Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio - Pú SōnglíngCollapse )

Tale of the Bamboo CutterCollapse )

Again, thank you!


Reading Wednesday? Oh yeah, that. It's a meme thing.

Lessee -- in the weeks since I last posted, I read some more from Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition (1911) volume 11, but spent far more time on:

The Library of the World's Literature ed. by Warner et al. (1917), which, yes, being from the same period has many of the same blindnesses as EB, but it DOES cover 19th century continental authors in greater detail than I've been familiar with. The alphabetical by author/topic makes a pleasing arrangement, as you never know what you'll be blindsided by served next.

I'm not sure whether the introduction to Japanese literature is from the first (1896) or revised for second (1917) edition, but I suspect from the chronology the latter -- either way, though, it's … interesting. The first part, the historical summary, is surprisingly less wrong than I expected, given the time (and many of the wrongs are omissions by apparent ignorance), but the evaluative second part is a hot mess, even with its appreciation of Japanese poetry. The poetry translations are, btw, pretty dire: tanka into rhyming quatrains. That they selected only seasonal poems from the Kokinshu is probably significant of … something.

Also, I am, to put it mildly, bemused to see that Melville has a handful of selections, all from Typee. That … would not be my first choice of representation.

OTOH, I've found at least one thing worth tracking down more of, the romance dealing with the life and legendary exploits of Antar aka Antarah ibn Shaddad. Especially if I can find a recent translation.

Anyway, this week, between bouts of World Literature, I've also found (hat tip to thistleingrey) The Wheel, the Horse, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World by David W. Anthony, which is an attempt to synthesize current archaeological and linguistic evidence about the speakers of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) and their homeland. The linguistics stuff is of course fascinating, but the modern steppe archeology (drawing on current Russian and Ukrainian work) even more so. Am about ⅓ in.

(Maybe it's just Yuletide season, but I want fic about anthropomorphic PIE words, like *kʷekʷlo- arguing with


Subject quote from "The Pass of Kirkstone," William Wordsworth.

Short shameful confession

I regard any anthologist who chooses Spenser's "Prothalamion" over his "Epithalamion" as having, at best, extremely dubious taste.


For Poetry Monday:

“Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,” Thomas Moore

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
    Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
    Like fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be ador’d, as this moment thou art,
    Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
    Would entwine itself verdantly still.

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
    And thy cheeks unprofan’d by a tear,
That the fervour and faith of a soul can be known,
    To which time will but make thee more dear;
No, the heart that has truly lov’d never forgets,
    But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sun-flower turns on her god, when he sets,
    The same look which she turn’d when he rose.

Written in 1808 to an Irish air, supposedly after his wife's face was scarred by smallpox.



... a place for posting bits of fluff caught in my filters. Warning: I list "very bad poetry" among my interests.

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