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Things have been up and down here (yays include surviving the birthday party with toddlers), thus my relative silence of late, but with my new job starting tomorrow, I'm hoping things are evening out and the usual linkalicious postings will resume. In the meantime, some poems:

Another example of a forgotten good one: "Nocturne" by Gerald Griffin.

An interesting exercise: compare "Ode—Autumn" by Thomas Hood with Keats's more famous poem on the same subject. I honestly can't tell if it's trying to elaborate on its model or argue with it -- which probably means both, which is more subtle than I usually expect for Hood (who is remembered today almost entirely for this one poem).

And then there's "A Protest" by Arthur Hugh Clough. That is very much how it feels.


Subject quote from "An Interview with Miles Standish," James Russell Lowell.


TBD is three years old today, and fully engaged with learning All The Things.

Language has been leveling up all around -- it's been a couple weeks since I heard TBD use "you" to refer to self, and while there's been occasional, usually playful uses of $realname as a Third-Person Person, first- and second-person pronouns have been pretty much been straightened out. There's been some interesting abstractions, especially relating to time: "If we going to $friend house, we need pack up?" asked a half-hour before it was time to get ready.

Socially, we're getting much more open: TBD is now willing to go over a hill out of sight or be picked up by another adult, if also in the company of an age-mate friend (or, for being picked up alone, it's by a friend's parent). Also: at their second meeting, a new adult friend was given a hug in greeting, instead of sticking with a high-five. (His being Chinese probably helped there -- "From my China?" "Yes, the same China where you were born.")

The most common invisible companion this month has been Sheeshee (or possibly Xi-xi?) who is scary "because she looks like Elmo," and a visit from her is an all-purpose embodiment of anxieties -- sending her away ("Go home Sheeshee!") helps calm TBD. Others have been nonce named and vanished. Well, Darth Vader also showed up a couple times, as a scary one, one time with the Emp'er as well. Geek kid in training.

Achievements unlocked: carrying the bike up stairs all by self (short flight), inventing random songs with new tunes (already had been putting new words to existing tunes), color sorting. Also getting better at catch with the large nubby ball and the crocheted Totoro about the same size. On the other hand, we've we've learned that the endless repetition of the first line of "Puff the Magic Dragon" can be tiresome. Ditto rereading Busy, Busy Town. (OTOH, for a while the obsessive rereading was a compendium of nursery rhymes illustrated by Rosemary Wells -- go Team Poetry.)

Talking, talking: I forgot to mention the popular diminutive "up-y", which is shorthand for "pick me up!" In heavy rotation are the questions "What's that?" "What's in that?" and "Why?" -- especially the last. It's not yet being used to question orders (those not liked are simply resisted, or sometimes a petulant "Stop iiit"), but to learn about the world. No conversations recorded this month, just some choice single lines:

"I want to talk about animal butts"

"Unicorns got snot?"

"School is not my work. Park is my work."

The party is Sunday, where there will be three young guests (number to match TBD's age), about twice as many grown-ups, and a jumping castle in the park. We figure the combination might give us at least a few moments of being able to sit down and rest. And celebrate.


Subject quote from "Lobachevsky," Tom Lehrer.


Oh dear. Or even, oh dear oh dear:
The claws remain, but worms, wind, rain, and heat
Have sifted out the substance of thy feet.
The lines are bad enough on their own, but as the conclusion of an otherwise passable sonnet? A crashing THUD indeed. And yet I find it anthologized more than once.

(In case you're wondering about his name, yes, he's an older brother of Alfred the Tennyson.)


Subject quote from "Joseph and His Brethren," Charles Jeremiah Wells.

When I was wee one, I had a couple large-format Richard Scarry books. One of them, I've managed to identify as Best Word Book Ever -- that illustration of a moose is easy to recognize. The book I remember best, though, is being more elusive.

The big identifying feature is a two-page spread with a flock of starlings, each of them calling out -- each of which I, of course, had to read out loud. The book would have been published by 1973.

Anyone have any idea?



Reading, reading -- meming, meming.

Still a lot of poetry, mostly from A Victorian Anthology (1837-1895) ed. by Edmund Stedman, but also random later Yeats and narrative poems of Leigh Hunt.

And because I needed some comfort reading, burned through the Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce, being Wild Magic, Wolf-Speaker, Emperor Mage, and The Realms of the Gods. Still good, still not as good as Protector of the Small or Circle of Magic.


Subject quote from "The Brook," Alfred Tennyson, who cited "by ... seas" as one of his most successful lines.

A quick note following up this post:

Babymetal has appeared on Colbert. (via) Make of this what you will. Of course, you will anyway.

*exit stage left, headbanging*


Subject quote from "Better Days," Goo Goo Dolls.


When we lived on Hayne Street, I had fun explaining that it was named after a deservedly obscure antebellum poet. Er, localization note: in the States, "antebellum" means strictly before our Civil War of 1861-65, with the strong connotation of pertaining to the southeastern states that became the Confederacy* -- in Paul Hamilton Hayne's case, South Carolina.

Anyway, one of the pleasures of reading older anthologies** is finding recent-to-then poems that are good but have since been forgotten by the canon. The poem of Hayne's that lasted the longest, and was still being anthologized in the early 20th century, is "Aspects of the Pines":
Tall, sombre, grim, against the morning sky
    They rise, scarce touched by melancholy airs,
Which stir the fadeless foliage dreamfully,
    As if from realms of mystical despairs.

Tall, sombre, grim, they stand with dusky gleams
    Brightening to gold within the woodland’s core,
Beneath the gracious noontide’s tranquil beams,—
    But the weird winds of morning sigh no more.

A stillness, strange, divine, ineffable,
    Broods round and o’er them in the wind’s surcease,
And on each tinted copse and shimmering dell
    Rests the mute rapture of deep hearted peace.

Last, sunset comes—the solemn joy and might
    Borne from the west when cloudless day declines—
Low, flute-like breezes sweep the waves of light,
    And, lifting dark green tresses of the pines,

Till every lock is luminous, gently float,
    Fraught with hale odors up the heavens afar,
To faint when twilight on her virginal throat
    Wears for a gem the tremulous vesper star.
As you can see, very Romantic influenced, almost Keatsian in places -- but it doesn't quite manage to sustain the effect. Competent and readable, and yet -- and yet.

From what I've read of him, and I dug up a good sampling when we lived on his street, this is about the best Hayne got. Not a terrible poet, but deservedly obscure indeed.

* I've never understood why it's called that instead of the Confederation.

** Along from the delightful stinker, of course. </small>


Subject quote from "In Harbor," Paul Hamilton Hayne.

TBD is two years and eleven months old, and it's even harder to remember not yet actually three.

Friends who haven't seen TBD for several months (or in a couple cases a year) have been struck by the changes: this is now a much more secure child, with a confidence in people and the world, not to mention self. Also a child who takes comfort from both parents -- sometimes preferentially Janni yays.

Achievements unlocked in the last month include playing the harmonica (breathing both out and in), using a screwdriver (with assistance steadying it), and chained "Why?" questions (though current favorite question is "What's that sound?"). More singing in general both learned and invented, both in English and otherwise -- including belting out "Twinkle Twinkle" and a "Baba Finger" variant of "Father Finger". There's also an obsession with making certain that I don't sing "Low Bridge" at bedtime, with the prohibition repeated at least once a day (though twice the song has been demanded, go fig).

Invisible friends come and go like soot sprites. Speaking of which, Dhowie may or may not have been a soot sprite (from known from My Neighbor Totoro), as at least once she was clapped between hands before disappearing. Others since then have been even more transitory -- names get mentioned, most of them invented rather than borrowed from people she knows, and then dropped with sometimes bewildering speed. "Where's X?" remains the most important question about them, though.

We've discovered -y as an all-purpose diminutive, adding it to all sorts of nouns (including globe-y and the stuffie now named Sheepy). Intermitently, though -- and with the flip side of Mommy/Daddy sometimes getting shortened to Mom/Dad. More interesting, Mama seems to be moving into a name for mother, with grandmothers shifting over to Grandma or Gramma (the pronunciations are nearly the same). Baba still is grandfather, though. Another amusing address is Mommydaddy, generically meaning "one of you two", which has been taking on almost pronominal usage.

Other pronunciations are clarifying, though th- remains elusive and likely will for some time. Syllables more complex words sometimes get shortened, such as s'ghetti with meatballs. Other talking, talking:

Auntie Y: "Do you know how to say strawberry in Chinese?"
TBD: "Yeah."
Auntie Y: "You do? Can you say it?"
TBD: "Strawberry in Chinese."
(concrete thinking in action)

TBD: "It died?"
Janni: "Yes, the flower died."
TBD: "Died like people?"

"Where do fish go work?"

(I jotted down a few more that trod into privacy areas and supressed -- something I suspect will happen more and more.)

And yeah, we're already planning the birthday party for the end of the month. Such is the life.


Subject quote from "Strength," Roth d'Lux.


Wednesday? Ah, yes -- reading meme day.

It's been pretty much entirely poetry, largely from the first Oxford Book of English Verse (1250-1900) and A Victorian Anthology (1837-1895) ed. by Edmund Stedman, plus all but the last canto of The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott. Which is still a good read in a Highland romance sort of way.

Subject quote from "Loch Coruisk," Robert Williams Buchanan.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. Do you take the one less traveled by or the one more traveled by? (via)

This post about extra trigonometry functions has a figure with the caption "A diagram with a unit circle and more trig functions than you can shake a stick at. (It's well known that you can shake a stick at a maximum of 8 trig functions.)" How can you resist the clicky? (via)

Even though there's no Wolgemut, this is still a rocking party mix of medieval music. (via)


Subject quote from "Love and Sleep," Algernon Charles Swinburne.

“When you’re trying to change the world, sometimes the roof collapses,” [Pasternak] said. “It’s normal. It’s absolutely normal.”
As quoted in "Helium Dreams," a profile of modern airship builders.

Viking ships had woolen sails -- large woolen sails specially woven and treated, which required a lot of sheep. Without sheeps, no ships. (via)

Tiny origami on fingertips for scale. More, including "nano-origami" (spoiler: is really more milli-origami). (via)


Subject quote from "Calls from Springfield," Hillary Scott.

Short shameful confession: my favorite name from the Icelandic sagas is Thorstein Cod-biter.


Subject quote from "Call Me Son," Courtney Robins.

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

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