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For reading Wednesday, I can report actually finishing somethings. As in more than one, yays:

Sensual Love Poetry, ed. Kathleen Blake, which I've been reading in occasional snippets for more than a year and finally finished. Not my favorite anthology ever on the topic, but it has a pretty good decent-to-insipid ratio and has many poems previously unknown to me, which is more or less the point. The occasional gestures toward poems in translation was appreciated.

The Safe-Keeper's Secret, Sharon Shinn, reread of a the first book of a YA fantasy trilogy from a decade ago. Holds up well enough I've started the second book, The Truth-Teller's Tale.

The Changeling Sea, Patricia A. McKillip, reread after many years of my favorite McKillip novel ever. Holds up well enough I'm pining for more story EXACTLY LIKE THIS YES STOP HERE IT'S PERFECT NOW GET ME MOAR

Ongoing is other random bits of poetry anthologies. So it goes.

---L.

Subject quote from "Hymenæi," a wedding masque by Ben Jonson.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/624653.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Monday, Monday, a poem for a Monday:


What to Tell the Children, Rachel Kann

Tell them that this is the great awakening.
Tell them that we humans have made some huge mistakes
And that’s how we now find ourselves in this tenuous place.

Teach them that hate is the poison.
Teach them that love is the remedy,
That it is better to be readied for what comes next,
Even if the revelation is painful.

Tell them that this is the paradigm shift,
That the old is collapsing in on itself,
That this death rattle is simply a temper tantrum;
The last gasp of a dying goliath.
Remind them of how they get wild
When they are most tired,
And then pass out,
That this is what it’s about,
That this is what is happening to a decrepit and ineffective empire.

Tell them that everything is not ok,
And knowing that is ok.
Tell them that pretending
That what is unacceptable is fine
Is what got us to this sick and dysfunctional spot on the timeline.

Tell them that love is not just one unending cuddle puddle, but fierce as a mother bear protecting her cubsCollapse )


Source: http://hevria.com/rachel/what-to-tell-the-children/

Subject quote from "A Threnody: In Memory of Albert Darasz," William James Linton.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/624633.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Since all knowledge is contained somewhere out there, an open request for advice:

Since I'm unlikely to ever reread Marmalade Boy or Kodocha and we are pruning for space, it's time to sell them off. However, given the difficulty I had assembling the complete series, I suspect that if offered in the right venue, we'd get enough more than from the local used bookstore chain (typically $2/volume) to make it worth the bother.

Am I likely correct? If so, where do you recommend?

---L.

Subject quote from "Tank!," Yoko Kanno.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/624181.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Poetry Monday comes round again. Sorry 'bout missing last week -- holiday and all that.

Another Lullaby for Insomniacs, A. E. Stallings

Sleep, she will not linger:
She turns her moon-cold shoulder.
With no ring on her finger,
You cannot hope to hold her.

She turns her moon-cold shoulder
And tosses off the cover.
You cannot hope to hold her:
She has another lover.

She tosses off the cover
And lays the darkness bare.
She has another lover.
Her heart is otherwhere.

She lays the darkness bare.
You slowly realize
Her heart is otherwhere.
There's distance in her eyes.

You slowly realize
That she will never linger,
With distance in her eyes
And no ring on her finger.


(Stallings is, as I may have mentioned before, the poet my age I most admire. See also this.)

---L.

Subject quote from "Well, spring overflows the land," Lorine Niedecker.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/624037.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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For Epiphany, All Of Bach brings us a lovely cantata for the day, BWV 65. (See also, or rather hear, BWV 225.)

Ukulele Batman vs Bagpipe Superman. Exactly what it says on the tin, only even more so. (via)

"Adjectives of Order" by Alexandra Teague. (via?)

---L.

Subject quote from "Early Spring," Alfred Tennyson.

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/623845.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Wednesday reading day, a day, a day-o. Er, sorry -- been improvised singing to TDB more than usual this week. (Singing, singing, away-o.)

Amid all the Yuletide fics, of which I'll post another day (another, other day-o), I've been poking at other stuff, and even finishing some, most notably:

Brust's Hawk, which was a quite satisfying caper. The places Vlad made mistakes were entirely in character for him, heh heh. It will be interesting to watch what he does in the last few books of the series. (I assume Brust hasn't changed the plan of 17 books for each house framed by Taltos at the start and Vladimir at the end?)

Also finished two rereads:
  • Eensy Weensy Monster, Masami Tsuda (2 volumes complete), a fluffy shoujo school romance trapped by a structural conceit into being dragged out for at least three chapters longer than it should have. Despite that and the need to prune my manga shelves, I'm keeping it for its charm.

  • Midnight Flute: Chinese Poems of Love and Longing tr. by Sam Hamill. I can't judge his accuracy here, but in his Japanese, I often find myself arguing. It's still a nice little volume to have on hand as the occasion rises.

Works in progress include Hinton's Classical Chinese Poetry, and collections of Edward Thomas, William Henley, and James Thomson (that is, what he wrote other than City of Dreadful Night), plus a few pages here and there of various poetry anthologies.

And there's nothing more to say, to say-o.

---L.

Subject quote from "Among School Children," W.B. Yeats.

So -- Yuletide, that massive fanfiction exchange for small, rarely written-for fandoms, is complete.

The most important thing you need to know about it, of course, is my gift: Biscuit Lion gave me Living Out The Remainder Of Their Lives, a fic for "The Song of Everlasting Sorrow" by Tang dynasty poet Bai Juyi, a work of historical fiction about the An Lushan rebellion. This focuses on Yang Guifei's time in heaven before finally being reunited with Emperor Xuanzhong -- with crossover appearances by figures from Chinese mythology. So, a posthumous fantasy -- niiice.

Of the few fic for poetry fandoms, it is by far the best. Everyone -- read it.

As for what I wrote, that would be A Change of Season, a Tang dynasty RPF (basically, historical fiction) about the relationship of Wu Zetian, the first and only female empress regnant of China, and Shangguan Wan-er, her personal secretary who become her right-hand woman (sometimes called her "prime minister," a non-existent title -- as a woman, she couldn't take a formal office). I'm pretty sure authorship was entirely obvious to anyone who knows me who stumbled across it: I didn't bother trying to hide any of my quirks. So, yes, there is Chinese poetry. I was just glad to actually write something, anything for the first time in a couple years. Took me the whole Yuletide period to finish, but it was quite satisfying.

Recs later, after I've had time to read some more.

Does anyone have recs for me?

---L.

Subject quote from "Spring View," Du Fu tr. Mark Alexander.

TBD is three years and eight months old.

Achievements unlocked: dressing self, jacket zippers, jigsaw puzzles, hopping on one foot, fear of dying (to the point of sometimes not wanting to grow up), body modesty with those not authorized to help in the potty, and sitting through a theater movie not previously seen (The Eagle Huntress, which was fine except for one scene and previews too scary to stay in the theater).

Holiday visit to grandparents went quite well -- more social, more interactive, and generally more stamina for road trips. Grandpa is adored. The present-a-night observance of Hanukkah is being thoroughly enjoyed, as was the big gallumph of Christmas presents. (I should explain, I think, that while Janni and TBD are Jewish, I and my parents are not, so both traditions are observed. We also observe Chinese New Year.)

Lots of developmental things happening -- including the above-mentioned mastery of jigsaw puzzles, which is current favorite play activity, as well as inventing more songs than ever -- but I noted very few of them down. Instead, this post is mostly talking, talking:

(pulls off shirt)
TBD: "I did it $realname style."
Janni: "You found your own way to do it?"
"Say that was pretty awesome."
"That was pretty awesome."

TBD: "Mommy, Daddy, I'm hungry."
"Come to the table to eat."
"I'm not that hungry."

TBD: "Who's that?" (pointing at a photo of Trump)
Me: "That's the man who's going to be president."
TBD: "What's his name?"
Me: "His name is Donald Trump."
TBD: "Why not Hillary Clinton?"
Janni: "Because more people ... not more people, but more people in the right places wanted Trump."
TBD: "We're in the right place?"
Me: "It's complicated"
Janni: "Basically more people wanted him."
TBD: "We didn't."
Janni: "No, because he's mean to people. Do you know what a bully is?"
TBD: (shakes head)
Janni: "Well ... because the president is mean, we have to work harder to not be mean. To be kind. That means if someone is sad, ask if they're okay. If someone is playing alone, ask if they want to play with you."
(A few minutes later, TBD asks that I put a safety pin on their shirt, like I've been doing)
(TBD goes to Janni, now in another room)
TBD: "Why you not wearing one?"
Janni: "I can wear one."
(TBD leaves and comes back with another safety pin, hands it to Janni)
TBD: "Don't be mean."

"Do you want juice or water?"
"I want books."
(is this our kid or what?)

(singing) "Rats and bays, apples and grays, all the pretty little horses, and cows"

"I am a human so I dress myself."

"Mommy, I want a hippopotamus."
"You want a hippopotamus? A real one?"
"No."
"You want a play hippopotamus as a present?"
"For a surprise."
"Is it still a surprise if you know what it is?"
"It's a surprise because it is hidden."
(still working through the concepts of surprises and secrets)

(Janni draws on a restaurant placemat)
TBD: "Only kids can draw. Not grownups."
"Grownups draw."
"No they don't."
"What about $friend? He draws picture books."
"Only $friend can."

"Some spiders eat spiders?"
(putting together that spiders a) eat bugs and b) are bugs) (FWIW, it turns out there's a family of spiders that prey on other spiders)

"Why no dinosaurs in the world?"
(that they died long ago was a shocking recent discovery)

"There's so many stars. It's so awesome."

---L.

Subject quote from "Just So," Agnes Obel.

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For Poetry Monday, I'm breaking another personal rule of thumb by posting an extract, in this case the final two sections of W.H. Auden's For the Time Being:


III
Narrator


Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes --
Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry
And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this. To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
"Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake."
They will come, all right, don't worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God's Will will be done, That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.

IV
Chorus


He is the Way.
Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness;
You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures.

He is the Truth.
Seek Him in the Kingdom of Anxiety;
You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years.

He is the Life.
Love Him in the World of the Flesh;
And at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy.


---L.

Subject quote from "The City of Dreadful Night," James Thomson.

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Rogue One epiphany

That moment when you realize that someone, somewhere, is making a Jyn/Galen Erso vid to Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting."

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It's Wednesday, and I've been reading, so it's a Reading Wednesday post:

Finished (!) Very Far Away from Anywhere Else by Ursula K. Le Guin, a reread. Still very good -- possibly even essential reading for a certain type of misfit teen. Not surprisingly, Le Guin nails the voice of a bright teenage boy a lot better than Haldeman the voice of a bright teenage girl.

Newly in progress are For the Time Being by W.H. Auden, another seasonal reread, and Hawk by Steven Brust, the most recent (I think still?) Vlad Taltos novel -- this one's a Vlad-pulls-a-caper story, and as of a quarter the way in, it looks to be a fun one.

Continuing progress are The Library of the World's Best Literature, which has pushed me to finally try Balzac, plus translations of Chinese poetry by David Hinton and Sam Hammel.

---L.

Subject quote from "My Heart and I," Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Poetry Monday, on a Monday. Imagine that.


Spring and Fall, Gerard Hopkins

to a young child

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.


(Remember, though, the wanwood leafmeal *does* lie -- very convincingly.)

---L.

Subject quote from "The Bonfire," Robert Frost.

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

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