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[sticky post] Stickie introductory post

Characters frequently appearing in this drama:

  • I - your humble narrator, sometime writer and poet (preferred pronoun: he/him/his)

  • Janni - spouse and writer (preferred pronoun: she/her/her)

  • TBD - nom de internet of our child, not yet a writer (preferred pronoun: they/them/their)

Originally posted at http://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/632515.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For Sea Poetry Monday, we dive below the surf again:

The Coral Grove, James Gates Percival

Deep in the wave is a coral grove,
Where the purple mullet, and gold-fish rove,
Where the sea-flower spreads its leaves of blue,
That never are wet with falling dew,
But in bright and changeful beauty shine,
Far down in the green and glassy brine.
The floor is of sand, like the mountain drift,
And the pearl shells spangle the flinty snow;
From coral rocks the sea plants lift
Their boughs, where the tides and billows flow;
The water is calm and still below,
For the winds and waves are absent there,
And the sands are bright as the stars that glow
In the motionless fields of upper air:
There with its waving blade of green,
The sea-flag streams through the silent water,
And the crimson leaf of the dulse is seen
To blush, like a banner bathed in slaughter:
There with a light and easy motion,
The fan-coral sweeps through the clear deep sea;
And the yellow and scarlet tufts of ocean.
Are bending like corn on file upland lea:
And life, in rare and beautiful forms,
Is sporting amid those bowers of stone,
And is safe, when the wrathful spirit of storms,
Has made the top of the wave his own:
And when the ship from his fury flies,
Where the myriad voices of ocean roar,
When the wind-god frowns in the murky skies,
And demons are waiting the wreck on shore;
Then far below in the peaceful sea,
The purple mullet, and gold-fish rove,
Where the waters murmur tranquilly,
Through the bending twigs of the coral grove.

Percival (1795-1856) was, serially, a physician, newspaper editor, army surgeon, chemistry professor, lexicographer's assistant, and geologist, but now best, if barely, remembered as the leading American poet of the 1820s. His reputation was eclipsed by Bryant and Lowell -- deservedly, as a lot of his poems are Byronism watered down with sentimentality and a touch of Keats -- and he published only one collection after 1830. "The Coral Grove" was the one piece of his that continued being anthologized a century later.


Subject quote from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, canto IV, st 116-117, The Byron.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/683736.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


The cicadas have awoken in chorus, and in a few days we get thunderstorms (thanks to the scattered remnants of a hurricane passing over us). Sounds like summer.

Which means I'm thinking about Yuletide. In particular, some fandoms I am seriously considering nominating this next year:
  • The Tay Bridge Disaster - William McGonagall - Tay Rail Bridge, Train, Storm Fiend, Passenger, Sensible Man

  • Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra | Diamond Sutra - Gautama Buddha, Subhūti, Śūnyatā (Anthropomorphism), Anatman (Anthropomorphism)

  • Faith and Practice of the Religious Society of Friends - Peace Testimony (Anthropomorphism), Simplicity Testimony (Anthropomorphism), Equality Testimony (Anthropomorphism), Truth Testimony (Anthropomorphism)

Anyone in on any of these?

Anyone have rare and obscure fandoms they're considering, that they're willing to share?

ETA: On further reflection, I think remove the Tay Rail Bridge as a nominated character. Let the prompt be the story of those affected by the catastrophic collapse of the protagonist.


Subject quote from Level Up, Vienna Teng.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/683079.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


Wednesday reading meme day. Right. That. Looks like it's been too long since I checked in, as this is … quite a lot of reading, actually.

Admin note: I've only intermittently mentioned works read aloud to TBD, which in the past were a large number of mostly picture books and early readers. Now that we're into more chapter books and all-ages graphic novels, I'm going to make a point of noting those genres down, at least for first reads. By way of getting credit for work I'm doing anyway.


Ivy + Bean books 1-9, Annie Barrows -- TBD listened to all of these on audiobook during car rides, and now I've been reading them aloud, which means I'm getting more than just snippets (and we're both finally getting Sophie Blackall's excellent illos). These are solid chapter books, of a length that shades into middle-grade, about two second-graders who never meant to be friends but were so perfectly complementary they become true besties. Bean is the active, social one who cannot sit still, while Ivy is the quiet, bookish weirdo who's training herself to become a witch. Solid writing, deft characterization, and no book is a rehash of a previous one. My favorites are #4 Ivy + Bean Take Care of the Babysitter, #7 Ivy + Bean: What's the Big Idea?, which is an excellent explainer on global warming that's handled with heart, and #9 Ivy + Bean Make the Rules, in which they set up Camp Flaming Arrow in the local park. One more volume to go. (Plus a new book comes out in two months, one distinctly focused on Ivy.)

It turns out that the Magic School Bus franchise includes a couple different series of chapter books (all written after the original picture books and first TV series). Read aloud two books from one of them: Butterfly Battle and Insect Invasion. Both are okay, with almost enough illustrations.

An Accidental Goddess, Linnea Sinclair, a comfort reread while sick -- Romantic science-fantasy space opera. Except for a climactic moment in which the male lead behaves stupidly out of character without selling us on it, this still works.

Casino Royale, James Bond #1, Ian Fleming -- Goes down quickly, but Bond's womanizing is of the misogynistic type and the narrative validates this.

On hold:

The Legend of Chu Qiao: Division 11’s Princess Agent (11处特工皇妃, which is basically the English subtitle; the drama adaptation goes with just Princess Agent), Xiaoxiang Dong’er (潇湘冬儿) — Pseudo-historical reincarnation webnovel, in the subgenre of a female special agent transmigrated after being killed -- yes, that's a real subgenre -- in this case, into the body of an eight-year-old slave girl about to be killed (along with several others) by decadent aristocrat teens for sport. I kinda like the author's strategy for making the grimdark setting palatable: cranking up the melodrama to the max. On hold because I caught up with the translation at chapter 39, which fortunately is after a timeskip to aging her into her teens, as there's a romantic triangle in the works.

Phoenix Destiny (天命为凰), Yun Ji (云芨) -- Now here's something I've been looking for: a xianxia* novel with a female MC. In this case, she's the oldest daughter of a man who abandoned his first family to pursue a successful career as a martial artist -- and she wants an accounting. Which she can get only if she's strong enough. Revenge plot, ahoy! Well, sort of -- as of chapter 115 (where I caught up with the translation) the story is arcing more like a bildungsroman. I'll take that. And more translation.


Heavenly Jewel Change (天珠变), Tang Jia San-shao (唐家三少, "Tang Family's Third Young Master") -- Another xuanhuan webnovel, specifically an entirely disposable fantasy adventure requiring minimal brain cells. The protagonist is a rogue worthy of a classic picaresque novel, but I wish I had noticed the "Harem" tag before starting -- and it took a long time before those elements got prominent enough to be really annoying. Gave up just before chapter 400 (out of 848).

In progress:

So for my current minimal-brainage adventure needs, I'm back to The Avalon of Five Elements by Fang Xiang -- up to chapter 260 or so.

* Oversimplifying: super-powered martial arts based on Daoist cultivation practices -- contrast with wuxia aka traditional martial arts (which includes wire-fu light-movement action) and with xuanhuan aka eastern-based high fantasy (which can include xianxia elements).


Subject quote from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, canto IV, stanza 127, The Byron.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/682838.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


Short links.

Trebuchets hurl things.

Bakemono scare people.

Fred Rogers was really good at his job. (via)


Subject quote from The Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/682506.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


For Sea Poetry Monday, another anonymous bit found in Masefield's A Sailor's Garland:

The Flash Frigate, anonymous 19th century

I sing of a frigate, a frigate of fame,
And in the West Indies she bore a great name,
For cruel, hard treatment of every degree,
Like slaves in the galleys we ploughed the salt sea.

At four in the morning our day's work begun;
"Come, lash up your hammocks, boys, every one."
Seven turns with the lashing so neatly must show,
And all of one size through a hoop they must show.

The next thing we do is to holystone the decks,
Mizzen-topmen from the forehatch their buckets must fetch,
And its fore and main topmen so loudly they bawl,
Come, fetch up your holystones, squilgees and all.

The decks being scrubbed and the rigging coiled down,
It's clean up your bright work which is found all around,
Your gun-caps and aprons so neatly must shine,
And in white frocks and trousers you must all toe the line.

The next thing we hear is "All hands to make sail!"
"Way aloft!" and "Lay out!" and "Let fall!" is the hail,
O, your royals and your skysails and moonsails so high,
At the sound of the call your skyscrapers must fly.

But now, my brave boys, comes the best of the fun:
"All hands about ship and reef topsails," in one.
O, it's "lay aloft, topmen," as the helm goes down,
And it's "clew down your topsails," as the mainyard swings round.

"Trice up, and lay out, and take two snug reefs in one,"
And all in one moment this work must be done.
Then man your head braces, topsail-halyards and all,
And hoist away topsails as you let go and haul.

Our second lieutenant, you all know him well,
He comes up on deck and cuts a great swell.
O, it's "bear a hand here," and "bear a hand there."
And at the lee gangway he serves out our share.

Now, all your bold seaman who plough the salt sea,
Beware this frigate wherever she be,
For they'll beat you and bang you till you ain't worth a damn,
And send you an invalid to your own native land.

First noted down as a song, now catalogued as Roud #2563 (music here -- and there's a recording on YouTube). Some versions, as noted here, specifically identify the ship as the H.M.S. La Pique, leaving folklorists to debate which ship of that name was meant -- the name was reused a few times, including two possibilities both stationed in the West Indies during the Napoleonic Era. A capstan shanty version was later developed called “Liverpool Packet”.


Subject quote from Wings in the Dark, John Gray.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/682316.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


A few striking images:

Oblique and overhead satellite images of the iconic Western landscape of Monument Valley.

All the volcano eruptions since 1883, visualized.

Juno takes astonishing pix. (via)


Subject quote from The Odyssey, book X, Homer tr. William Morris.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/682107.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Sea Poetry Monday drops back to medieval times, when crossing the Bay of Biscay was not a simple journey:

The Sailing of the Pilgrims from Sandwich towards St. James of Compostella, anonymous early 15th century

Men may leave all games
That sailen to Saint James
For many a man it grames
    When they begin to sail.
For when they have take the sea,
At Sandwich, or at Winchilsea,
At Bristow, or where that it be,
    Their hearts begin to fail.

Anon the master commandeth fast
To his ship-men in all the hast
To dress them soon about the mast,
    Their tackling to make.
With "Howe! Hissa!" then they cry,
"What, hoist! Mate, thou stondest too nigh,
Thy fellow may not hale the by,"
    Thus they begin to crake.

A boy or twain anon up-styen.
And overthwart the sail-yard line;—
"Y how! Taylia! " the remnant cryen,
    And pull with all their might.
"Bestow the boat, boat-swaine, anon,
That our pilgrims may play thereon;
For some are like to cough and groan,
    Or it be full midnight."

"Hale the bowline! Now, veer the sheet!
Cook, make ready anon our meat.
Our pilgrims have no lust to eat,
    I pray God give them est."
"Go to the helm! What, how, no near?
Steward, fellow! a pot of beer!"
"Ye shall have, sir, with good cheer,
    Anon all of the best."

"Y how! Trussa! Hale in the brails!
Thow halest not, by God, thou fails!
O see how well our good ship sails!"
    And thus they say among.
"Hale in the wartake! " "Hit shall be done."
"Steward! cover the board anon
And set bread and salt thereon,
    And tarry not too long."

Then cometh one and saith, "Be merry;
Ye shall have a storm or a perry."
"Hold thou thy peace! Thou canst no whery,
    Thou meddlest wonder sore."
This meanwhile the pilgrims lie,
And have their bowles fast them by,
And cry after hot malvesy,
    "Thou help for to restore."

And some would have a salted toast.
For they might eat neither sode ne roast
A man might soon pay for their cost,
    As for one day or twain.
Some laid their bookes on their knee,
And read so long they might not see; --
"Alas! mine head will cleeve in three!"
    Thus saith another certain.

Then cometh our owner like a lord,
And speaketh many a royal word
And dresseth him to the high horde
    To see all thing be well.
Anon he calleth a carpenter.
And biddeth him bring with him his gear,
To make the cabins here and there.
    With many a feeble cell.

A sack of straw were there right good
For some must lay them in their hood.
I had as lief be in the wood
    Without meat or drink.
For when that we shall go to bed
The pump was nigh our bedde head:
A man were as good to be dead
    As smell thereof the stink.

I found this in John Masefield's A Sailor's Garland, given without a source -- and I've not been able to scare up one. I've edited to modernize spelling (except as required by rhyme, meter, or dialect) and close up the double stanzas, and here reproduce Masefield's glossing:

Grames, troubles. Nigh, too near, too close, so that the next man cannot haul. Taylia, O, tally on, take hold and haul. Boote, ship's boat. No near, steer no nearer the wind. Trussa, a call or hauling shout. "O truss her up." Wartake, a warp. Perry, a danger. Stink, The water which leaks into a tight wooden ship generally rots in the bilges. The smell of this rotten water is abominable, but the presence of the smell indicates that the leak is inconsiderable.

To which I add: malvesy, malmsey, a wine. sode, ??


Subject quote from Song for All Seas, All Ships, Walt Whitman.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/681978.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Infrared satelite image of Kilauea's current erruptions, including the flow that has reached the ocean. Map for context fades in and out slowly, which is a neat effect.

Paper cup animation made with a single take. As in, not stop-motion. (via)

Bad Haiku: Horrible poetry for the digital age.


Subject quote from The Earthly Paradise, The Fostering of Aslaug, William Morris.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/681680.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

TBD is five years and one month old, and again I've noted so little distinctive to this month that I'm seriously considering making this a bimonthly post.

Achievements unlocked: reading (at the “The cat sat on the mat” level), rock-scrambling, satisfaction in sorting by size. Achievements leveled up: LEGO assembly, handling new social situations with (if not aplomb) more poise.

And yes, true reading -- including working out CVC words not previously known. Single syllable, single consonants so far. But, we're on our way!

Aside from that, the only other distinctive development is clearly expressed pride in being able to play by oneself. Current consistent career goal is Doctor. Once, they claimed that this is so they can give people shots.

Media consumption includes more Ninjago than I care to shake a stick at (ugh the gender depictions), Power Rangers Dino Charge, a few other disposable adventure series, and the rest of the Ivy + Bean audiobooks. We're now working through the Ivy + Bean books read aloud at home. The DK Eyewitness book about mummies is a big hit, even while predicting (after a reading session) that they will have a bad dream about skeletons.

But most of all, there's the significance of the one (!) bit of talking, talking I jotted down:

(after asking for help opening a container)
“Actually, I don’t need any help. Because I’m five.”

You go, kid.


Subject quote from Lullaby, W. H. Auden.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/681275.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


Sea Poetry Monday rolls on like the waves:

Morning at Sea in the Tropics, George Gordon

Night waned and wasted, and the fading stars
Died out like lamps that long survived a feast,
And the moon, pale with watching, sank to rest
Behind the cloud-piled ramparts of the main.
Young, blooming Morn, crowned with her bridal wreath,
Bent o’er her mirror clear, the faithful sea;
And gazing on her loveliness therein,
Blushed to the brows, till every imaged charm
Flung roses on the bosom of the wave,
Then, glancing heavenward, both, they blushed again,
As sprang the Sun to claim his radiant bride;
And sea and sky seemed but one rose of morn,
Which thenceforth grew in glory, and the world
Shot back her lesser light upon the day,
While night sped on to seek the sombre shades
That sleep in silent caves beyond the sea.
The day grew calmer, hotter, and our barque
Lay like a sleeping swan upon a lake,
And such soft airs as blew from off the land
Brought with them fragrant odours, and we felt
That orange groves lay blooming ’neath the sun
Which blazed so fiercely overhead at sea.
We heard (with Fancy’s ear) a distant bell;
And thro’ the haze that simmered on the Main
Pictured a purple shore—a convent tow’r
And snowy cots, that from the dark hill-side
Peeped forth ’tween plantain-patches at the sky,
Or smiled through groves of cocos on the sea.
Meanwhile our ship slid on, with breathing sails
Fraught with the melody of murmured song
Such as the zephyr chanted to the morn,
And showers of diamonds flashed before the prow
While sternwards whirled unstrung—pale beads of foam,
Pearls from the loosen’d chaplet of the sea.
’Mid these the flame-bright Nautilus, that seemed
Itself a flow’ret cast upon the stream,
Spread out its crimson sail and drifted on.
Beyond arose a cloud (as ’twere) of birds,
That leapt from out the wave to meet the sun,
Flew a short circuit, till their wings grew dry,
And seaward fell in showers of silver rain.
’Mid these careered the dolphin-squadrons swift,
With mail of changeful hue, and Iris tints;
And floating slowly on, a sea-flow’r passed,
A living creature (none the less a flow’r)
That lives its life in love, and dies for joy,
Unmissed ’mid myriads in the sapphire sea.

McCrae was a Scottish-born Australian novelist, poet, and travel writer active in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. This is an inset lyric from The Man in the Iron Mask: A Poetical Romance in Four Books, which sounds exactly like the sort of absurd narrative poem I like to gobble up.


Subject quote from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, canto IV, stanza 106, The Byron.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/681073.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


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

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