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Tag Archives: poetry

a poem for today’s thoughts

Musee des Beaux Arts

by W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters: how well they understood
It’s human position; how it takes place
When someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking
dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not especially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom just run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

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Psalm 23 – for busy people

Psalm 23 for Busy People

by Toki Miyashina

The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush;

he makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals,

he provides me with images of stillness,

which restore my serenity.

He leads me in the way of efficiency,

through calmness of mind,

and his guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great many things

to accomplish each day.

I will not fret, for his presence is here.

his timelessness, his all-importance

will keep me in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal

in the midst of activity,

by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility

my cup of joyous energy overflows.

Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be

the fruits of my hours

and I shall walk in the pace of my Lord,

and dwell in his house for ever.

Was somebody asking to see the soul?

Was somebody asking to see the soul?
See your own shape and countenance, persons, substances, beasts, the trees, the running rivers, the rocks and sands.
All hold spiritual joys and afterwards loosen them;
How can the real body ever die and be buried?

– Walt Whitman


Happy May Day!

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Happy May Day!

May Day
by Raymond A. Foss

A simple basket of spring flowers.
A token of my love.
A tradition begun.
And enduring.

Iris, tulip, forsythia, quince,
Branch, stem, leaf, petal.
Color, form, and scent.

Spring, the season of rebirth.
How special, how right.
My life new again.
A true love found.

Sunshine after a long night,
Warmth after the winter.

Primal forces, senses afire.
Earth, air, water.
Connection to a larger world.

We begin anew.
A season of promise,
A time of hope.
A life in dreams.

reading poetry in Central Park

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Danny Daniels reading "Casey at the Bat" in Central Park

Radio Bookworm held a Read-to-Me-A-Thon last Saturday, April 10 at Central Park.

Councilman Danny Daniels read a long-favorite poem:
Casey at the Bat.

It all started in 1885 when George Hearst decided to run for state senator in California. To self-promote his brand of politics, Hearst purchased the San Francisco Examiner. At the completion of the election, Hearst gave the newspaper to his son, William Randolph Hearst.

William, who had experience editing the Harvard Lampoon while at Harvard College, took to California three Lampoon staff members. One of those three was Ernest L. Thayer who signed his humorous Lampoon articles with the pen name Phin.

In the June 3, 1888 issue of  The Examiner, Phin appeared as the author of the poem we all know as Casey at the Bat. The poem received very little attention and a few weeks later it was partially republished in the New York Sun, though the author was now known as Anon.

A New Yorker named Archibald Gunter clipped out the poem and saved it as a reference item for a future novel. Weeks later Gunter found another interesting article describing an upcoming performance at the Wallack Theatre by comedian De Wolf Hopper – who was also his personal friend. The August 1888 show (exact date is unknown) had members from the New York and Chicago ball clubs in the audience and the clipping now had a clear and obvious use.

Gunter shared Casey at the Bat with Hopper and the performance was nothing short of legendary.

“Love has its sonnets galore. War has its epics in heroic verse. Tragedy its sombre story in measured lines. Baseball has Casey at the Bat.” – Albert Spalding


The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Casey could get but a whack at that –
We’d put up even money, now, with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Jimmy safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ’twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed.
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.

“Phin” [Ernest Lawrence Thayer – published in the Examiner, June 3, 1888)

culling the library

phew!

It is actually a relief to sort and organize the books in my library and in the process, I loaded 36 plastic bags into six large canvas bags to tote to the library tomorrow!  The marvelous volunteers of the Friends of the Library will shelf these books and hopefully someone will pick them up and leave a little $$ in the donation box.  Thus, it is a good thing I’m doing (and of course, my favorite books are nestled on a different, freshly dusted, organized shelf in the library).  Hubby is happy.  I’m happy.  And the library will be happy.

I’ve discovered some books I have not read in years and  of course, that lengthened the Work Time, for I had to sit down and leaf through a few of them (a great many I can certainly live without).  There are STILL 24 shelves of fiction books that need to be organized and quite likely there are some I can do without.  Saving that for another day!

I Was a Better Mother before I Had Kids by Lori Borgman will be taken to the library and I trust that someone else will get as many laughs out of it as I have.

One chapter in her book is entitled The HOURS are Bad, but the Perks Are GOOD.

There’s a reason you won’t see the job of motherhood advertised in the classifieds.  Namely, because it would have to read something like this:

WANTED:  Woman with the stamina of a triathlete able to work twenty-four-hour shifts, fifty-two weeks a year, with no sick days, paid vacation, or personal leave time.  Candidate must be adept at multi-tasking in the midst of chaos, confusion, clutter, and frequent emergencies.  Interpretation skills required during the toddler and teen years.  Will not consider women with weak hearts, nervous conditions, or aversions to dirt, pungent odors, and small animals.

Heartsongs

Mattie Stepanek writes “movingly and courageously about life and death, love and loss, faith and hope, innocence and joy.  His struggle with a rare form of muscular dystrophy has given him wisdom and insight.”

About the Author

I am Mattie J. T. Stepanek,
My body has light skin,
Red blood, blue eyes, and blond hair.
Since I have mitochondrial myhopathy,
I even have a trach, a ventilator, and oxygen.
Very poetic, I am, and very smart, too.
I am always brainstorming ideas and stories.
I am a survivor, but some day, I will see
my two brothers and one sister in Heaven.
When I grow up, I plan to become
A father, a writer, a public speaker,
And most of all, a peacemaker.
Whoever I am, and what happens,
I will always love my body and mind,
Even if it has different abilities
Than other peoples’ bodies and minds.
I will always be happy, because
I will always be me.
May 2001

Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek, best known as “Mattie,” wrote  poetry and short stories since the age of three.  His poems have been published in a  variety of mediums and he has been an invited speaker for several seminars, conferences and television shows.  In 1999, he was awarded the Melinda Lawrence International Book Award for inspirational written works by the Children’s Hospice International.  He has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America and many other programs.  In addition to writing, Mattie enjoys reading, collecting rocks and shells, and playing with Legos.  He has earned a black belt in martial arts, and in 2001, Mattie served as the Maryland State Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  In 2002, he served as both the National Ambassador and the State Ambassador for the MD.  He lived with his mother, Jeni, in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, where he was home schooled.  Mattie died June, 22, 2004, just three weeks before his fourteenth birthday.