Monday, September 29, 2014

A Coat by W.B. Yeats

Under-Ben-Bullben-Co-Sligo-Ireland--_Photo Caroline-Flanagan-Jones
Ben Bulben

A COAT by W.B. Yeats

I made my song a coat

Covered with embroideries

Out of old mythologies

From heel to throat; but the fools caught it,

Wore it in the world’s eyes

As though they’d wrought it.

Song, let them take it,

For there’s more enterprise

In walking naked.


W.B. Yeats was fortunate to be born to some degree of wealth from his mother, and a world of art, music, and poetry from father John Butler Yeats.  Surrounded by such AND not having to worry about supporting himself, W.B. Yeats had freedom to develop his poetry,  as Ireland changed and yet remained the same.

I hope you enjoyed this whimsy.

Friday, September 26, 2014

...With Many a Winding Turn


I never really gave this song much thought, but could remember the first few words and then hum along with the rest.  Being a young adult and seeing nothing but the hopes, love and life ahead, this song didn't mean much to me.


I know this song has been done in different ways, by different artists.  I believe the well-known version was done by Neil Diamond.  The recording and video below means more to me, at this stage of my life.



After writing You Just Write to Me and thinking about the sacrifices made in war and in daily life to carry those whom we love, this song resonated, taking on a deeper meaning.

The lyrics? Can you hear them?  Understand them?  Here they are:


The road is long/ with many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where/who knows when.
But I’m strong/strong enough to carry him.
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

So on we go/his welfare is of my concern.
No burden is he to bear/we’ll get there.
For I know/he would not encumber me.
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

If I’m laden at all/I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart/isn’t filled with gladness
Of love for one another.

It’s a long, long road/from which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there/why not share
And the load/doesn’t weigh me down at all.
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother


He’s my brother…He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother...


Do you remember this song?  What were you doing when it first appeared (1970s)?  What does this song mean to you now? Have you ever "carried" someone?  Has someone ever "carried" you? 


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday Words: Mrs. Esther

Source
Mrs. Esther assessed each student as they entered her classroom.  Being a rare insightful teacher, she knew the struggles every student possessed as a strong believer in understanding what each experienced at school and at home.

When she announced that it was time for Friday’s Spelling test, some retrieved papers from desks eagerly and some with resignation.

Dispersefirefly...graduated…” were the words easy to remember and sound out.  Then “…either…beautiful…and finally testosterone…” Now that’s an odd one” she thought.

Papers were collected and the final bell rang.  Those students, ones that worried Mrs. Esther the most, were last to leave, with sluggish reluctant steps. Looking at their papers, she ascertained what handwriting said:

Anger, fear, depression, despair, anxiety...and much more

Those names always frightened her, for causes were from the home and almost beyond her reach.  Almost.


 Delores is a wonderful and creative writer.  She observes life with clarity.  With that in mind, Delores tosses six words for Wednesday Words writing, to challenge anyone who wants to stretch writing, create, and confound.  Please check the train tracks in the upper right sidebar.  And, please join the crew who wrestle with this words, sentence prompts, and sometimes photos to entertain and sometimes confound.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"You just write to me!"

Vintage Envelope 2: Variations on a vintage envelope.If you like my artwork,please go to my FacebookBusiness Page and like it:Billy Frank Alexander Design~ God Bless You! :-)~ Billy
Source: Billy Frank Alexander

Maps of Germany showed red lines, large red dots, and blurred words.  Allies crossed out more villages, roads and train tracks each day.  “You, Collier, yeah, you… Sgt. Giant Ben, get your butt over here! You old farm boy, what’d your mama feed you?”

“Giant” Ben, all six feet and eight inches of him, was a farmer.  Folks always said that he didn't need a horse to pull the plow…well, why would he?  The man could lift a horse!  We shoulda called him “Big Ben”, but he don't like it much. 

This day Ben led his division ahead of the red lines into an unknown village, abandoned by all.

“You, Zeke and Pop, flank the perimeter!  Watch your step, don’t be stupid!” Unlike other infantry, Ben left the profanity when D-Day happened.  A promise to God, or something. “Vinnie!***  You and Drip come with me to the church.  AND watch where you walk!”

Seconds later explosions reverberated in the air, throwing up dust and rocks.

 Zeke and Pop disappeared in pieces, without a scream or time for one.  The church trailed its own explosions, one two three, throwing Ben back out to the cobblestones.  Vinnie screamed as leg bones shattered, and Drip dropped in the vestibule, skin on face and arms shredded and burned.

Ben crawled to his knees, his ears ringing.  Zeke…Zeke…Pop! Sound out! Vinnie? You hear me?  Drip, oh dear God, Drip!

I gotta save’em.  Gotta, gotta! “Vinnie?  Oh man!” as he saw the legs crooked.  “Drip?  Oh, no, Drip!  Is that you?”  Strands of skin hung loose on his unconscious friend.

Gotta find Zeke and Pop! as he staggered to the perimeters, only to find the scattered remains. Get back, gotta get back.  Vinnie. Drip. Vinnie…speaking in rhythm.

For a giant, Ben moved quickly, darn fast.  Set the bones, don’t hear the screams!  Wrap Drip’s face with gauze!  Don’t weep, don’t cry.

“Vinnie…now listen, listen up good.  I gotta carry Drip back to the lines.  You gotta hold on to me, wrap your arms around my neck!  You hear?!

Vinnie bit back the pain.  “Sarg, I can hold onto you all the way back to the Bronx.”

The giant scooped up Drip with Vinnie enveloping his arms around Ben’s shoulders and neck. 

Each step he counted, one…two…three…until he arrived at the med tent, refusing help as he gently lay Drip onto the surgical gurney.  Then Ben placed Vinnie on the cot as a swarm of medical staff filled the room.  

Before Vinnie passed out, he grabbed Giant Ben by the arm.  “You need anything, anything at all, you just write to me, let me know!  You…you…”  Then blessed morphine kicked in.

Sergeant Giant Ben Collier crawled out the tent and collapsed on sand bags. 

How far had he walked?  Ben wondered about that for a few days.  2,000 steps? Maybe 3,000? Long legs…I don’t know…it don’t matter.

***This is the back story for a previous post "Eyes of the Soul" where Vinnie is now Vincent.  He is given letter from Illinois, delivered by Belinda McFadden.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lust in the Library

Dusty Books
Its placement in the sixth shelf of Psychology and Mental Development, 157.391** knew very well that few sought its information.  Dust, in its layers, marked it as one book doomed to be culled and recycled.

Suddenly, 157.391 started traveling.  One young woman checked it out, kept it unread for days, and slipped a discreet note between pages 146 and 147.  Soon 157.391 was refiled to its former spot, where dust had been removed.

Again, only days later, a slightly older man checked it out, repeating the woman’s pattern, only placing another discreet note between pages 258 and 259.  What is happening here? It wondered, experiencing a thrill unto fore known.

Back and forth.  Back and forth.  And then one day…

157.391 was filed in the wrong spot, and not by the librarian.  No, the young woman filed it, hidden in the shadows behind 854 HI***, The Story Road by Gertrude Hildreth.  What the…. It wondered, anxiety building quickly as days  went by.

Pages 364 and 365  possessed nary a note.  The pages were adhered as one.  No, not with glue, but with blood, now dried and brown. Other pages had been soaked with blood with a dagger pressed down into them.


Oh, well.  It was fun while it lasted. 

** and*** may or may not be in a library.  The 100 section is for psychology and philosophy.  The 800 is for stories, etc.  There is a book called  The Story Road published in 1947. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Diving for Books


Quality teaching depends on the teacher and her books.  Oh, not the math, etc., although they are certainly important and need the good teacher.  No, the books!

I had been teaching for years in the elementary zone, first grade through fourth grade.  My personal library filled a dozen boxes or more when I moved from classroom to classroom.

But then it was time to teach middle school.  I looked forward to the challenge, but I had no library, no books to share. It was a scary time for me.

Every year (it seemed) a roving discount bookstore would appear in an empty big store building.  So many treasures, but I had never sought the appropriate books for older children.

I found a handful of books that were Newberry** and/or Caldecott*** award winners.
  
Do you have more?  The owner led me to the store room where cardboard bin-dumpster-sized boxes.  He handed me a step stool and pointed to an industrial flatbed cart.

I dived in, finding books, and tossing good candidates to my nine-year old daughter.  I would not allow her to do the diving, for fear of an avalanche.  Book after book were tossed to her from me, now almost invisible in the boxes, all nine of them.  

Soon I had class sets of awesome books and amazing individual books.

I was ready.
Moon Over Manifest book cover.jpg
Source: Wikipedia

Johnny Tremain
Source: Barnes and Noble
Elijah of BuxtonRothmc cover.jpg
Barnes and Noble
Theses two books segue nicely.  


**Caldecott Awards are the highest awards given to children books.
***Newbery  Awards are also highest awards given to books with exceptional illustrations and writing. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wednesday Words: Sam Snail


His folks had forced Sam Snail to attend the class on snail safety, where posters covered the room:

“An Informed Snail is a Safe Snail!”

“It’s not dandruff, you idiot!  It’s salt!”

Source: Wikipedia

“A stupid snail becomes escargot!”
gary%20the%20snail%20clipart
Mr. Goo
Mr. Goo, the oldest snail in the community, scanned the adolescent snails with his antennae.  “Listen up, you slimy slugs!”

The snails convulsed with laughter---the slug joke was an old one. Then all became quiet as the spectres of snails long gone before filled the room.

They whispered, “Grass is good.  Sidewalks are bad….” 

Then Mr. Goo shouted, “If you are ever besieged by a bunch of birds, then kiss your shells good-bye.”

Intervals of laughter and silence of doom broke up the rest of the day.  Finally, class was dismissed.
  
List of Bizarre Championships: Snail racing - Start of the race
snail racing competition
Mr. Goo watched them in silence, Poor dumb Molluscan GastropodsHalf of them won’t even make it home.

Delores provides participants of the "Wednesday Words" with a variety of six words with which to play:  write prose, short fiction, non-fiction, poetry...Each week there is always a challenge.  To access participants, click on the train tracks in the right side-bar!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Old Movies, Forgotten and Re-Discovered


Oh, Lily had seen old black and white movies many times.  Some she could almost quote lines, some she remembered just the story.  But, as the new, flashier movies with flashier special effects came along, somehow the depth and the message of movies became less important.  African Queen?  Inherit the Wind? Twelve Angry Men (Henry Fonda)?  The movies reflected the quality of the actors---the shrug of a shoulder, a raised eyebrow.  The director and screen writers, camera men, and editors?  Excellence came from excellence. Such meaning, such passion for life.

The channel-surfing spouse happened upon a black and white movie in the late hours of the night, and thought, Hey, I bet Lily would like this one... He recorded it.

The next night both leaned back in recliners and he pushed the record button.  

For one hour both were mesmerized and awed by the story line, its truth, the acting, and the thought: This really happened!

One hour was all that could be absorbed.  The next night, they watched only forty-five minutes, and engaged in discussion about what was said, who said it, the actors who gave such excellence.

The third night they actually wept at the conclusion.  The finality and profound absoluteness was difficult to absorb. This movie had moved them to think, to ponder, and to probe the humanity that was given and taken away.


Judgement at Nuremburg


Source

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ashes to ashes

Crocus with fisheye: Bunch of crocus photographed using a fish eye lens
source: rgbstock.com




Deborah answered her phone and recognized the nurse from the care facility.  Your father has died.  No surprise…it had been a long time coming, with a devastating illness that took his mind away..


Deborah flew in from San Francisco, arriving in time for graveside service where ashes-to-ashes, appointed time of three score and ten, verses were recited.  Then taps were played, flag was folded by Veteran of the Foreign War members, and presented to a relative Deborah did not know.

Deborah sat in a rented car and waited until everyone had done their jobs and disappeared before she could return to the grave site. 

Deborah knelt at her mother’s grave and wept.  How she had loved her mother…how her mother had loved her.  she pulled away some large bouquets from her father’s grave, overflowing with blooms.  Tenderly, she placed the flowers at Mom’s grave.

Then Deborah stood at the new grave, covered with accolades and flowers.  She whispered, “I loved you so! I did everything I was supposed to do.  I honored and obeyed you, I respected and tried to please you. Even when you were old and I was middle years, you still tried to control me, hurt me with your words.

Another pause.  “You broke my heart.”

Deborah returned to the rental car, thinking where she should go next.

Download Broken Heart Background HD HD Wallpapers
Source

Friday, September 12, 2014

Wednesday Words: Those Jagged Peaks....That Unctuous stuff

rocky-mountain-peaks
Source:myrockymountainpark.com
Sentence Challenge

The pointed peaks rose sharp and jagged like spears of ice.  Really high peaks, really sharp ice and rock.  Pete viewed the daunting challenge before him, shivering in his boots.  His wife came behind him, dragging a sled loaded with supplies.


Silently they considered the challenge.

Clearing her throat, Katherine announced, "I ain't gonna climb up that..."

Pete replied without hesitation, "Me, neither.  Let's go get a pint at that trading post---my treat."

They turned and trudged back to the rough hovel where warm and happy mountain men roared and drank heavily.

*************
Six Word Challenge

When Princess Bridget developed a mysterious rash, the doctors at that time shook their heads in bewilderment.
  
skin disease
source: incurable skin diseases

Finally one suggested, "You know, Bridg, I've heard of salve that will heal you.  Send your best investigators to both hemispheres to find this salve.  They MUST be fluent in at least seven languages down to grammatical accuracy!"

Another doctor exclaimed, "I know just the guys!"

Down in the rat-filled tavern, two such men huddled in the corner, knowing their many sins would catch up with them.  Two strong castle guards grabbed the two reprobates---sinners of the worst kind---and hauled them before the doctors.

  Going on this mission would absolve them of all past crimes.

So off they headed, around this way, back down that way, until finally they discovered the South American tribe which had just the salve.  With great intensity of purpose, they bowed before the doctors, extending the odoriferous unctuous salve to them.

The princess sighed in pure bliss as the salve was applied.  The two now-sin-forgiven-future-sinners backed to the door, ready to tell the doctors one more thing.

"Just one thing, princess,"  one sinner/reprobate stuttered.  "The side-effect of this salve is that you will smell like this for the rest of your life..." and then they escaped, jumping on the fastest horses awaiting, and rode off into the sunset to be safe forever.

Credit must absolutely must be given to Delores for providing the bold underlined words AND the sentence prompt.  You can access the other participants of this Wednesday Words challenge by clicking on the train tracks in the right side-bar.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Good book, indifferent book, or just plain bad book?


Bookshelf-of-Moebius
sourc: great-creative-bookshelf-designs


When Elephant’s Child wrote about her struggle with purging her bookshelves, overflowing with so many books, thoughts began as my own book purge began.  What determines a good book from an indifferent book?  How do I began?

Perhaps this guidelines will help:

A book is declared good when it moves from being a bathroom reading book to a book-by-the-recliner, in one flush.

A book from a garage sale box marked 25¢? It may look great, but it has never been read, with only the first five pages turned.  One will buy it, but it will eventually end up it one’s own 25¢ box.

When the reader resumes at page 147 and a few hours later, moves the bookmark to page 245: This reader wants to find out what happens next.

When a book works its way from the “high interest” shelf and works its way down to the bottom shelf where there is a stack of Kohl’s ads and some two year old magazines, the book did not pass muster.

And

When the book one is thinking of buying at the used book store, one notices pages are folded down in the upper corner many times by different people.  And, also, there are notes made in margins.

It is hoped that these observations are helpful.