Magnolia blossoms flutter in tatters;
dandelion bursts forth with Queen Anne’s Lace.
Cherry tree opens its blooms, then scatters
all its frail petals. Frogs serenely face
the water, eyes a-hunt for passing flies,
while snakes slither in grass toward those same frogs.
Nature puts on her first brilliant disguise:
cheerful mushrooms springing from rotten logs;
bees bumble-flit around azalea bush;
Hawk chicklings chirp in their lofty eyrie.
Yet beneath these hues, Gaia’s face is harsh:
Nothing survives that is weak, or weary.
Woe and joy are mingled in nature’s hue,
honey’s distilled from both clover and rue.
30 April 2006
Magnolia blossoms flutter in tatters;
29 April 2006
This is the letter meme. Rick Jones () gave me the letter I. I
gibber about 10 things that start with said letter. If you want to
play, comment and I’ll give you one too.
29 April 2006
Apparently there have been calls in the immigrant community for a general strike on May 1. Anyone know about this? Anyone planning on (not) participating?
29 April 2006
HAWIJAH, Iraq — After midnight on a bare stretch of highway near this ramshackle town last week, Staff Sgt. Jason Hoover saw what looked like a fishing line strung across the road and ordered his Humvee to a screeching halt.
The cord was connected to an old, Russian artillery shell half-buried in the earthen shoulder and rigged to activate with a firm tug. Hoover traced its path nearly a half-mile though a plowed field, over another highway, and across a canal, where he found four Iraqi infrastructure policemen who were supposed to be guarding an oil pipeline. They said they had no idea what the cord was doing there.
“There’s two kinds of Iraqis here, the ones who help us and the ones who shoot us, and there’s an awful lot of ‘em doing both,” said Hoover, 26, of Newark, Ohio. “Is it frustrating? Yes, it’s frustrating. But we can’t just stop working with them.”
Lovely. We’re fighting the same guys who are helping us? We’re helping the same guys we’re fighting?
Good Morning, Vietnam.
28 April 2006
You know it’s been an interesting day when you get to say the following two things to students in the same day…
1. “You’re never a problem! You’re all sweetness and light — in that certain manly, tough, rough-and-tumble tattooed biker-dude sort of way.”
2. “I can think of few more terrifying things than teaching teenagers to raise the undead.”
I’m really behind on my contributions to the Encyclopedia Elymria. I’m hoping I have a chance to catch up this evening, after school, sports and temple.
27 April 2006
Hail, bright crescent, when fiddleheads uncurl
and marigolds dance in yellow by marsh.
Wood anemone casts carpets of pearl,
and though greening prickers make deer-paths harsh,
new songs echo from wood-pecker and thrush;
red maple wears a shawl of crimson blooms.
Purple trillium unfolds with a rush.
At hemlock roots, fields of puffball mushrooms
send up clouds of spores on early spring breeze.
Two snakes twine a stick by a sacred pool.
Days are almost hot, and nights no longer freeze,
though breath steams out in clouds at evening’s cool.
What fairies did dance in moonless delight
that now wonders appear, almost overnight?
25 April 2006
Yesterday, at the request of the minister’s wife at church, I went to the middle school at the next town over and did a demonstration of basic footwork and blade-work skills for fencing. They’re reading Hamlet, and needed some pointers. It went OK. I need some theatrical skills and I need to figure out how to distill the basics of fencing into an hour, but I could easily do this again. Thirty minutes of footwork, ten minutes of equipment and 20 minutes with blades works, especially since the kids have to switch off blades and helmets every 4-6 minutes so everyone gets a chance. It was good, though it made the rest of the day run late by about an hour and a half.
My teaching in the classroom is not going so well. We’ve moved pretty swiftly through Rome, and this is in part because I’ve heard rumblings about how we’re not learning enough. Given yesterday’s performance on oral reports on the bad Roman emperors, I’m not sure that moving fast was a good idea. The class is basically thinking it’s June 5, and they graduated yesterday. We’ll see how it goes.
22 April 2006
Off duty this weekend in… jeeze, it’s hard to imagine how long. I was off for Ryk and Melissa’s wedding, and I was off for a drum-n-dance in there somewhere. Other than that, I’ve been on since school came back into session.
A lot is going on. I’m teaching Julius Caesar to my English class. I’m grooving on it. They’re not. I’d read the play once on the plane flight to Sicily, again while in Sicily, and again on the flight back. The whole time I was grooving on it. I don’t think I’ve read a Shakespearean play since I was in college, though I’ve seen several. It’s amazing how good Shakespeare really was, in spite of all the people who say he’s really good.
Last Monday I met my dad down in New Haven for dinner. We had Italian food and talked about Sicily and digital surveillance. Far be it from me to talk about my dad’s politics, but it was the most promising and least acrimonious conversation we’ve had in several years about Washington, DC. He also thinks a war in Iran is a done deal, which worries both of us greatly.
Friday, Leah and I traveled out to central MA for a mystery. We both had roles in a metaphysical journey and quest through the woods, from a guarded gateway past a bothros and a bomos with people playing their guardians and gods, through several other stations, until people came to my station. Eventually, I passed the pilgrims through my station to two more guardians, and eventually to a fire circle. A good time was had by all.
Today Leah and I are too exhausted to move.
19 April 2006
Hymn to Ceres, Goddess of Grain
Hail O Ceres, goddess of waving grain,
who causes the seed to break and spring forth,
while some few nights of winter yet remain,
and blustery winds still gale from the north.
Honor to you, who fills our mouths with bread,
who fills the bowls of the hungry with rice,
and who puts oats and hay in the stable.
You ranged when your daughter went to the dead,
and you would not restore at any price
spring to the Earth, nor bread to the table,
Except if Persephone come to life
to dance upon frozen and barren ground.
So Pluto released her, and your bleak grief
turned to laughing abundance all around.
Even now in winter, you rail and weep,
and keep grain from rising from frozen sod.
Your joy causes Creation to flower,
and from black mud, new grain appears to leap
when she rises from the caves of the god,
lending youthful vigor to your power.
O Lady, enrich our gardens and fields;
lend urgency and vigor to soil.
Encourage our bees and enlarge our yields,
and strengthen our limbs in honest toil,
picking stones from ground we intend to farm,
and learning good uses for weeds and herbs,
which sprout from seed unlooked for in black earth.
Make green our gardens: keep them safe from harm,
and speak to our plants kindly growing words,
as when you danced at your daughter’s rebirth.
19 April 2006
Hymn for the Feast of Dionysius
Hail, lord of twisting and flowering vine,
dancing foreign god with thrysus and grape.
Your youthful touch turns juice and must to wine,
and fills the cup with scent of pleasing shape.
Dionysius, dolphins are leaping
while twining tendrils climb the pirate mast,
and purple drips from grapes down broad white sails.
On mountaintops, Bacchante are singing,
stumbling in visions that cannot last.
King Pentheus saw them, but told no tales;
Ecstasy of orgy and rage of blood
are not far separate in mind of mortal.
Kings withhold libation, fearing the flood
of passion when wine unlocks a portal,
and freedom looses tongues and rigid law.
Laughing, drunken mothers outran lion
to corner, and seize, and rip apart.
Truth and sobriety rubbed Mother raw;
the great cat was her own royal scion,
cloaked in illusion by the vintner’s art.
Dionysius: give us giddiness —
all the tipsy kindness of family and friends.
Yet shield us from the drunkard’s surliness,
and quarrels drifting into violent ends.
Dapple vineyards with sun in good measure;
lend luster to cabernet and merlot,
and drizzle sparkles bright into champagne.
Fill each cask and bottle with rich treasure:
conversation at dinners eaten slow,
picnics in meadows, and dances in rain.
Delayed on this one. Amazing how this week and last week just ran away with me all over the place. Part of me feels like I’m waking from a kind of insanity.