Sunday, January 11, 2015

"Vintage" by Amy Lowell

One of the delights of my mornings is reading the "Poem-a-Day" e-mails from the Academy of American Poets

The weekday poems are contemporary--poems usually published within the past year. Reading these "cutting edge" poems helps to keep me current in the styles and content of the poems of our time.

The weekend poems, however, are classic poems by poets from Chaucer to Dylan Thomas and everyone in between. Because my taste for poetry is firmly fixed in the 19th century with rare forays into the early 20th century (namely e.e. cummings, T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, etc.), I delight in these poems, greeting them as old friends.

Often while the poets are familiar, the poems posted are not. Rarely do the weekend offerings include well-known poems; rather, the poems are often as new to me as anything by today's poets.

Such is the case with "Vintage" by Amy Lowell. I don't know a great deal about Lowell except for name recognition from literature classes in 20th century poetry and that she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, but I really enjoyed the powerful imagery in this poem and thought I'd share it with you this morning:


Amy Lowell1874 - 1925
I will mix me a drink of stars,—
Large stars with polychrome needles,
Small stars jetting maroon and crimson,
Cool, quiet, green stars.
I will tear them out of the sky,
And squeeze them over an old silver cup,
And I will pour the cold scorn of my Beloved into it,
So that my drink shall be bubbled with ice.
It will lap and scratch
As I swallow it down;
And I shall feel it as a serpent of fire,
Coiling and twisting in my belly.
His snortings will rise to my head,
And I shall be hot, and laugh,
Forgetting that I have ever known a woman.

I wish you all a lovely week! 
With warm poetic wishes,

Monday, January 5, 2015

Twelfth Night

Today is the Twelfth Day of Christmas. Although our school schedule states that we are starting back into our homeschooling today, I made this day very light: B is doing math only in order to stay current with his tutor's schedule, and J is reviewing his Russian from last semester in preparation for returning to Grossmont Community College for the second semester Russian an algebra class.

I am responding to the Welcome and Introductions posts for my new Brave Writer class that begins today: the Groovy Grammar Workshop which is full to capacity with 25 families and I have several more Definition essays to grade for the Expository Essay class I teach at our homeschool program's co-op Class Days. My students are juniors and seniors and are very hard workers, so I really enjoy their thoughts about the abstract terms they are attempting to define.

But tonight we'll trundle down to the vicarage and enjoy the "Burning of the Greens" as part of the Twelfth Night festivities with Blessed Trinity, a conservative Anglican church that we have been attending on Friday mornings and on Holy Days since 2006. After Evensong, we'll enjoy sherry and treats as well as each other's company as we say farewell to Christmastide and welcome Epiphany.

As I was praying through one of my devotionals last night, The One Year Book of Hymns, I came across a hymn that was more of a poem and knew immediately that I wanted to share it here. The title and refrain were familiar to me because Thomas Howard used it as a title for one of his books that has long been on my "to read some day" list.  

Lead, Kindly Light!
Lead, kindly Light! amid th' encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on;
Keep Thou my feet: I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on;
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.

So long Thy pow'r has blessed me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

~John Henry, Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)

The story that accompanies the hymn tells of Newman returning from a trip to Catholic leaders in Italy. On the way, he contracted Sicilian fever and boarded a ship bound home to England. But the ship remained in the Mediterranean Sea, a lack of wind and dense fog keeping them motionless. Restless and ill, Newman wrote this hymn. Finally, the ship's captain pointed heavenward and said, "The star is shining tonight. If a wind rises, we can chart our course. At night one little star is sufficient." Newman took these words as divine assurance. Later he wrote that he had been searching for dazzling sunlight to be his guide, "but He sent me the kindly light of a star to show me the way one step at a time."

The Scripture included with this hymn and story is Revelation 7.15-17, TLB: 

"The one sitting on the throne will shelter them; they will never be hungry again, nor thirsty, and they will be fully protected from the scorching noontime heat. For the Lamb standing in front of the throne will feed them and be their Shepherd and lead them to springs of the Water of Life. And God will wipe their tears away."  

So as Christmastide wanes and Epiphany comes, and as we start a New Year in God's grace, may we keep in mind that His "kindly Light" will indeed lead us, often one step at a time. But that one step is sufficient if we trust in the One who kindly leads us along His pathways. 

Merry 12th Day of Christmas!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Films I Watched in 2014

Just as I track the books I read each year, I also jot down the films I watch each year. Here's my list for 2014:

films i've seen in 2014:

  • A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
  • A Tale of Two Cities (1980 Made for TV)
  • A Tale of Two Cities (1989 Masterpiece Theater)
  • A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014 in theatres)
  • Captain America (2011)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014-in theatres)
  • Captain Blood (1935)
  • Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)
  • Frozen (2013)
  • Ghost Adventures (2007)
  • Great Expectations (2012)
  • Hamlet (Tennant, 2009)
  • Holiday (1938)
  • Jane Eyre (1999)
  • Jane Eyre (2010)
  • Lincoln (2012)
  • Mansfield Park (1999)
  • Monkey Business (1952)
  • Murder on the Home Front (2013)
  • Peter's Friends (1992)
  • Red Dawn (2012)
  • Sense and Sensibility (2008)
  • Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
  • Tangled (2010)
  • That's Dancing (1985)
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
  • The Holiday (2006)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2013)
  • The Monuments Men (2014)
  • The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Just as with the books I read during the year, I also track the films I watch in the sidebar of this blog.

Happy watching!

Books I Read in 2014

For the past fourteen years, I've tracked the books I've read each year, and here is this year's list which includes a great deal of Austen fan fiction:

books i've read in 2014:
·  A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell (2008)
·  A Plain Death (#1) by Amanda Flower (2012)
·  A Plain Scandal (#2) by Amanda Flower (2013)
·  A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859)
·  Almost Matched (#1) by A.O. Peart (2013)
·  An Age of Extremes (A History of US Book 8) by Joy Hakim (2003)
·  Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke (2010)
·  Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (2013)
·  Death on Blackheath by Anne Perry (Pitt #29) (2014)
·  Dorchester Terrace by Anne Perry (2012)
·  Dreaming of Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly (2012)
·  Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson (2009)
·  Feint Art by Hailey Lind (2006)
·  Impulse & Initiative by Abigail Reynolds (2008)
·  Innocence by Elise deSallier (2013)
·  Midnight at Marble Arch by Anne Perry (2013)
·  Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale (2012)
·  Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly (2012)
·  Mr. Darcy's Obsession by Abigail Reynolds (2010)
·  North by Northanger (#3) by Carrie Bebris (2006)
·  Passion and Propriety by Elise deSallier (2014)
·  Pride and Prescience (#1) by Carrie Bebris (2004) (re-read)
·  Protection by Elise deSallier (2014)
·  Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers (1930)
·  Suspense and Sensibility (#2) by Carrie Bebris (2005) (re-read)
·  The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History by A. Kenneth Curtis 
· The Attenbury Emeralds by Jill Paton Walsh (2010)
· The Book Stops Here (Bibliophile Mystery #8) by Kate Carlisle (2014)
· The Deception at Lyme (#6) by Carrie Bebris (2011)
· The Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie (1949) (re-read)
· The Executive's Decision by Bernadette Marie (2011)
· The Intrigue at Highbury (#5) by Carrie Bebris (2010)
· The Man Who Loved Jane Austen by Sally Smith O'Rourke (2006) (re-read)
· The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice by Abigail Reynolds (2010)
· The Matters at Mansfield (#4) by Carrie Bebris (2008)
· The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain (1882)
· The Tidings (A Ghost Huntess novella) by Marley Gibson (2012)
· The Truth in Lies by Jeanne McDonald (2013)
· The Victoria Vanishes by Christopher Fowler (2008)
· Thrones, Dominations by Dorothy Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh (1998)
· Treason at Lisson Grove by Anne Perry (2012) (re-read)
· Twelfth Night at Longbourn by Maria Grace (2013)
· Waiting for Rachel by KR Jordan (2013)
· War, Peace, and All That Jazz (A History of US Book 9) by Joy Hakim (2003)
· What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds (2011)
· Wholly Unconnected with Me by Maria Grace (2014)
· You Had Me at Merlot by Marley Gibson (2014)

So as my goal for 2014 was to read 50 novels, I made it to 47 which isn't too awfully terrible considering how crazy-busy my year has been. 

2015? Let's try to read 50 again. Any takers? My running total will be in the sidebar of my blog throughout the year, as usual. 

Happy reading!


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