Friday, September 28, 2007

The Bard by way of Eliza....

IMG_1681, originally uploaded by ADionne27.

Oh, what fools these mortals be,
So tragic and so funny.
Ships of bones that sail the sea
For lands of milk and honey.
The promise of perfection sighs
Into each mortal ear;
Never to be realized
That's how it is down here.

Wayward world I weep for thee
Spinning 'round the sun;
Wellspring of diversity,
but all roads lead to one.
What man has loosed upon the sea
Cannot be undone;
Oh, what fools we mortals be
Each and every one.

-- Eliza Gilkyson, "Land of Milk and Honey"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I believe...

that our country is only as strong and as healthy as the weakest and sickest of its members. Until we help them, we cannot help ourselves. For this reason, I think we need to invest in our future by investing in them, and bringing the poor out of poverty, providing a good education to every single child in this country, and by setting up a system of universal healthcare that won't exclude those who need it most. Rather than impoverishing our country, I think that by doing this, we will together be able to rise to new heights. But if we neglect the poor and downtrodden, more and more people will be sucked into that black hole, until, eventually, we, too, suffer the same fate.

Either we all march up together, or nobody will end up marching.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Other auspicious events....

The Cute One was born on this day, exactly 31 years ago. She made a rather dramatic entrance, refusing to wait even one more day, despite the German doctor's best attempts at making her stay put until she was "done". She's been delighting us all with her quick wit and good humour ever since. Not one to sit still terribly long (unless there's a REALLY good episode of CSI or Dr. Who on TV), she's intrepidly roaming somewhere in Vietnam right now (with the-patient-one-who-might-be-a-saint-or-something-very-close-to-it, aka The Engineer).

Have a great Birthday and try to stay out of trouble!! You are loved and missed.

In case you can't get the music to work!!

Rebirth of our nation...

Thanks to Dad for sending an excellent article today. Tom Engelhardt interviewed James Carroll about what happens when "American Exceptionalism meets Team Jesus". It is a lucid description of what's gone wrong in the last few years, but not without a few hopeful thoughts for the years to come.


All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I'd started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Over these things I could not see;
These were the things that bounded me;
And I could touch them with my hand,
Almost, I thought, from where I stand.

And all at once things seemed so small
My breath came short, and scarce at all.
But, sure, the sky is big, I said;
Miles and miles above my head;
So here upon my back I'll lie
And look my fill into the sky.
And so I looked, and, after all,
The sky was not so very tall.
The sky, I said, must somewhere stop,
And -- sure enough! -- I see the top!
The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
I 'most could touch it with my hand!
And reaching up my hand to try,
I screamed to feel it touch the sky.

I screamed, and -- lo! -- Infinity
Came down and settled over me;
Forced back my scream into my chest,
Bent back my arm upon my breast,
And, pressing of the Undefined
The definition on my mind,
Held up before my eyes a glass
Through which my shrinking sight did pass
Until it seemed I must behold
Immensity made manifold;
Whispered to me a word whose sound
Deafened the air for worlds around,
And brought unmuffled to my ears
The gossiping of friendly spheres,
The creaking of the tented sky,
The ticking of Eternity.
I saw and heard, and knew at last
The How and Why of all things, past,
And present, and forevermore.

The Universe, cleft to the core,
Lay open to my probing sense
That, sick'ning, I would fain pluck thence
But could not, -- nay! But needs must suck
At the great wound, and could not pluck
My lips away till I had drawn
All venom out. -- Ah, fearful pawn!
For my omniscience paid I toll
In infinite remorse of soul.
All sin was of my sinning, all
Atoning mine, and mine the gall
Of all regret. Mine was the weight
Of every brooded wrong, the hate
That stood behind each envious thrust,
Mine every greed, mine every lust.
And all the while for every grief,
Each suffering, I craved relief
With individual desire, --
Craved all in vain! And felt fierce fire
About a thousand people crawl;
Perished with each, -- then mourned for all!

A man was starving in Capri;
He moved his eyes and looked at me;
I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
And knew his hunger as my own.
I saw at sea a great fog bank
Between two ships that struck and sank;
A thousand screams the heavens smote;
And every scream tore through my throat.
No hurt I did not feel, no death
That was not mine; mine each last breath
That, crying, met an answering cry
From the compassion that was I.
All suffering mine, and mine its rod;
Mine, pity like the pity of God.

Ah, awful weight! Infinity
Pressed down upon the finite Me!
My anguished spirit, like a bird,
Beating against my lips I heard;
Yet lay the weight so close about
There was no room for it without.
And so beneath the weight lay I
And suffered death, but could not die.

Long had I lain thus, craving death,
When quietly the earth beneath
Gave way, and inch by inch, so great
At last had grown the crushing weight,
Into the earth I sank till I
Full six feet under ground did lie,
And sank no more, -- there is no weight
Can follow here, however great.
From off my breast I felt it roll,
And as it went my tortured soul
Burst forth and fled in such a gust
That all about me swirled the dust.

Deep in the earth I rested now;
Cool is its hand upon the brow
And soft its breast beneath the head
Of one who is so gladly dead.
And all at once, and over all
The pitying rain began to fall;
I lay and heard each pattering hoof
Upon my lowly, thatched roof,
And seemed to love the sound far more
Than ever I had done before.
For rain it hath a friendly sound
To one who's six feet underground;
And scarce the friendly voice or face:
A grave is such a quiet place.

The rain, I said, is kind to come
And speak to me in my new home.
I would I were alive again
To kiss the fingers of the rain,
To drink into my eyes the shine
Of every slanting silver line,
To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze
From drenched and dripping apple-trees.
For soon the shower will be done,
And then the broad face of the sun
Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth
Until the world with answering mirth
Shakes joyously, and each round drop
Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.
How can I bear it; buried here,
While overhead the sky grows clear
And blue again after the storm?
O, multi-colored, multiform,
Beloved beauty over me,
That I shall never, never see
Again! Spring-silver, autumn-gold,
That I shall never more behold!
Sleeping your myriad magics through,
Close-sepulchred away from you!
O God, I cried, give me new birth,
And put me back upon the earth!
Upset each cloud's gigantic gourd
And let the heavy rain, down-poured
In one big torrent, set me free,
Washing my grave away from me!

I ceased; and through the breathless hush
That answered me, the far-off rush
Of herald wings came whispering
Like music down the vibrant string
Of my ascending prayer, and -- crash!
Before the wild wind's whistling lash
The startled storm-clouds reared on high
And plunged in terror down the sky,
And the big rain in one black wave
Fell from the sky and struck my grave.
I know not how such things can be;
I only know there came to me
A fragrance such as never clings
To aught save happy living things;
A sound as of some joyous elf
Singing sweet songs to please himself,
And, through and over everything,
A sense of glad awakening.
The grass, a-tiptoe at my ear,
Whispering to me I could hear;
I felt the rain's cool finger-tips
Brushed tenderly across my lips,
Laid gently on my sealed sight,
And all at once the heavy night
Fell from my eyes and I could see, --
A drenched and dripping apple-tree,
A last long line of silver rain,
A sky grown clear and blue again.
And as I looked a quickening gust
Of wind blew up to me and thrust
Into my face a miracle
Of orchard-breath, and with the smell, --
I know not how such things can be! --
I breathed my soul back into me.

Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I
And hailed the earth with such a cry
As is not heard save from a man
Who has been dead, and lives again.
About the trees my arms I wound;
Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;
I raised my quivering arms on high;
I laughed and laughed into the sky,
Till at my throat a strangling sob
Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb
Sent instant tears into my eyes;
O God, I cried, no dark disguise
Can e'er hereafter hide from me
Thy radiant identity!
Thou canst not move across the grass
But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,
Nor speak, however silently,
But my hushed voice will answer Thee.
I know the path that tells Thy way
Through the cool eve of every day;
God, I can push the grass apart
And lay my finger on Thy heart!

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky, --
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat -- the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.

--- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Recipe of the day

So, I subscribe to the ediets newsletter, though I wouldn't dare proclaim myself to be on a diet ... mainly because I indulge in Gelato and Bluebell on the side. But every once in a while they have yummy, easy recipes and I wanted to share. Also, a number of you have been wondering whether I've disappeared altogether, so I thought I should post SOMETHING. So, here's today's recipe:

Farfalle with Asparagus and Smoked Salmon
Submitted by Myra
Pistachios, basil and smoked salmon. Three flavor delights in this wonderfully appealing pasta salad. Lemon juice and a splash of olive oil finish it off.
Serves 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 150 minutes
1 (8 ounce) package farfalle pasta

0.5 cup fresh steamed asparagus tips

1 ounce smoked salmon, chopped1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon chopped pistachio nuts

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oilsalt and pepper to taste

1.In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente, rinse under cold water and drain.
2. Steam the asparagus over boiling water and cook until tender but still firm. Drain, cool and chop.
3. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, asparagus, smoked salmon, lemon juice, pistachios, basil, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator and serve at room temperature.