Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meditation at Kew, a poem by Anna Wickham.

Post 583 - As I'm moving house and home at the moment, my entries have been and will continue to be irregular until I'm settled again.

Anna Wickham was the pseudonym of Edith Alice Mary Harper (1884 -1947), a British poet with strong Australian connections. She was born in Wimbledon, London, and brought up in Australia in a rather disordered existence, mostly in Brisbane and Sydney. She returned to London in 1904, where she took singing lessons and had a drama scholarship at the future Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She pursued her singing in Paris in 1905 and married Patrick Hepburn, a London solicitor, in 1906. Unfortunately, the marriage was not a happy one. During the 1930s, she was well known in literary London but found it hard to get published. However, she wrote a great deal of poetry, much of which was later lost in the war. She took her own life in the very hard winter of 1947.

Anna Wickham, Meditation at Kew, 1921

Alas! for all the pretty women who marry dull men,
Go into the suburbs and never come out again,
Who lose their pretty faces, and dim their pretty eyes,
Because no one has skill or courage to organize.

What do these pretty women suffer when they marry?
They bear a boy who is like Uncle Harry,
A girl who is like Aunt Eliza, and not new,
These old, dull races must breed true.

I would enclose a common in the sun,
And let the young wives out to laugh and run;
I would steal their dull clothes and go away,
And leave the pretty naked things to play.

Then I would make a contract with hard Fate
That they see all the men in the world and choose a mate,
And I would summon all the pipers in the town
That they dance with Love at a feast, and dance him down.

From the gay unions of choice
We'd have a race of splendid beauty and of thrilling voice.
The World whips frank, gay love with rods,
But frankly, gaily shall we get the gods.

Monday, November 15, 2010

As the world turns....

Post 582 - Here are some items that caught my eye last week:

The Beaujolais Nouveau will be uncorked on Thursday, November 18th.

The Irish State will mark the 88th anniversary of its founding on December 6th.

USA Today reports that the number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office.

By 2020, the U.S. will be spending $1 trillion a year just to pay the interest on the national debt. If nothing changes between now and then, a major catastrophe will surely be upon us.

According to the New York City Planning Department, 46 percent of New Yorkers in their 20s who moved to the city from out of state between 2006 and 2008 lived with people to whom they were not related, up from 36 percent in 2000.

A new federal report projects one in three American adults could have diabetes by 2050. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the number of Americans with diabetes may double or triple over the next 40 years. People with diabetes face medical costs more than twice that of those without the illness. The total costs of diabetes is about $174 billion annually. Currently, roughly 24 million Americans, or one in ten adults have the disease.

According to David Brooks, Howard Gardner of Harvard once put together a composite picture of the extraordinarily creative person: She comes from a little place somewhat removed from the center of power and influence. As an adolescent, she feels herself outgrowing her own small circle. She moves to a metropolis and finds a group of people who share her passions and interests. She gets involved with a team to create something amazing. Then, at some point, she finds her own problem, which is related to and yet different from the problems that concern others in her group. She breaks off and struggles and finally emerges with some new thing. She brings it back to her circle. It’s tested, refined and improved. The main point in this composite story is that creativity isn’t a solitary process. It happens within networks. It happens when talented people get together, when idea systems and mentalities merge.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Poem by e. e.cummings.

Post 581 - Edward Estlin Cummings, (1894 – 1962), popularly known as e.e.cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. He attended Harvard University, from which he received a B.A. degree and a Master's degree for English and Classical Studies. During his life, Cummings was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, Fellowship of American Academy of Poets, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, and a Boston Arts Festival Award.

He once said that, "Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit."

Poem by e.e.cummings.

I thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(I who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings; and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
double unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Facts that interest me.

Post 580 - Here are some facts that interested me lately:

Nielsen reports teens sent or received 3,339 texts per month on average for the second quarter of 2010. Put another way, that's six texts on average for every waking hour. Teenage girls are even more active, sending 4,050 texts per month. The number of texts sent by teens in 2010 was up 8% from the year prior.

Hal Varian at Google reports that the average person online spends seventy seconds a day reading online news.

I read about someone who recently went to the Post Office to get a passport. After filling in an application, he wanted to pay for it by credit card but was told that the USPS doesn’t accept credit cards for payment of passport fees. He didn’t have any checks or enough cash with him, so he left that section of the Post Office, stood in line and bought a Postal Service money order, which he paid for with a credit card. He then took the money order back to the clerk and paid his passport fees. Is it any wonder that the Postal Service is losing money and wants to raise its prices as a result? Just another crippled giant that expects its customers to foot the bill for its inefficiencies.

CEOs in October were wary about the economy, but hopes for a better start to 2011 are rising. Chief Executive magazine's CEO Confidence Index, the nation's leading monthly CEO Confidence Index, remained flat in October, rising only 1.3 percent to 87.4. The Business Condition Index showed the largest percentage gain, rising 9.2 percent to 91.5. Gains in this component of the index are the result of a larger number of CEOs expecting to see the business environment and economy to show gradual improvement over the next quarter. While 50 percent of responding CEOs predict no change in the economy over the next quarter, 34.4 percent forecast gradual growth – an increase of more than 7 percent. The Current Confidence Index, a sub index that calculates CEO confidence in current employment, capital spending and economic conditions, fell to 56.2, a loss of 10.9 percent. In the survey, 76.8 percent of CEOs rate business conditions as "bad", 19.0 percent rated business conditions "normal" and only 4.3 percent rated current business conditions as "good."

The total net worth of the Walton family is $89.6 billion. All this wealth was created by a farm boy from Boone County, Missouri. Some people think this a very good thing, others view it as a very bad thing. I'm in the former group, as someone who emigrated here fifty years ago to benefit from this "land of opportunity." I'm curious to know where my readers stand and why. Any comments?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Tide Rises The Tide Falls, a poem by Longfellow.

Post 579 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882) was born in Portland, Maine, and studied at Bowdoin College. After spending time in Europe, he became a professor at Bowdoin and, later, at Harvard College. The rapidity with which American readers embraced Longfellow was unparalleled in publishing history in the United States; by 1874, he was earning $3,000 per poem. His popularity spread throughout Europe as well and his poetry was translated during his lifetime into Italian, French, German, and other languages.

The Tide Rises The Tide Falls.

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveler hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.
Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.
The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveler to the shore.
And the tide rises, the tide falls