Saturday, April 09, 2011

Another Rosebud from a Friend:

"I have been browsing, and find it very good for me. The title of this caught my eye as my puppy (not so much of a puppy at 13) is named Corinna. I also thought it was really fun. I hope you enjoy it."

Corinna’s Going a-Maying

Get up, get up for shame! The blooming morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
See how Aurora throws her fair
Fresh-quilted colours through the air:
Get up, sweet slug-a-bed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree!
Each flower has wept and bow’d toward the east
Above an hour since, yet you not drest;
Nay! not so much as out of bed?
When all the birds have matins said
And sung their thankful hymns, ’tis sin,
Nay, profanation, to keep in,
Whereas a thousand virgins on this day
Spring sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.

Rise and put on your foliage, and be seen
To come forth, like the spring-time, fresh and green,
And sweet as Flora. Take no care
For jewels for your gown or hair:
Fear not; the leaves will strew
Gems in abundance upon you:
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept,
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept.
Come, and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dew-locks of the night:
And Titan on the eastern hill
Retires himself, or else stands still
Till you come forth! Wash, dress, be brief in praying:
Few beads are best when once we go a-Maying.

Come, my Corinna, come; and coming, mark
How each field turns a street, each street a park,
Made green and trimm’d with trees! see how
Devotion gives each house a bough
Or branch! each porch, each door, ere this,
An ark, a tabernacle is,
Made up of white-thorn neatly interwove,
As if here were those cooler shades of love.
Can such delights be in the street
And open fields, and we not see ’t?
Come, we’ll abroad: and let’s obey
The proclamation made for May,
And sin no more, as we have done, by staying;
But, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying.

There’s not a budding boy or girl this day
But is got up and gone to bring in May.
A deal of youth ere this is come
Back, and with white-thorn laden home.
Some have despatch’d their cakes and cream,
Before that we have left to dream:
And some have wept and woo’d, and plighted troth,
And chose their priest, ere we can cast off sloth:
Many a green-gown has been given,
Many a kiss, both odd and even:
Many a glance, too, has been sent
From out the eye, love’s firmament:
Many a jest told of the keys betraying
This night, and locks pick’d: yet we’re not a-Maying!

Come, let us go, while we are in our prime,
And take the harmless folly of the time!
We shall grow old apace, and die
Before we know our liberty.
Our life is short, and our days run
As fast away as does the sun.
And, as a vapour or a drop of rain,
Once lost, can ne’er be found again,
So when or you or I are made
A fable, song, or fleeting shade,
All love, all liking, all delight
Lies drown’d with us in endless night.
Then, while time serves, and we are but decaying,
Come, my Corinna, come, let’s go a-Maying.

-Robert Herrick


Another thing in common: I have a Corrina in my life, as well. She's a 65+ year old Mediterranean tortoise and, just this week, she's been let out of her box in the basement to go a-maying in her garden. (Happy Spring!)

Friday, April 08, 2011


The flesh of cannibals is said, by some,
to have the richest flavor.

Each fiber drawn from proteins like itself,
marbled with familiar fats,
this muscle draws iron
up the food chain
from dumb dirt
through lithe grasses
and quick victims
of four legs, then to.

Though traces concentrate
of what was sprayed on crops
or gathers, gamey, in flesh
shot through with fear,

a different compound
interrupted skin,
detained quick blood,
cleaved sinew and bone
to carve this steak,
this rare opportunity.

Thus made bold,
take, eat
so that others
might enjoy this taste.

-J D Smith

(Okay, probably not the best menu choice for a Friday in Lent.)

Thursday, April 07, 2011


When I grow up I plan to keep
Eleven cats and let them sleep
On any bedspread that they wish
And feed them people’s tuna fish.

-Maxine Kumin

A huge thanks to Kathy in Michigan (who tells me that this is a favorite fun poem of hers) for not only having introduced me to Maxine Kumin, but to have saved everyone from my normal Rilke mourning weeds.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A translation of something very poetic, as I'm more of a translating type than a poetical one.

...Then came the third siege of the city which carried his name. In 860, while the Slavs were battering Constantinople, Constantine, on the Olympus of Asia Minor, was laying a trap for them. In the silence of his monk’s cell, he created the first letters of their alphabet. First, he invented rounded letters, but the Slavic language was so savage, so wild that the ink could not contain it as such – so he constructed another alphabet with bars, thus caging this strong-willed language like a bird. Later, when it was tamed and taught Greek (for languages do learn other languages), the Slavic tongue could be confined within the original, glagolithic letters…

Daubmannus relates this story on the creation of the Slavic alphabet. The barbarian tongue would not let itself be tamed. During a brief, three-week autumn, the brothers were sitting in their cell, trying in vain to trace out the letters that would later be called “Cyrillic.” The task was a difficult one. From their cell, one had an excellent view of mid-October, and the silence was the length of an hour’s walk by the breadth of two hours’.

Methodius directed his brother’s attention to four vessels sitting on the window sill just outside their cell, on the other side of the bars.
”If your door were locked, how would you bring one of those vessels over here?” he asked.

Constantine shattered one of them, then brought it bit by bit through the bars and glued it all together again with a mixture of saliva and the packed earth underfoot.

Thus they proceeded with the Slavic tongue: They broke it into pieces, put it into their mouth by passing it through the bars of the Cyrillic letters, then reconnected the fragments with their saliva and the Greek earth beneath their feet...

CYRIL, entry from the Red Book – Dictionary of the Khazars
-Milorad Pavic

Monday, April 04, 2011

We've been a little down and out lately. Paul was more unhappy than usual at the prospect of his birthday, too, which was yesterday. As it seems so short in supply, figured I'd offer a gift of hope this year:


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

-Emily Dickinson

(Happy Birthday, Buddy. Things will get better. Honestly, they will.)