Verse out of time… Mabel Esther Allan

 

Mabel Esther Allan  1915 – 1998

 

Born in Wallasey, UK she made up her mind to be a writer at the tender age of eight years old. Her publishing debut was interrupted by WWII when she served in The Women’s Land Army, Teacher and nursery warden for the children of factory workers. With her first publication in 1948, The Glen Castle Mystery, she made the decision to focus on writing for children. Her career included 170 books published for children. She sold 330 short stories between 1936 and 1937. Among her works included volumes of short stories, poems, essays, and her autobiography.

 

 

Immensity (Written during The Battle of Britian)

 

You go at night into immensity,

Leaving this green earth, where hawthorn flings

Pale stars on hedgerows, and our serenity

Is twisted into strange shapes; my heart never sings

Now on spring mornings, for you fly at nightfall

From this earth, I know

Toward the clear stars, and overall

Those dark seas and waiting towns you go;

And when you come to me

There are fearful dreams in your eyes,

And remoteness, Oh, God! I see

How far away you are,

Who may so soon meet death beneath an alien star.

 

                            –  Mabel Esther Allan

The discovery of voices from the past and their messages are bridges to understanding that as much as things have changed, the human condition remains much the same. What voices from the past have you unearthed recently? I so enjoy meeting new friends and would love to hear about the ones that have captured your interest.

Bisous, Léa

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Verse out of time… Czeslaw Milosz

Czeslaw Milosz: 1911 – 2004 

Born in Seteiniai, Lithuania he made his literary debut in 1930. Among the many honors accorded to his work, The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980. His works include Poetry and Prose. During the 1960s he served as Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at University California Berkeley. 

 

Song on the End of the World

 

On the day the world ends

A bee circles a clover

A Fisherman mends a glimmering net.

Happy porpoises jump in the sea,

By the rainspout young sparrows are playing

And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be

 

On the day the world ends

Women walk through fields under their umbrellas

A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn

Vegetable peddlers shout in the street

And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island.

The voice of a violin lasts in the air

And leads into a starry night

 

And those who expected lightning and thunder

Are disappointed

And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps

Do not believe it is happening now

 

Only a white-haired old man who would be a prophet

Yet is not a prophet for he’s much too busy

Repeats while he binds his tomatoes

No other end of the world there will be

No other end of the world there will be

 

– Chezlaw Milosz

 

If you are unfamiliar with his work, I do hope you will enjoy this poem and search for more. Perhaps you would prefer his prose. There is a vast number of his works I could choose from but thought this was so timely in light of Global Warming.

Bisous,

Léa

Verse out of time… MAXINE KUMIN

Maxine Kumin 1925 – 2014, Poet, Author,  Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress (now known as U.S. Poet Laureate). Pulitzer Prize winner who left us with a large and varied legacy of her works ranging from Poetry, Essays, Novels, Memoirs and Children’s Books. 

 

How It Is

 

Shall I say how it is in your clothes?

A month after your death I wear your blue jacket.

The dog at the center of my life recognizes

You’ve come to visit, he’s ecstatic.

In the left pocket, a hole.

In the right, a parking ticket

Delivered up last August on the Bay State Road.

In my heart, a scatter like milkweed,

A flinging from the pods of the soul.

My skin presses your old outline.

It is hot and dry inside.

 

I think of the last day of your life,

Old friend, how I would unwind it, paste

It together in a different collage,

Back from the death car idling in the garage,

Back up the stairs, your praying hands unlaced,

Reassembling the bits of bread and tuna fish

Into a ceremony of sandwich,

Running the home movie backward to a space

We could be easy in, a kitchen place

With vodka and ice, our words like living meat.

 

Dear friend, you have excited crowds,

With your example. They swell

Like wine bags, straining at your seams.

I will be years gathering up our words,

Fishing out letters, snapshots, stains,

Leaning my ribs against this durable cloth

To put on the dumb blue blazer of your death.

                                                                             – Maxine Kumin

While there is a wealth of current poets and authors, there is much to be gained by reading the works of those who have gone before us. While reading a book by the late Carolyn G. Heilbrun, I was introduced to the work of Kumin. There is a special joy in discovering another trove of treasures and perhaps some of you will stop by and mention a few that you have discovered recently.

 

Bisous,

Léa

Wednesday’s Words to Ponder…

HARRIET TUBMAN  1820 – MARCH 10, 1913

 

“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop, keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going”.  – Harriet Tubman

“There was one of two things I had a right to Liberty or death. If I could not have one, I would take the other, no man should take me alive. I should fight for liberty as long as my strength lasted”.  – Harriet Tubman

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman

“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”  – Harriet Tubman

“I had crossed the line. I was free, but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.”  – Harriet Tubman

“I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”  – Harriet Tubman  

Born a slave and named, by her parents, Araminta “Minty” Ross, around the year 1820, she became the most well known of the conductors on The Underground Railroad.ty

She served as a conductor for a decade. The abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison gave her the nickname, “Moses”. It was through her own efforts that she accumulated the funds she would need to continue her mission. Over time, she built a reputation for her deeds and thus supporters helped by providing both shelter and funds for her trips to the south.

Harriet served as a cook, nurse, laundress, spy and scout during the Civil War. She returned to her home in Auburn after the Emancipation Proclamation where she remained for the rest of her life. Her doors remained open to those in need and her earnings from her vegetable garden she added to the funds raised to create schools for the purpose of educating African Americans. She gave speeches on Women’s Rights. While not a leader in the movement, she was a strong supporter and the women who were leaders had supported her efforts in The Underground Railroad. Tubman believed in the equality of all people, black or white, male or female.

Personally, I find it appalling that the sitting President has gone back on the plan of the previous administration to honor Harriet Tubman with her face on the front of the twenty dollar bill and former President Andrew Jackson moved to the back. Trump is determined to undo as many good works from the Obama administration as possible. Unfortunately, it is hardly a surprise that such a racist, misogynistic individual would carry through with the plan. He doesn’t even keep his own promises to the people of the country.

Bisous,

Léa

Pre-election or pre-selection post…

With only a week before elections, I hope each of you will reach deep into your heart and address what you are about and what you are willing to do about it.

Here is a small offering of quotes to ponder and it is my sincere hope that when you do go to vote, your conscience goes with you. Do you listen to all the hype or can you still think for yourself?  It is often the one pointing the finger at others that has the most to hide. There are agendas and there are hidden agendas that you will not be apprised of until the opportunity to have your say is gone. The country has not been so divided since the Civil War and as things continue in the current regime, that seems to be the direction that the country is heading toward. Of course, another possible outcome could be another war. If so, who would be your allies? As things stand now, the administration and conservative media, have alienated allies of the past and left the nation most vulnerable.  They have declared war on the environment. Pushed to the brink, the planet will survive, but will humanity? Yet the administration has trampled every protection for the environment and done all that it could to escalate global warming. I could go on, but I would rather just get to the quotes and hope you take some time, soul-searching.  What kind of world and what kind of life are you bequeathing your progeny? 

 

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”               – Edmund Burke

“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”          – Socrates 

“The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil.”  – James Monroe

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein

“Indifference, to me is the epitome of all evil.” – Elie Wiesel 

“The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.”       – William Shakespeare

 “Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” – Jerry Garcia

“Moral evil is the immorality and pain and suffering and tragedy that come because we choose to be selfish, arrogant, uncaring, hateful and abusive.” – Lee Strobel

“Shall I tell you what the real evil is? To cringe to the things that are called evils, to surrender to them our freedom, in defiance of which we ought to face any suffering.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“The secret to happiness is freedom… and the secret to freedom is courage.’ – Thucydides

“Hypocrisy is the mother of all evil and racial prejudice is still her favorite child.”     – Don King

“Apathy is the overrated protection of that rock you’re hiding under.”                            – Laura J.W. Ryan

“Live simply so that others may simply live.” – Mahatma Gandhi

 

While this is merely a minuscule sampling of applicable quotes, I do hope you take time to ponder and search your values. What are you about and what kind of world do you wish to leave to your children, grandchildren, and subsequent generations?

 

Bisous and Peace,

Léa

 

Wednesday’s Words to Ponder… Phillis Wheatley

This post is dedicated to Hamba Kahle* uMama Agnes “Aunty Aggie” Msimang. Rest peacefully dear Aunty Aggie.   https://afzalmoolla.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/hamba-kahle-umama-agnes-aunty-aggie-msimang/comment-page-1/#comment-12598

 

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”  –  William Wilberforce 

 

Phillis Wheatly

PHILLIS WHEATLEY – 

 

On Imagination

 

Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,

How bright their forms! How deck’d with pomp

By thee!

Thy wond’rous acts in beauteous order stand,

And all attest how potent is thine hand.

From Helicon’s refulgent heights attend,

Ye sacred choir and my attempts befriend:

To tell her glories with a faithful tongue,

Ye blooming graces, triumph in my song.

Now here, now there, the roving Fancy flies,

Till some lov’d object strikes her wand’ring eyes

Whose silken fetters all the senses bind,

And soft captivity involves the mind.

Imagination! Who can sing thy force?

Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?

Soaring through air to find the bright abode,

Th’ empyreal palace of the thund’ring God,

We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,

And leave the rolling universe behind:

From star to star the mental optics rove,

Measure the skies, and range the realms above.

There in one view, we grasp the mighty whole,

Or with new worlds amaze th’ unbounded soul.

Though winter frowns to Fancy’s raptur’d eyes

The fields may flourish, and gay scenes arise;

The frozen deeps may break their iron bands,

And bid their waters murmur o’er the sands.

Fair Flora may resume her fragrant reign,

And with her flow’ry riches deck the plain;

Sylvanus may diffuse his honours round,

And all the forest may with leaves be crown’d:

Show’rs may descend, and dews their gems disclose,

And nectar sparkle on the blooming rose.

Such is thy pow’r, nor are thine orders vain,

O thou the leader of the mental train:

In full perfection, all thy works are wrought,

And thine the scepter o’er the realms of thought.

Before thy throne the subject-passions bow,

Of subject-passions sov’reign ruler thou;

At thy command joy rushes on the heart,

And through the glowing veins the spirits dart.

Fancy might now her silken pinions try

To rise from earth, and sweep th’ expanse on high:

From Tithon’s bed now might Aurora rise,

Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies,

While a pure stream of light o’erflows the skies.

The monarch of the day I might behold,

And all the mountains tipt with radiant gold,

But I reluctant leave the pleasing views,

Which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse;

Winter austere forbids me to aspire

And northern tempests damp the rising fire;

They chill the tides of Fancy’s flowing sea,

Cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay.

                                                                             –

Born in the Gambia and sold as a slave at age seven, Phillis Wheatley was the first published African-American woman. Her writing was one which helped create the African-American genre of literature. Purchased by the Wheatley family, she was taught to read and write. Furthermore, they encouraged her poetry.

Her first collection of poems was published in 1773. With her subjects of Morality and Religion, she became well know and was praised by prominent figures including George Washington and fellow African-American poet, Jupiter Hammon. She toured England and was emancipated by her owners after her poetic success. In March 1776, she appeared before General George Washington. A strong supporter of independence is reflected in her poetry and in plays, she wrote during the Revolutionary War.

Miss Wheatley married a free black grocer, John Peters, and bore him two children who died in infancy. Mr. Peters abandoned her leaving her penniless and pregnant. In an effort to support herself, she completed the second volume of poems. Alas, she could not find a publisher who was interested.

She died of complications in childbirth at the age of 31. The child died shortly afterward. She had been living in poverty in a boarding house.

Miss Wheatley wrote “To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty” in honor of George III repealing the Stamp Act. During the American Revolution, her sympathies and her work turned to the view of the colonists.

Phillis Wheatley’s grave lies unmarked. Few of her poems refer to slavery.

At that time, for the most part, white Americans thought it unlikely that a woman from Africa, and a former slave, could write poetry and Miss Wheatley was forced to defend herself in court in 1772. The men assembled to judge her included John Hancock, John Erving, Reverend Charles Chauncey, Thomas Hutchinson,  the governor of Massachusettes, and his lieutenant governor, Andrew Oliver. She was adjudged to be the author of the works ascribed to her and the resulting attestation was published and included in the preface to her book. Due to the prejudice of American publishers, the book was published in London with the aid of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon and the Earl of Dartmouth.

Miss Wheatley’s works are credited with helping to found African-American literature.

The highly regarded poet, Jupiter Hammon wrote an ode to Miss Wheatley in 1778.

Bisous,

Léa