Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Commonplace Book

Several of my friends are going through bad places in their lives right now and I got to thinking that when I'm in the middle of a black depression this is the poem that, in a very strange way, makes me feel a little bit better. It reminds me, not so much that things have started to improve, but that eventually they will - there will always be moments of walking down the street in a spring evening smelling bread baking, and that's a comforting thought. So for anyone who reads this who is stuck in a dark state of mind that they can't see their way out of, er, hang in there.

A Ballade of Suicide
The gallows in my garden, people say,
     Is new and neat and adequately tall;
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
     As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
     But just as all the neighbours--on the wall--
Are drawing a long breath to shout "Hurray!"
     The strangest whim has seized me. . . . After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

To-morrow is the time I get my pay--
     My uncle's sword is hanging in the hall--
I see a little cloud all pink and grey--
     Perhaps the rector's mother will not call--
     I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way--
     I never read the works of Juvenal--
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

The world will have another washing-day;
     The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H.G. Wells has found that children play,
     And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall,
     Rationalists are growing rational--
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray
     So secret that the very sky seems small--
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

     Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,
The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
     Even to-day your royal head may fall,
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

G.K. Chesterton

Friday, August 19, 2005

I Seek A Book...

... which I read and really liked as a child.

It was set in Britain near the White Horse of Uffington, there was a blind girl and lots of pagan references to things like mistletoe and the correct way to orient horseshoes so that the luck doesn't run out. I think there may have been a frog that was left to dry out in the sun because someone wanted to use the bones for something and I'm pretty sure the climax of the story involved the blind girl being left in the eye of the White Horse in the middle of the night. My sister thinks that it may have been called "The Moon Horse" but the name doesn't really ring a bell. Does anyone know for sure what the title was? The author would be a great help as well.

Monday, August 15, 2005

A Christmas Survey...

My older sister Alexandra is very organised. So organised, in fact, that she's already started planning for Christmas and, because I and my other sister are notoriously hard to shop for, she invented a questionnaire for us to fill out. It's quite cool, interesting me not just for its comprehensiveness but for its mad eclecticness. (I have no idea what question 10 is supposed to be for.)

The List

1) Choose one: Bronze/Silver
2) Choose two: Owl /Falcon /Cat /Lion /Griffon /Thistle /Spiral /Wolf /Boar /Celtic Dragon /Raven /Ram
3) Choose one: Circular/Straight
4) Choose one: Hair/Fabric
5) Choose one: Audio/Visual
6) Choose one: Real/Artificial
7) Choose one: Matching Set/Eclectic Mix
8) Choose two: Wool /Brocade /Cotton /Velvet /Silk /Leather /Other ___________
9) Choose one: Manufacture/Repair/Design
10) Choose one: Long /Short /Throwing /Wood /Protection /Shoot
11) Choose one: Belt /Bag /Pouch
12) Choose one: To LARP/Not to LARP
13) Choose three: Fantasy /Crime /Science Fiction /Murder Mystery /Comedy /Non-Fiction /Romance /Historical /Other _____________
14) Choose two: Dark Ages /Middle Ages/ Victorian/ Early 20th Century/ Present Day/ Near Future/ Distant Future/ Imaginary
15) Choose two: Pop/ Rap/ Classical/ Folk/ Country/ Rock/ Orchestral/ Musical/ Celtic/ R'n'B/ Other _______________

Vital Statistics:
Favourite Author(s):
Favourite Artist(s):
Favourite Musician(s):
Favourite Instrument(s):
Favourite Colour:
Favourite Poet(s):

Clothing Size:
Recommended Shops/Websites:
Current Wishlist:

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Common Place Book

"Is there any such thing as a modern-English version of the Canterbury Tales? I have these guilts about never having read Chaucer but I was talked out of learning Early Anglo-Saxon/Middle English by a friend who had to take it for her Ph.D. They told her to write an essay in Early Anglo-Saxon on any-subject-of-her-own-choosing. 'Which is all very well,' she said bitterly, 'but the only essay subject you can find enough Early Anglo-Saxon words for is "How to Slaughter a Thousand Men in a Mead Hall."'"

--Helene Hanff, 84, Charing Cross Road

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I'm Making Casserole

As opposed to my sister's recent excursion into the Ways of Liver, complete with greyish membranes, large mysterious holes and weird chewy texture, mine is a nice beef casserole with onions, broccoli and beef stock that doesn't scare my flatmates. Come to think of it, there's some bacon in the fridge which I could likely have added to some profit...

Gosh, it's amazing how much housework I can get done when I should be writing an essay. It doesn't help that the subject that it's on is not exactly enthralling me. 1100 words and counting. (Min limit 1500.) Back to work. Sigh.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Oh why not, I like this one too...

Jenny kiss'd me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
Say that health and wealth have miss'd me,
Say I'm growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss'd me.
-- James Leigh Hunt

Shameless advertising...

My lovely sister Catherine has just succumbed to the internet journal addiction and has set up her own Blog. It's here: http://lagataencantada.blogspot.com/

Check it out. She's a very good poet and usually has interesting things to say.