muccamukk: Storm laughs in the thunder and rain. (Marvel: Exultant)
Your thoughts on wind, water, waves, weather, and other things of that sort. ([personal profile] linaelyn)

I like movement, okay?

I especially like wind, because it makes the element of air alive. The air is (hopefully!) always there, and I need it to live, but I don't really think about it much of the time, unless it's windy. Because then it's pushy and it's noisy and it's cold and warm and steals my breath and tears up my eyes and rampages around doing all kinds of things. And when the air is moving, it makes everything else move too; if you're out on a windy day, the trees are whipping back and forth and roaring, and the tops of the waves are flying through the sky, and the clouds are tearing along, and the sand's making drifts and tiny dunes like snow, and that's nothing on if it's snowing. I find it impossible to feel down or low energy when I'm out in the wind; the wind won't let me.

I am unable to resist throwing my arms wide in embrace and turning my face to the sky.

Waves are different. Waves reveal the shapes of things, but also make them, and are also their own thing. They don't create movement the way wind does (unless you're in a boat), but if you watch waves, you see how they're both positive and negative space at once. A wave is shaped by the shape of the sea floor and the coast and the wind, but it also takes a definite form. You can sort of tell what a wave will do knowing the form of the rocks, and having watched other waves, but it will never look exactly like you think, and the shape it takes will always show you more about the land around it, and the power behind it. It's like a basic physics text book, except when it's like chaos theory.

And of course the wind and the waves shape each other, and the land around them.


"Once by the Pacific" by Robert Frost

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last Put out the light was spoken.


Two pictures: )

Books, ect

Dec. 22nd, 2014 09:53 pm
muccamukk: Wanda of Many Colours (Marvel: Scarlet Witch)
I'm never sure how to review poetry. I don't tend to sit down and read a book of poetry from cover to cover, but rather leave it lying about and randomly read one bit or another as the mood strikes. I'm doubly unsure how to read modern poetry which can tend to word salad. I ordered Leaving Howe Island by Sadiqa De Meijer from the library on a whim, seeing it up for some award (GG?) and liking the title. It's mostly pretty good? A couple of the poems I've read so far are incomprehensible, to me, several are incredibly powerful, most have one or two memorable turns of phrase. I'm not driven to memorise anything from it, but I'm glad to have read it, and will probably read a bit more.

1700: Scenes from a London Life by Maureen Waller
(I see this book was used by Ben Aaronovitch for his London research)
There's a whole tonne of wonderful detail in this book, so that if I were writing a project that wanted what kind of signs coffee merchants had over their shops, or what you called certain hairstyles, or how much one spent on jasmine-scented gloves and what they were called, I'd want to have this book to hand as a reference. Great resource, and never dull for all that.

However, the organisation as a whole felt as though it were selecting topics the author was interested and ignoring other areas, and the whole book had a distinct upper/middle-class and law and order slant, that was in part to due with the nature of the sources, and partly just felt like the author's bias. I think a lot of the time she was trying to show what was happening, and what the middle class thought of it, but it didn't always read as that balanced. Plus if I wanted to read that many original quotes from Defoe, I'd read Defoe. The author also had a slightly worrying view of history, as evidenced by several very biased accounts of the Glorious Revolution in the intro, so it made me take the rest of the book with a grain of salt.

My deeply appalling library list.

Checked out:
London in the Eighteenth Century: A Great and Monstrous Thing by Jerry White
Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England by Amanda Vickery
Blenheim: Battle for Europe by Charles Spencer
The Great Marlborough and His Duchess by Virginia Cowles
The Thief-taker Hangings: How Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Wild, and Jack Sheppard Captivated London and Created the Celebrity Criminal by Aaron Skirboll
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Translated by Julie Rose
Rocket Boys: A Memoir by Homer H. Hickam
Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in An Age of Anxiety by Ian McKay
Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott
The Treasure of the San José: Death at Sea in the War of the Spanish Succession by Carla Rahn Phillips
Inda by Sherwood Smith
Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal

Holds:
Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood (2 on 2 copies)
When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid (5 on 3 copies)
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (9 on 2 copies)
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay (25 on 2 copies)
Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong (26 on 10 copies)
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (52 on 3 copies)
The Back of the Turtle: A Novel by Thomas King (83 on 15 copies)

† Probably mostly going to skim
‡ Priority due to unlikelihood of renewal.
muccamukk: Faiza makes a bloody mess of some vampires. Text: "an unrepentant act of wanton violence and gore!" (Marvel: Wanton violence and GORE!)
Three plays in, I thought I'd write down some thoughts before I forget.

Yesterday, we (by we, I mean [livejournal.com profile] artemis_rain and myself, Nenya being too deaf to get much out of live theatre) saw White Rabbit Red Rabbit, and bit of experimental theatre more or less about communication and conformity. The play is read cold by an actor who has never seen it or read it before, and incorporates that author and the audience into the story. Part of the play involves someone from the audience reading the last two pages, which [livejournal.com profile] artemis_rain did very well (I just got to be one of the rabbits, though fortunately not the one pretending to be a cheetah pretending to be an ostrich). She got to keep the script, which she lent to Nenya, who thus got subtitles, after a fashion. So that was cool. I liked the connection and the discussion about identity and connection, how effective it was to have an author speaking directly with another's voice and interacting with that voice. I didn't find the conformity plot worked as well. It would have been interesting to see the another actor do the same material.

Today we saw SPIN which was about the intersection of feminism, commercialism and the bicycle. Very cool. On a personal note, the performer was a smoking hot gay lady, and just had such amazing poise and conviction. She talked and sang about Francis Willard, Amelia Bloomer "Annie Londonderry" and her granddaughter, and herself, and the possibilities of liberation and the cost and traps tied up in that. Plus some dude played a bicycle as musical accompaniment. Liked that very much.

Tonight we went to Underbelly a straight hour of spoken word art about William S. Burroughs, about which I have mixed feelings. The poetry, the acting, and the sheer art of it was almost breathtaking (incidentally the same actor as we saw in Rabbit). However, it was a lot like spending an hour listening to William S. Burroughs, who I don't like, and never have. Granted, the play was not trying to make me like it. [livejournal.com profile] artemis_rain (who did like it and also likes things like Hannibal and The Wire) said it was a portrait of a monster, a man who for more or less no reason destroys himself and takes out every one in the vicinity while he's at it, then spends the rest of his life trying to justify himself by saying everyone else is as bad as he is (with some nice Ginsberg cameos). Which is true; it was. I just don't care? I just don't see the value in spending an hour with someone like that. Rich white dude is self-destructive and and horrible: News at 11. [livejournal.com profile] artemis_rain then asked why, that being the case, I had gone to a play about William S. Burroughs? Where upon I attempted to blame it on her for saying she liked the writer/actor's other productions, while admitting to myself that that decision did lack a certain amount of self awareness and/or foresight. I think I was secretly hoping that he'd have some kind of redeeming quality, but NOPE.

A Poem*

Sep. 9th, 2012 09:48 pm
muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (Politics: Face of Peace)
My Triumph lasted till the Drums
Had left the Dead alone
And then I dropped my Victory
And chastened stole along
To where the finished Faces
Conclusion turned on me
And then I hated Glory
And wished myself were They.

What is to be is best descried
When it has also been --
Could Prospect taste of Retrospect
The tyrannies of Men
Were Tenderer -- diviner
The Transitive toward.
A Bayonet's contrition
Is nothing to the Dead.

— Emily Dickinson

*Brought to you by Depressing American Civil War Book #347
muccamukk: Zoe looking very sad. (Firefly: Sad)
Watched The Conspirator which had an uneven script and acting from James McBlue-eyes, but had a breathtaking turn by Robin Wright that made up for it all. I would rec it, I think.

Also watched the second episode of Copper, which may be summarised by this image slightly NSFW ) I paused the episode there to go do something, then realised it was kind of perfect and capped it for your enjoyment. That said, it may be getting slightly better? The main plot involving at least two of the sex worker characters seems to be over, as to do the constant rape threats. The two wife characters are getting (a little) more characterisation, and there was some really amazing h/c in the middle there. So, idk. I'll give it another one?

Just read Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed." I had not really read him before, but have been enjoying him these past few days. It's funny knowing Ginsberg (or at least Howl) first, and then going back to the Leaves of Grass stuff. Anyway, great poem. I was especially struck by the following two sections

6
Coffin that passes through lanes and streets,
Through day and night with the great cloud darkening the land,
With the pomp of the inloop'd flags with the cities draped in black,
With the show of the States themselves as of crape-veil'd women standing,
With processions long and winding and the flambeaus of the night,
With the countless torches lit, with the silent sea of faces and the unbared heads,
With the waiting depot, the arriving coffin, and the sombre faces,
With dirges through the night, with the thousand voices rising strong and solemn,
With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour'd around the coffin,
The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs—where amid these you journey,
With the tolling tolling bells' perpetual clang,
Here, coffin that slowly passes,
I give you my sprig of lilac.

7
(Nor for you, for one alone,
Blossoms and branches green to coffins all I bring,
For fresh as the morning, thus would I chant a song for you O sane
and sacred death.

All over bouquets of roses,
O death, I cover you over with roses and early lilies,
But mostly and now the lilac that blooms the first,
Copious I break, I break the sprigs from the bushes,
With loaded arms I come, pouring for you,
For you and the coffins all of you O death.)


Falling upon them all and among them all, enveloping me with the rest,
Appear'd the cloud, appear'd the long black trail,
And I knew death, its thought, and the sacred knowledge of death.

Then with the knowledge of death as walking one side of me,
And the thought of death close-walking the other side of me,
And I in the middle as with companions, and as holding the hands of companions,
I fled forth to the hiding receiving night that talks not,
Down to the shores of the water, the path by the swamp in the dimness,
To the solemn shadowy cedars and ghostly pines so still.

And the singer so shy to the rest receiv'd me,
The gray-brown bird I know receiv'd us comrades three,
And he sang the carol of death, and a verse for him I love.
muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (H:TLJ: Romance)
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

—William Shakespeare
muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (DW: Decendent of Trees)
Ich Iebe grad, da das Jahrhundert geht

I'm living just as the century ends.

A great leaf, that God and you and I
have covered with writing
turns now, overhead, in strange hands.
We feel the sweep of it like a wind.

We see the brightness of a new page
where everything yet can happen.

Unmoved by us, the fates take its measure
and look at one another, saying nothing.

--Ranier Maria Rilke, 1899
(translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)
muccamukk: Telya standing in the forest. (SGA: Forest Woman)
Haven't posted this one in over a year. I do know more than the one poem, I assure you. I just really like this one.

On Loneliness
by Anne Szumigalski

The question is always the same:
Did you decide to leave me,
Or did I decide to remain here alone?

And what is alone? A white sky,
An empty will, a forest without leaves?

A house with one chair, one cup
One bent knife, a narrow bed,
One coat on one peg.

From the first day I knew I must begin
To talk to myself, for fear of forgetting

The sound, the use of words.
For fear that for me they would become

Mere bird-scratches on paper,
Botanist's Latin on a page of notes.

When a word describes, tell me does it become
The thing described? Is distance itself

The sound of the word -- distance, distance?

Wherever you are, why don't you
Turn and Look back across that distance,

And see the ocean stretching, and the land,
Mountainous and flat,

And see the forest
Where we were together.

Tell me, what is a forest
But so many single trees

Each clattering its bony branches in the wind,
Each standing among its fallen companions.
muccamukk: Storm laughs in the thunder and rain. (Marvel: Exultant)
Black Beans

Times are lean,
Pretty Baby,
the beans are burnt
to the bottom
of the battered pot.
Let's make fierce love
on the overstuffed,
hand-me-down sofa.
We can burn it up, too.
Our hungers
will evaporate like -- money.
I smell your lust,
not the pot burnt black
with tonight's meager meal.
So we can't buy flowers
for our table.
Our kisses are petals,
our tongues caress the bloom.
Who dares to tell us
we are poor and powerless?
We keep treasure
any king would count as dear.
Come on, Pretty Baby.
Our souls can't be crushed
like cats crossing the street too soon.
Let the beans burn all night long.
Our chipped water glasses are filled
with wine from our loving.
And the burnt black beans --
caviare.

-- Essex Hemphill
muccamukk: Jason Mamoa playing the guitar. (SGA: Guitar)
and I'm still sort of dazed about that.

muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (The Dresser: But What About Me?)
There's been some discussion of Orientalism, Steampunk, Victorian culture and a ridiculous portmanteau of the above. Interesting reading all, of it, but if you read nothing else, check out [personal profile] deepad's wonderful poem Pity the Orientalist.

I'm sensing sarcasm, Captain.
muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (Politics: Face of Peace)
When you see this, post a poem to your own journal.

My hands
Are not my mother's hands,
Bright red from bleach,
An blinding rage.
My hands will dare
To reach for love.
No more to
Cower in the shallow grave my
Mother's hands did dig for me.
There'll be no name
Carved into a thin white stake;
Instead, an upright
Forceful fist
Shoved wrist first in the ground
Where I lie and need not
Make a sound.
And every woman
Who comes near
Will peer into her own
Bludgeoned soul
And kiss the fist
That dares demand:
To love a woman
...Leave her whole.

-- Ferron
muccamukk: Telya standing in the forest. (SGA: Forest Woman)
Sympathy

    I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
        When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
    When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
    And the river flows like a stream of glass;
        When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
    And the faint perfume from its chalice steals —
    I know what the caged bird feels!





    I know why the caged bird beats his wing
        Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
    For he must fly back to his perch and cling
    When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
        And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
    And they pulse again with a keener sting —
    I know why he beats his wing!





    I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
        When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
    When he beats his bars and he would be free;
    It is not a carol of joy or glee,
        But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
    But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —
    I know why the caged bird sings!






-- Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)


I know why the caged bird sings

A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

-- Maya Angelou (1928-)
muccamukk: Zoe looking very sad. (Firefly: Sad)
Sowing
by Miguel Otero Silva

When nothing remains of me but a tree,
when my bones have been scattered
beneath our mother earth:
when nothing remains of you but a white rose
nourished by that which once you were:
when the breath of the kiss that we exchange today
has embarked upon a thousand different breezes:
when even our names have become
mere sounds without echo
asleep in the shade of a fathomless sound:
then you will live in the beauty of the rose,
and I in the rustling of the tree,
and our love in the murmur of the breeze.

Listen to me!
My wish for us is, to live
in the spoken words of men.
I would survive with you
in the deep life stream of humanity:
in the laughter of children,
in the peace of man kind,
in love without weeping.

Therefore,
as we must give ourselves to the rose and the tree,
to the earth and the wind,
let us give ourselves, I beg you, to the future of the world.
muccamukk: Iolaus laughing. Text: "Adorable me-sized warrior friend type" (H:TLJ: Me-Sized Friend Type)
Lonely Hearts
by Wendy Cope

Can someone make my simple wish come true?
Male biker seeks female for touring fun.
Do you live in North London? Is it you?

Gay vegetarian whose friends are few,
I'm into music, Shakespeare and the sun.
Can someone make my simple wish come true?

Executive in search of something new -
Perhaps bisexual woman, arty, young.
Do you live in North London? Is it you?

Successful, straight and solvent? I am too -
Attractive Jewish lady with a son.
Can someone make my simple wish come true?

I'm Libran, inexperienced and blue -
Need slim non-smoker, under twenty-one.
Do you live in North London? Is it you?

Please write (with photo) to Box 152
Who knows where it may lead once we've begun?
Can someone make my simple wish come true?
Do you live in North London? Is it you?
muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (Reading)
I'm reading This Craft of Verse, transcripts of six lectures given by Argentinian writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges at Harvard in the late '60s. I want to make not of the ideas that struck me, for future reference.

Read more... )


Borges died when I was two, so I suppose that having his babies is not really an option. I will have to settle for reading this to someone else's.
muccamukk: Iolaus laughing. Text: "Adorable me-sized warrior friend type" (H:TLJ: Me-Sized Friend Type)
...which was pointless and gross, I will post a nice piece of poetry by Anne Szumigalski. This devoted to [livejournal.com profile] monkeycrackmary, who made my day some days ago by commenting: This new 'women should consider themselves pre-pregnant' decree fails to speak to those of us who consider ourselves 'pre-eccentric-lady-with-all-the-cats'.

Nettles

When I am old
I will totter along broken pavements
the strings of my boots undone
smelling a bit strong like any
fat old woman who has forgotten
which day is Tuesday
(my bath day if you like)

stiff my clothes from old dirt
not sweat at my age mumbling
the cracked enamel mug

eleven cats playing
in my weedy yard drinking
my own little ration of milk
with me and withy withy
the cats circle around my house
at night singly filing
in and sleeping on the
saggy stained bed and the chair
and the crumbly tabletop

One day they will find me dead
O dead dead
A stinking bundle of
dead
and in my hand
a peeled wand
and in my ear a cricket sitting
telling me stories and predictions

and the time of night

For What?

Mar. 1st, 2005 11:41 pm
muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (DW: Decendent of Trees)
I watched Frontline: The Soldier's Heart on PBS tonight. It was about soldiers, mostly Marines, who suffered psychological trauma in Iraq. Fifteen to seventeen percent of soldiers surveyed on returning home suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder, generalised anxiety and/or major depression. Only forty percent of those tried to find help. They are afraid of stigmatisation by their officers and comrades. Seeking mental treatment can ruin careers. Instead, many drink, drive fast, start fights, and alienate everyone they love. Some take their own lives. The Pentagon is trying to combat this, but it's hard to change an attitude that deeply ingrained. Slashing the Veterans Association's funding doesn't help.

A Marine Psyc consultant talked about some of the causes of trauma. The military rarely uses the word "kill." They train their soldiers well, building up their instincts and reflexes. When the time comes to remove a potential threat, they are so well trained that they may do it without thinking. But their minds may not be prepared for what their bodies can do; the mind is not trained. The reality of taking another human life hits and suddenly, you're in trouble.

I found a poem by a veteran of the Great War, Siegfried Sassoon. Read it aloud.

Repression of War Experience )

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