Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Poetry for those who don't think they like poetry...

Why Do Birds Sing?  by Robert W. Service

Let poets piece prismatic words,
Give me the jewelled joy of birds!

 What ecstasy moves them to sing?
Is it the lyric glee of Spring,
The dewy rapture of the rose?
Is it the worship born in those
Who are of Nature's self a part,
The adoration of the heart?

Is it the mating mood in them
That makes each crystal note a gem?
Oh mocking bird and nightingale,
Oh mavis, lark and robin - hail!
Tell me what perfect passion glows
In your inspired arpeggios?

A thrush is thrilling as I write
Its obligato of delight;
And in its fervour, as in mine,
I fathom tenderness divine,
And pity those of earthy ear
Who cannot hear . . . who cannot hear.

Let poets pattern pretty words:
For lovely largesse - bless you, Birds!

Each Day a Life by Robert W. Service

I count each day a little life,
With birth and death complete;
I cloister it from care and strife
And keep it sane and sweet.

With eager eyes I greet the morn,
Exultant as a boy,
Knowing that I am newly born
To wonder and to joy.

And when the sunset splendors wane
And ripe for rest am I,
Knowing that I will live again,
Exultantly I die.

O that all Life were but a Day
Sunny and sweet and sane!
And that at Even I might say:
"I sleep to wake again."
The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that he'd "sooner live in hell".

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! Through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead -- it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say:
"You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows -- O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May".
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared -- such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; . . . then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm --
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
    By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
    That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
    But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
    I cremated Sam McGee.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Love Banned Books!

Are you like me that there are certain times when an organization, person, or official body tells you no, you just want to do the very opposite? If my boss says "I don't think you can accomplish that" I just want to prove them wrong. When the government says you have to learn this and you have to do that, I want to make raspberries with my tongue at them. I want to go to NYC and drink five super big gulps in front of Blomberg... kindof like that.

That is akin to the way I feel about most of the Banned Books I have read in my life. Many books on the forthcoming list have been favorites of mine, and if not a favorite, ones who have left lasting impressions on my mind and that I have spent much time pondering. My life has been enriched because of these books. Since some of my favorite genres are Fantasy and Sci-Fi, this list concentrates heavily in those areas. It is by no means all inclusive. I have starred all the books on the list that I have read and have made it a life goal to continue reading banned books. No one is going to tell me what or how to think, I will decide that for myself, thank-you.

Banned SF Books (By Year)

1726 Gullivers Travels by Jonathan Swift
1818 Frankenstein by Mary Shelly *
1932 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley *
1945 Animal Farm by George Orwell *
1949 1984 by George Orwell *
1950 The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
1951 The Day After Tomorrow by R. A. Heinlein
1953 Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury *
1954 Lord of the Flies by William Golding *
1954 Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien *
1959 Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
1961 Stranger in a Strange Land by R.A. Heinlein *
1962 A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
1963 Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
1966 The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
1966 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
1968 Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut
1969 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
1971 Grendel by John Gardner
1974 Carrie by Stephen King
1976 Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
1979 The Dead Zone by Stephen King
1979 The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams *
1988 The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
1993 The Giver by Lois Lowry *
1995 the Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman *
1997 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling *
1997 Shade's Children by Garth Nix
1981 Cujo by Stephen King
1985 The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood *
2003 The Amulet of Samarkand by Johnathan Stroud
Two newer ones I heard about being banned: The Hunger Games by Susan Collins *
                                         The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
If you have other books in the genre to add to the list please leave a comment, because I will probably want to read them!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Part 2- The Dead Sea Scrolls- Part 2

Part 2- The Dead Sea Scrolls: Interesting beliefs of the Qumran Community

-A belief in immortality

-Belief that God created spirits (of light and darkness)

-To join the community you were baptized by being immersed in water.

-When you were accepted into the community you lived by a 'new covenant'.

-They had a sacrament of bread and wine.

-There was a Teacher of Righteousness and a Wicked Priest.

-There was no concept of 'original sin'.

-Some non-biblical documents also found in the caves: The Book of Enoch, The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, The Book of Adam and Eve, The Book of Jubilees, The Zadokite Text.

Ariel view of the caves

Here are some other discoveries of ancient documents and records in the Old World:

-The Nag Hammadi Library, where The Gopel of Thomas and The Gospel of Truth were discovered. It is believed Gnostic Christians buried them.
Elba Clay Tablet

-The Clay Tablets of Elba, these date to before Abraham the Prophet, there are Biblical connections with an account of the creation and of the great flood.

-The Persepolis of Iran, the palace of Darius I, King of Persia, where stone boxes containing gold and silver tabletswere found.

Hamadan gold tablet in cuneiform script

-The Hamadan, Iran, King Darius II, where gold and silver tablets of writing have been found.

-The Port City of Pyrgi, Italy, where plates of gold, silver, copper, bronze, lead and tin were found,
30 miles north of Rome on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Also found were two large Etruscan Temples dating to 500 BC with Phoenician and Estrucan language.

Gold Tablets found in Pyrgi, Italy

-Seoul, Korea, Ancient writing on 19 golden metal plates found in 1965, containing the 'Diamond Sutra' of Buddhist scripture. This is displayed in the national museum in Seoul.

-The Hebron Cave, 10 miles W-N-W, 22 miles S-S-W of Jerusalem- Cave inscriptions dated to 600 BC the Khirbet Beit Lei (1961). Pictures of ships carved on the walls, the name Lei or Lehi, the words "Deliver (us) O Lord" See Judges 15:9 of the Old Testament.    "Then the Philistines went up, and pitched in Judah, and spread themselves in Lehi."

Two caves in Hebron