Monday, December 31, 2007

"The Sky is Low"

Submitted for your reading pleasure, this Emily Dickinson poem of winter...

The sky is low, the clouds are mean,
A travelling flake of snow
Across a barn or through a rut
Debates if it will go.

A narrow wind complains all day
How some one treated him;
Nature, like us, is sometimes caught
Without her diadem.

(submitted by Moon Rani)

A Christmas Carol

It's not mid-winter, I know. Why, winter is still in its infancy. But this poem, by Christina Georgina Rosetti, is so nice that I couldn't resist sharing it here. It's a well-known hymn set to a number of musical settings. The best-known setting is probably the one by Gustav Holst. The last stanza is likely the most widely recognized and, arguably, the best loved. But the first stanza is the prettiest or, at least, the most "sense-itive" so to speak. It's just the way winter feels for most of the world.
It may seem too late for a Christmas carol, but Christmas lasts until 6.January (the twelve days of Christmas) for Western churches while the Eastern rite churches have yet to celebrate it.
On a personal note, I have enjoyed the poetry of CGR since I was a schoolgirl.

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen,
Snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God incarnate,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for him, whom Cherubim
Worship night and day
A breast full of milk
And a manger full of hay.
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But his mother only,
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him —
Give my heart.
(submitted by Moon Rani)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Looking to the new year

Is there a book you meant to read this year but never got around to reading? Maybe there's a book like that you've intended for years to read. Here is my sole resolution for the new year: I shall dive into the book I've meant to read since 2006, The Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had, by Susan Wise Bauer. At last I'll embark on that plan to further my self-education. Other books came on the scene later but clamored until I read them first. Now I'll make time to read The Educated Mind. And here's hoping I'll get the education I so need!
While it's still available, do try Celestial Seasonings' Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Holiday Herb Tea. It's packed with so much flavor I almost bit into the first sip! Let the snowflakes swirl while you sip this tisane through all your winter reading.
(submitted by Moon Rani)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Reading to relax

This time of year is busy for most folks, from holiday preparations to end-of-year work projects to goodness-knows-what-all. When I need a break, I usually check several blogs and sites which never fail to cheer me and make me feel more at ease. Being an animal lover, my tastes run to blogs about creatures. Take a look at any of these when your pace is hectic. (follow the link at the bottom to their blog) (a vegetarian cooking blog)
(submitted by Moon Rani)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Two spamkus

[I am the spamku inventor. Spamkus are, of course, haikus made from spam subject lines. ]

12 bottles of Fine
Wine for just $4.99:
a happy present.

Do not feel shy of
you male machine size. Make it
a Whopping Special!

(submitted by Moon Rani)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Booking through Thursday

Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again?

The White Witch, by Elizabeth Goudge. I've been reading this book (almost) yearly since I was sixteen, and it never has lost its magic. Goude's writing style is simultaneously descriptive and spare, conjuring the intimacy of half-gypsy Froniga's herb-filled cottage, as well as the violent world during the time of Cromwell. To this day, the scent of rose or lavender brings me back to the first time I read the book, and I imagine myself in another life, creating rose-petal conserve, perhaps - melanie

Season's readings

Do you have a favorite thing to read or to hear read at a certain time every year? From early childhood my annual favorite was the Christmas story found in the book Luke. I never minded whether I heard it or read it myself; I liked both. I loved it from Advent throughout the twelve days of Christmas. Nowadays, though I still love that account of Jesus' birth, I prefer hearing and reading the opening chapter of the book of John, my favorite gospel account.

A couple of years ago, I attended a party in early December. It was give by a couple who lived in a home decorated in opulent, Victorian style with modern touches plus original art from local artists. I remember seeing golden cherubs holding up lush draperies in the front room, and a Christmas tree covered in handmade ornaments, among other things. The whole house glowed.

The focal point of the evening was gathering in that front room to hear the host read Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory." He said it was a personal tradition from when he lived in Virginia, and that he loved continuing it in his new home. The story is always entertaining and always very touching. The company was a pleasant mix of disparate types. After the reading we trotted into the dining room for rich fruitcake that had been shot full of corn liquor and "resting" for a year or so. I remember candlelight and decorations and laughter.

Wouldn't it be fun to have such a tradition? One could add a reading of Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales" for fun.
(submitted by Moon Rani)