Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Matcha in the Morning - Decadence, Anyone?

Here's a poem from one of the lesser known but still wonderful poets of the Decadent Movement - Michael Field, also known as Katherine Harris Bradley and her niece Edith Emma Cooper.

A Summer Wind
By Michael Field

O wind, thou hast thy kingdom in the trees,
And all thy royalties
Sweep through the land to-day.
It is mid June,
And thou, with all thy instruments in tune,
Thine orchestra
Of heaving fields and heavy swinging fir,
Strikest a lay
That doth rehearse
Her ancient freedom to the universe.
All other sound in awe
Repeats its law:
The bird is mute; the sea
Sucks up its waves; from rain
The burthened clouds refrain,
To listen to thee in thy leafery,
Thou unconfined,
Lavish, large, soothing, refluent summer wind.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Matcha In The Morning - Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,—
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Proven├žal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs,
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review - Dragon Ring by Lettie Prell

Buy Lettie Prell’s book Dragon Ring. Buy it now.

Okay, now that I have done my shameless “commercial”, it’s time to review the book.

I met Prell at Fandom Fest in Louisville, Kentucky and even had the pleasure to do several literary panels with her. After being impressed with how she carried herself at the panels, I decided to pick up a copy of her book, Dragon Ring. What I read was quite possibly one of the best novels I have ever read in my life. This well blended mix of hard science, fantasy, environmental and metaphysical issues held on to my interest from page one and did not let go until the unfortunate final page. The main story is of a young woman named Nadine who lives in the recently established corporation of Guatemala in the distant future. She strives to live a life filled with technological advances yet her destiny lies elsewhere under the guise of reclaiming what she once took for granted.

When Prell talked of her book and of the “hard science” involved, I had no clue she would spend a portion of her work writing about quantum physics, one of my favourite subjects to study for fun. For those of you who don’t know what quantum physics is, it is the study of the subatomic and microscopic and their place in the physics mix. She gives equal attention to her other subjects with a clear voice and not one who writes about various matters just to impress their audience. Prell is the real deal when it comes to her knowledge of various subjects, plus she is one hell of a writer. Her prose flows steadily while her characters are believable in that they are “grey”; not one is purely good or purely evil. Everyone has their own motive for what fuels them through this strange tale; that is what makes them likeable as well.

The one question I had after finishing the book was this: could the event she describes actually happen if the technology was available? Could mankind truly do what she set out to do in her book? As a hopeful person, I would like to think so. I won’t give away the “ultimate” act, but I will say that it had me floored since I had no idea it was coming. With authors like Prell, the impossible can be believed as possible. Thanks Lettie!

Book Review - The Broken String by Grace Schulman

Reading Grace Schulman is like reading philosophy; the poems in her book The Broken String either ask deeper questions or give lessons learned through the eyes of one who has truly and simply lived. This was my first time reading her work and I am glad to have done so; reading “new” poets refreshes my own soul and clears away cobwebs. Her words are sensual, daring and dreamlike; even those who do not like poetry will like hers. Her topics range from Itzhak Perlman to jazz to everyday life and everything in between. Rather than go on and on with my praise of Schulman, all I can ask is that you pick up The Broken String and read, read, read.