We snuffled greedily.
Still in my hair.
We snuffled greedily.
Still in my hair.
The lower angels
Are the human face of God.
I always used to think 'paradise' was from the Greek 'paradisos', a garden—and so it is, but the word is apparently something classical Greek borrowed, from an ancient Persian word for a deer park, or something with a wall round it.
The word survives into modern Greek, although 'κηπος' ('key-poss') is commoner.
Now here's the link-up. 'Garden' means a guarded place. It's Germanic and seems to imply a perimeter fence. Variants are 'yard' (as in front or back), and 'ward', as in keep watch over (what a warden does).
So gardens are places that have walls around them, to conserve things. Just like paradises.
And what is kept in a 'κηπος'? Well if it's trees it could be a "δενδρόκηπος', dendrokipos = tree garden = orchard.
Beware the apples Adam and Eve! You may be evicted and end up beyond the pale.
I grew up
Being told poetry is good for you.
After fifty years
It's beginning to work,
There was an old fellow called Clerihew,
Who never wrote Limericks, or very few.
He frequently tried
But after the third line his attempt always died.
What a helluva geyser.
He said "Let's bring it on!" 
And crossed the Rubicon.
 "alea iacta est"
Time, never forget
We do love
Better than you,
I daren't get on the scales anymore.
They're frightened of me too.
Born in a two-starred place,
Four seasons here,
Make me sicken for home.
Chora wrote a famous and charming haiku: as a gardener addressing a toad he knew, and who probably knew him.
If this sounds improbable, my aunt had a toad who lived for several years at the bottom of her garden. She would feed him (or her) and as a teenager I was taken to see the toad, who lived under some stones and did indeed hop out to greet us, and would consent to be scratched on the head, and tickled on the chin.
Chora's haiku goes something as follows in (very) free translation:
I thought that, for once, rather than compress a poem, which is my instinct, I would try to expand one, and also add rhyme and meter. Usually haiku in English are without rhyme, and end on a characteristic falling tone, which is very evocative, but not necessarily faithful to the original Japanese tradition. Other languages however have different and now longstanding traditions about the form translated or composed haikus. That's for another post though.
Here is my longer appeal to Mr Toad, in entirely my own idiom. But with falling tone.
Here we are again
I know it's a pain
But, might you bend
To the left somewhat?
Respectfully I ask
Knowing each other as we do.
Is planting bamboo.
Am I asking a lot?
By an unknown artist, Japan, 1814. Via The British Museum
A cat scuttled between two streetlights.
For one second
As I slept
A dark thought
Jumped on my back
"I am Winter",
Then there is something time cannot tear from us.
What is thought, what knowledge?
Such a troubling question.
Asked in every season.
Under this moon
How can I disagree?
You're such a good friend Autumn.
I'm heartbroken by
A last dragonfly's symmetry.
I've just been reading about star charts from ancient Egypt. Not many of these have been found and much about them is mysterious: for example what they were for. Most of the examples we have were on the inside of coffin lids, so they weren't for the use of the living.
One suggestion is that the ancient Egyptians believed that someone with enough inherited divinity (such as a pharaoh) would after death ascend to become a star (this notion has parallels in many cultures of course). So the start chart on the coffin lid would be there to help your ka know where to go.
This is a poetic idea but more poetic is what I believe is the truth; we shall not become stars—rather, starts have become us.
At first there was only hydrogen but the reactions in the stars that condensed from the primeval hydrogen have produced all the other elements.
When the Solar System was formed it can't have been just from hydrogen, there must have been many other elements swirling around in the mixture.
How did these arrive there? Stars must have come to the end of their lives and exploded. Small stars that just died and fizzled out will simply have shrunk to embers. None of their constituents can have found its way here. No, the rocks on which we stand, and most of the elements necessary for life, must have come from the explosions that are novae or supernovae, and after billions of years come to form part of you: or me; or the pharaohs.
Shelley and Keats were talking one day.
"Do you have any holiday plans?" asked Shelley.
"Not exactly a holiday", Keats responded, "More a summer employment, but in a climate very congenial to my health, and well remunerated".
Intrigued, Shelley inquired: "What exactly is the post?"
"It's in the famous Italian city of Pisa", said Keats: "The popularity of the Grand Tour has burgeoned apace, and many visitors to Italy now clamour to ascend La Campanile from which the revered Signor Galileo Galilei is claimed to have carried out his celebrated experiment.
So popular is this to touristi—as they are there described—that crowds of our fellow-countrymen assemble daily at the entrance. The authorities make a small charge for the ascent, for the maintenance of the bell tower, and are also charged with ensuring that no person is put at risk of life or limb: so there is a limit on how many can be up the tower at any one time.
I answered an advertisement in the Times of London, seeking a person: 'Capable of organizing groups of people desirous of ascending our famous tower, and ensuring their convenience and safety in a highly popular destination. Fluent English is required'—and got the job.
So I'm off there for the summer months."
"Congratulations my dear fellow", Shelley exclaimed warmly. "So you'll be minding your Pisan queues."
A thousand rainbow eyes
On one cobweb.
Close your eyes and slowly inhale. Hold it to a count of six, then breathe out gradually.
It's often said that each time you do that, you are likely to breathe in a molecule from Julius Caesar's dying breath.
At first sight this is surprising.
But there are an enormous number of molecules in a breath of air. If the molecules in Caesar's last gasp are shared out evenly across the whole of the earth's atmosphere—plausible after 2000 years—then on average the air we inhale with each new breath (about 500 ml) will include one of those molecules.
Julius Caesar could just as well be any person that has ever lived.
Or the last mammoth.
A small crawling thing
On a perilous journey
Not squashed so far.
Scritch scratch at my window.
A sharp clawed one seeking entry.
I must brush up my endgame first.
I dropped some poems in the lane.
Where I hope someone finds them.
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