Author Topic: Strange Connections  (Read 51319 times)

Offline Lumière

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2006, 05:35:27 pm »
That song "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield - one of my fave songs.

I listen to it at least once a day!  :)  Love the words!


Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2006, 01:28:15 pm »
Today, I ponder some of the strange connections of the transcendental era (the late 18th, early 19th century), mainly because in addition to Walt Whitman, Herman Melville (Moby Dick) and Henry David Thoreau also commented on the wonders of the homosexual relationship. I had always admired Thoreau's Walden Pond and his essay Civil Disobedience inspired later revolutionaries such as Martin Luther King Jr, but not until recently did I realize that Herman Melville or Henry David Thoreau were gay, or that they had even corresponded with Walt Whitman.

Anyway, lets kick off with some Whitman today. Words to live by for anyone, straight or gay, in my opinion.

"All beauty comes from beautiful blood and beautiful brain. If the greatnesses are in conjunction in a man or woman it is enough... the fact will prevail through the universe... but the gaggery and gilt of a million years will not prevail. Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. This is what you shall do: Love the earth and the sun and animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and the crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body..."
From the "Preface" of Leaves of Grass

Henry David Thoreau
On Friendship

"What is commonly honored with the name of Friendship is no very profound or powerful instinct. Men do not, after all, love their Friends greatly. I do not often see the farmers made seers and wise to the verge of insanity by their Friendship for one another. They are not often transfigured and translated by love in each other's presence. I do not observe them purified, refined, and elevated by the love of a man.
     But sometimes we are said to love one another, that is, to stand in a true relation to him, so that we give the best to, and receive the best from, him. Between whom there is hearty truth there is love; and in proportion to our truthfulness and confidence in one another, our lives are divine and miraculous, and answer to our ideal. There are passages of affection in our intercourse with mortal men and women, such as no prophecy has taught us to expect, which transcend our earthly life, and anticipate heaven for us. What is this Love that may come right into the middle of a prosaic Goffstown day, equal to any of the gods? that discovers a new world, fair and fresh and eternal, occupying the place of this old one, when to the common eye a dust had settled on the universe? which world cannot else be reached and does not exist. What other words, we may also ask, are memorable and worthy to be repeated than those which love has inspired?"
From A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

Now we come to one of the great American classics, Moby Dick, which I have always dreaded because of its size and the boredom that many profess from reading it. I think their boredom comes from trying to read too much too quickly, and find that if the book is read more slowly it offers immense enjoyment. It is filled with a mystical depth. Few writers have meditated so profoundly on the mystery of good and evil and the invisible war within the human soul. It becomes even more meaningful when you realize that the author was facing his own inner demons as he came to terms with his own sexuality (or perhaps continued to face difficulty doing so).

Father Mapple's Sermon
"I have read ye by what murky light may be mine the lesson that Jonah teaches to all sinners; and therefore to ye, and still more to me, for I am a greater sinner than ye. And now how gladly would I come down from this masthead and sit on the hatches there where you sit, and listen as you listen, while some one of you reads me that other and more awful lesson which Jonah teaches to me, as a pilot of the living God. How being an anointed pilot-prophet, or speaker of true things, and bidden by the Lord to sound those unwelcome truths in the ears of a wicked Nineveh, Jonah, appaled at the hostility he should raise, fled from his mission, and sought to escape his duty and his God by taking ship at Joppa. But God is everywhere; Tarshish he never reached. As we have seen, God came upon him in the whale, and swallowed him down to the living gulfs of doom, and with swift slantings tore him along "into the midst of the seas," where the eddying depths sucked him ten thousand fathoms down, and "the weeds were wrapped about his head," and all the watery world of woe bowled over him. Yet even then beyond the reach of any plummet - "out of the body of hell" - when the whale grounded upon the ocean's utmost bones, even then, God heard the engulphed, repenting prophet when he cried. Then God spake unto the fish; and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the sea, the whale came breeching up toward the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and earth; and "vomited out Jonah upon the dry land"; when the word of the Lord came a second time; and Jonah, bruised and beaten - his ears, like two sea shells, still multitudinously murmuring of the ocean - Jonah did the Almighty's bidding. To preach the Truth to the face of the Falsehood! That was it!
     "This, shipmates, this is that other lesson; and woe to that pilot of the living God who slights it. Woe to him whom this world charms from Gospel duty! Woe to him who seeks to pour oil upon the waters when God has brewed them into a gale! Woe to him who seeks to please rather than appall! Woe to him whose good name is more to him than goodness! Woe to him who, in this world, courts not dishonor! Woe to him who would not be true, even though to be false were salvation! Yea, woe to him who, as the great Pilot Paul has it, while preaching to others is himself a castaway!"
     He drooped and fell away from himself for a moment; then lifting his face to them again, showed a deep joy in his eyes, as he cried out in a heavenly enthusiasm - "But oh! shipmates! on the starboard hand of every woe, there is a sure delight; and higher the top of that delight, than the bottom of the woe is deep. Is not the main truck higher than the kelson is low?  Delight is to him - a far, far upward, and inward delight - who against the proud gods and commodores of this earth, ever stands forth his own inexorable self. Delight is to him whose strong arms yet support him, when the ship of this base treacherous world has gone down beneath him. Delight is to him, who gives no quarter in the truth, and kills, burns, and destroys all sin though he pluck it out from under the robes of Senators and Judges. Delight - top-gallant delight is to him, who acknowledges no law or lord, but the Lord his God, and is only a patriot to heaven. Delight is to him, who all the waves of the billows of the seas of the boisterous mob can never shake from this sure Keel of the Ages. And eternal delight and deliciousness will be his, who coming to lay him down, can say with his final breath - O Father! - chiefly known to me by thy rod - mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be Thine, more than to be this world's, or mine own. Yet this is nothing; I leave eternity to Thee; for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?"
     He said no more, but slowly waving a benediction, covered his face with his hands, and so remained kneeling, till all the people had departed, and he was left alone in the place."
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2006, 01:52:16 pm »
If there is a heaven there needs to be a special place for people who will transcribe the volume you have to share with us. Thank you. I think I will plan to read Moby Dick in 2007.  :-*
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2006, 05:15:58 am »
Well, I haven't read anything phenomenal in a while, but I thought we might explore some more poetry. From Emily Dickenson to Sappho herself. Emily is one of the most well known American poets, and her family was all too eager to hide the majority of her poems, as they were love poems written to women. Apparently certain poems were only recently made available to the public.

Her poem "If I can keep one heart from breaking," resounds with so much of my own philosophy and emotional standards, that I bequeathed it to a fellow Brokie here at a suitable time. Of course, now I can't find it, but there is a musical rendition of this poem in Bill Douglas's Songs of Earth and Sky, and a beautiful one. From that same CD I also like "My love is like the red, red rose", which is once again a famous poem, but I cannot recall who wrote it.

Nature - the Gentlest Mother is,
Impatient of no Child -
The feeblest - or the waywardest -
Her Admonition mild -

In Forest - and the Hill -
By Traveler - be heard -
Restraining Rampant Squirrel -
Or too impetuous Bird-

How fair Her Conversation -
A Summer Afternoon -
Her Household - Her Assembly -
And when the Sun go down -

Her Voice among the Aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest Cricket -
The most unworthy Flower -

When all the Children sleep -
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light Her lamps -
Then bending from the Sky -

With infinite Affection -
And infinite Care -
Her Golden finger on Her lip -
Wills Silence - Everywhere -

Sappho is the earliest known woman writer in the central Western tradition (610 - 580 B.C.). The ancient Greeks referred to her as "The Poetess", the female counterpart of Homer, and she remains one of the most celebrated natives of Lesbos, her face adorning the coins of that land for almost two centuries. Her work radiates a vision of the sacredness of love, a belief that the divine revels in our passion for joy and beauty and manifests itself in and through it.


Leave Crete,
Aphrodite,
and come to this
sacred place
encircled by apple trees,
fragrant with offered smoke.

Here, cold springs
sing softly
amid the branches;
the ground is shady with roses;
from trembling young leaves,
a deep drowsiness pours.

In the meadow,
horses are cropping
the wildflowers of spring,
scented fennel
blows on the breeze.

In this place, Lady of Cyprus, pour
the nectar that honors you
into our cups,
gold, and raised up for drinking.


I confess

I confess
I love that
which caresses
me. I believe
Love has his
share in the
Sun's brilliance
and virtue.

To An Army Wife, In Sardis:
Some say a cavalry corps,
some infantry, some, again,
will maintain that the swift oars

of our fleet are the finest
sight on dark earth; but I say
that whatever one loves, is.

This is easily proved: did
not Helen - she who had scanned
the flower of the world's manhood-

choose as first among men one
who laid Troy's honor in ruin?
Warped to his will, forgetting

love due her own blood, her own
child, she wandered far with him.
So Anactoria, although you

being far away forget us,
the dear sound of your footstep
and light glancing in your eyes

would move me more than glitter
of Lydian horse or armored
tread of mainland infantry.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2006, 05:18:08 am by Daniel »
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Kelda

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2006, 05:51:02 am »
That song "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield - one of my fave songs.

I listen to it at least once a day!  :)  Love the words!

Is she well now in the US these days Milli? I think she muxt be concentrating on that side of the world at the moment - she's not done had any singles in the UK for about a year.  Saw her at Licve 8 - Very good live performer - she dueted with Jamie Cullum who I LOVVVVEEE!!!

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Offline Lumière

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2006, 12:58:09 pm »
Is she well now in the US these days Milli? I think she muxt be concentrating on that side of the world at the moment - she's not done had any singles in the UK for about a year.  Saw her at Licve 8 - Very good live performer - she dueted with Jamie Cullum who I LOVVVVEEE!!!

Hey Kelda ~ I don't know if she is popular in the US, but I believe that song "Unwritten" was a hit over here in Canadaland.  I heard it on the radio all the time and saw the music video a couple of times as well.  She might not be a household name yet, but she certainly has the potential to be!  :)


Danny ~  Thanks for bringing all these beautiful poems over here!


Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2006, 02:51:17 pm »
"For what its worth" I can't say I've ever heard of her, but will keep me ears open.
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Daniel

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2006, 04:54:59 pm »
This is why I don't like daily blogs. Days go by when I can't think of anything worthwhile to say.... LOL.

Someone throw out a topic.
Why do we consume what we consume?
Why do we believe what we believe?
Why do we accept what we accept?
You have a body, a mind, and a soul.... You have a responsibility.

Offline Lumière

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2006, 06:56:34 pm »
This is why I don't like daily blogs. Days go by when I can't think of anything worthwhile to say.... LOL.

Someone throw out a topic.

Fine!  ;D

Daniel, where can I find that essay you wrote on Latter Days?  I would love to check it out!  :)


Offline Andrew

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Re: Strange Connections
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2006, 08:17:38 pm »
This is why I don't like daily blogs. Days go by when I can't think of anything worthwhile to say.... LOL.

Someone throw out a topic.

This is why I don't like daily blogs. Days go by when I can't think of anything worthwhile to say.... LOL.

Someone throw out a topic.

You know, you don't have to write something worthwhile every day.  Remember your Emily Dickinson:

Your thoughts don't have words every day
They come a single time
Like signal esoteric sips
Of the communion Wine

It looks as if you found the edition of Dickinson I was recommending - the one that preserves her capitalization and punctuation in the manuscripts.