e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

Archive for the category “Out and about”

Writ on water

Poets' graves in RomeThe BBC website today has an article about the Protestant cemetery in Rome. Among the numerous rich and/or famous people buried there is John Keats, who died at twenty-five.

It is so sad that he didn’t live long enough to know how popular his work would become and how his genius would be appreciated. He felt he was leaving no mark on the world.

Never one to deny what he saw as truth, he asked for this epitaph on his gravestone:

Here lies one whose name was writ in water.

Reading that made me wonder how we could describe those of us who write electronically. ‘On water’ doesn’t quite cover it; ‘on ether’ is a bit fanciful.

I do sometimes wonder what will happen to the billions of words written daily in websites, blogs, social media and others. Will they withstand any test of time? Does material stored on a hard disk slowly fade, first to a stuttery whisper and finally to a white hiss? Will the future be saddled with inaccessible diaries and letters on unreadable DVDs? If so how will future biographers manage?

Now that some of the material has taken to radio waves I picture it floating around the world and out into space to eventually saturate the galaxy with the thoughts of people who will be millenia dead by that time. Will future historians leap into faster-than-light spaceships and pursue the words of the famous across interstellar emptiness?

Keats’ works have proved durable, but part of that is that they were committed to paper.

Public domain picture from Wikicommons.

 

 

Tennyson had many words for it

castle

Hohenschwangau from Neuschwanstein

Now that the stately home visiting season is upon us, my mind has turned to those most fairytale of stately dwellings, the castles. In Europe we’re blessed with a lot of them – this is IMHO one of the most beautiful – floating in its valley surrounded by mist and trees.

There is far too much poetry about castles for me to attempt to look at it, but I’d like to share some of my favourite lines from Tennyson’s The Princess: The Splendour falls on Castle Walls. The picture painted is so vivid.

The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story;
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.

He understood that a castle isn’t alone, it has a location and, if the old time builders got it right, the building and setting enhance one another.

For the rest of the poem see The Poetry Foundation website.

A day of silence and its poetry

The last day of March was Nyepi Day for the Balinese. This means a day of silence – traffic stops, people stay at home and contemplate, all is quiet. I wish we had such a day here.

I couldn’t find poems about Nyepi, not in English anyway, but the website Bali for the World has what seems to be a translation of one, as well as a good write up of the deeper meanings of the day.

With flowers make yadnya,
Melasti with going to the beach.

It is the sort of ceremony that ought to have a rich literature. Perhaps some of my readers know of it, if so I’d be grateful if you could let me know.

The mighty bear – Rondeau for dVerse

E A M Harris:

I love this story and the picture that goes with it.

Originally posted on Björn Rudbergs writings:


The mighty bear that walk her home
a girl should never lonely roam
as little hands caress his fur
the vicious beast will gently purr
they slowly walk in twilight’s gloam

she’s talking ‘bout her dreams of Rome
her chatter fills the air like foam
and see him silently concur
the mighty bear

in smell of honeysuckle bloom
the beast will leave her to her room
he walks alone among the firs
but in her dreams will always stir
she’ll never find another groom
as mighty bear


The Bear by Michael Sowa

The Bear by Michael Sowa


Today at dVerse poetics, Marina Sofia will make her premier appearance doing poetics. We should write about animals, and since Björn means bear, the animal choice was easy.

April 1, 2014

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR THE COVER REVEAL OF 100 NIGHTMARES

E A M Harris:

Congratulations to KZ on her new book. I hope it really takes off. There are too few illustrated books around these days.

Originally posted on The Eclectic Eccentric Shopaholic:

what's the tale behind this image? find out in one of my stories in 100 Nightmares

what’s the tale behind this image? find out in one of my stories in 100 Nightmares

Hi everyone! I’m releasing my very first horror story collection this April and I’m seriously psyched. It consists of 100 stories written in exactly 100 words, accompanied by a few illustrations.

I’ll be needing volunteers for the cover reveal. The book cover is finally done and it’s oh so brilliant!

If you like my writing, help me spread the word by joining my Blog Blast. It’s a self-published effort so I’m going to need all the help I can get.

Send me a message at crazyaboutmiumiu2@yahoo.com

I’ll send you the cover and a description of my book so you can post it on your blog whenever you’re free. In exchange, I’d give you my soul but you probably don’t want the filthy little thing so I’ll just feature you on my blog and thank…

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Haiku for a Chinese garden

Chinese pond and pavilions

Pavilions circle
a tranquil pond; beyond them
lies a storm-tossed world.

Five Fascinating Facts about Douglas Adams

E A M Harris:

For all lovers of things quirky and particularly Douglas Adams brand of quirk.

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

1. One of Douglas Adams’s early jobs was as a bodyguard to a Qatari family of oil tycoons. He also had a job cleaning a chicken-shed at one point. The ‘eureka moment’ for  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy came when he lay drunk in a field in Innsbruck, Austria in the early 1970s. At the time he was carrying a copy of  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Europe with him, and it occurred to him – as he looked up at the stars - that ‘somebody ought to write a  Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’.  It took a few years for the idea to take shape, but in 1978 the radio programme made its debut. A trilogy – comprising, as trilogies don’t tend to, five books – followed. If you want to see an interview with a young Douglas Adams talking about the series, there is a great Youtube clip of Adams being interviewed on the…

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Polished clouds

Clouds

Yesterday the high clouds had a sheen on them as if the angels had been polishing them. What did they use for the polishing? a gossamer cloth and new raindrops?

A couple of times I’ve had jobs office cleaning and the work has always been accompanied by fooling and joking. Do angels do the same as they buff up our aerial scenery? What sort of jokes do they tell? Are they suitable for mixed company?

I googled clouds and angels and was amazed at how many sites there are devoted to cloud-angels. The interpretation of what they are varies, but it’s worth a browse.

Photo by AlanD.

Found poetry and huskies

List of husky namesRecently I attended a meeting at the British Antarctic Survey building in Cambridge. Outside the main entrance is a memorial to the dogs that worked for the Survey from 1945 to 1993.

For me the list of names is found poetry. I can imagine them being recited with the sounds of barking dogs and hissing antarctic winds in the background.

The names are so evocative: Hairybreeks and Hobbits are friendly, but would I want to meet Terrors or Gangsters? I’d love to shake paws with a dog called Moomin, even though I don’t know what his name means.

There’s quite a bit of poetry about huskies on the web. One called My Husky Team about a race to the Pole has a ballad-like start and an amusing ending.

I met a man who mushed
with Peary to the Pole.
Said I, ‘In all that land so hushed
what most inspired your soul?’

Another that I like is on a site called Dogster. It starts with a statement of the achievement of the Siberian huskies.

You conquered the toughest country
Ever created on earth.
Where you led, man followed your footsteps,
And the North was given birth.

I don’t have the names of either of these poets, but I admire their work and their praise, amusing and serious, for the husky.

Merry Christmas

I’m typing this to the sound of church bells, one of my favourite sounds; it gives me a feel of cheerfulness.Arbol_Navidad_03

I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas. If it’s not a festival you keep, I hope you’re having a lovely day doing something else. If you’re alone, I wish you  a peaceful, cosy time with joyful thoughts to keep you company.

Not everyone is happy today – often with very good reason. May being surrounded by celebration  be a comfort to them.

Picture by Jorge Barrios from Wikimedia.

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