athelind: (far call)
I remember where I was when I heard, of course. I was sweeping the mess deck on the USCGC Rush. I was only a few short weeks out of Boot Camp at that point.

Several people have quoted President Reagan's speech of that tragic day, when he spoke of how Challenger's crew had ... slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.. Reagan, in turn, was alluding to the first and last lines of a pre-space flight poem written by a World War II aviator:

High Flight
John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew—
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

athelind: (facepalm)
As I was folding laundry just now, my brain, of its own accord, started composing a poem.

I thought it was going to be a thoughtful political piece, like Ginsberg, like Kerouac, starting with the lines "the terrorists have already won/We elected them in 2001."

But, no. It turned into a LIMERICK.

The terrorists have already won
We elected them in 2001
In 2004
We asked for some more
And look, they still aren't done!

So much for erudite political commentary. I can't even blame the DayQuil for this one.

athelind: (Default)
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How would you describe the last decade in one sentence?

Oh, that's easy:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

—William Butler Yeats

athelind: (Default)
I was reminded today of the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, which finds beauty in transience and impermanence.

Some things are more precious for their impermanence; some things are more perfect for their imperfections.

There is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in ... )

athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
In the late '80s, one of the numerous transit systems in the Bay Area had a cultural enrichment program, putting art and poetry in those overhead add slots on the bus. I believe some of the brief poems were actually commissioned for the program.

Around 1987, there was a poem that stuck with me, though I could only remember part of the first line (I'm pretty sure I wrote it down at some point, but I can't even find documents from a year ago, much less twenty-three).

Every few years, I do a Google search for it; this morning, I finally got a single hit. Alas, it remains uncredited:

Soft chains are most difficult to break: affection, ease.
The spirit, wide-eyed, limp-muscled; nestles on its side, and waits.

If anyone can chase down the proper credits, I'd appreciate it (and so, I suspect, would the poet).

There will now, of course, be two Google hits for the opening line; odds are good that this post will be on top very quickly.

November 2016

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