Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fool's Prayer

8:06 PM 4 Comments
THE FOOL'S PRAYER

Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)

THE royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the Monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!"

No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin: but Lord,
"Be merciful to me, a fool!"

'T is not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay; '
'T is by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

The ill-timed truth we might have kept —
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say —
Who knows how grandly it had rung!

Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders — oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
"Be merciful to me, a fool!"

The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
"Be merciful to me, a fool!"

From The Little Book of American Poets, 1787-1900

Monday, March 17, 2008

Keep Smiling!

7:11 PM 6 Comments
When Irish Eyes are Smiling

There's a tear in your eye,
And I'm wondering why,
For it never should be there at all.
With such pow'r in your smile,
Sure a stone you'd beguile,
So there's never a teardrop should fall.
When your sweet lilting laughter's
Like some fairy song,
And your eyes twinkle bright as can be;
You should laugh all the while
And all other times smile,
And now, smile a smile for me.

Chorus
When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

For your smile is a part
Of the love in your heart,
And it makes even sunshine more bright.
Like the linnet's sweet song,
Crooning all the day long,
Comes your laughter and light.
For the springtime of life
Is the sweetest of all
There is ne'er a real care or regret;
And while springtime is ours
Throughout all of youth's hours,
Let us smile each chance we get.


Perry Como





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Monday, March 10, 2008

New Skin For The Old Ceremony

5:09 PM 10 Comments
Perhaps this was serendipity. A serendipitous moment whence unseen, unbeknownst forces in the Universe interrelate events to coincide for a purpose. Or maybe simply the subconscious regurgitating; liken the time I named my Daughter Violet, only later to learn that was my adopted Aunts’ middle name. Many of us have close relationships with those whom the Family has adopted as kin. Could I had known her middle name prior and just forgotten such over the many years? On the other hand; expect for giving emphasis to the possibility of preconceived inklings, neither has anything to do with the current unfolding events. This happenstance begins with a song. By chance, Tuesday night I was one of the many millions of People watching sing his rendition of the song on . I probably would not have thought any more of the song if not for a post by entitled Revolution, and Hallelujah, at her site Wonderland or Not. She states:

“In the meantime I admit to learning something from American idol last night. I learned that I need to listen to the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah”, a song I hadn’t listened to in years, ( No I never watched the OC though I was made aware last night that it was used for that nighttime soap opera) more often. So see, it was worth it.

I, along with at least a million others, was on line last night, thanks to the guy who sang it on Idol, looking for every version of that song we could find. The Buckley version is better than the Rufus Wainwright version, but I am fond of the A cappella Imogen Heap cover. And who knew I actually would see Leonard Cohen himself doing that song, thanks to you tube – actually it is pretty awesome, If not for Idol it never would have happened.”

There it was serendipitously , the name Leonard Cohen. Two events simultaneously coincided; yet had I read Coopers’ post first, thus his name inadvertently stuck in my subconscious as I rented movies that day or did I first rent the movie about him prior to reading her post? Unsure; one fact was emerging, the Universe seemed to be working in the direction of introducing me to an interesting Poet - I admittedly never heard of.

: "Leonard Norman Cohen, CC (born September 21, 1934 in Westmount, Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963.

Cohen's songs and poetry have influenced many other singer-songwriters, and more than a thousand renditions of his work have been recorded."

The movie I rented was, (a film written and directed by ). A documentary mostly featuring Leonard Cohen’s poetic songs with performances by U2, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, Antony, Beth Orton, and Leonard Cohen himself. “1 The bulk of the performances here were captured at Cohen tribute concerts staged by industry vet Hal Willner in Brighton, England in May 2004 and Sydney in January 2005… U2's collaboration with Cohen, "Tower of Song," was recorded separately at the tiny club the Slipper Room on New York's Lower East Side.”

As for the movie itself; was I educated – Yes, as for liking the film – regretfully I’d have to say no, though I can understand the Director’s idea to present the documentary in such a manner. Perhaps fashioned from Leonard Cohen’s Montreal poetic critiques with a close net of Poets including , , . Notwithstanding; I am deeply enthralled by Leonard Cohen’s poetic work.

Ironically, Cooper also writes about Democracy in her post Revolution, and Hallelujah, quoting a few lyrics from the Beatles Song - Revolution. I say ironically because one of Leonard Cohen’s poetic songs is about ().

Several of Leonard Cohen’s lyrics can raise more than a once Catholic school gal’s eyebrows. In the movie he speaks about Janis Joplin and the song . Stating, “I had written about Janis Joplin.” One is then left to assume or misinterpret that the song is about her:

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
you were talking so brave and so sweet,
giving me head on the unmade bed,
while the limousines wait in the street.
Those were the reasons and that was New York,
we were running for the money and the flesh.
And that was called love for the workers in song
probably still is for those of them left.
Ah but you got away, didn't you babe,
you just turned your back on the crowd,
you got away, I never once heard you say,
I need you, I don't need you,
I need you, I don't need you
and all of that jiving around.

His lyrics about sums up what some of us might have wished we had said:

Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that's left
and stuff it up the hole
in your culture

My opinion of what describes Leonard Cohen the best is the preface he wrote in the Chinese translation of his book Beautiful Losers. Here Leonard Cohen reveals himself as the usual modest Poet with a dry sense of humor who values his listeners and readers.

2Penned in February, 2000, and titled, "A Note to the Reader," the preface provides Cohen's latest thoughts on a novel he calls an "odd collection of jazz riffs, pop-art jokes, refigured kitsch and muffled prayer." The essay explains how he wrote the novel on the sunlit patio of his home in Greece, never once wearing a hat, which makes the work, in his words, "more of a sunstroke than a book." ”

Transcribed from his book Beautiful Losers, also found at :

A NOTE TO THE READER

Dear Reader,

Thank you for coming to this book. It is an honor, and a surprise, to have the frenzied thoughts of my youth expressed in Chinese characters. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the translator and the publishers in bringing this curious work to your attention. I hope you will find it useful or amusing.

When I was young, my friends and I read and admired the old Chinese poets. Our ideas of love and friendship, of wine and distance, of poetry itself, were much affected by those ancient songs. Much later, during the years when I practiced as a Zen monk under the guidance of my teacher Kyozan Joshu Roshi, the thrilling sermons of Lin Chi (Rinzai) were studied every day. So you can understand, Dear Reader, how privileged I feel to be able to graze, even for a moment, and with such meager credentials, on the outskirts of your tradition.

This is a difficult book, even in English, if it is taken too seriously. May I suggest that you skip over the parts you don't like? Dip into it here and there. Perhaps there will be a passage, or even a page, that resonates with your curiosity. After a while, if you are sufficiently bored or unemployed, you may want to read it from cover to cover. In any case, I thank you for your interest in this odd collection of jazz riffs, pop-art jokes, religious kitsch and muffled prayer æ an interest which indicates, to my thinking, a rather reckless, though very touching, generosity on your part.

Beautiful Losers was written outside, on a table set among the rocks, weeds and daisies, behind my house on Hydra, an island in the Aegean Sea. I lived there many years ago. It was a blazing hot summer. I never covered my head. What you have in your hands is more of a sunstroke than a book.

Dear Reader, please forgive me if I have wasted your time.

Los Angeles, February 27, 2000

Leonard Cohen

As I continue my serendipitous journey, perhaps to have only learnt about this remarkably talented Poet, I end my post with one of my favorite poetic lyrics by Leonard Cohen thus far:




LEONARD COHEN "Anthem"

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.


1.

2.


Permission to reprint excerpts from Wonderland or Not granted to Binding Ink.

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Post title from Leonard Cohen's fourth studio album: NEW SKIN FOR THE OLD CEREMONY, August 1974 - A remastered CD was released in 1995.


Update: Found, a related serendipitous posts: Leonard Cohen, The Chelsea Hotel, and Ceremonial Crap by By Agent Bedhead, "Tonight, the 2008 inductees will be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 23rd annual induction ceremony in New York City. Stepping into these generally well-worn, vodka-stained shoes are Leonard Cohen, John Mellencamp, The Dave Clark Five, The Ventures, and, in a hurl-worthy display of the power of donation money chuztpah, Madonna..." read more

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

W.P.L.I.

11:53 PM 2 Comments

March is Women's History Month, (also celebrated in October in Canada "declaring that women were to be considered persons under the law. While women being persons seems pretty obvious today, it was not so in the past. Included in these resources: the 2004 , including posters, articles, and more." )

: "March Women's History is an annual declared month in the United States. The event traces its beginnings to the first International Women's Day in 1911. In 1978 in California, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women began a "Women's History Week" celebration. The week was chosen to coincide with International Women's Day, March 8. Congress legally expanded the focus to a whole month in 1987."

From the : "To honor the originality, beauty, imagination, and multiple dimensions of women’s lives, we have chosen Women’s Art: Women’s Vision as the 2008 theme for National Women’s History Month.

The history of women and art is quintessential women’s history. It is the story of amazing women’s accomplishments acclaimed at the time but written out of history. Join us in ensuring that their accomplishments are never forgotten.

This year’s theme provides a special opportunity to discover and celebrate women’s visual arts in a variety of forms and mediums that help expand our perceptions of ourselves and each other."

On a personal note; Binding Ink somehow missed President Bush's acknowledgment about March being Women's History Month. However; I did read:

: "NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2008 as Irish-American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month by celebrating the contributions of Irish Americans to our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

GEORGE W. BUSH"

Nonetheless; with February ending this years' Black History Month, let us not forget: slavery no more, let freedom of equality forever soar, as we proceed on to celebrate Women and Irish-American Heritage. And so in keeping with this years' Women's History Month theme, may all remember the artful poetic truthful, heartfelt words of Mary Birkett Card, as we journey toward achieving Peace in a World United humanely in Humanity:


: "The role of women in the campaign is remarkable because this was a section of the population still disenfranchised, yet they played an important role in one of the key social reforms in history. Women abolitionists who were active in the 1820s and 1830s, such as Elizabeth Heyrick (1769-1831), Anne Knight (1786-1862) and Elizabeth Pease (1807-1897) are well-known. But there were many Quaker women in the 1780s and 1790s who gave their support and campaigned, including Mary Birkett Card (1774-1817), Amelia Opie (1769-1853), Mary Morris Knowles (1773-1807). When the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was set up in 1787 it was an exclusively male organisation, yet its lists of subscribers included several women.

Women brought a distinctive female approach to the campaign, such as writing and circulating imaginative literature and poetry on slavery, such as A Poem on the African Slave Trade. Addressed to her own sex written in 1792 by Mary Birkett Card...

Women wore the medallion designed by Josiah Wedgwood as jewellery to show their support, and later adapted it to show a kneeling female with the words "Am I not a Woman and a Sister?". As the main purchasers of sugar they came to play an important role in the sugar boycott."

: "In 1792, Mary Birkett, a Dublin Quaker, published A Poem on the African Slave Trade. Addressed to her own Sex. in two parts. The poem is noteworthy for the way in which it urges other women to boycott slave produced goods (sugar and rum) in protest against slavery.

Mary’s poem was written at a particular juncture in the abolition campaign. Publication of Parts I and II may have coincided with the passage of the 1792 Abolition Bill through the House of Commons in April and the Lords in May/June – Part II contains an address to members of the House of Lords. At this point, George Harrison published an Address to the Right Reverend the Prelates of England and Wales on the Subject of the Slave Trade. Furthermore, by 1792 abstention had really come into its own as an abolitionist tactic. In 1791, William Fox, a Baptist, had published An Address to the People of Great Britain on the Propriety of Abstaining from West Indian Sugar and Rum. Other pamphlets advocating abstention were published or reprinted in Dublin in 1792. Thousands gave up sugar in their tea and boycotted other slave-produced goods, including people Mary knew in Ireland. One original contribution of her poem is the way she appeals to women’s sense of solidarity as ‘sisters’, utilising the contemporary construction of ‘woman’ as the tender sex to argue that this sensibility, far from excusing inaction, entails greater responsibility. Women are not innocent or powerless - they have an 'important share’ in causing slaves’ suffering through their own consumption, and power to effect change by refusing slave-produced goods and influencing their menfolk to do the same."

( 4 )


To our first parents when th'Almighty Cause
Reveal'd his holy will - his hallow'd laws;
When from his lips the wondrous accents broke,
And mortals listen'd while the Godhead spoke;
In that mysterious moment did he say? -
" Man shall his fellow ravage, sell, and slay;
" And one unhappy race shall always be
" Slave to another’s pamper'd luxury."

There are, I know, who think and more who say,
That not so injur’d - so opprest are they;
That under master’s just they earn their bread,
And plenty crowns the board at which they're fed.
Ah, sophist, vain thy subtle reas'ning’s aim!
Look at the Negro’s sun-burnt, grief-worn frame!
Examine well each limb, each nerve, each bone,
Each artery - and then observe thy own
;

The beating pulse, the heart that throbs within,
All, (save the sable tincture of his skin,)
Say, Christians, do they not resemble you?
If so, their feelings and sensations too:
One moment now with you his burthen rest,
Then tell me, is he happy - is he blest?

Mary Birkett Card (1774-1817)



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W.P.L.I. (Women's History Month, Peace, Love, Irish)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Just Another Day?

1:52 PM 2 Comments
Today is March 1. To some People this is just another day, however; for the moment lets allow a little bit of history to speak for itself:

March 1


1872 - is established as the world's first national park.

1932 - The son of , Charles Augustus Lindbergh III, is kidnapped.

1936 - The is completed.

1961 - President of the United States John F. Kennedy establishes the .

2008 - Current News:

by the





Perhaps not only on this day but always, the mission of the Peace Corps needs to be spoken the loudest:

"Promote World Peace and Friendship"






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