Saturday, March 29, 2014

How Did You

4:43 PM 1 Comments
Illustrations by Gordon Ross
How Did You Die? by 1Edmund Vance Cooke

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
Edmund Vance Cooke PoemWith a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what's that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It's nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there -- that's disgrace.
The harder you're thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn't the fact that you're licked that counts,
It's how did you fight -- and why?

And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could,
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he's slow or spry,
It isn't the fact that you're dead that counts,
But only how did you die?

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org

1. Biography
"Edmund Vance Cooke, popularly known as "the poet laureate of childhood," was born on June 5, 1866, in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada. He began working at 13-14 years old for the White Sewing Machine Co. factory and stayed there for 14 years until he became a self-employed poet and lecturer in 1893. His first book of poems, A Patch of Pansies, came out the next year. Four years later, he married Lilith Castleberry; and they had five children. He published at least 16 books of verse, as well as other books, but he is best known for his poem "How Did You Die?" Once the Detroit News launched its radio station, WWJ, in 1920, Cooke broadcast his own poems. In this he pioneered a path that Edgar Guest was to take nationwide in the 1930s. Cooke died in Cleveland on December 18, 1932."

Impertinent poems By Edmund Vance Cooke

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Frost Advisory

6:15 PM 0 Comments
Honoring Robert Frost
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)

 My Butterfly by Robert Frost

THINE emulous fond flowers are dead, too,
And the daft sun-assaulter, he
That frighted thee so oft, is fled or dead:
Save only me
(Nor is it sad to thee!)
Save only me
There is none left to mourn thee in the fields.

The gray grass is not dappled with the snow;
Its two banks have not shut upon the river;
But it is long ago—
It seems forever—
Since first I saw thee glance,
With all the dazzling other ones,
In airy dalliance,
Precipitate in love,
Tossed, tangled, whirled and whirled above,
Like a limp rose-wreath in a fairy dance.

When that was, the soft mist
Of my regret hung not on all the land,
And I was glad for thee,
And glad for me, I wist.

Thou didst not know, who tottered, wandering on high,
That fate had made thee for the pleasure of the wind,
With those great careless wings,
Nor yet did I.

And there were other things:
It seemed God let thee flutter from his gentle clasp:
Then fearful he had let thee win
Too far beyond him to be gathered in,
Snatched thee, o’er eager, with ungentle grasp.

Ah! I remember me
How once conspiracy was rife
Against my life—
The languor of it and the dreaming fond;
Surging, the grasses dizzied me of thought, see LIFE 'In an English field Mr. Frost'
The breeze three odors brought,
And a gem-flower waved in a wand!

Then when I was distraught
And could not speak,
Sidelong, full on my cheek,
What should that reckless zephyr fling
But the wild touch of thy dye-dusty wing!

I found that wing broken to-day!
For thou are dead, I said,
And the strange birds say.
I found it with the withered leaves
Under the eaves.

Rare Robert Frost Collection Surfaces 50 Years After His Death, January 29, 2013; npr

Frost Collection

Life Magazine, March 30, 1962 - Robert Frost

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Artificial Happiness

9:17 PM 0 Comments
Watching an old episode on C-SPAN 2 Book TV, the Author whom spoke about his latest book was awkwardly impassive. In addition, he bungled several words. Fortunately, the subject matter presented kept my attention. The book title, “Artificial Happiness” by Dr. Ronald W. Dworkin. Artificial happiness can be described as anti-depressants given by physicians, when perhaps unnecessary. Dependency on addicting substances. Or an excessive indulgency in various exercises to naturally enhance endorphins. Dr. Dworkin promptly made a distinction regarding clinical depression and unhappiness. Possibly the Author was anxious not to appear as another Tom Cruise - Scientologist, demoting psychology and psychiatry medication. Basically, clinical depression is long term and unhappiness is short term. Essentially, Dr. Ronald W. Dworkin depicted a woman, whom during an interpersonal relationship - wasn’t happy. Her physician treated her with Prozac. After a year on the medication, she did not become any happier. Understandably, she quit taking the pills. Still unhappy, she left her boyfriend. Asked if she wasn’t medicated a year ago, might she had left him? She answered, “Yes, and perhaps I may not have wasted a year of my life, in the process.

I am uncertain how enjoyable or helpful the book” Artificial Happiness” will or can be. Perchance another Reader will inform us if it’s worth a buy. I turned the channel when the Author began blaming any Religion for peoples’ insatiable desire for happiness. The main subject matter is what interests me, unhappiness. Most of us understand or can personally relate to the ingredients for artificial happiness. Narcotics, alcohol, or thrill search bungie jumping. Or merely, overindulging in a gallon of our favorite ice cream - topped with tons of whipped cream, eaten with a shovel! Or playing a sad song repeatedly. All are artificial happiness schemes. All, temporary emotional bandages. Whereas; short term unhappiness - treated by a SSRI, Tricyclic, or MAOI – are mostly inhibitors. The key word being inhibitors, they inhibit us from being happy. Why? Maybe because impermanent unhappiness is a necessary evil. There are times that emerge like an era, when we must grieve. Grieve for loss - loss of a loved one, loss of a job… There are days when hormones may kick and you must scream, cry… From Ecclesiastes:

For every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.

Or The Byrds Song:
To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!

The simple fact is, various famous-treasured poems, literature, songs, plays, movies, paintings… exists because there are moments of unhappiness in everyone’s’ life.

So, pass the ice cream!

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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

1:57 PM 0 Comments

MAUD MULLER

AUD MULLER, on a summer's day,
Raked the meadows sweet with hay.

Beneath her torn hat glowed the wealth
Of simple beauty and rustic health.

Singing, she wrought, and her merry glee
The mock-bird echoed from his tree.

But, when she glanced to the far-off town,
White from its hill-slope looking down,

The sweet song died, and a vague unrest
And a nameless longing filled her breast--

A wish, that she hardly dared to own,
For something better than she had known.

The Judge rode slowly down the lane,
Smoothing his horse's chestnut mane.

He drew his bridle in the shade
Of the apple-trees, to greet the maid,

And ask a draught from the spring that flowed
Through the meadow across the road.

She stooped where the cool spring bubbled up,
And filled for him her small tin cup,

And blushed as she gave it, looking down
On her feet so bare, and her tattered gown.

"Thanks!" said the Judge, "a sweeter draught
From a fairer hand was never quaffed."

He spoke of the grass and flowers and trees,
Of the singing birds and the humming bees;

Then talked of the haying, and wondered whether
The cloud in the west would bring foul weather.

And Maud forgot her briar-torn gown,
And her graceful ankles bare and brown;

And listened, while a pleasant surprise
Looked from her long-lashed hazel eyes.

At last, like one who for delay
Seeks a vain excuse, he rode away,

Maud Muller looked and sighed: "Ah, me!
That I the Judge's bride might be!

"He would dress me up in silks so fine,
And praise and toast me at his wine.

"My father should wear a broadcloth coat;
My brother should sail a painted boat.

"I'd dress my mother so grand and gay,
And the baby should have a new toy each day.

"And I'd feed the hungry and clothe the poor,
And all should bless me who left our door."

The Judge looked back as he climbed the hill,
And saw Maud Muller standing still.

"A form more fair, a face more sweet,
Ne'er hath it been my lot to meet.

"And her modest answer and graceful air
Show her wise and good as she is fair.

"Would she were mine, and I to-day,
Like her, a harvester of hay:

"No doubtful balance of rights and wrongs,
Nor weary lawyers with endless tongues,

"But low of cattle, and song of birds,
And health, and quiet, and loving words."

But he thought of his sisters, proud and cold,
And his mother, vain of her rank and gold.

So, closing his heart, the Judge rode on,
And Maud was left in the field alone.

But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
When he hummed in court an old love-tune;

And the young girl mused beside the well,
Till the rain on the unraked clover fell.

He wedded a wife of richest dower,
Who lived for fashion, as he for power.

Yet oft, in his marble hearth's bright glow,
He watched a picture come and go:

And sweet Maud Muller's hazel eyes
Looked out in their innocent surprise.

Oft when the wine in his glass was red,
He longed for the wayside well instead;

And closed his eyes on his garnished rooms,
To dream of meadows and clover-blooms.

And the proud man sighed, with a secret pain,
"Ah, that I were free again!

"Free as when I rode that day,
Where the barefoot maiden raked her hay."

She wedded a man unlearned and poor,
And many children played round her door.

But care and sorrow, and child-birth pain,
Left their traces on heart and brain.

And oft, when the summer sun shone hot
On the new-mown hay in the meadow lot,

And she heard the little spring brook fall
Over the roadside, through the wall,

In the shade of the apple-tree again
She saw a rider draw his rein,

And, gazing down with timid grace,
She felt his pleased eyes read her face.

Sometimes her narrow kitchen walls
Stretched away into stately halls;

The weary wheel to a spinnet turned,
The tallow candle an astral burned;

And for him who sat by the chimney lug,
Dozing and grumbling o'er pipe and mug,

A manly form at her side she saw,
And joy was duty and love was law.

Then she took up her burden of life again,
Saying only, "It might have been."

Alas for maiden, alas for Judge,
For rich repiner and household drudge!

God pity them both! and pity us all,
Who vainly the dreams of youth recall;

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies
Deeply buried from human eyes;

And, in the hereafter, angels may
Roll the stone from its grave away!

John Greenleaf Whittier, "Maud Muller," Selected American and British Poems, Lit2Go Edition, (1856), http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/109/selected-american-and-british-poems/5398/maud-muller/. John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) "an influential American Quaker poet and ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States."