As a child, Horace Walpole frequently heard it said of himself that surely he would die soon. Born in England in 1717, the last of his mother’s six children, he was fragile and prone to illness from birth. Two siblings before him had died in infancy, and so in the family order it went: three older children, loud, healthy and opinionated; two grave markers; and then young Horace toddling up behind—half child, half potential grave marker.
Naturally, his mother, Catherine, spoiled him. His father, Sir Robert Walpole, was the King’s prime minister. This often kept him away from home, as did a long-time mistress who acted, more than his wife did, as his hostess and companion. For her part Catherine had her own dalliances. It was that sort of marriage. The Walpoles…
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Don’t gesticulate with your hands or make faces when speaking, the teachers at my British boarding school told me. It’s vulgar. I’m sure that this enjoinder at such an impressionable age imbued my poems with reticence and austerity.
But poetry has a body language. The poet’s way of breathing supplies oxygen to the body and to the poem. The poet’s way of walking and talking is inherent in the poem. I knew a poet who walked like the prow of a ship cutting through waves, the bone in its teeth, as sailors say, and that how her poems walked and talked.
The body language of a poem is also shaped by the script used in its writing. If it was first written by hand the poet’s hand, the stops and starts, the way I’s are dotted and t’s crossed, lives in the poem. If the poem was first typed, the…
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Minas Tirith (aka the White City and City of the Kings) is the capital of Gondor, a fictional city and castle from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
Completed in 2010 after three years of work, artist Pat Acton recreated the famed city using 420,000 meticulously placed matchsticks and a lot of glue. He used an additional 24,000 small wooden blocks to construct Mount Mindoulluin, which supports the colossal matchstick structure.
To create his artworks, Acton purchases matchsticks (without the sulfur tip) directly from match manufacturers. All of his models (that have not been purchased) can be viewed at the Matchstick Marvels Museum in Gladbrook, Iowa. The museum is open 7 days a week from 1-5 pm (April 1 – Nov. 30). Admission for adults is $5; kids aged 5-12 $3; and free for anyone younger.
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As my depression grows and dips and sways and blossoms until it reaches its truest, angriest form — a black hole — I find myself with my head through the first-floor window of my bedroom, breathing in the night air, trying to stop myself from spinning and spiraling into the angry black hole, as if the night air is the only thing stopping me from falling into the molecule-blasting black vortex. (It’s darker in there than it is outside my window, the night more inviting than anything; out there is my beautiful Oregon green and big and charmingly sleepy, the air tinged with the smell of wet Earth and the rain that is always five minutes away — or five minutes past, whichever way you wish to look at it.) I admit it wholeheartedly, mostly if you didn’t know it before by reading this simple blog: I have clinical depression. The angry, sad, paralyzing kind; the kind that appears from nothing and will only go back after pulling me into nothing. That kind that strikes a relative of yours, but never you. The kind you fear. The kind I fear. That kind. And tonight I’m dealing with it in the simplest way possible: two joints, a notebook, and an open bedroom window. I can breathe by this window. I often feel like I can’t breathe anywhere else. Outside the little first-floor bedroom window of my apartment is a small pine tree, discarded packs of cigarettes surrounding the trunk like the remnants of a religious ceremony put on by some lonely band of roaming heathens; when the weather is nice during the spring and summer I get to sit beneath its branches and read in the morning and early afternoon. I live for those happier times. The angry, sad, paralyzing kind; the kind that appears from nothing and will only go back after pulling me into nothing. That kind that strikes a relative of yours, but never you. The kind you fear. The kind I fear. That kind. Tonight my beautiful little tree has a strange blue glow about it, an ornament two weeks past Christmas. It glows as if inviting me to come outside and join the rest of the big, dumb world. (But I can’t: my ego is still too large, my depression too unique and special for anyone else to truly understand. I can’t, I can’t, I will tell myself in the wee small hours of the morning, the prospect of a new day ahead, the air chilled before the rising of a new (and still same old) Sun. But the evening is still young and I am just one more writer cast in a shadow, trying to escape the misery of “what’s next? What is next, what is next, what is NEXT?”
— Jackson Williams.
I want to, but it’s hard to tell a lie;
by the crumbs on my shirt,
and the feeling that I’m made of dirt,
I think we both know what happened:
I absolutely demolished your pie.
There, in the fridge, I caught a glimpse
of that pie; was it apple? I can not tell.
I just dove right in, gave my stomach hell.
Do I regret this?
It was delicious, sweet, full of bliss;
why was it so good?
I think I know why:
it was yours, it was not mine,
and since I do not like you,
that pie became divine.
— Jackson Williams.
if you forget me.
I want you to know
You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.
If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.
if each day,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
— Jackson Williams.