Saturday, January 22, 2011

She Walks in Beauty, by Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Happy Birthday, Byron.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Presidential Poetry

January 20 is presidential inauguration day every forth year. Since it isn't this year, I thought it might be fitting to post this poem, to help you remember our presidents in order. Unfortunately, it only goes so far. Ready for an update, anybody?

Come, young folks all, and learn my rhyme,
Writ like the ones of olden time.
For linked together, name and name,
The whole a surer place will claim;
And firmly in your mind shall stand
The names of those who've ruled our land.
A noble list: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe,
John Quincy Adams -- and below
Comes Andrew Jackson in his turn;
Martin Van Buren next we learn.
Then William Henry Harrison,
Whom soon John Tyler followed on.
And after Tyler, James K. Polk;
Then Zachary Taylor ruled the folk till death.
Then Millard Fillmore came;
And Franklin Pierce we next must name.
And James Buchanan then appears,
Then Abraham Lincoln through those years
Of war. And when his life was lost
'Twas Andrew Johnson filled his post.
then U.S. Grant and R.B. Hayes,
And James A. Garfield each had place,
And Chester Arthur; and my rhyme
Ends now in Grover Cleveland's time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


"Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your
painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: yes, it is true I have seen
the gunman kill and go free to kill again.
And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women
and children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger.
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my
city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be
alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job, here is a tall
bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;
Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted
against the wilderness,
Building, breaking, rebuilding,
Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,
Laughing even as an ignorant fighter laughs who has never lost a battle,
Bragging and laughing that under his wrist is the pulse, and under his
ribs the heart of the people,
Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked,
sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation."

Carl Sandburg, born Jan 6, 1878