Poem of the Week

The World Is Too Much With Us

by William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Star Talk

I just discovered this National Geographic program, Star Talk. It’s a weekly late night talk show with scientists as guests. The host Neil deGrasse Tyson has a comedian and a scientist on to talk about the cosmos. It’s entertaining and enlightening.

June Staycation

Dragon Boat Zongzi

Dragon Boat Zongzi

Since Friday the 26th is our last day of class and I’d given two tests and they needed to be graded, going out of town for the long Dragon Boat Festival weekend seemed foolish. So my colleague and I came to Jinan’s Hyatt hotel where we frequently enjoy their Thursday Ladies’ Night music and cocktails.

We booked the executive floor, which perfect for “staycationers,” who can go to local restaurants anytime. The breakfast and cocktail hour were more than enough to delight and nourish. The cocktail hour offered salad or cold vegetables, breads, cheeses, hot appetizers, drinks and desserts. What more do you need?

How creative the chefs here are! Top notch! I particularly liked the mango pudding, scones, little cakes, fresh juices, and cheeses.

Congee and its accouterments

Congee and its accouterments

Grading was a breeze, if not a joy in this setting. I could take exercise breaks, had BBC, CNN or Channel News Asia to divert my attention, got three free English newspapers, and didn’t have to make my bed or tidy up. My time was so focused.

Sunday after breakfast a friend and I walked to Five Dragons Pond where we could take in nature and the art gallery.

The Hyatt staff speaks English well and are so eager to please. They strike the perfect balance of friendliness and professionalism.

The Hyatt’s right near a night market and Wanda shopping center so bargain hunters can find new goodies to take home. (I was able to avoid temptation in this area.)

A Poem for Fathers

Father and Son

by Delmore Schwartz

“From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.”

FRANZ KAFKA
Father: 
On these occasions, the feelings surprise,
Spontaneous as rain, and they compel

Explicitness, embarrassed eyes——

Son: 
Father, you’re not Polonius, you’re reticent,
But sure. I can already tell
The unction and falsetto of the sentiment
Which gratifies the facile mouth, but springs

From no felt, had, and wholly known things.

Father: 
You must let me tell you what you fear
When you wake up from sleep, still drunk with sleep:
You are afraid of time and its slow drip,
Like melting ice, like smoke upon the air
In February’s glittering sunny day.
Your guilt is nameless, because its name is time,
Because its name is death. But you can stop

Time as it dribbles from you, drop by drop.

Son: 
But I thought time was full of promises,

Even as now, the emotion of going away——

Father: 
That is the first of all its menaces,
The lure of a future different from today;
All of us always are turning away
To the cinema and Asia. All of us go
To one indeterminate nothing.

Son:

                                          Must it be so?
I question the sentiment you give to me,
As premature, not to be given, learned alone
When experience shrinks upon the chilling bone.
I would be sudden now and rash in joy,
As if I lived forever, the future my toy.
Time is a dancing fire at twenty-one,
Singing and shouting and drinking to the sun,
Powerful at the wheel of a motor-car,
Not thinking of death which is foreign and far.
Father: 
If time flowed from your will and were a feast
I would be wrong to question your zest.
But each age betrays the same weak shape.
Each moment is dying. You will try to escape
From melting time and your dissipating soul
By hiding your head in a warm and dark hole.
See the evasions which so many don,
To flee the guilt of time they become one,
That is, the one number among masses,
The one anonymous in the audience,
The one expressionless in the subway,
In the subway evening among so many faces,
The one who reads the daily newspaper,
Separate from actor and act, a member
Of public opinion, never involved.
Integrated in the revery of a fine cigar,
Fleeing to childhood at the symphony concert,
Buying sleep at the drugstore, grandeur
At the band concert, Hawaii
On the screen, and everywhere a specious splendor:
One, when he is sad, has something to eat,
An ice cream soda, a toasted sandwich,
Or has his teeth fixed, but can always retreat
From the actual pain, and dream of the rich.
This is what one does, what one becomes
Because one is afraid to be alone,
Each with his own death in the lonely room.
But there is a stay. You can stop
Time as it dribbles from you, drop by drop.
Son: 
Now I am afraid. What is there to be known?
Father: 
Guilt, guilt of time, nameless guilt.
Grasp firmly your fear, thus grasping your self,
Your actual will. Stand in mastery,
Keeping time in you, its terrifying mystery.
Face yourself, constantly go back
To what you were, your own history.
You are always in debt. Do not forget
The dream postponed which would not quickly get
Pleasure immediate as drink, but takes
The travail of building, patience with means.
See the wart on your face and on your friend’s face,
On your friend’s face and indeed on your own face.
The loveliest woman sweats, the animal stains
The ideal which is with us like the sky …

Son: 

Because of that, some laugh, and others cry.

More

Poem of the Week

To My Father’s Business

by Kenneth Koch
Leo bends over his desk
Gazing at a memorandum
While Stuart stands beside him
With a smile, saying,
“Leo, the order for those desks
Came in today
From Youngstown Needle and Thread!”
C. Loth Inc., there you are
Like Balboa the conqueror
Of those who want to buy office furniture
Or bar fixtures
In nineteen forty in Cincinnati, Ohio!
Secretaries pound out
Invoices on antique typewriters—
Dactyllographs
And fingernail biters.
I am sitting on a desk
Looking at my daddy
Who is proud of but feels unsure about
Some aspects of his little laddie.
I will go on to explore
Deep and/or nonsensical themes
While my father’s on the dark hardwood floor
Hit by a couple of Ohio sunbeams.
Kenny, he says, some day you’ll work in the store.
But I felt “never more” or “never ever”
Harvard was far away
World War Two was distant
Psychoanalysis was extremely expensive
All of these saved me from you.
C. Loth you made my father happy
I saw his face shining
He laughed a lot, working in you
He said to Miss Ritter
His secretary
“Ritt, this is my boy, Kenny!”
“Hello there Kenny,” she said
My heart in an uproar
I loved you but couldn’t think
Of staying with you
I can see the virtues now
That could come from being in you
A sense of balance
Compromise and acceptance—
Not isolated moments of brilliance
Like a girl without a shoe,
But someone that you
Care for every day—
Need for customers and the economy
Don’t go away.
There were little pamphlets
Distributed in you
About success in business
Each about eight to twelve pages long
One whole series of them
All ended with the words
“P.S. He got the job”
One a story about a boy who said,
“I swept up the street, Sir,
Before you got up.” Or
“There were five hundred extra catalogues
So I took them to people in the city who have a dog”—
P.S. He got the job.
I didn’t get the job
I didn’t think that I could do the job
I thought I might go crazy in the job
Staying in you
You whom I could love
But not be part of
The secretaries clicked
Their Smith Coronas closed at five p.m.
And took the streetcars to Kentucky then
And I left too.

Travel Theme: Old Fashioned

smkelly8:

A crane in Japan, the symbol of long life.

Originally posted on Natsukashi Kansai:

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Each week Ailsa inspires bloggers to post travel photos on a theme. This week’s theme is Old Fashioned and I’m sharing this photo of old fashioned Chinese dolls.

If you want to see more Old Fashioned photos look at these blogs listed on Where’s My Backpack?

If you would like to join in (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Old-fashioned
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
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Silent Sunday

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Sepia Saturday

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This weeks’s Sepia Saturday prompt is a typewriter. As much as I love computers, there’s something romantic about old typewriters. While I wouldn’t buy one or in most cases prefer to use one, if I found my old one, I’d keep it and probably use it to type envelopes or possibly a letter.

Yet as the video above shows, a lot of kids have little idea of how to type with one since they’ve only seen them in old movies.

Selectric

Selectric

I remember that my aunt had a Selectric typewriter and I thought that was “the coolest,” so “easy” to correct mistakes.

typewriter

My first typewriter looked a lot like this.

To see more photos inspired by this week’s prompt, go to Sepia Saturday.

My first

Red River

red_river1

I usually don’t care for Westerns, but Red River (1948) with John Wayne is a new exception. In Red River, Wayne goes against type and plays a character who’s hard to like. Tom Dunson goes out west to seek a fortune from ranching. Early on he splits from his wagon train and leaves behind his lady love. To no avail, she pleads for him to take her with him.

Nope, she’ll be safer with the group and Tom’ll send for her. Unfortunately, Comanches attack the wagon train killing everyone but Matt, a boy who manages to escape with a cow. Tom adopts Matt and apparently sent him to school.

red_river2

Fourteen years later, after the Civil War, the 10,000 cattle, Tom’s raised are worthless since Southerners can’t afford beef. He must get his cattle to Missouri in spite of danger from Indians and terrible trail conditions. He lays down the law with the men who agree to go with him. If you start, you must finish. You’ll get $100, big money for going.

As they proceed, times are tough. They must fight Indians, put up with meagre rations and with Tom, who grows more obsessed and stubborn refusing to change his route when it’s clear that his plan is too dangerous. Men rebel and Matt’s caught in the middle against his adoptive father. Wayne plays a complex man and with most actors he’d be completely unlikeable. Clift’s Matt is natural and every move is simple, yet absorbing. According to the Criterion supplements, Clift, who’s films I hadn’t seen, was the first “Method” actor to become a star.

Restaurant Review

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Dianne, her student Emma and I went to Daming Lake on Tuesday for what’s become a weekly evening walk. Before the moon came out, we found a new, intriguing restaurant in a refurbished old shop by the canals downtown. The name is in Chinese and I can’t

While the exterior looks traditional, inside there’s a crisp, bright, artsy look.

Restaurant marked in red

Restaurant location marked in red

With Emma’s help we ordered mixed vegetables, fried tofu and what we thought was tempura rose petals.

The tofu was served in a dramatic manner. The server brought us a black plate with a circle of salt and the tofu stuffed inside foil. She lit the salt and flames heated the tofu before they went out. Then she cut a cross through the tofu to open it.

The tempura rose petals turned out to be tempura mashed purple potatoes, with rose petals as a garnish. Probably tastier than the petals we thought we’d get. I admit I first thought it was red bean paste inside and I turned up my nose at the dish. Once Emma said it was purple potatoes, I liked it. That says a lot more about me and psychology than the food itself.

The mixed vegetables, while not innovative were a tasty addition to the meal. We’d definitely return.

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