Monday, May 23, 2011

 A Courtesan's Rebuke

No more I
To abide
Thou priggish,
"Better late
Than never"

Not the wine,
Nor the food.
Not the music,
Nor thy countenance
Can turn my head.

Perhaps another time.
But tonight
My favors
Belong to.......

Photo of painting (Banquet Scene with a Lute Player by Nicolas Tournier, 1625) provided for Magpie Tales #67 by Tess Kincaid.

"Better late than never" prompt for Sunday Scribblings #268 by Megg.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

 The indoor forest;
Leaves surrender to my shelves.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Equinoxes and and solstices aside, here in our section of the world springtime is commonly accepted to be the three months, March, April, and May.  I think of May as the crown jewel of springtime because we see the rebirth of nature coming to fruition in full force.  The early precursors; crocus and early Star-of-Bethlehem  have come and gone, giving way to the daffodils, jonquils, narcissus, and hyacinths. The lilacs are budding and the lily-of-the-valley are sprouting.  The apple blossom buds are swelling and the grass is the greenest green it'll ever be. 

In the woodshed the Robin family have taken up residence in the nest they built last year on the ladder.  I wonder if they are the offspring that grew up there last year.  A couple of the bird houses are being prepared for new nests by wrens and some other small birds I've yet to identify.

Watching over this resurgence of life, from the hibernation of winter, is the statue of St. Francis standing in the flower bed near the back door of our house.  We, my wife and I, his handmaidens, were tiding up; pruning dead wood, trimming and mowing and such as that on this, most recent past, Mother's Day.  Our brood had departed to return to their own nesting sites and the day, being sunny,  was that perfect confluence of conditions  most common in the merry month of May to which we let our hearts soar and revel in the sights, sound and aromas of springtime.

Set aside for the moment were thoughts of nature's other side: the devastating tornadoes that spread destruction across our mid-section last month, and the flooding both here and through the midwest which is also causing death and destruction.  Until...............

rel, calls my wife from the upper flower bed, come 'ere and tell me what this is.  I join her and follow the direction of her pointing finger to the largest bird's nest I've ever seen and inside were two nearly whole eggs the size of pullet eggs.  Obviously a nest interrupted, probably knocked from the high pine tree by the windstorm of a week ago.

After some Google research we've deduced that this nest was that of a family of crows.  And this family will have to wait a year to again pursue the rights (rites; thanks Lynn) of spring, since it's highly unusual for crows to hatch more than one brood a year.

Nature gives us much pleasure, especially in springtime, but she also takes away.

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

John Keats published his first poem in the Examiner on this day in 1816.

O SOLITUDE! if I must with thee dwell,

Let it not be among the jumbled heap

Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,—

Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,

Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell, 5

May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep

’Mongst boughs pavillion’d, where the deer’s swift leap

Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.

But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,

Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind, 10

Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d,

Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be

Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,

When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Some may say they live for the family, others to have fun, still others,to make money, but in reality nobody knows what he is living for, he has no goal, except the wish to escape insecurity and aloneness.

Erich Fromm
Magpie # 64

Who's got time
to stand here
Like this?

For five dollar;
easy money,
Waste of time.

Got a garden to tend,
dough to knead,
Veggies to chop.

Washin' to scrub,
hang out to dry.
Ironin' piled high.

Waste my time.
ain't you got no work?
Have a glass of cool well water?

Photo: Smoldering Fires, Clarence Holbrook Carter, 1904-2000

Columbus Museum of Art

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli, whose writings would influence modern political leaders,  was born on this day in 1469.  A native of Florence, Machiavelli served as that city's defense secretary.  His high office allowed Machiavelli to rub shoulders with popes, kings, and emperors.  When Machiavelli fell out of favor with the powerful Medici family, he was accused of conspiracy, imprisoned, and tortured.  In an attempt to regain his power and win back the trust of the Medici family, Machiavelli wrote The Prince, his most famous work.  In it, Machiavelli outlined his idea of a perfect leader, a person who was amoral, calculating, and a tyrant.  The manuscript failed to win over the Medici family.  It also alienated him from the people of Florence,  Today the term "Machiavellian" is often used to describe a ruthless and autocratic leader.


Sunday, May 01, 2011

#265:  CAKE

Alas, I, nor anyone I know for that matter, didn't get invited to the Royal wedding this weekend.  Even if I had, I would have had to  decline since I was on call at the hospital for the weekend.  My mother, God rest her soul, had she been alive would have loved to have gone.  Mostly to see the cake but the fact that she always said she was related, in the distant past, to Queen Victoria may have tingled her DNA and been added impetus for her to want to attend.

While both of my parents excelled in the arts, my mother tended towards the visual arts: an exemplary flower arranger and a cake decorator extraordinaire.  There was a period of time in her middle years where she made, decorated and sold cakes for pin money.  Well, no, I guess when you're poor it's called income not pin money.  Her cakes were in high demand, especially her wedding cakes.  As I look at this cake for William and Kate's wedding I see my mother's handy work all over.  She was making cakes before the days of all the molds and ready made decorations.  She had to carve cakes such as a sculptor would carve marble.  And every flower, leaf, chain, bud and border had to be made by hand.  Many nights I watched her make dozens of flowers just for practice.  She always felt that her cakes should taste as good as they looked.  Duncan Hines was her mix of choice because she liked the moistness and flavor better than Betty Crocker's.  She also made all her frosting by hand from scratch.

I can't say she ever fed me chocolate cake for breakfast like Bill Cosby did for his kids, but there were certainly enough scraps left over after a cake was made for me to scarf up plenty of "nutrition" ( eggs, milk flour etc.)  Nor did I wash the cake down with grapefruit juice.

In her day my mom could have taught Fiona Cairns some helpful tricks in the Cake decorating business.

Royal wedding cake Photo Kate and Wills' eight-tiered wedding cake -- made of 17 stacked fruitcakes by Fiona Cairns and her team -- awaits the newlyweds in the Picture Gallery of Buckingham Palace on April 29, 2011. Credit John Stil

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