Poetry Tuesday: A Strange Race of Critics

(Originally read as A Strange Race of Critters.)

Antiphanes, ancient Greece, 388-311 BCE.

A strange race of critics,
They perform autopsies on
The poetry of the dead.
Sad bookworms,
They chew through thorns.

No poet’s too dull
For them to elucidate, these who defile
The bones of the great.
Callimachus attacked them like a dog.
Out! Into the long darkness.
Perpetual beginner, little gnat—
It is a poet you distract.


Music Will Never Be the Same

This is not how I wanted to start the year. . .

Before I found out about Lindsey Stirling, I would have called Neil Peart my favorite musician. He was obviously my favorite drummer, but that’s not saying much, as I know nothing about drumming. But I do know lyrics, and he was my favorite lyricist. His songs were poetry, as were his books. Ghost Rider is still my favorite noon-fiction book.

I was waiting at a bus stop when I saw the news on social media; someone said it looked like I got punched in the stomach, which is pretty much how I felt. But as sad as I was, I got over that quickly, because I then thought of how much his daughter and wife must be hurting. My feelings are inconsequential compared to what they’re going through.

Neil Peart, Rush, The Professor, Drummer,

For those who couldn’t appreciate Rush’s music, perhaps this video of the three of them having dinner will show you what we fans see in them. . .



Poetry Tuesday: For my Brother Hagok

By Ho Nansorhon, Korea (1563-1589).

The candlelight shines low on the dark window,
Fireflies flit across the housetops.
As the night grows colder,
I hear autumn leaves rustle to the ground.
There’s been no news for some time from your place of exile.
Because of you,
My mind is never free of worry.

Thinking of a distant temple,
I see a deserted hillside
Filled with the radiance of the moon.


Music Monday: In Your Wildest Dreams

This time I’m going to cross you up with a completely different type of music and musician; male, for one thing, and as far away from singer-songwriter as possible, for another.

I don’t know if Horton Heat is an actual reverend, but I’d rather stay in the dark about that one. Instead I’ll just enjoy his raspy voice and quirky lyrics, though this one is less on that side and more on the Heat part of his spectrum.

I first heard this song as the opening piece of a short film called “Peep Show,” which takes what you think it is and gives it a really funny 180. I love this movie, and the song perfectly sets it.


Travel Thursday Encore: Chilly Spain Part 8

Washington Irving

Not wanting to cover the same ground today, I’d noticed on the map that there had been an original path between the main part of the complex and the Generalife, not in use now because that way the tourists missed most of the gardens. . . and then I noticed yet another path down to the river, through the forest, and decided it was just the thing I needed, a little nature photography to give my analytical mind a break.
At first I thought “Cuesta de los Chinos,” or at least the last word, was a diminutive for “Chinese,” but then I didn’t know it also referred to the little pebbles that made up the path. Obviously something I needed to learn in my path through life.
Having stopped to look at the towers closest to me–seeing them from the other side–I now turned around to look for the Generalife, hoping to get a glimpse through the trees. I couldn’t, at first, but then I looked higher and gasped, because it looked so tiny! My feet instantly started hurting as I realized how far I’d come. It looked like it was floating on a green sea of vegetation, reminding me of that shot of the pyramids of Tikal in Star Wars. . . you know, at the end, the rebel base.
The pebbles were still warm from a morning filled with sunshine breaking through the gaps in the trees, though now the road was in shade. The air here was not only cooler, but sweeter, and as I walked on a bed of pine needles covering said pebbles I wished I had someone with me who could name all the flowers just from the potpourri in the air as I shot them. Turning back, I could barely see any of the Alhambra’s buildings through all the vegetation; I felt like an explorer in America hundreds of years ago, tramping through a virgin forest. {Later I did have someone identify, from the photos, a fig tree, an oak, laurel, jasmine, aloe. . . and are those really pistachios actually growing on a tree instead of on vines like normal nuts? And pomegranates. . . I mean granadas; yes, that’s what the city was named for.}
Turning forward again, I enjoyed the look of sunlight dappling the road, the pebbles giving a lot more texture than mere cement. Again I wished I had a model with me. . . which is a damn rare thought, usually I can’t wait to get away from them. Remembering to use my other senses, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath through my nose; the perfume of the flowers suddenly refreshed me, took away any tiredness, though it quickly lapsed toward overwhelming.
A little while later I reached the river, but I didn’t try to ford it, since I had to get back to shooting the Alhambra, and I’d already gone to the Albacin anyway. But I did stand and look and shoot for a while, finally searching for the exact spot where the museum I went to yesterday was located before turning back.
Finally I started the return trek, wishing I’d brought a lunch, more in regular mode than photographer’s; for instance, I no longer thought of the overhanging trees and resulting gloom as “romantic;” instead I was checking dark places for attackers. Because of this attention to detail, I spotted a little path off the trail and simply had to see what was up there. Maybe I might find another erotic statue. . . and yes, I laughed.
Luckily it wasn’t that big of a hill, nor that steep once I got over the humpy part, but it was just high enough to see over most of the trees. Due to the towers being the tallest part of the Alhambra, the complex looked a lot closer than it really was, though I made it back away again with a wide angle lens. Someone had brought a chair up here once, then left it, which got me even higher {if I didn’t look down}. When I was done with that, I let out a sigh as I realized I was gonna remember this walk and this road more than the beautiful buildings.
There was one tower, standing all alone on the east side, I hadn’t noticed, so I had to check the books to get that story–morning glory–even if it was as made up as most of them. . . but hell, I was in the perfect place for a romantic lie.
It took a while, but I finally found the Tower of the Infants; its remote and wooded location was said to attract the romantics, though I didn’t see much romanticism possible in the place where the Sultan’s daughters lived. In fact, there was only one story about it at all, and it was Washington Irving’s, which automatically made it suspect: A young and buxom Andalucian damsel first appeared to him in the upper tower, her head covered with flowers. . . . and that’s it. Obviously she didn’t need rescuing, and for sure he didn’t manage to seduce her, otherwise he would have told us. After all, even us romantic guys need sex once in a while. . .