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Monday, September 18, 2017

The World is Too Much...


.

“The World is Too Much with Us” (circa 1802) is a sonnet by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth. In it, the poet criticizes the world of the first Industrial Revolution for being absorbed in materialism and for its people distancing themselves from nature. (Wikipedia)

In the early 19th century, Wordsworth wrote several sonnets blasting what he perceived as "the decadent material cynicism" of the time.
"The World Is Too Much with Us" is one of those works. It reflects his view that humanity must get in touch with nature in order to progress spiritually.

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 wreathed horn.



Triton fountain in Rome
by Gianlorenzo Bernini
Who among us can fail to see the similarities between the ancient world, as described here by Wordsworth, and the world in which we live today?

As writers and poets, we can all read his words "getting and spending, we lay waste our powers..." and "for everything we are out of tune, it moves us not"... and we can't help but apply those words, from 1802, to life in the 21st century.

Yes, our world has seen changes which, in so many ways, would amaze and even, we suppose, awe Wordsworth, were he to see it today.

However, I doubt if he'd be impressed.

With his discerning eye, the poet would know without doubt that our modern reality bears out his opinion..."we lay waste our powers" indeed.

What would the sea god Triton think of the melting polar ice caps... what could a sea god think as we pollute his very oceans along with the lakes and rivers a poet once could love? ...The rapid extinction of one wild species after another would break a poet's heart... and, of course, war always war, never a decade or even a day without war...what kind of sonnet could Wordsworth write today?

Yes, we "lay waste our powers,'" and now we have to live in the world that Man's arrogance created. Who of us can really believe that 2017 is better than 1802?

And who among us really cares? "I've got what I want, and the rest of you be damned!" That is the mantra of too many.


RIP, William Wordsworth. Yes, may you rest in peace despite us!


Written for Lady Fi's memorable meme,


Thank you, Fiona, for the world as you see it through your discerning eye, every Tuesday.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Daddy and dog reunion

When in doubt about a blog post, I always have dog photos on hand. These are from our recent trip to Red Deer, Alberta, to see Dick's daughters, Andrea and Randi.
We took our darling little dog, Bonnie-Belinda, who had never travelled that far before, and who had never met that many people in one place at one time, and she got along just just fine with everyone she met!
She even attended a skate-boarding bonanza. I don't seem to have photos of that, however. I was too busy worrying one of Andrea's two boys would go splat, but I fretted for naught. They knew what they were doing.
Bonnie-Belinda was fascinated with the skateboarders down in that concrete bowl, and would have joined them if I hadn't held her leash short and v-e-r-y tightly.
In these photos, we met up with Randi and Andrea at a beautiful park, complete with an off-leash area for dogs.
We didn't let our Bonnie off her leash (we don't feel she's quite ready for that in places where there might be interesting critters to chase) but she met the other dogs with aplomb.
Andrea's elderly pup, Grommet, used to the ways of the world, ignored everyone but Andrea.
After Bonnie had some sniffing and pleased-to-meetchas, we continued walking.
I, of course, gave up first...not quite exactly really quickly, mind you, but definitely first. I found a bench on which to sit, and from there I could watch the most amazing spectacle. But more on that another time. First, the Bonnie pictures, now my favourite things.
In these photos, I met up with the others at a nice grassy area, complete with facilities, ever the objective of old ladies out walking. Here, I was holding Bonnie on her leash while I sat at a picnic table.
Then she saw her daddy coming...

HERE HE COMES, HERE HE COMES...

HERE HE IS, HERE HE IS

OH DADDY, DADDY, I MISSED YOU SO MUCH

SEE? I MISSED YOU THIS MUCH...



I'm posting these for Lady Fi's wonderful meme,
Our World Tuesday



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Because it is still in print...



A vers libre bard.
So, my fellow bloggers...I do believe I can't reproduce, here, a poem I have always loved—because the book (in which it appeared when I first read it) is still in print!

Therefore, I must assume, it could still be under copyright, because my research has been inconclusive in that regard. The last date I have been able to find is 1977.

However, one poem seriously 'gives me to think' and I can't help but wonder if it will do the same for you. I will provide you with some links, so that you can decide if one of these poems reminds you of anyone alive (and living large) today.


The poem that made me think is one I've always loved, and is from a book, which I have also always loved, by a writer whom I have always loved as well (ever since I could read, and long before I could type). One of the poems linked here "gives me to think" very seriously.

The soul of Cleopatra.
Of course, now I must ask if one of these poems makes you think of one person in particular. It is a someone whom the poem fits to a T, as will probably be obvious once you follow these links and read the poems.
Now, which one person, in particular, comes to mind as you read these poems?


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archy_and_Mehitabel
http://ianchadwick.com/blog/three-archy-poems-by-don-marquis/
https://www.mun.ca/biology/scarr/warty_bliggens_the_toad.html




I'm not following the unwritten rules of Blogland, am I? But I couldn't resist. Who of us could resist linking our childhood and school years with something that overwhelmingly affects the world in which we now live?

Note: I am a Canadian, and have little or no stake in the outcome of any of this (one hopes).
I am not fond of cockroaches or toads, but I am fond of cats.

I am sharing today's post with Our World Tuesday, with many thanks to Lady Fiona for her wonderful meme.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The never-say-die Davies brothers

The baby on my mother's lap is my sister Ann at her christening, with grandparents, aunts and uncles. On the floor, very bored,  my brother Clint's face shows how he feels about it, while I played with a toy.
I have two brothers, the one who grew up alongside me, and the one whom I helped raise, and I'm very proud of both of them.
My high school grad photo.
Clinton Fraser Davies was the class clown before he ever entered a classroom. Entertaining people was his goal in life, and he tried hard, to say the least.
His escapades probably reached the pinnacle of success when he climbed out his bedroom window onto the porch roof, and from there up onto the peak of the house roof, in order to carve his initials into it with a butcher knife, but it would be wrong to say Clint's life was all downhill from there. He continued to entertain, eventually learning to do it by playing trumpet, but he always preferred making people laugh.
Now, many decades later, Clint is still almost as old as I am, and should be enjoying retirement alongside his lovely wife Maria, but his ever-nimble ever-surprising ever-enterprising mind has him embarking on yet another business venture now, even as I write this.
Can't keep a good man down, I know...
And as for me, well, I was something of a lowbrow poet, and now I'm lucky if I can manage to visit Facebook every couple of days, and to post something for Our World Tuesday on my blog here at least two weeks a month (while aiming at once a week if I can).
My much-younger brother, Rob (aka Roberto) was also the clown of his class, whether it was in Canada at the beginning and end of the school year, or November-through-April in Mexico.
Our parents had planned their retirement to the Baja Peninsula without ever planning on a new baby, but there he was.
Our poor father was terrified when Robbie was born, because he thought he might lose Mom, whom he adored. They had been high school sweethearts, and were engaged before Dad left to go overseas with the Canadian Army Show, where he was a scenery-painter as well as a musician. When he returned to Canada after his years spent keeping up the morale of Canadian troops in Britain, he and Mom were married.
Clint and Dad. Clint was  in
the Royal Canadian Navy
when Rob was born. While stationed in
Victoria, BC, he pawned his trumpet
so he could buy a motorcycle, but
it wasn't long before he wrecked the
motorcycle. His reaction was a
typically Canadian "C'est la vie."
Then I arrived, followed by Clint, then our sister Ann, as well as another baby girl, Barbara, who only lived a few days.
Years went by, and no one gave thought to another sibling.
But Robbie Davies was determined to make his mark on the world. He was born into the intensive care nursery in a hospital in Vancouver, BC. I was working and living in the city, so was able to visit him every day, reporting his progress to my worried mother who had to stay in the troublesome-mothers ward, without even seeing him, until they finally let her get up to visit him, before she and Dad were able to take him home some weeks later.
Assured that his beloved wife would be okay, Dad turned his attention to the wonderful little mite who had surprised them in what they thought was the beginning of their old age.
By the time Rob was two years old, he let us all know he was talented, beginning slowly by drawing a row of short vertical lines right across the bottom of a blackboard.
"What's that, Robbie?" asked Mom. "Grass," he replied. Mom immediately phoned Dad at the family printing shop and said, "Bring home paper. This one's an artist."
And so he was, and still is.
Rob as a young man
When he reached high school, Rob was told he couldn't keep disappearing to Mexico every winter because the school was on the semester system, so he stayed behind while Mom and Dad went south, living first with our sister for one winter, and then with me for several more while he finished high school and attended college...taking every art class he could find.
My townhouse was close to the high school and, for the most part, I enjoyed having a steady stream of boys coming in and out, saying, "Hi, sis," and hoping I'd prepare them a snack when I got home from work.
I'm very proud of Rob, to say the least, and although I was able to travel to New York to witness him receiving an Emmy Award when he was working for Warner Bros. in Los Angeles, and although he came home when the Warner Bros. studios were sold, and established Atomic Cartoons with three friends, I am proudest of him for his accomplishments other than art:
Robbie Davies, to my great relief and joy, has been a proven survivor from his birth onward. He has survived cancer not once, but twice now, both times feeling there was something wrong in his body, and taking himself off to get medical help immediately.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if every cancer patient could self-diagnose like that? Survival was his goal from the very beginning, starting in an intensive care nursery, and onward.
I am intensely proud of him.
I am thankful, also, to our wonderful parents for allowing me to take an active part on "the committee that raised Rob." I assumed, because he was born when I was 21, that I would some day have children of my own...in fact, I used to drive from the city to the suburbs every weekend, in order to learn how to bathe him despite my innate clumsiness. Nature proved otherwise, however, but I was more than compensated by my part in the raising of Rob.
Posting for Lady Fi's wonderful meme Our World Tuesday

Monday, August 21, 2017

Progressive puppy portraits

  Enjoying a little nap.










Wait a minute!
Did someone say 'toy'?  
For me?




Oooh, I love this toy!















Watch out, toy, I'm going to shake you to bits!







Well, that was a good day's work. Now I need to nap again!

 

Our darlin' girl, Bonnie-Belinda, knows just who is boss around our house now, and she isn't going to let us forget it!

I'm linking this post to Lady Fi's memorable meme  Our World Tuesday.


Monday, August 14, 2017

It must be jelly...

...'cause jam don't shake like that!

In the 1940s, the late, great Glenn Miller, and others, recorded a song called "It Must be Jelly 'cause Jam Don't Shake Like That."
I don't know whose recording my father played for me when I was small, but I loved it and would ask him to play it over and over. The lyrics, as I remember them, were:
It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that
It must be jelly 'cause jam don't shake like that
Oh, mama, you're so big and fat!

At that time, no one would have considered the lyrics socially unacceptable, and only the chronically overweight would have thought them a slur.
How times have changed, and I'm so glad, because I'm certainly no longer young, nor slim!

When I was three or four years old, I thought 'Must Be Jelly' was wonderful. Other bands and singers recorded it with more lyrics (particularly Woody Herman, whom I considered the height of comedy my in pre-TV days) but I only remember those three lines, and they have stayed in my mind, rightly or wrongly, as Glenn Miller music.
When I became older, and could have my own record-player, Dad insisted I play one Glenn Miller record for every rock'n'roll record. Dad had long realized I couldn't sing (I couldn't even carry a tune in a bucket) so he made it a point to teach me to listen. For that, Daddy Davies, wherever you are, I've been forever grateful.

My father had been a musician and a scenery-painter in the Canadian Army Show during WWII, and was forever teaching me, and my brother Clint, everything he knew (our younger sister made it known that she wasn't particularly interested).
Many years later, when Mom and Dad had a surprise baby, Rob became Dad's best student, soaking up knowledge like a sponge.

Laena McCarthy,
without permission,
but many thanks
One of the things my sister and I learned from Mom, and from our grandmother, was cooking. And something else I saw Nanny do every year was canning.
We had fruit trees in the yard, and any fruit that escaped the three of us and all our friends, was 'canned' or made into jam. Canning, at that time, involved a wood stove, huge pots, boiling water, and hot jars, so it was not considered something to teach children. My young sister, however, absorbed it all, unbeknownst to the rest of us, and years later, when she was married and a mother herself, she took to canning all the produce she grew in her garden. (That blew my mind, to be honest.)

And now, to get to the heart of this blog post: I am old and, having had an often-busy life, I never though to take up canning fruit until this weekend. (Something red, halfway between jam and jelly, lurks in the fridge, on its way to becoming whatever it wants to be.)


Our Nanking Cherries
The reason for this sudden industry: I planted two Nanking Cherry bushes about 15 years ago, and this year we really had a bumper crop. Although I have been known to be a little extravagant over my long lifetime, usually buying rather than making, I suddenly said to my husband, "Let's pick those and then we can can them." The fruit is very small, pretty much miniscule, really, so I have already devoted three days to the chore of removing the itty-bitty pits.

More will be revealed, but right now I'm posting this for Lady Fi's wonderful meme "Our World Tuesday." 

But first, re the jamming — as I said, we have a jar and a half of something red and unrecognizable in the fridge — jam, jelly or ice-cream-sundae topping, we figure. At the very least, I did get myself a long-desired over-the-sink colander.

Only time will tell with the project, so I'll have to get back to you on that.





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

To train or not to train, that is the question


A somewhat-recent addition to our family is a mixed-breed terrier we named Bonnie-Belinda. Here she is, in the photo above, looking a lot like the RCA Victor dog I remember from childhood.

There's no doubt that we love Bonnie. She is very intelligent and has learned many things: some good, some not-so-good.
She has learned how to manipulate her daddy, who thinks she is ever so cute, and who is reluctant to train her how to walk properly on a leash.

My walker in the kitchen
when I first bought it.
The other day, Bonnie and I were out with my walker. I want her to get used to walking alongside me, and it.

My husband came with us to watch out for rabbits, because I can't hold the dog back when she sees a rabbit. See one she did, and leapt into killer-mode, nearly pulling my arm off, while my husband wasn't looking at us.

The bane of my existence, that man I love.
And he loves the dog, yes, I appreciate that, but some of it is misplaced, in my opinion. He lets her pull and tug on the leash, and her short-legged, deep-chested 40 lb. body (18kg) weighs a ton when she's pulling.
He is often away on business, and I have to be able to walk the dog, never as far as he can, 8000 or so steps on his iPhone step-tracker gizmo.

Because I paid for Bonnie at the SPCA, and also for her examination at a veterinary clinic soon after we adopted her, she is supposed to be my dog.
At the clinic, they gave me some special dog food that would help her get rid of pieces of the Kong toy in her stomach. Said to be indestructible, the Kong had succumbed to those powerful jaws Bonnie inherited from some of the bigger, stronger breeds in her DNA.
Although we attempted, somewhat successfully, to have our favourite groomer trim our new girl's toenails, we haven't yet introduced Bonnie to our 'personal' veterinarian, a lovely young woman who makes house calls. She was wonderful with our late Golden girl, Lindy, in her senior and final years. Coming to the house regularly to check on her, she was with her right until the end.

Lindy was definitely Dick's girl, and they went on those long walks together for years, until she couldn't do it any longer. She behaved impeccably. She was a lady, after all.
Bonnie-Belinda, on the other hand, is an excitable, impetuous, athletic growing girl. A horse of a different colour, as it were.

Linking with Lady Fi's wonderful meme Our World Tuesday.