Poetry Wednesday

I don’t know why, although I have some ideas, but lately, I have trouble sleeping. Usually, prayer calms me down enough to get to sleep, and then I’m good for the night. The last few months, it hasn’t worked all that well, and so sometimes, I end up having a few stiff scotches to help, even though it’s hardly optimal. I’ve long since asked God to fix it, and still am for it’s more a matter of the soul than anything else, and we all know His power. I’m sure He will, but He hasn’t yet.

So often it ends up that I’m up and wide awake in the middle of the night, doing this or that. Often I’ll read old posts, either here or at AATW, and wonder how to get back to the way I was writing then. Last night was one of those, and I ran across a poem that Fr Robert mentioned in comments a few years ago. It’s one by Henry Vaughn, and in fact, one that is also an old favorite of mine as well. So, I decided to share it once again with you all. Enjoy

THEY ARE ALL GONE INTO THE WORLD OF LIGHT.

THEY are all gone into the world of light !
And I alone sit ling’ring here ;
Their very memory is fair and bright,
And my sad thoughts doth clear.

It glows and glitters in my cloudy breast,
Like stars upon some gloomy grove,
Or those faint beams in which this hill is dress’d,
After the sun’s remove.

I see them walking in an air of glory,
Whose light doth trample on my days :
My days, which are at best but dull and hoary,
Mere glimmering and decays.

O holy Hope ! and high Humility,
High as the heavens above !
These are your walks, and you have show’d them me,
To kindle my cold love.

Dear, beauteous Death !  the jewel of the just,
Shining nowhere, but in the dark ;
What mysteries do lie beyond thy dust,
Could man outlook that mark !

He that hath found some fledg’d bird’s nest, may know
At first sight, if the bird be flown ;
But what fair well or grove he sings in now,
That is to him unknown.

And yet, as angels in some brighter dreams
Call to the soul when man doth sleep,
So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,
And into glory peep.

If a star were confin’d into a tomb,
Her captive flames must needs burn there ;
But when the hand that lock’d her up, gives room,
She’ll shine through all the sphere.

O Father of eternal life, and all
Created glories under Thee !
Resume Thy spirit from this world of thrall
Into true liberty.

Either disperse these mists, which blot and fill
My perspective still as they pass :
Or else remove me hence unto that hill
Where I shall need no glass.

Happy 100th Birthday to Dame Vera Lynn

Yesterday we regretted the loss of Chuck Berry, whom so many of us loved and enjoyed. Today is a happier occasion for today is the 100th birthday of Dame Vera Lynn, DBE, OStJ, CH, honorary citizen of Nashville Tennessee, holder of the British War medal, and the Burma Star. She is known worldwide as the British Forces Sweetheart. Quite a career for a girl from East Ham, Essex.

And besides, all here know of my weakness for British redheads, so any excuse to feature one is welcome.

Her first recording was Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire, recorded on Crown Records in 1936.

 

Her greatest fame came during the Second World War when she became the Force’s Sweetheart with songs such as these

And this

This

And tonight her image will b projected on those very same white cliffs, by the country she served so well.

This is interesting

But it wasn’t all about loneliness either, especially before the war got so grim, the humour showed itself.

Eventually, it was over

But she kept right on singing, this was the very first #1 on the American charts by a British artist.

And still she goes on, Decca released a new album,  Vera Lynn 100, just three days ago. Here is the trailer

And yes, amazon.co.uk says they will send it out to us Yanks, as well, if we want.

So, how do we end this glorious retrospective? There is only one possible way, in my mind.

And it will truly always be a:

Happy Birthday, Dame Vera!

 

 

 

No Particular Place to Go

I’d guess that most of you heard the news yesterday, Chuch Berry died, at 90. Well there’s not really too much to say about the ‘Father of Rock and Roll’, is there? Like almost everybody my age, I loved his music, there’s a youthful, happy quality about it, and something of that American ‘Here, hold my beer’ exuberance, as well. I suspect it says something about the man that he still lived in St. Louis, rather than California. But in any case, like with any great performer, the music is the thing. Here’s some of it.

 

And this, of course. You didn’t think I’d leave that one out, did you?

What else can you say when a legend leaves? I loved his pure Rock and Roll, and how easy he always seemed with himself. He was a major influence on all those great rock bands we all knew, but in many ways, the original is still the best.

Rest in Peace.

Icons Receeding

As many of you know, I’ve worked all my life in the electrical/electronic industries, especially where they intersect. But my hobbies are also mostly in that area, especially radio communication. But much of that field is one of those that has been outsourced. One doesn’t really think of full-on engineers being amongst those who lose their jobs to immigrants, and in fact, they do, although somewhat rarely. What mostly happens is that their wages are suppressed unreasonably. The professional organization of those engineers is the Institute of if electrical and electronic engineers or IEEE. They say this,

IEEE USA says H-1B visas are a tool used to avoid paying U.S. wages. “For every visa used by Google to hire a talented non-American for $126,000, ten Americans are replaced by outsourcing companies paying their H-1B workers $65,000,” says the current IEEE USA president, writing with the past president and president-elect. The outsourcing companies, Infosys, Cognizant, Wipro, and Tata Consultancy in 2014 “used 21,695 visas, or more than 25 percent of all private-sector H-1B visas used that year. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Uber, for comparison, used only 1,763 visas, or 2 percent,” they say.

There is a bit more at Slashdot, and some further links. This matters both because of the people, and the impact they have on the future, and because it is indicative of the damage that immigration can cause.


Speaking of the end of an era, International Crystal Manufacturing (ICM), a company that any of us who dealt with radio since 1950 has probably dealt with, have announced that they will go out of business around the end of May. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL, the association of American amateur radio operators) has the story. Sad, but I know from my experience that we have other (perhaps) better, and certainly cheaper ways of doing the things we used to do with crystals. Kind of the ‘buggy whip syndrome’, I’m afraid.


Our friend, the Unit, the other day in comments called this to our attention. It’s quite a story.

It was originally called “mistake out”, the invention of Bette Nesmith Graham, a Dallas secretary and a single mother raising a son* on her own. Graham used her own kitchen blender to mix up her first batch of liquid paper or white out, a substance used to cover up mistakes made on paper.

Background – Bette Nesmith Graham

Bette Nesmith Graham never intended to be an inventor; she wanted to be an artist. However, shortly after World War II ended, she found herself divorced with a small child to support. She learned shorthand and typing and found employment as an executive secretary. An efficient employee who took pride in her work, Graham sought a better way to correct typing errors. She remembered that artists painted over their mistakes on canvas, so why couldn’t typists paint over their mistakes?

Invention of Liquid Paper

Bette Nesmith Graham put some tempera waterbased paint, colored to match the stationery she used, in a bottle and took her watercolor brush to the office. She used this to correct her typing mistakes… her boss never noticed. Soon another secretary saw the new invention and asked for some of the correcting fluid. Graham found a green bottle at home, wrote “Mistake Out” on a label, and gave it to her friend. Soon all the secretaries in the building were asking for some, too.

Bette Nesmith Graham – The Mistake Out Company

In 1956, Bette Nesmith Graham started the Mistake Out Company (later renamed Liquid Paper) from her North Dallas home. She turned her kitchen into a laboratory, mixing up an improved product with her electric mixer. Graham’s son, Michael Nesmith (later of The Monkees fame), and his friends filled bottles for her customers. …

Keep reading at Thought Co. And as you do, if you’re like me, you’ll also wonder if people do things like that these days or simply go on welfare. Well, I’d bet Bette would do it all again. But, I suspect that Liquid Paper is another company that unless it diversified (I haven’t a clue) has suffered from progress, as well.


I like melons. I bet you do too!

Cardboard boxes did this sort of labeling in. Too bad.


And my vote for best video of the season.

And some companies just seem suicidal.

The Lost Land, Going Home

I was reading Willa Cather last evening, specifically O Pioneers!, the first of her Prairie Trilogy, and as always, it made me think of this post, for it always brings me to a feeling of what Jess used to call hiraeth (see below).

In any case, there is a huge amount going on, and I have little sense that anybody really has much of a handle on almost any of it. So, I’m going to withdraw from pontificating on things I don’t know for a day to indulge myself, and hopefully you as well. We can’t go home again, it is truly said, but we can surely wistfully remember, and perhaps relearn some lessons.

Mae hiraeth arna amdanot ti


I can’t speak for you, but Jess touched a chord (several, actually) with me yesterday, both here. and with her post on AATW. She, like me, grew up in the country, and I suspect both of us feel somewhat out-of-place in town, even the quite small towns we live in. There exists in both of us a longing for the country, I think, away from the ‘Nosy Parkers’ of town life. But even more than that, I think we long for a simpler, better time when we had the time to listen to nature, and yes, to God. Her quote of Houseman is directly on point, for me.

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

There’s a deep sadness in knowing we can never go there again, and I suspect it is compounded by the knowledge that those whom we knew so well, and formed us, are no longer there. The old saying that “you can never step twice in the same river” applies forcefully here. And the simple honest folks we grew up around, are passing quickly from the scene, and with them the world they built for us, leaving us alone to face the clamorous, dissonant world of today.

For me, I have that same sense of ‘hiraeth’ (yes, it’s a Welsh word, there is no English equivalent, really) not for Wales, specifically, lovely as it looks in pictures, but for the wide open spaces, for me the high plains of Wyoming tend to hold my thoughts. In many ways, they are not as beautiful as Jess’ Wales, but they have an austere beauty of their own. They also offer a powerful sense of independence. There is just something about knowing that your nearest neighbor is twenty or so miles away.

In A Lost Lady, Willa Cather wrote this:

He had seen the end of an era, the sunset of the pioneer. He had come upon it when already its glory was nearly spent. So in the buffalo times a traveller used to come upon the embers of a hunter’s fire on the prairies, after the hunter was up and gone; the coals would be trampled out, but the ground was warm, and the flattened grass where he had slept and where his pony had grazed, told the story.
This was the very end of the road-making West; the men who had put plains and mountains under the iron harness were old; some were poor, and even the successful ones were hunting for rest and a brief reprieve from death. It was already gone, that age; nothing could ever bring it back. The taste and smell and song of it, the visions those men had seen in the air and followed, — these he had caught in a kind of afterglow in their own faces, — and this would always be his.

In many ways, that seems to sum up how we are feeling about our country today.

Jess linked to an article called Dreaming in Welsh, I’m repeating that link because I think it provides a middle ground between Jess’ hiraeth and my longing as well as can be. Do read it, if you haven’t.

¹ There’s a homesickness on me for you.

UK and US Stuff That Caught My Eye Yesterday: Enjoy

Ramirez:

w10565

One of the really fun things to do here is to feature people who are friends, or at least you get to interact with on a regular basis. One of the people in this video is somewhere on that spectrum. Let’s see if you can figure out which.

Since they’re Brits, the arguments are slightly different than they are here, but I doubt you have many doubts that I admire Laura a good deal. Quite something to watch her take on a couple of leftists (one of whom works for the BBC) and wipe the floor with them. Well done, Laura. And yes, this level of competence in writing and commenting, as well, is much of the reason I enjoy The Conservative Woman as much as I do.

Also from Britain come a very sad story of what happens when the government becomes too big for its britches. From politics. co. uk and that is somewhat unusual, they usually strike me as pretty much statists, at best.

Two elderly ladies in Birmingham have been threatened with fines for sweeping up leaves. They did this because the leaves were a slip hazard – one of them had already fallen over. They left the leaves neatly in bags and tried to arrange for the the council to collect them. But rather than collect them, council officers slapped the bags with ‘illegally dumped garden waste’ stickers and threatened ‘action’.

This is not the first case of this kind. Other people have been fined for putting swept up leaves in their recycling bins. Another man in southern England was told he had to pay for the leaves to be collected, after he and other residents had cleaned their estate for it to look ‘spick and span’ for Christmas (if he put the leaves back on the road, he was told, he would be fined for fly tipping). [essentially littering, I think. Neo]

The maintaining of the street outside your house is one of those traditional, community-spirited things to do, which has rather fallen away. I am always struck with admiration when I see the elderly lady opposite sweeping up her pavement or pulling out stray weeds from the cracks. This is not something that my generation does. Yet community-spirited actions increasingly come into conflict with official rules. The communal space has become something solely occupied by the official actor.

So, it is only for the public authority to sweep up – or fail to sweep up – leaves on the pavement. Any citizen’s action into the public realm appears as a violation and a disruption of bureaucratic order. Spontaneous public action messes up the categories: they put the leaves in the wrong box, in the wrong place, or in the wrong bags. The state cannot appear to manage the interrelations with public action, even though people who have been sweeping up leaves say that they have been doing it for 30 years, and the council never used to have a problem with picking up the bags. It’s not that complicated to pick up a bag.

Right up there with penalizing 8-year-olds for running a lemonade stand, isn’t it? It’ll likely get worse before it gets better, both there and here. It’s why we need to get control back of our government, at all levels.

And finally, we talk some here about echo chambers, and yes, we all have them. The Federalist had an article yesterday about: Here Are The Media Hottakes We’d See If The Chronicles Of Narnia Were Released This Year

The press has certainly taken its lumps lately—and they’re not altogether undeserved. As Federalist contributor Tom Nichols points out in his new book The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge, a great deal of journalism currently exists more to confirm its audience’s preconceived notions than to inform them about reality.

Nichols’ book inspired me to reflect on how politically obsessed and ideologically sequestered our press has become, particularly when it comes to hot-button social issues.  To illustrate this, let’s take the debate into the world of counterfactuals: in the alternate history where C.S. Lewis’ classic children’s fantasy series is released this year and becomes a mega-hit, I think the hot takes would probably look something like these. 

The American Conservative: “Narnia and the Problem of Borders”
By not effectively maintaining border security, King Tirian ensured his nation would be invaded and plundered by the Calormenes. Also, Archenland should’ve been Narnia’s Benedict Option.

The Atlantic: “How World War II Shaped Narnia”
One of those very comprehensive and thoroughly researched articles that’s so long it’s divided up by roman numerals. […]

Including this, and quite a few more.

The Federalist: “17 Reasons Puddleglum Is The Most Hopeful Character In Literature”
We promise, there really is something good to be found in bottom-feeder mass-market material. Also, it has something to do with sex, gender, and Alexis de Tocqueville. Can’t we get that in the title?

Heh! Part of the reason I like The Federalist is that they occasionally laugh at themselves, as we all should. Read the whole thing™, I LOLed, likely you will as well.

A bit lighter today, because hey, why not.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: