ursula: (bear)
The fourteenth-century Anatolian poet Ahmedi discusses the traits of a good ruler (as translated by Isenbike Togan, "In search of an approach to the history of women in central Asia", in Korkut Ertürk, ed., Rethinking Central Asia):

although he was a she, she was learned . . . )
ursula: (Default)
Does this make sense if you don't know who Sophie Germain is? Is it interesting if you do? What should I change?

***

Boundary Conditions
Royal Academy of Science, Paris, 1823

This is her moment of triumph:
a seat at the center, a node.
Mademoiselle Germain sits silent,
head upright, chaperoned.
Academy members rise
or dip; the speaker drones.

Steel plate hums to the bow
like silk stretched tight.
Who grasps the edge controls--
she claims-- the waves inside.
She makes her hands unfold.
Her lips taste dry.
ursula: (Default)
A World War Two poem, for the Armistice Day that was.

NAMING OF PARTS
(by Henry Reed, 1914-1986)

To-day we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But to-day,
To-day we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And to-day we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the safety-catch, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb. And please do not let me
See anyone using his finger. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your thumb. The blossoms
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the bolt. The purpose of this
Is to open the breech, as you see. We can slide it
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
Easing the spring. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The early bees are assaulting and fumbling the flowers:
They call it easing the Spring.

They call it easing the Spring: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the bolt,
And the breech, and the cocking-piece, and the point of balance,
Which in our case we have not got; and the almond-blossom
Silent in all of the gardens and the bees going backwards and forwards,
For to-day we have naming of parts.

poem

Oct. 9th, 2008 06:17 pm
ursula: (Default)
My poem "To Seek Her Fortune" is live at Goblin Fruit.
ursula: (Default)
These are from my senior-year workshop portfolio. The basic themes are "I'm an ice queen - my friends are drama whores", "I hate suburban developments", and "I hate abstinence education". The really melodramatic stuff is prose, but there's plenty of doubtful poetry to go around.

***

Never to Have Been

Never-to-have-been--
I cut the threads out, wasting green.
I will not take these scissors to my life
For fear that I should leave myself in shreds.
For fear, for grief, for safe. For always safe.
I had my ends.
I thrust a needle through my life
And something bends.

***

Misheard II

Frequent falling.
In my dreams I am often too late.

I write my life through curtains, protesting--
How many times have I been
Too calm to scream?

The color of winter is white.
Is the rain white?

I am too asleep for anger.
I trip over air.
In my dreams I am often too late.

***

Health

Let us make a covenant
to remain in integrity.
What you put in is what you get out
and even the lost
can join the greater Responsible.

Let us all forget
that integrity is not a place.
Real people possess integrity, they don't live there.
Even when we enter
the House of Affirmation
bright white in a green suburban yard--
I want to burn it--
we can't live there.

No matter how disintegrated
let us assume enthusiasm
and try to hold on.

***

(For Bad Teenage Poetry Blogging Day)
ursula: (Default)
I'm used to the concepts "all human beings are descended from Adam and Eve" and "human ancestors had sex with monkeys" being presented as mutually exclusive. Apparently John Donne didn't think so. "The Progresse of the Soul" is a satire which follows the reincarnations of a soul which begins as the apple in the Garden of Eden:

from the Progresse of the Soul )
ursula: (sheep)
Questions from [livejournal.com profile] slysidonia. Comment if you'd like five of your very own.

***

1. Who are your favorite Poets and why?

Horace, for versatility, audacity, lyricism by definition . . . I'm taking a graduate poetry workshop right now, which makes me very aware of how much I don't know about poetry in English. One measure might be whose books are prominent on my shelves: Theodore Roethke, Ted Hughes, Elizabeth Bishop, John Donne. Another measure of allegiances is the list of poets I am meaning to read, or read more of: Pope, Milton, Louise Glück, Wordsworth, Alcuin, Venantius Fortunatus.

(If you wanted a poem, here's a pretty hilarious example of how *not* to critique poetry: assume that the poet means everything the speaker says, even when the speaker is a flower.)

2. Why did you join the SCA and what keeps you there?

Friends, men with long hair, excuses to make stuff; to which I now add, excuses to get weird books out of the library. I like the worldwide social network. I like being appreciated for my academic bent. I like meeting people who have nothing to do with academia.

3. What is your idea of a perfect evening out?

Good food, good drink, good conversation? And for true perfection, there should be absolutely no fretting about transportation: no people who want to drink but have to drive, no taxis getting lost, no anxiety about buses or trains which stop running at a certain time.

4. Tell us about the Hobbies you have.

Let's start with things that aren't hobbies: reading and cooking. To me the word "hobby" has this aura of extraneousness, a suggestion that, no matter how intensely you may be involved, you could substitute a different activity entirely without any real change in self. The hobbyist's approach to food, in particular, I find both fascinating and disconcerting: why, yes, for dinner last night we did make mushroom-lentil soup with chanterelles and organic carrots and garlic and sage and porcini flour (that powdery gold), deglazing the seared mushrooms with red wine, but then it was wet out & I'm sick & we had to eat something.

So what is engrossing and yet extraneous? Right now, knitting and the SCA, I suppose. In some ways, it's more fun to think of potential hobbies: embroidery and folding paper cranes have taken the same space in my life as knitting in the past, along with a bit of netting. Naalbinding? Sprang? Quilting? (Patchwork Ottoman silk star pillow-covers!) Weaving, if I had the space for a loom (tablet-weaving strikes me as privileging the annoying fiddly parts of the operation). Maybe spinning. At the moment, RPGs are more potential than actual hobby, but a good game with the right people could tip me back into obsessiveness, or I could get semi-serious about writing for games. I could edge further into artsy science-fiction fandom, too.

5. What one luxury item would you buy for yourself if you got an unexpected windfall?

I am actually expecting a windfall, in the sense that a substantial fellowship check ought to come my way sometime this quarter; part of that money is earmarked for a new, lighter laptop. So maybe I'd just buy a nicer laptop. Maybe [livejournal.com profile] glasseye and I would have dinner someplace unsuited to a student's budget. Or maybe I would buy a chunk of gold, since suddenly I'm in the market for a ring . . .
ursula: (bear)
Two SCA, one not; two about me, one not:

* [livejournal.com profile] aelfgyfu (also [livejournal.com profile] medievalglass) is on vigil for Laurel. Yay!

* After about ten months, my car works. Except for the fact that my father and I couldn't get the trunk open. That's not really a problem until the day I want a complete set of summer tires . . .

* I'm thinking about writing an emblem poem for single-entry at Kingdom Bardic. Guess that means I should start collecting nifty facts about Amalric and Caia (or just reading up on famous Roman women. Hmmmm.)
ursula: (ambigram)
still sleepy. But there is nothing wrong with me that more steroids won't cure. My lungs will have the strength of ten! Or something. Ramble, ramble. Last night I dreamed that to get into the forest I had to trade bodies with a witch. A trollful witch, but at least she was pretty. Then she killed my old body so I was stuck. At least we had the bright orange beastses. And some very stupid vampires.

But you thought you were safe, eh? No, not yet! It is time for first cousin once removed of Bad Poetry Corner.

I'm taking the curves too fast.
each one leaps up before me, vertical and known
in leaf-green shade. I lean into them,
unknowing. some kid died here.
some kid always dies, drinking
after curfew. sun
outside my caves of curves, no games of brights
along the ditches. I know
timing, leaves and brambles.
I'm taking the curves too fast.

Yes, I did try to write this while driving. That is why it doesn't get to be a sonnet. heh heh. I am evil, I tell you!

[Same game.]

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