Thursday, October 30, 2014

Meandering Nomads

A nomad (Greek: νομάς, nomas, plural νομάδες, nomades; meaning one roaming about for pasture, pastoral tribe) is a member of a community of people who live in different locations, moving from one place to another. Among the various ways Nomads relate to their environment, one can distinguish the hunter-gatherer, the pastoral nomad owning livestock, or the "modern" peripatetic nomad. As of 1995, there were an estimated 30–40 million nomads in the world.
I wonder how an Air Force brat would be classified...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quarantine Ordeals

THOUGH all the fates should prove unkind,
Leave not your native land behind.
The ship, becalmed, at length stands still;
The steed must rest beneath the hill;
But swiftly still our fortunes pace
To find us out in every place.

The vessel, though her masts be firm,
Beneath her copper bears a worm;
Around the cape, across the line,
Till fields of ice her course confine;
It matters not how smooth the breeze,
How shallow or how deep the seas,
Whether she bears Manilla twine,
Or in her hold Madeira wine,
Or China teas, or Spanish hides,
In port or quarantine she rides;
Far from New England's blustering shore,
New England's worm her hulk shall bore,
And sink her in the Indian seas,
Twine, wine, and hides, and China teas.
- Henry David Thoreau, "Through all the Fates"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Queen's Pawn to Queen's Eighth

For some minutes Alice stood without speaking, looking out in all directions over the country—and a most curious country it was. There were a number of tiny little brooks running straight across it from side to side, and the ground between was divided up into squares by a number of little green hedges, that reached from brook to brook.

'I declare it's marked out just like a large chessboard!' Alice said at last. 'There ought to be some men moving about somewhere—and so there are!' She added in a tone of delight, and her heart began to beat quick with excitement as she went on. 'It's a great huge game of chess that's being played—all over the world—if this IS the world at all, you know. Oh, what fun it is! How I WISH I was one of them! I wouldn't mind being a Pawn, if only I might join—though of course I should LIKE to be a Queen, best.'

She glanced rather shyly at the real Queen as she said this, but her companion only smiled pleasantly, and said, 'That's easily managed. You can be the White Queen's Pawn, if you like, as Lily's too young to play; and you're in the Second Square to begin with: when you get to the Eighth Square you'll be a Queen—' Just at this moment, somehow or other, they began to run.
1. Alice meets R.Q. - R.Q. to K.R's 4th
2. Alice through Q's 3d (by railway) to Q's 4th Tweedledum and Tweedledee - W.Q. to Q.B's 4th (after shawl)
3 Alice meets W.Q. (with shawl) - W.Q. to Q.B's 5th (becomes sheep)
4 Alice to Q's 5th (shop, river, shop) - W.Q. to K.B's 8th (leaves egg on shelf)
5 Alice to Q's 6th (Humpty Dumpty) - W.Q. to Q.B's 8th (flying from R. Kt.)
6 Alice to Q's 7th (forest) - R.Kt. to K's 2nd (ch.)
7 W.Kt. takes R.Kt. - W.Kt. to K.B's 5th
8 Alice to Q's 8th (coronation) - R.Q. to K's sq. (examination)
9 Alice becomes Queen - Queens castle
10 Alice castles (feast) - W.Q. to Q.R's 6th (soup)
11 Alice takes R.Q. & wins
- Lewis Carroll, "Through the Looking Glass" (Chess Moves)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Spotlight Avoidance

All art is exorcism. I paint dreams and visions too; the dreams and visions of my time. Painting is the effort to produce order; order in yourself. There is much chaos in me, much chaos in our time
- Otto Dix
Otto Dix, "Deadly Sins/aka - Seven Cardinal Sins" (1933)

After Adolf Hitler seized power in 1933, Dix was dismissed from his teaching job in Dresden. He then produced The Seven Deadly Sins, an oil-on-tempera painting in which, to disguise the politically critical nature of its themes, Dix took an allegorical turn. In this picture, he depicted Hitler in the role of Envy, riding on the back of Avarice. (The artist did not paint in Hitler’s famous moustache until after World War II)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Spilled Blood

Through the strait pass of suffering—
The Martyrs—even—trod.
Their feet—upon Temptations—
Their faces—upon God—

A stately—shriven—Company—
Con vulsion—playing round—
Harmless—as streaks of Meteor—
Upon a Planet's Bond—

Their faith—the everlasting troth—
Their Expectation—fair—
The Needle—to the North Degree—
Wades—so—thro' polar Air!
- Emily Dickinson, "Through the strait pass of suffering"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Four Horsemen

1 And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.
2 In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;
3 And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.
4 Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?
5 And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The black horses which are therein go forth into the north country; and the white go forth after them; and the grisled go forth toward the south country.
7 And the bay went forth, and sought to go that they might walk to and fro through the earth: and he said, Get you hence, walk to and fro through the earth. So they walked to and fro through the earth.
8 Then cried he upon me, and spake unto me, saying, Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country.
- Zechariah 6

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Visions of la Vita Nuova

Beyond the sphere that circles most widely
passes the sigh that issues from my heart:
new intelligence, that Love
weeping instills within it, drives it upwards.
When it is near where it desires,
it sees a lady, who receives honour,
and is a light, that by its splendour
the pilgrim spirit can gaze upon her.
Seeing her such, when it says so to me,
I do not understand, it speaks so subtly
to the grieving heart, which makes it speak.
I know it speaks of that gentle one,
since it often mentions Beatrice,
so that I know it truly, ladies dear to me.
- Dante Alighieri, "La Vita Nuova, XLI"

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Tea leaves thwart those who court catastrophe,
designing futures where nothing will occur:
cross the gypsy’s palm and yawning she
will still predict no perils left to conquer.
Jeopardy is jejune now: naïve knight
finds ogres out-of-date and dragons unheard
of, while blasé princesses indict
tilts at terror as downright absurd.

The beast in Jamesian grove will never jump,
compelling hero’s dull career to crisis;
and when insouciant angels play God’s trump,
while bored arena crowds for once look eager,
hoping toward havoc, neither pleas nor prizes
shall coax from doom’s blank door lady or tiger.
Sylvia Plath, "Ennui"