Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Taste of Victorian Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins

Image Credit: poets.org
Gerard Manley Hopkins (July 28, 1844 – June 8, 1889) was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and a Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. He is regarded by different readers as the greatest Victorian poet of religion, of nature, or of melancholy. However, because his style was so radically different from that of his contemporaries, his best poems were not accepted for publication during his lifetime, and his achievement was not fully recognized until after World War I. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse.

Today we celebrate the birthday of Gerard Manley Hopkins with one of his famous poems I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, Not Day.

I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, Not Day
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light's delay.
   With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

   I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
   Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Morn in New Hampshire, poetry by Claude McKay

Image credit: en.wikipedia.org
Festus Claudius "Claude" McKay (September 15, 1889 – May 22, 1948) was a Jamaican-American writer and poet, who was a seminal figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He was the youngest child of Thomas Francis McKay and Hannah Ann Elizabeth Edwards, well-to-do farmers who had enough property to qualify to vote. Thomas McKay's parents was of Ashanti descent, like many other black Jamaicans. Claude recounted that his parents would share stories of Ashanti customs with him.

McKay authored collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932), two autobiographical books, A Long Way from Home (1937) and My Green Hills of Jamaica (published posthumously), and a non-fiction, socio-historical treatise entitled Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940). His 1922 poetry collection, Harlem Shadows, was among the first books published during the Harlem Renaissance. His Selected Poems was published posthumously, in 1953.

On this motivational Monday as we approach the ending phase of summer, we present this poem Summer Morn in New Hampshire, by Claude McKay.

Summer Morn in New Hampshire
By Claude McKay  

All yesterday it poured, and all night long
    I could not sleep; the rain unceasing beat
Upon the shingled roof like a weird song,
    Upon the grass like running children’s feet.
And down the mountains by the dark cloud kissed,
    Like a strange shape in filmy veiling dressed,
Slid slowly, silently, the wraith-like mist,
    And nestled soft against the earth’s wet breast.
But lo, there was a miracle at dawn!
    The still air stirred at touch of the faint breeze,
The sun a sheet of gold bequeathed the lawn,
    The songsters twittered in the rustling trees.
And all things were transfigured in the day,
    But me whom radiant beauty could not move;
For you, more wonderful, were far away,
    And I was blind with hunger for your love.

* This poem is in public domain.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Movie Theater Magic, a Poem by Ruth Roth

Ruth Roth, Poetry, Movie Theater Magic, Tea & Poetry Book Club
Movie Theater Magic
By Ruth Roth

My first movie theater experience
Was The Sound of Music;
Wonderful, beautiful sensory overload;
Scenery so magnificent,
So breath-taking  ~  I will myself there.
Actors appear larger than life.
Facial expressions alive, captivating,
Eliciting feelings and emotions:
My heart pulses to each scene’s tempo,
My breathing imitates feelings –
I gasp …  forget to breathe,
I release sighs of contentment.
Sounds of glorious music crescendo
As anticipation, excitement or fear
Play out on the screen.
Exquisite harmonies resonate in the Abbey;
With closed eyes, it’s heavenly.
I am mesmerized as the plot thickens;
Soldiers invade the idyllic scene,
Father and children cleverly hide.
My anger, my desperate hope
Temporarily threaten enjoyment.
The ending charges in abruptly,
I sigh with relief and pleasure;
For a moment in time
I too lived this story.
I reluctantly struggle back to reality.  

Ruth A. Roth grew up in northern Alberta, Canada, 45 miles from the nearest paved road. She graduated from college with a B.S.  in Nursing, a career which spanned 40 years. Now a grand-mother of six, she lives in Monroe, NC with her husband. Her hobbies include scrap-booking and the occasional forays into acrylic painting and writing poetry.

Ruth is an active member of the poetry group, who meet monthly at the Indian Trail Cultural Arts Center, for poetry open mic. Her poem Movie Theater Magic was inspired by the July monthly poetry prompt theme, "Saturday Night Cinema of Poetry" where participants wrote about their most memorable movie experience.

*This poem was used with permission by the author.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tea and Wine?

Republic of Tea, Sonoma teas
Who would have thought? Or as we politely put it, who would have thunk? Iced Tea for Wine Lovers is what Republic of Tea is now offering to persnickety beverage palates. Here's what Republic of Tea has to say about their Sonoma Teas:

Sonoma Teas let you experience the world-class wine region of Sonoma County, California from the comforts of home! Like a fine wine, they are full of fruity flavors and bursting with body. Blends include fine wine grape skins, fruit and herbs. Alcohol and caffeine free, these exclusive infusions offer an enchanting sipping experience. Each pouch steeps a quart of premium tea.

Be sure to check out their latest specials and stock up! Have a #TEAlicious day!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Have a Cup of Tea On National Sugar Cookie Day

Today is National Sugar Cookie Day. As we all know, a sugar cookie is a cookie usually made with baking soda, sugar, eggs, flour, vinegar, salt, milk and vanilla. In the mid-1700s, German Protestant settlers in the Nazareth area of Pennsylvania perfected the recipe of the sugar cookie; thus, the sugar cookie is sometimes referred to as the Nazareth Sugar Cookie. On September 5, 2001, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the sugar cookie as its official cookie.

Sugar cookies, like most other cookies, are baked until crisp, although some people prefer them to be soft and chewy. Soft and chewy has its advantage that more vanilla flavor. Sugar cookies can be rolled out and cut into shapes with cookie cutters, as well as decorated with sugar sprinkles or icing. 

The perfect beverage accompaniment with your sugar cookies is a nice cup of hot tea! Enjoy!
Happy National Sugar Cookie Day!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hump Day Poetry: Hump Day by Jack Ellison

We stumbled upon this cute poem written about the day falling in the middle of the week, called Hump Day, by Jack Ellison. Hump Day is Wednesday and regarded as the the midpoint of a typical working week. Please enjoy this our featured poem for today called Hump Day, by Jack Ellison.

Hump Day
By Jack Ellison

It's “hump day” as it's often been called
The absolute middle of the week
Last weekend's gone and all but forgotten
Next one will probably repeat

The name may have a sexual connotation
If your mind is down in the gutter
Looking for something of a sexual nature
Got some worse words I could utter

But this guy's a fine upstanding gentleman
Been called squeaky clean at times
Usually take  a shower three times a day
I'm a sweet and fun loving kind

I wouldn't say sh*t if I was covered in it
Probably call it do-do or poop
Could never be a manly construction worker
Sure don't belong in that group