happybat: (spider)
2016-05-30 10:47 pm

Books

I wondered about writing down what I thought of what I had been reading. So this is a start to that.

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens (plus the three sequels) . Jolly good fun, but I was absurdly disappointed to realise that the writer is not in fact the same person as the narrator. I will continue to consume these like sweets I suspect.

Psycho by Robert Bloch. Entertaining, short, in print mainly because of the film I suspect. Isolation and bleakness, which makes sense. No one really knows anyone else, not even the two lovers.

The Great Coverup by Barry Sussman, All the President's Men by Woodward and Bernstein. I've been reading a lot about Watergate recently, as I didn't understand it at all. Now I still don't understand, but I do wish we cared as much as that generation did about the misdeeds of our rulers.

John Halifax, Gentleman by Dinah Craik. The tragic story of a young man with disabilities who falls in love with another young man, and watches him get married and become successful. It doesn't think that's what it's about, but that's what it's about.

The Secret Poisoner by Linda Stratmann. Enlightening, and useful non fiction text about poisoning in history. We may not be perfect in the way we deal with our children these days, but at least we are less likely to poison them for the burial insurance money/as a form of contraceptive these days. I hope.
happybat: (spider)
2016-05-22 02:23 pm

Trying to love

Consider the noble centipede...

I am not a fan of the many many legged. I remember watching one with fascination in a childhood garden, but things took a downturn after. The key moment was the night of my final Final exam (philosophy of maths) when I got up to go to the loo, saw a centipede making its earnest curvy path across the bathroom rug, had complete hysterics and woke my partner of the time to get up and deal with the monster. Poor man, he ventured through and instead of the three foot monstrosity I had described, he found a piece of fluffy string. He flushed it and returned to tell me the monster was vanquished. I was unsure of his sincerity and required him to return with me and THERE IT WAS processing across the floor! Clearly, it had lain in wait for me.

Seventeen years later, the first centipede of my solo existence looped and curved across the floor towards me last night. I am awed by my own bravery in capturing it, having hysterics as it strove mightily to escape its juice glass prison, sliding my polling card below it and then throwing it out the window. It was sort of reddish, and it had many legs. Probably some of those legs had venomous claws on them.

Because they are territorial, it is unlikely I will see another for a while. Because they eat other insects, I am a little worried about untidy neighbours having some kind of infestation, and have resolved to be extra scrupulous about cleaning my floors. Because I live alone, and a hysterical terror of small creatures that can't really hurt me all that much is unbecoming, I have resolved to learn to love the centipede.

So I am trying to admire the creature's sinuous grace. It was really a very fetching shade of red. There was a lovely symmetry about the many body sections, and the long bits on its bum that looked like antennae matched the actual antennae on its head. It is a noble hunter, and lives in solitary splendour, defending its territory and preying on many much more destructive creatures. It... let me catch it? It enterprisingly crawled its way up to a first floor flat...

I am not sure I will be able to love the centipede.
happybat: (spider)
2015-11-20 09:58 pm

Scorpion

'This night shall thy soul be required of thee'
My soul is never required of me
It always has to be someone else of course
Will my soul be required of me tonight perhaps?

(I often wonder what it will be like
To have one's soul required of one
But all I can think of is the Out-Patients' Department -
'Are you Mrs Briggs, dear?'
No, I am Scorpion.)

I should like my soul to be required of me, so as
To waft over grass til it comes to the blue sea
I am very fond of grass, I always have been, but there must
Be no cow, person or house to be seen.

Sea and grass must be quite empty
Other souls can find somewhere else.

O Lord God please come
And require the soul of thy Scorpion

Scorpion so wishes to be gone.





Stevie Smith
happybat: (spider)
2013-09-21 11:29 pm

(no subject)

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

Walt Whitman
happybat: (spider)
2013-09-07 02:48 pm

(no subject)

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,--so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!




Edna St Vincent Millay



happybat: (spider)
2013-08-26 08:53 pm

(no subject)

THE SPIDER
When I appear to you
by dark, descended
not from heaven, but the lowest
branch of the walnut tree
bearing no annunciation,
suspended like a slub
in the air’s weave –
and you shriek, you shriek
so prettily, I’m reminded
of the birds – don’t birds also
cultivate elaborate beauty, devour
what catches their eye?
Hence my night shift,
my sulphur and black striped
jacket – poison – a lie
to cloak me while, exposed,
I squeeze from my own gut
the one material.
                    Who tore the night?
Who caused this rupture?
You, staring in horror
– had you never considered
how the world sustains?
– the ants by day
clearing, clearing,
the spiders mending endlessly.

Kathleen Jamie
happybat: (spider)
2013-08-25 11:27 pm

Pome

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver

It's been a while! I like this enough to share, though.
happybat: (Default)
2010-11-28 10:38 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

This is a first! Eljay via phone! Hello everybody! Waves frantically!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

happybat: (Default)
2010-10-05 10:34 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Incident


I look across the table and think
(fiery with love)
Ask me, go on, ask me
to do something impossible,
something freakishly useless,
something unimaginable and inimitable

Like making a finger break into blossom
or walking for half an hour in twenty minutes
or remembering tomorrow.

I will you to ask it.
But all you say is
Will you give me a cigarette?
And I smile and,
returning to the marvelous world
of possibility
I give you one
with a hand that trembles
with a human trembling.


-- Norman MacCaig
happybat: (Default)
2010-09-29 05:18 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

  One Art


The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


-- Elizabeth Bishop
happybat: (Default)
2010-06-11 08:30 pm

(no subject)

Today's xkcd made me cry.

http://xkcd.com/752/
happybat: (Default)
2010-04-29 10:00 pm

(no subject)

"At the same time, the joke's on ... well, I'm not sure who the joke's on. I'm not even sure there is a joke."

Some Writer On Salon, about Art.
happybat: (Default)
2010-04-23 09:20 pm
Entry tags:

That poetry meme

The pennycandystore beyond the El

The pennycandystore beyond the El
is where I first
fell in love
with unreality
Jellybeans glowed in the semi-gloom
of that september afternoon
A cat upon the counter moved among
the licorice sticks
and tootsie rolls
and Oh Boy Gum

Outside the leaves were falling as they died

A wind had blown away the sun

A girl ran in
Her hair was rainy
Her breasts were breathless in the little room

Outside the leaves were falling
and they cried
Too soon! too soon!

- Lawrence Ferlinghetti
happybat: (Default)
2009-11-22 06:49 pm
Entry tags:

Pome - Work

Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?

Six days of the week it soils
With its sickening poison -
Just for paying a few bills!
That's out of proportion.

Lots of folk live on their wits:
Lecturers, lispers,
Losels, loblolly-men, louts-
They don't end as paupers;

Lots of folk live up lanes
With fires in a bucket,
Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-
they seem to like it.

Their nippers have got bare feet,
Their unspeakable wives
Are skinny as whippets - and yet
No one actually starves.

Ah, were I courageous enough
To shout Stuff your pension!
But I know, all too well, that's the stuff
That dreams are made on:

For something sufficiently toad-like
Squats in me, too;
Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,
And cold as snow,

And will never allow me to blarney
My way of getting
The fame and the girl and the money
All at one sitting.

I don't say, one bodies the other
One's spiritual truth;
But I do say it's hard to lose either,
When you have both.

by Philip Larkin
happybat: (Default)
2009-09-30 08:50 pm
Entry tags:

Pome

RAIN
by Don Paterson

I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;

one long thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,
before the lens pulls through the frame

to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,

I think to when we opened cold
on a rain-dark gutter, running gold
with the neon of a drugstore sign,
and I’d read into its blazing line:

forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters

and none of this, none of this matters.
 
happybat: (Default)
2009-08-11 01:21 pm

(no subject)

 <input ... >1: Brain Cogn. 1990 Nov;14(2):144-64.

Psychology of time awareness.

Brown JW.

Department of Neurology, New York University Medical Center.

Mind transforms the continuance of physical space-time into moments (the absolute Now) and blends these moments into an apparent continuity through an overlapping of unfolding capsules. The flow of psychological time is an illusion based on the rapid replacement of these capsules. Each mind computes the measure of time passing and duration from the decay of the surface present in relation to a core of past events. As each new surface is generated, that surface, the rim of the immediate past, recedes in the wake of rising contents. This recession, an uncovering of phases latent in the original traversal, exposes layers in the past forming the content of the immediate past moment. The surge of the microgeny to a surface that dissolves the instant it appears, the priority of the Self in the unfolding sequence, the feeling of agency, create a Self in a state of becoming, a Self that travels in time like the crest of a wave, always in pursuit of a future just beyond the grasp of the present.

PMID: 2285510 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

How beautiful is this?
happybat: (Default)
2009-05-28 11:13 pm

Between Men (or, Eve Sedgwick wasn't wrong ALL the time)

If to do so amuses you, guess the source - and then have fun speculating on the movie that MIGHT have been.

I felt a sudden hot sear as if a red-hot iron had been pressed to my thigh. There was a crash as ______'s pistol came down on the man's head. I had a vision of him sprawling upon the floor with blood running down his face while _________ rummaged him for weapons. Then my friend's wiry arms were round me, and he was leading me to a chair.

'You're not hurt, ________? For God's sake, say that you are not hurt!'

It was worth a wound - it was worth many wounds - to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.

'It's nothing, _________. It's a mere scratch.'

He had ripped up my trousers with his pocket-knife.

'You are right,' he cried with an immense sigh of relief. 'It is quite superficial.' His face set like flint as he glared at our prisoner, who was sitting up with a dazed face. 'By the Lord, it is as well for you. If you had killed _______, you would not have got out of this room alive. Now, sir, what have you to say for yourself?'