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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In Honor Of Spring

(If you must have politics, please scroll down. Two posts today)

On this first day of spring, please enjoy the video below the fold (Thanks, Free Thinke):

The Life of flowers (Жизнь цветов) from VOROBYOFF PRODUCTION on Vimeo.

I had an allergy attack very early this morning because everything here in Northern Virginia is blooming and pollinating all at once. But the beauty is worth it!


  1. One for your students of Latin: "Ut ver dat florem, studium sic reddit honorem."

  2. A little Madness in the Spring
    Is wholesome even for the King,
    But God be with the Clown ––
    Who ponders this tremendous scene ––
    This whole Experiment of Green ––
    As if it were his own!

    ~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

    Submitted by FreeThinke (Who else? ;-)

  3. Good day, FJ, and AOW!
    I pray that what I say won't trouble you.
    Quoting Latin does not faze me.
    I looked it up, so please don't praise me!

    Your scholarly reference decoded:

    As spring brings flowers, so study brings honours.

    Supposedly a Mediaeval saying. Apt and applicable to all ages in any age.

    ~ FreeThinke

  4. Thank you, AOW, for using the video. It was sent to me yesterday by one of the survivors from my high school class -- a remarkably good group as things have turned out 52 years after we parted company to make our way in the world.

    I, personally, appreciate your sharing beautiful and intriguing things not specifically related to current political issues. We desperately need to be reminded that there's more to life than agonizing and vituperating over current events.

    Two favorite quotations from Thoreau apply here, I think:

    "Love your life, poor as it is. You may, perhaps, have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected as brightly from the windows of an almshouse as from a rich man's abode."

    "Men will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up."

    ~ Thoreau (1817-1862)

    I'm tempted to emend the second to say "People will sit on their butts grousing on their computers about the degeneration of society, and never offer anything that might help to reverse the trend."


    Enjoy the crocuses, the daffodils, the lilacs, the magnolias, the dogwood, the azaleas, and above all the CHERRY BLOSSOMS. I miss springtime in Washington, DC and the Virginia countryside more than I can say.

    You're right -- Nature's beauty more than compensates for the misery of pollen allergies. I'd gladly cough, wheeze, sneeze and even shed tears to be able to see it one again.

    ~ FreeThinke

  5. Before you thought of spring,
    Except as a surmise,
    You see, God bless his suddenness,
    A fellow in the skies
    Of independent hues,
    A little weather-worn,
    Inspiriting habiliments
    Of indigo and brown.

    With specimens of song,
    As if for you to choose,
    Discretion in the interval,
    With gay delays he goes
    To some superior tree
    Without a single leaf,
    And shouts for joy to nobody
    But his seraphic self!

    ~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

    Submitted by FreeThinke

  6. Beautiful video. We have had a riot of spring blooms here in Florida for a month already. Our azaleas, our hibiscuses, our gardenias, even our orchid tree... they have all been very busy, very early this season.

  7. As spring brings flowers, so study brings honours.

    In honor of spring [**wink**], my students had a timed essay today and a quiz on the first half of A Tale of Two Cities.

    The complaints from my students were few. Spring has put my class in a good mood, I think.

  8. AOW- we were too tired to protest! That, and those were easy this time... somewhat... at least by your usual level...

    Video was beautiful. Reminded me of the Secret Garden scene when it becomes spring... it is nice to see all the flowers out (now for the weather to decide to stay warm- it isn't winter)

  9. Philip Larkin, “Spring”

    Green-shadowed people sit, or walk in rings,
    Their children finger the awakened grass,
    Calmly a cloud stands, calmly a bird sings,
    And, flashing like a dangled-looking glass,
    Sun lights the balls that bounce, the dogs that bark,
    The branch-arrested mist of leaf, and me,
    Threading my pursed-up way across the park,
    An indigestible sterility.

    Spring, of all seasons most gratuitous,
    Is fold of untaught flower, is race of water
    Is earth’s most multiple, excited daughter;

    And those she has least use for see her best,
    Their paths grown craven and circuitous,
    Their visions mountain-clear, their needs immodest.

  10. One of Emily's lesser known "nature" pieces:

    Perhaps you'd like to buy a flower?
    But I could never sell.

    If you would like to borrow
    Until the daffodil
    Unties her yellow bonnet
    Beneath the village door,

    Until the bees, from clover rows
    Their hock and sherry draw
    Why, I will lend until just then,
    But not an hour more!

    ~ Emily Dickinson

    Submitted by FreeThinke

  11. Modernity must have its say, I suppose. This small piece by e.e. cummings is a haunting work of genius. It's too bad the blogger software will not reproduce the subtleties of cummings' highly individualistic formatting, which is an integral part of the expressive effect he wanted to have on his readers.

    in Just-

    In Just-
    spring when the world is mud-
    luscious the little
    lame baloonman

    whistles far and wee

    and eddieandbill come
    running from marbles and
    piracies and it's

    when the world is puddle-wonderful

    the queer
    old baloonman whistles
    far and wee
    and bettyandisbel come dancing

    from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



    baloonMan whistles

    ~ e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

    Now, if that didn't send a shiver up your spine, you need to read it again, and look at it with greater care. There's something eerie and marvelously sinister about it. Nit what you imagine it's going to be at all at first glance.

    ~ FreeThinke

  12. Is this next selection, "The Force that Through the Green Fuse" more about spring or about death? Perhaps the two are inextricably intertwined. Modernity again chooses to dwell on the dark side bringing a touch of morbidity to even the most sanguine and salubrious of subjects.

    What is "the green fuse?" And what is "the force" that animates it?

    The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
    Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
    Is my destroyer.
    And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
    My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

    The force that drives the water through the rocks
    Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
    Turns mine to wax.
    And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
    How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

    The hand that whirls the water in the pool
    Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
    Hauls my shroud sail.
    And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
    How of my clay is made the hangman’s lime.

    The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
    Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
    Shall calm her sores.
    And I am dumb to tell a weather’s wind
    How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

    And I am dumb to tell the lover’s tomb
    How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

    ~ Dylan Thomas

    Dylan's words are always beautiful, even when they attempt to evoke terror and dismay at contemplating the awesome power of life.

    ~ FreeThinke

  13. We shouldn't miss Ogden Nash's unique appreciation of the this most welcome of seasons. Mr. Nash with irrepressible wry humor, wit and whimsy showed us the lighter side of the madness that was the twentieth century, bless his sweet heart!

    Spring Comes to Murray Hill
    I sit in an office at 244 Madison Avenue 
And say to myself
    You have a responsible job havenue? 

    Why then do you fritter away
    your time on this doggerel?
If you have a sore throat
    you can cure it by using a good goggeral,
If you have a sore foot
    you can get it fixed by a chiropodist, 
And you can get your original sin
    removed by St. John the Bopodist,

    Why then should
    this flocculent lassitude be incurable? 
Kansas City, Kansas, proves
    that even Kansas City
    needn't always be 
____ Missourible.
Up up my soul! This inaction is abominable. 

    Perhaps it is the result
    of disturbances abdominable.

    The pilgrims settled Massachusetts
    in 1620 when they landed
    on a stone 
____ hummock. 

    Maybe if they were here now
    they would settle my stomach.

    Oh, if I only had the wings of a bird 
Instead of being confined on Madison Avenue
    I could soar in a jiffy to 
____ Second or Third.

    ~ Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

    A unique voice in the annals of literature to be sure.

    ~ FreeThinke

  14. Philip Larkin presents a lovely traditional picture of the conventional joys of spring, then besmirches it with confessions of self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy.

    The agonies of disillusionment, doubt, and despair are never far from most of the art born in the last century. Larkin elegiac verse is so beautiful, however, that even his self-pitying lamentations become part of springtime's renewal and celebration of life.

    After all birth and death are inextricably intertwined -- two sides of the same coin in fact.

    Life is after all a paradox.

    ~ FreeThinke

  15. Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
    Is hung with bloom along the bough,
    And stands about the woodland ride
    Wearing white for Eastertide.

    Now, of my threescore years and ten,
    Twenty will not come again,
    And take from seventy springs a score,
    It only leaves me fifty more.

    And since to look at things in bloom
    Fifty springs are little room,
    About the woodlands I will go
    To see the cherry hung with snow.

    ~ A.E. Houseman (1859-1936)

    ~Submitted by FreeThinke

  16. FT,
    Thank you for turning this comments thread into a poetry thread! I was hoping that you'd do so.

    Isn't it wonderful to take a break from all the political doom-and-gloom? Not to mention the animosity that blooms in the blogosphere in an election year.

    PS: The cherry blossoms will peak here on Friday and will not last until Easter. **sigh**

    But other flowers may appear in time for Easter. I hope so, anyway. Otherwise, I'll have to buy flowers to put on my parents' graves for this Easter season.

  17. Good morning, AOW,

    Thank you for offering these periodic opportunities to present and enjoy things that enhance the quality of life and help to show that it is filled with beauty, ingenuity and meaning, despite all the unpleasantness, unfairness, confusion and apprehension we must endure.

    May this day be filled with blessings –– and valuable lessons –– for us all.

    ~ FreeThinke


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