Archive for the 'Poetry' Category

Honesty of intention

Some people I have encountered in this life have impressed me with their integrity-of-pupose, the coherence, sincerity and compellingness of their objectives and mission.  Sometimes these objectives have been political, as in the case of Don Day and Bill Mansfield.  In other cases, they have been spiritual or religious, as in the case of Albert Moeller. In some cases, they are both, which seems to have been the case for Vaclav Havel.   In my experience, this human attribute is rare.  And I have never seen or heard anyone else talk of it, until now.  In Judith Wright’s autobiography, she speaks (page 234) of her partner and later husband Jack McKinney meeting her father:

That my father was grieved by my relationship with Jack is undeniable but, once they met, he gave in to Jack’s obvious honesty of intention and the needs of my own that Jack was filling. . . . “

Judith Wright [1999]: Half a Lifetime.  Edited by Patricia Clarke. Melbourne, Australia: Text Publishing.

The photo shows Judith Wright McKinney, Jack McKinney (inset) and their daughter Meredith McKinney.




Pangrams

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

How quickly daft jumping zebras vex!

The five boxing wizards jump quickly.

Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.




Piping 101

Leslie Claret (Kurtwood Smith) in Patriot (S1, Ep2, min 17):

Sell them on the structure. You can talk about it with confidence. Keep it simple. A little something like this, John.

Hey. Let me walk you through the Donnelly nut spacing and crack system rim-riding rip configuration. Using a field of half-C sprats, and brass-fitted nickel slits, our bracketed caps, and splay-flexed brace columns, vent dampers to dampening hatch depths of one half meter from the damper crown to the spur of plinth. How? Well, we bolster twelve husked nuts to each girdle-jerry, while flex tandems press a task apparatus of ten vertically-composited patch-hamplers. Then, pinflam-fastened pan traps at both maiden-apexes of the jim-joist.

A little something like that, Lakeman.

The sounds here reminded me of the second stanza of Browning’s The Pied Piper of Hamelin:

Hamelin Town’s in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.

Rats!
They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cooks’ own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women’s chats,
By drowning their speaking
With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.




Is it you, here on LinkedIn?

From the old LinkedIn page of TH:

Evangelizing since childhood. My first evangelization was with “an ordinary man”. He was a shadow of doubt. I told him anyone would be, if anyone would be him. But that it was not the issue. Jazz was the issue, and he listened.

Second, third, and fourth. They were the usual suspects. And were happy with a bird. Only a bird. Can you imagine.

The next. And next, that must be you. Let me ask you. Is it you, here on LinkedIn? Or your question mark. Your exclamation mark, a wish, an unconviction.

Start central is all what I’m saying. Rhythm.

Specialties: Unspecializing in any sense, and making sense of the rhythm. Cache-cache.”




The Stinson Crash

Today, 19 February 2017, is the 80th anniversary of the crash of the Stinson in Lamington Ranges National Park in Southern Queensland, half a kilometre from the border with New South Wales, in 1937. I attended the 50th anniversary commemoration in February 1987, where I met some of the original rescue party, as I reported here. The plane was the Stinson Model A Brisbane. Another model A is shown here:

The plane was on a scheduled Airlines of Australia flight from Brisbane to Sydney, with 2 pilots and 5 passengers on board. Both pilots and 2 passengers died in the crash. One passenger, James Westray, went for help, but died after falling down a waterfall.  Judith Wright, who later lived in nearby Mount Tamborine for two decades, wrote a poem about Westray, The Lost Man. The two survivors, John Proud and Joseph Binstead, owed their rescue to the intuition and perseverance of legendary bushman Bernard O’Reilly.

The passengers and crew were:

Joseph Robert Binstead, wool broker, of Manly NSW
John Seymour Proud, mining engineer, of Wahroonga NSW
William Walden Fountain, architect, 41 of Hamilton, Brisbane QLD (Originally from New Jersey)
James Ronald Nairne Graham, Managing Director, 55 of Hunters Hill NSW
William James Guthrie Westray, Insurance Underwriter, 25 of Kensington, London, England
Commercial Pilot, Beverly George Merivale Shepherd, 25 of Sydney NSW
Commercial Pilot, Reginald Haslem Boyden, 41 of Randwick NSW.

Proud (1907-1997) went on to a prominent career as a mining engineer and executive, and was a generous philanthropist.  Some more information can be found here.

A report in the Beaudesert Times on the 80th anniversary trek is here.

 

Photo credit: Wikicommons: Bill Larkins.




The stinking thousand

Oi, oi, oi, the stinking thousand.
We meet them even when we go to do our droppings.”

from Watership Down. Author Richard Adams has just died, aged 96.




Contrary to the current information

Contrary to the current information,
I saw the Shah at Penrith Station.
He must be in hiding at Emu Plains,
Traveling to the City on commuter trains.




Reader’s Digest Condensed Haiku

From the letters column of The Grauniad of 12 April 2008:

“Like many people nowadays, I rarely have time to sit down and read a whole haiku (Letters, March 22; Letters, March 29). This prompted my “Short Poem About Brevity” –

Haiku, why ramble so?”

 

Steven Handsaker
Barnstaple, Devon




Our life is but lent

“Our life is but lent; a good whereof to make, during the loan, our best commodity.  It is a debt due to a more certain owner than ourselves, and therefore so long as we have it, we receive a benefit; when we are deprived of it, we suffer no wrong. We are tenants at will of this clayey farm, not for any term of years; when we are warned out, we must be ready to remove, having no other title but the owner’s pleasure.  It is but an inn, not a home; we came but to bait, not to dwell; and the condition of our entrance was finally to depart. If this departure be grievous, it is also common; this today to me, tomorrow to thee; and the case equally affecting all, leaves none any cause to complain of injurious usage.”

Robert Southwell SJ: The Triumphs over Death.




Home, James!

“Nothing that is mere wordplay is ever witty,” says Clive James in today’s Grauniad. This statement is so profoundly wrong, one has to wonder if it is meant to be satire. To see how wrong it is, start by reading Shakespeare’s Sonnets, where mere wordplay produces some of the most clever wit in English. Finish by reading or watching pretty much any play by Tom Stoppard, or any episode of Seinfeld. What was James thinking?

Continue reading ‘Home, James!’