Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some Halloween History

Halloween is a widely celebrated cultural event in Ireland. It is known in Irish as Oíche Shamhna (Irish pronunciation: [ˈiːhə haunˠə] ee-hah how-nah), literally "Samhain Night." In Irish, Samhain is the name for the month of November. The medieval Irish festival of Samhain marked the end of the harvest, heralding shorter days and the "darker half" of the year. It is linked to the dead revisiting the mortal world, large communal bonfires and associated lore.

A traditional Irish turnip (rutabaga) jack-o'-lantern, c. early 20th century, on display in the Museum of Country Life, Ireland.

On Halloween night, adults and children dress up as creatures from the underworld (e.g., ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches, and goblins), light bonfires, and enjoy spectacular fireworks displays – in particular, the city of Derry is home to the largest organized Halloween celebration on the island, in the form of a street carnival and fireworks display.

Houses are frequently adorned with pumpkins, or traditional turnip carved into scary faces; lights or candles are sometimes placed inside the carvings, resulting in an eerie effect. The traditional Halloween cake in Ireland is the barmbrack, which is a fruit bread. The Halloween Brack traditionally contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a fortune-telling game. In the barmbrack were a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence), and a ring. Each item, when received in the slice, was supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the pea, the person would not marry that year; the stick, "to beat one's wife with," would have an unhappy marriage or continually be in disputes; the cloth or rag, would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be married within the year. Commercially produced barmbracks for the Halloween market still include a toy ring.

Games are often played, such as bobbing for apples, in which apples, peanuts, and other nuts and fruit and some small coins are placed in a basin of water. The apples and nuts float, but the coins, which sink, are harder to catch. Everyone takes turns catching as many items possible using only their mouths. In some households, the coins are embedded in the fruit for the children to "earn" as they catch each apple. Another common game involves the hands-free eating of an apple hung on a string attached to the ceiling. Games of divination are also played at Halloween, but are becoming less popular. Lunchtime (the midday meal, sometimes called "dinner" in Ireland, on Halloween is called Colcannon.

Similar to the United Kingdom, Halloween is today associated with anti-social behaviour with October 31st being the busiest day of the year for the Emergency Services.Bangers and fireworks are illegal in the Republic of Ireland; however, they are commonly smuggled in from Northern Ireland where they are legal. Bonfires are common place around major cities around Halloween.Trick-or-treating is common amongst children on October 31st and Halloween parties and events are commonplace.

In Scotland it refers to the medieval festival of Samhain in Scottish Gaelic as Oidhche Shamhna, the "Summer's night." During the fire festival, souls of the dead wander the Earth and are free to return to the mortal world until dawn. Traditionally, bonfires and lanterns (samhnag in Scottish Gaelic) would be lit to ward off the phantoms and evil spirits that emerge at midnight.

The name Halloween is first attested in the 16th century as a Scottish shortening of the fuller All-Hallows-Even, that is, the night before All Hallows Day. All observances of Halloween made an application to the agency of evil spirits, and Dumfries poet John Mayne's 1780 poem made note of pranks at Halloween; "What fearfu' pranks ensue!", as well as the supernatural associated with the night, "Bogies" (ghosts). Eminent Scottish poet Rabbie Burns was influenced by Maynes composition, and portrayed some of the customs in his poem Halloween (1785). According to Burns, Halloween is "thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are all abroad on their baneful midnight errands".

Traditional customs and lore include divination practices, ways of trying to predict the future. By the 18th century, most of the customs were methods for young people to search for their future husbands or wives. A traditional Scottish form of divining one's future spouse is to carve an apple in one long strip, then toss the peel over one's shoulder. The peel is believed to land in the shape of the first letter of the future spouse's name.

Children who ventured out carried a candle-lit lantern (samhnag) carved with a devilish face to frighten away faeries (sídhe, or sìth, in modern Gaelic) or evil spirits. Such Halloween lanterns were made from a turnip, or "neep" in Lowland Scots. In modern times, pumpkins are used, as in North American traditions, possibly because it is easier to carve a face into a pumpkin than into a turnip.

If children approached the door of a house, they were given offerings of food (Halloween being a harvest festival), which served to ward off the potential spirits that may lurk among them. The children's practice of "guising" (derived from "disguising"), going from door to door in supernatural-themed costumes for food or coins, is a traditional Halloween custom in Scotland and Ireland. Among the earliest record of Guising at Halloween in Scotland is in 1895, where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.

A traditional Halloween game includes apple "dooking", or "dunking" or (i.e., retrieving one from a bucket of water using only one's mouth), and attempting to eat, while blindfolded, a treacle/jam-coated scone hanging on a piece of string.

Halloween is largely celebrated in the same manner between the two countries of Canada and the United States. In the United States, where lingering Puritan tradition restricted the observance of many holidays, Halloween did not become a holiday until the 19th century. American almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th centuries do not include Halloween in their lists of holidays. The transatlantic migration of nearly two million Irish following the Irish Potato Famine (1845–1849) finally brought the holiday to the United States. Scottish emigration, primarily to Canada before 1870 and to the United States thereafter, brought the Scottish version of the holiday to each country. The earliest known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking North America occurs in 1911, when a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported that it was normal for the smaller children to go street "guising" on Halloween between 6 and 7 p.m., visiting shops and neighbors to be rewarded with nuts and candies for their rhymes and songs.

American librarian and author Ruth Edna Kelley wrote the first book length history of the holiday in the U.S; The Book of Hallowe'en (1919), and references souling in the chapter Hallowe'en in America; "All Hallowe'en customs in the United States are borrowed directly or adapted from those of other countries. The taste in Hallowe'en festivities now is to study old traditions, and hold a Scotch party, using Burn's poem Halloween as a guide; or to go a-souling as the English used. In short, no custom that was once honored at Hallowe'en is out of fashion now". The main event for children and teenagers of modern Halloween in the United States and Canada is trick-or-treating, in which children, teenagers, (sometimes) young adults, and parents (accompanying their children) disguise themselves in costumes and go door to door in their neighborhoods, ringing each doorbell and yelling "Trick or treat!" to solicit a gift of candy or similar items.

Irish-American and Scottish-American societies held dinners and balls that celebrated their heritages, with perhaps a recitation of Robert Burns' poem Halloween or a telling of Irish legends, much as Columbus Day celebrations were more about Italian-American heritage than Columbus per se. Home parties centred on children's activities, such as apple bobbing, and various divination games often concerning future romance. Not surprisingly, pranks and mischief were common as well.

At the turn of the 20th century, Halloween had turned into a night of vandalism, with destruction of property and cruelty to animals and people.Around 1912, the Boy Scouts, Boys Clubs, and other neighborhood organizations came together to encourage a safe celebration that would end the destruction that had become so common on this night. School posters during this time called for a "Sane Halloween." Children began to go door to door, receiving treats, rather than playing tricks on their neighbors. This helped to reduce the mischief, and by the 1930s, "beggar's nights" had become very popular. Trick-or-treating became widespread by the end of the 1930s.

The commercialization of Halloween in the United States did not start until the 20th century, beginning perhaps with Halloween postcards (featuring hundreds of designs), which were most popular between 1905 and 1915. Dennison Manufacturing Company (which published its first Halloween catalog in 1909) and the Beistle Company were pioneers in commercially made Halloween decorations, particularly die-cut paper items. German manufacturers specialized in Halloween figurines that were exported to the United States in the period between the two World Wars.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Folk Festival this weekend, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland

Mouth Music Lennox Family Folk Festival Dunfermline Fife Scotland

DUNFERMLINE Folk weekend kicks off tomorrow (Friday) and will celebrate the town's musical history.

Big names, including Dunfermline's Barbara Dickson (pictured) along with Archie Fisher, will be performing with friends at the Saturday Gala Concert in the Glen Pavilion on Saturday.

Both will be singing and reflecting on their experiences of folk music in Dunfermline and beyond.

The concert will also feature performances by Pete Shepheard and Tommy Bonnar, Jack Beck who was a co-founder of the Dunfermline Howff with John Watt, Clutha from Glasgow who performed at the Howff, Adam MacNaughton who has been part of the Glasgow Folksong scene since the 1960s, and the Lennox Family, a young harmony group from Banff who will be performing the songs of Jimmy McBeath, a traditional singer from Portsoy who performed at the Dunfermline Howff in the 1960s.

After the concert there is an open stage with songs and tunes from Riley Briggs and Kirsten Adamson and others into the night.

The Folk Weekend opens tomorrow with a Celebration Family Ceilidh with the Dollarfield Ceilidh Band on Friday night.

On Saturday afternoon The Glen Pavilion hosts an open stage which has attracted some extraordinarily fine musicians - Oakfield, Clydebuilt, Watt Nicol, Lennox Family, Jack Beck, Big River, Weekend Singers, Robin Campbell, Albanach Guitar Duo.

Families can also enjoy a Halloween songs and games with The Linties for a scarily enjoyable experience!

On Sunday the celebrations continue with a chance for musicians and listeners to spend an afternoon making and appreciating folk music in the Thistle Tavern, Bardridgeburn.

The weekend finishes with a concert in the Thistle Tavern with Alistair MacDonald.

All details and online tickets can be found at Tickets will be available at the Glen Pavilion on Saturday.



7.30pm: Celebration Ceilidh Dance with The Dollarfield Ceilidh Band and The Travelling People.

Glen Pavillion. Adult £10; child £5.


10am: Exhibition - Remembering the Dunfermline Howff - an exhibition of photos from the Howff taken from John Watt's collection, along with a painting specially created for the event by award-winning local artist Ian Moir plus Greentrax stall.

Glen Pavilion. Entrance free.

12pm: Lunchtime Session in Glen Pavilion. All singers and musicians welcome to fill the Glen Pavilion with music. Bar and lunch available.

Entry free.

2pm: Open Stage with Oakfield, Clydebuilt, Watt Nicol, Lennox Family, Jack Beck, Big River, Weekend Singers - Dave and Anne Reekie, Robin Campbell formerly of the Lomond Folk.

Entry free.

2pm: Family Halloween Event with the Linties. Fancy dress optional.

Glen Pavilion Dining Room. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets: £5 adult with child free.Early evening food available in Glen Pavilion.

7pm: Gala Concert in Glen Pavilion. Barbara Dickson and Archie Fisher go back to their roots, along with Tommy Bonnar, Pete Shepheard, Clutha, Jack Beck, Adam MacNaughton and The Lennox Family from Portsoy.

Tickets: £20 including entrance to late night open stage.

After the concert - open stage in the Glen Suite. Songs and Tunes into the night. Bar shuts 12pm.

SUNDAY 30th October

12.30pm: Lunchtime and afternoon session in Thistle Tavern. Bar lunches available.

Entry free.

7pm: Folk Club Night with Alistair MacDonald.

Thistle Tavern, Baldridgeburn £10.

For further information:; Facebook 'Dunfermline Howff' or 'Dunfermline Folk Club'; phone Jeanie Gardiner 01383 725872, or Gifford Lind on 01383 729673.

Tickets available from Carnegie Hall box office on 602302 or online at

Unst Boat Song by Lennox Family, Folk Festival Dunfermline Fife Scotland

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Banshee

The Banshee of Ireland is the most widely known Irish fairy in the world, second only to the Leprechaun. This Irish fairy is always female usually described as a small, solitary old woman. She wails at the coming of death. The Irish consider it an honor to have her wail at their death, although she still scares the dickens out of them. Not just anyone’s death, the deaths of certain aristocratic families in and from Ireland. She has followed these families wherever they have settled in this world. She also keens for other Irish families that are musically gifted. After all, the fairies inspire Irish music. At the bottom of this page I will list the families she is attached to. Is your name on the list? Will she wail for you?

There are many descriptions for the Irish banshee, depending on what part of Ireland she is from. Some places she is described as wearing a white cloak with red shoes and long white hair that she combs with a red comb. In other places she wears a red dress with a red cloak with long brown hair. Sometimes she wears white cloths and has long golden hair. Besides red, sometimes the comb she uses in gold or silver. It seems about everyone that has seen her describes her differently.

Her wail is a long lonesome cry that comes on suddenly. Sometimes sounding like a crying dog. You only need to hear it for a second time to know that it is no dog. It is said to be the most lonesome cry in the world. Have you ever heard the cry of the banshee?

The Banshee of Ireland.
There are many, many stories of the banshee in Ireland. You're in luck for I've just managed to come up with one such story here for your reading pleasure.

In about the middle of the nineteenth century lived the Reverend Charles Bunworth of Co. Cork. Mr. Bunworth became deathly ill. His wife was not too worried because it looked like his health was improving.

A servant of the household knew his master was going to die. He heard the dreaded wail along with several others. He tells his story;
“As I came through the glen at Ballybeg, she was along with me screeching and keening, and clapping her hands, by my side every step of the way, with her long white hair falling about her shoulders, and I could hear her repeat the master’s name every now and then as plain as ever I heard it. When I came to the old abbey, she parted from me there, and turned into the pigeon field next to the berrin ground, and folding her cloak about her, down she sat under the tree that was struck by lightning, and began keening so bitterly that it went through one’s heart to hear it.
Mrs. Bunworth dismissed this as superstition because her husband's health was getting better.

A few nights later a low moaning accompanied by the sound of clapping was heard outside of Mr. Bunworth’s window. Two men visiting the house immediately ran outside to find the source of the sound. They found nothing and heard only silence. Meanwhile the people still in the house kept hearing the wailing and moaning and clapping. This continued for hours. All the while Mr. Bunworth began slipping away. He was dead by the morning.

This just goes to show you that once someone has heard a banshee, death is not far behind.

The Irish Banshee Abroad.
There is branch of the old Irish family O’Grady that moved to Canada. The O’Grady sept have always had their own prophet of death. Being far removed from Ireland they were surprised to hear a wail outside their door. It was a strange mournful cry full of the deepest agony and sorrow. Several people in the area heard the sound. A search of the grounds found no trace of anyone ever being there. A deep dread and terror filled the household.

The next day O’Grady and his son went out boating. When they did not return for dinner a search was made of the lake. At the exact time the sound of the cries of the previous night was heard, a group of people arrived at the house carrying the bodies of the father and son. Their boat had capsized too far from shore and they both drowned.

The banshee had performed her duty as the harbinger of death even though it was not on Irish soil. This is why she is known the world over. She travels with the families wherever they go. If you are Irish, did she follow your family?

Naming Names
The following is a list of families known to have the Banshee keen for them.

Adamson, Ahren, Barry, Bowe, Brady, Brennan, Browne, Caldwell, Carrol, Cartwright, Carey, Cassidy, Coady, Colahan, Conroy, Conway, Cooney, Coughlin, Cox, Cullen, Culleton, Cuskelly, Daly, Dawson, Dempsey, Dewan, Dillon, Doyle, Dowd, Duggan, Dwyer, English, Ennis, Fallon, Faris, Flanagan, Flynn, Fogarty, Fox, Gaffney, Gallagher, Galligan, Gannon, Gavigan, Geoghan, Geraghty, Gill, Glennon, Griffin, Griffith, Halton, Hanley, Hannon, Hayden, Hayes, Healy, Hegarty, Higgins, Holohan, Jennings, Jordon Keane, Keany, Keating, Keegan, Kehoe, Kenny, Kirwin, Lacey, Lawrence, Lee, Lonergan, Lynch, Lyster, Madden, Malone, Manning, Martin, Meehan, Miller, Monohan, Moran, Morrissey, Mullen, Mulligan, Murphy, Murry, MacBride, MacCarthy, MacCormack, MacDermott, MacDonnell, MacEntee, MacGoldrick, MacGovern, MacGrath, MacGuinness, MacGuire, MacKenna, MacMahon, MacManamon, MacNally, MacNamara, MacNiff, MacPartlan, MacQuaide, Naughton, O’Brien, O’Byrne, O’Connor, O’Donnell, O’Donovan, O’Gready, O’Hanlon, O’Keefe, O’Leary, O’malley, O’Neill, O’Reilly, O’Rourke, O’Sullivan, Peters, Potterton, Power, Quin, Roche, Roe, Rehill, Ryan, Rynne, Scally, Scott, Shanahey, Sherlock, Sinnot, Smith, Stafford, Steward, Strong, Sullivan, Sutton, Sweeney, Tully, Wall, Walsh.

If your name is not on the list don't fret about it. Your family may be one touched by the fairy music. If so the Banshee may still cry for you. After all she wailed for Mr. Bunworth in the story above and I don't see his name on the list.

Thanks to: The Irish Path

Maggie Sansone , Lilting Banshee Set

A Banshee in Scottish and Irish folklore is a female spirit, usually taking the form of a woman whose mournful wailing warns of an impending death. Originally a fairy woman singing a caoin, caoineadh (lament). In Ireland she wails only for recently-deceased members of the O'Grady, the O'Neill, the O'Brien, the O'Connor, and the Kavanagh families.

The Banshee

"Who sits upon the heath forlorn,
With robe so free and tresses torn?
Anon she pours a harrowing strain,
And then she sits all mute again!
Now peals the wild funeral cry
And now... it sinks into a sigh."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lake Chautauqua and the Casino from the Bridge.

The Village Casino in Bemus Point, Oct. 17, 2011

Casino & Bathing Beach Bemus Point Lake Chautauqua NY ~1941~

Thursday, October 20, 2011

An album of Photos of the NYS sheep and wool festival 2011

Copy and Paste this link to view the album of the 2011 New York State Sheep and Wool Festival

Espiritu Andino

I heard this group play at the Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend. It was amazing they played all day for two full days and were just wonderful. I do not know how they did it they took few breaks and the music was flawless and inspired. Espiritu Andino or Andean Spirit is a group of talented musicians from various South-American countries, founded in 2005. Members: Faustino Cutipa (Peru), Martin Costelo (Peru), Gabriel Davila (Bolivia), Erubey Puente (USA, Ecuador), and Oscar Echevarria (Peru).

Instruments: antara, charango, siku, zampona, quena, rondador, bombo, cajon.

Espiritu Andino

"Espiritu Andino performs a variety of traditional and new age urban melodies from the
South American Andean Mountains of Peru,Ecuador,Bolivia,Chile,and Argentina
Espiritu Andino was created in 2005 as a response to the vital necessity to preserve
alive, share, spread to our young generations, the philosophy of our ancestors and show
the world the mystical culture of the millenary INCA civilization.

Every band member of Espiritu Andino is native from the andean mountains and has
enriching musical experiences that have helped sustain their career in South America,
The United States and Canada for over a decade."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Hash O Bennagoak by Charlie Allan

This is Bothy Ballad by Charlie Allan and photographs from North-East Scotland's old farming days. The 'bothy' was where the young single farmworkers lived and often entertained themselves of an evening by making up & singing bothy ballads such as this (true 'folk' music.) There is often much humour in the ballad (as there is here) but the sense of the harshness and poverty of these young men's situation and working lives is often communicated too. But there is also a great pride in their work and especially if they are horsemen, in their beautiful animals. I hope this video will, in some small way, keep their memories alive and their Bothy Ballad flame burning.

The Hash O Bennagoak

It's sax month come Mairtinmas I fee'd in Turra toon,
They say that I wis the bra'est chiel in a' the country roon,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Wullie come an fee'd me, Robbie nivver spoke,
Tae come and ca the second pair at the Hash o Benagoak,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Wir foreman's like a constable, he nivver fa's asleep,
It's up and doon the lang rig, and nivver slacks a theet,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

The second horseman, at's masel, I ca' a pair o broons,
Raisin ??? in the foreman's heels, I fairly keep ma roons,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

The third comes fae Fogieloan, he's a pinted chiel,
His horse and his harness they're aye a lookin weel,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Sharnie 't is the baillie, he's a sturdy chiel,
It's roon aboot the kittlie neuks he gars the barra reel,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Wi hae an orra man, and he's ??? the ploo,
There's aye plenty orra jobs, and files there's neeps tae pu,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Wullie rises in the mornin, he gies the door a crash,
Hauls from oot aneth his pickie, says I think we'll hae a thrash,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Wi hae an orra man, and he's ??? the ploo,
There's aye plenty orra jobs, and files there's neeps tae pu,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Wullie rises in the mornin, he gies the door a crash,
Hauls from oot aneth his pickie, says I think we'll hae a thrash,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Come a' ye jolly horseman, ye'll ging tae the ploo,
The orra lad tae ca the neeps and Sharnie pullin fu,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Wullie, he's a brither, he's a' wrang amon the feet,
Tae see him walk aboot the close, he nearly gars ye greet,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Syne they hiv a sister, she's ???,
Faith she keeps the kitchie billies unco scant o maet,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

We hae a sonsie kitchie deem, her name is Betty Broon,
I'll sweir tae tak a saiddle girth her middle tae gang roon,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Noo the author o this canty lay, if ye wint it tae be known,
Jist spier ye at the herrin boats at the pier o Fogieloan,
Wi a ring dum day, ring dum a day, ring dum diddle dum, a dandy-o.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I think the color has peaked her now.

Lost in Fiberspace, big show this weekend.

Dani will be minding the shop while Jim and I go to the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY this weekend.

Women in the Early Church

Who were the women of the early church? What was their role in the formation of the faith? Why do we know so little about them? Recorded on location in Rome, Italy, the Winter 2004 edition of Mosaic brings a wealth of modern scholarship to your congregation as we tell the story of women in the first three centuries of Christianity. You will learn about women like Perpetua, Helena, Thecla and others. We talk with scholars from Luther College, Wartburg Theological Seminary, Lutheran School of Theology at Philadelphia and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. "There are a number of women in every epic of church history who have answered the call," adds Cynthia Jűrisson, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. "We know that in the first century there were women in leadership positions,." says Robin D. Mattison, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

This is pretty cool even if you are not a Christian this has some very interesting history in it that is seldom taught.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Autumn by Thomas Hood

I Saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;—
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.

Where are the songs of Summer?—With the sun,
Oping the dusky eyelids of the south,
Till shade and silence waken up as one,
And Morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
Where are the merry birds?—Away, away,
On panting wings through the inclement skies,
Lest owls should prey
Undazzled at noonday,
And tear with horny beak their lustrous eyes.

Where are the blooms of Summer?—In the west,
Blushing their last to the last sunny hours,
When the mild Eve by sudden Night is prest
Like tearful Proserpine, snatch'd from her flow'rs
To a most gloomy breast.
Where is the pride of Summer,—the green prime,—
The many, many leaves all twinkling?—Three
On the moss'd elm; three on the naked lime
Trembling,—and one upon the old oak-tree!
Where is the Dryad's immortality?—
Gone into mournful cypress and dark yew,
Or wearing the long gloomy Winter through
In the smooth holly's green eternity.

The squirrel gloats on his accomplish'd hoard,
The ants have brimm'd their garners with ripe grain,
And honey bees have stored
The sweets of Summer in their luscious cells;
The swallows all have wing'd across the main;
But here the Autumn melancholy dwells,
And sighs her tearful spells
Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.
Alone, alone,
Upon a mossy stone,
She sits and reckons up the dead and gone
With the last leaves for a love-rosary,
Whilst all the wither'd world looks drearily,
Like a dim picture of the drownèd past
In the hush'd mind's mysterious far away,
Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
Into that distance, gray upon the gray.

O go and sit with her, and be o'ershaded
Under the languid downfall of her hair:
She wears a coronal of flowers faded
Upon her forehead, and a face of care;—
There is enough of wither'd everywhere
To make her bower,—and enough of gloom;
There is enough of sadness to invite,
If only for the rose that died, whose doom
Is Beauty's,—she that with the living bloom
Of conscious cheeks most beautifies the light:
There is enough of sorrowing, and quite
Enough of bitter fruits the earth doth bear,—
Enough of chilly droppings for her bowl;
Enough of fear and shadowy despair,
To frame her cloudy prison for the soul!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Under The October Maples

What mean these banners spread,
These paths with royal red
So gaily carpeted?
Comes there a prince to-day?
Such footing were too fine
For feet less argentine
Than Dian's own or thine,
Queen whom my tides obey.

Surely for thee are meant
These hues so orient
That with a sultan's tent
Each tree invites the sun;
Our Earth such homage pays,
So decks her dusty ways,
And keeps such holidays,
For one and only one.

My brain shapes form and face,
Throbs with the rhythmic grace
And cadence of her pace
To all fine instincts true;
Her footsteps, as they pass,
Than moonbeams over grass
Fall lighter, — but, alas,
More insubstantial too!

by James Russell Lowell

James Russell Lowell, American Romantic poet, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 22, 1819, and died on August 12, 1891. He is considered a Fireside Poet, or part of a group of New England authors that wrote material very suitable to be read as entertainment to members of a family, often read aloud in front of a residential fireplace.

Friday, October 7, 2011

October Poem

It Was One of Those Fine October Days

It was one of those fine October days
free from summer’s heat and haze
but not yet gripped by autumn chill.

It was one of those fine October days
when the sky’s so clear
you can see the moon
through the atmosphere
at midday.

It was one of those fine October days
when the trees sport yellow and red
instead of everyday summer green.

It was one of those fine October days
when one draws a deep breath
and is grateful
to be resident on Earth.

by Richard Greene

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Castle

The Castle
All through that summer at ease we lay,
And daily from the turret wall
We watched the mowers in the hay
And the enemy half a mile away
They seemed no threat to us at all.

For what, we thought, had we to fear
With our arms and provender, load on load,
Our towering battlements, tier on tier,
And friendly allies drawing near
On every leafy summer road.

Our gates were strong, our walls were thick,
So smooth and high, no man could win
A foothold there, no clever trick
Could take us, have us dead or quick.
Only a bird could have got in.

What could they offer us for bait?
Our captain was brave and we were true....
There was a little private gate,
A little wicked wicket gate.
The wizened warder let them through.

Oh then our maze of tunneled stone
Grew thin and treacherous as air.
The cause was lost without a groan,
The famous citadel overthrown,
And all its secret galleries bare.

How can this shameful tale be told?
I will maintain until my death
We could do nothing, being sold;
Our only enemy was gold,
And we had no arms to fight it with.

by Edwin Muir

Edwin Muir (15 May 1887 – 3 January 1959 / Orkney / Scotland)

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