Three Foolish Virgins

All good and faithful servants stand,

The bridegroom waits to take thee home!
His hands are soft, his cloak is warm!
Don't pity we slatterns who've drained our lamps -
Ye kept your light till morning's come!
So stand, ye wiser virgins, stand!
Lift up your hearts, ye mild and meek!
But turn back, livers of lamplit lives -
If only thou'd strived with a little less strife..
But ye faithful - a chariot waits for thee!
Ride on, thou pitiless, preening Christ,
To victory! To victory!


I felt a cinder fall on me,
It burned me to the quick.
The flesh below was raw and clean,
The blood was pure and thick.
If thou hast mercy, sacred god,
Leave me when thou adjourn.
My sins are all that's left of me -
Pray leave them here to burn.


The richness of the ambergris!
The smokeless spermaceti flame!
The ringing of the bells!
Here, sisters, take a little oil -
My lamp is rich and full of fat.
I cannot leave here - knowing that
You cannot come as well!

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Emily Dickinson, Translated

If you find Emily Dickinson reads like a foreign language, fear not! You are not alone! In fact, a new translation has just been released - Dickinson translated into English...

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Let it Shine

Whenever you feel like your crappy corporate job precludes you from doing anything beautiful, just remember - Alphonse Mucha made beer posters, and whoever did this beautiful video makes car commercials.

‘Let It Shine’

via Daring Fireball

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Cut tight, in nodes and hollows, lay the bits -
Cut from what vision? They cannot divulge,
Each hollow gouged in negative, to fit
Another's clumsy curvature of bulge,
But just one other piece - but only one.
The panic of the color on it's face
An empty shred of reverie, undone
Into a cipher in it's place.
Now - suturer - the mutual wound fulfill!
Leave hollowness below, behind, beside:
A larger fragment - but a fragment still,
And still a larger figure left to find.
Two lossy souls, stitched heart to heart, make one:
One lossy soul - As lost as if undone.


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A Dream I Think I Had as a Child.

I reread what I wrote about Christmas this year, after spending all morning tramping up and down the halls of Pearson with my headphones on. Don't you love the feeling of having headphones on, when there are people around?

It reminds me of this dream I had when I was a child. I was walking through school, and the halls were full of people, talking, gossiping, complaining, telling jokes, making the noise that makes human beings so wonderful and awful, and then I found my hand on a scarf, a magical blue scarf. I drew it over the top of my head, over my ears, around my neck, behind my nape, In the way that I imagined Moslem women must wrap it. The silk muffled sound, and at first I felt as if I were wearing earmuffs. Then, I realized people weren't making the same words. There faces were the same, the same joking, gossiping faces, but the words were different, the gossiper was snivelling weakly, like a beaten dog, the joker was desperately shouting in the middle of a group of people, cackling like hyenas, wild and blood edged. And it was strange, because the faces still matched, though the tone had changed, and evryone was so muffled at first, but it intensified, until it was all louder than it had been, and I felt disoriented and dizzy. Then, I saw one face, standing to the side, an unremarkable, dark face, not speaking, the only face that didn't speak, and it looked at me, and it smiled, a weird smile, sympathetic and taunting all at once, and it murmured something, something very low, but I couldn't hear it, so I took off the scarf, and the face was gone.

That's what it's like, walking the halls with your headphones. It's like, perhaps there is a narrative to everything, after all.

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Grapes of Wrath

Just wanted to mention, since I'm already late, this month is the 70th anniverary of the Grapes of Wrath. Published in 1939, just as the nation was beginning to grope with an understanding of what had happened to it in the depression, the Grapes of Wrath tore the scabs from those wounds, to drain the infections beneath them. It's a terrible, wonderful book, depressing, but in a funny way, extremely hopeful -- in the midst of it all, the souls in and around the Joad family find humanity, in a world that would make them into animals.

This book was meaningful to me, personally. In a world where politics was cold, inhuman, and usually extremely self-important, this is one of the first books that abstracted away the callous idea world that we live in now, to remind me that welfare means people who are hungry, or that the minimum wage means how real people can live, or that labor rights means people being with their children. All those ideas, all those little boxes we put them in sound so sterile and negotiable.

In a day where we're arguing that torture is a bad idea because it produces bad intelligence (would it matter if it produced good intelligence?), in a day where we cannot afford to stop genocide and starvation, but we can afford the people who rise up against in sheer desperate hunger and despair, we've gotten too far away from what it means to suffer, we've forgotten it as a country. John Steinbeck reminds me, still.

Thanks, John Steinbeck.

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