This is getting up late today. My server went down.

This was my fortune in my fortune cookie in my take away meal from Mr. You’s yesterday.

A couple of days ago I read this article idly in the New York Times:

When I read articles like this, I imagine there is a story behind it that will probably go unrecorded. Seeking a better life,  from wherever to Greece (of all places with it’s current troubles.

Drowned in the Aegean Sea.

Like Shelley.

Then the next day I read a prose poem in Winter Hours by Mary Oliver called “The Boat” which begins:

“I think a great deal about Shelley’s boat, a little world sailing upon the greater world, to whose laws it must, of necessity, submit. As we know, it soon carried Shelley to his death, and his friend Edward Williams and the boy Charles Vivian as well. The details we do not know, whether it was the wind mainly or altogether, or the leafy waves, or the wind and the waves together, or a larger boat bearing down through the sudden storm. But this we do know. Before it happened, I mean when they left land and sailed away over the Aegean, in the clear summer air, on the untroubled sea, the boat must have looked like a white bird, a swan, floating so lightly and rapidly it was all but flying. And sailing in it must have seemed like entering, with justifiable exhilaration and total faith, an even larger, lovelier, statelier and steadier world than the manifest ocean. As, perhaps, it was.”

This morning I read this poem in Raymond Carver’s Where Water Comes Together with Other Water.

The Squall

Shortly after three p.m. today a squall
hit the calm waters of the Strait.
A black cloud moving fast,
carrying rain, driven by high winds.

The water rose up and turned white.
Then, in five minutes, was as before –
blue and most remarkable, with just
a little chop. It occurs to me
it was this kind of squall
that came upon Shelley and his friend,
Williams, in the Gulf of Spezia, on
an otherwise fine day. There they were,
running ahead of a smart breeze,
wind-jamming, crying out to each other,
I want to think, in sheer exuberance.
In Shelley’s jacket pockets, Keats’s poems,
and a volume of Sophocles!
Then something like smoke on the water.
A black cloud moving fast,
carrying rain, driven by high winds.

Black cloud
hastening along the end
of the first romantic period
in English poetry.


Focus my attention, indeed.

Finally I have to add this lovely poem by Mary Oliver from this morning’s reading.


South Africa Since Mandela –

Politician as pragmatist. It could happen. Mandela negotiated with the people who jailed him.


Miss Manners on the Best Holiday Visits –

Judith Martin. My heroine.


A Critic’s Tour of Literary Manhattan –

Fascinating look at bars, hotels and bookstores in New York.

I liked this especially:

While bookstores have been vanishing for years, stylish book-themed hotels are newly abundant in Manhattan. The Library Hotel, on Madison Avenue not far from the New York Public Library, manages to be sleek and geeky at the same time. Each of its 10 guest room floors is devoted to one of the categories of the Dewey Decimal System, and each of the 60 rooms has a set of books devoted to a topic within that category.


Here’s an odd factoid: Arthur C. Clarke wrote “2001: A Space Odyssey” in the Chelsea Hotel.



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