i have decided to blame no one for my life


Tonight the first fall rain washes away my sly distance.
I have decided to blame no one for my life.
This water falls like a great privacy.
Letters sink into the desk,
The desk sinks away, leaving an intelligence
Slowly learning to talk of its own suffering.
The muttering of thunder is a gift
That reverberates in the roof of the mouth.
Another gift is a child’s face in a dark room
I see as I check the house during the storm.
My life is a blessing, a triumph, a car racing through the rain.

Image result for robert bly painting

This lovely poem by Robert Bly is the poem for today from The Writer’s Almanac.

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I remember driving to Ann Arbor to hear Bly read his poetry. It’s odd that I don’t have a volume of his work in  my collection. I like the way this poem works and what it says.

After doing Greek, I read in my 1998 copy of Garner’s A Dictionary of Modern Usage.

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Though it is now four editions ago, I think it still represents an interesting codification of thought and stories. I look forward to comparing the 1998 to the 2016 edition.

Image result for reading a book old man

I notice that I have read in this book before. I can tell because I made notes. Garner’s love of language and how words work in sentences comes through strongly in this book. I love the way he values clarity. I also like his sense of humor.

For example, when talking about being honored to appear in the same issue of Shakespeare Studies with his teacher, John Velz, he cannot resist pointing out his own mistaken use of a word:

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“As a 22-year-old budding scholar, I was thrilled to have an article published alongside one by Velz himself in an issue of Shakespeare Studies. Unfortunately, that very article of mine contains a linguistic gaffe that has found its way into the pages of this book: see bequest.”

On page 81, the entry reads: “bequest, v.t., is a silly error that has appeared in a would-be Shakespearean scholar’s writing: “And by so felicitously using the words newly bequested (read bequeathed) to English, [Shakespeare], more than any other writer of the English Renaissance, validated the efforts of earlier and contemporary neologists.” Bryan A. Garner, “Shakespeare’s Latinate Neologisms,” 15 Shakespeare Studies 149, 151 (1982).”

Garner wrote a thesis on the Latin influences in Shakespeare’s language. He says that he used excerpts of it for journal articles.

He quickly accepted my “friend” request on Facelessbookers. Yesterday he put up this link to an 2012 article (debate) by him and Robert Lane Green:

Which Language and Grammar Rules to Flout – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

Fun stuff.

On The Media has great stuff in today’s show. As I often do, I went searching for articles which are mentioned or are sources for reports on it.

The biggest political lie of 2016.

Bob Garfield interviews Sam Kriss about truth in politics and why it might not as important as ideas.

How Hillary Clinton helped create what she later called the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ – The Washington Post

Brooke Gladstone discusses Clinton’s history of evasion with Karen Tumulty. A sad and startling notion is both in the broadcast and article by Tulmulty linked above:

Tracing the mistake to an actual day in December 11, 1993.

“If a genie offered me the chance to turn back time and undo a single decision from my White House tenure, I’d head straight to the Oval Office dining room on Saturday morning, December 11, 1993,” ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, then a top aide to the president, wrote in his memoir “All Too Human.”

Gergen was quoted saying “If they had turned over the Whitewater documents to The Washington Post in December 1993, their seven-year-old land deal would have soon disappeared as an issue and the story of the next seven years would have been entirely different…”  

Finally, I pass along this  video. I know it’s goofy and hokey but it also has a measure of hope and ideas that we are missing right now in the USA.


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