Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sandcastles

Building sleep-
sandcastles in
waves of heat;
flame licked  to
walls of glass.
Sunlight towers,
hard beacons
rise unsmiling
sentinels to
Mayhem,
my prison camp.

I want to sleep
but the gas mask
is poor cushion for
a parched mind and
awareness bleeds
my eyes out in
dry intervals.

I want to sleep
but the jagged fragments
of a thousand collapsed
cities dig at my mind
as long memories
forgotten.

Living in sleep-
sandcastles this world
blurs
into
the next
(the last)
and I dream
aware.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Words and phrases from fiction we need to use in daily life

Totally going to let my inner geek free here today and list off some of my favorite words and phrases from science fiction and fantasy which I think should be applied in daily life. What got me thinking about this was the new Syfy show Defiance, which makes use of a number of loanwords transferred from alien tongues into English.

So, lets begin with Defiance:
Jaja - money
Shtako - Shit
Uses: "Keep your jaja, I don't need that shtako"

Rhapsody Trilogy:
Hrekin - Shit (exclamatory)
Uses: "Hrekin!" *spits*

Firefly:
Shiny - Little harder to define, but I'ma go with "cool" or "good" or "just fine". Others have defined it as meaning "valuable".
Uses: "Everything's just shiny here"

Wheel of Time Series:
Blood 'n Ashes - generalized curse-phrase
Uses: "Blood 'n Ashes, we'll never get there on time"
Light - Another generalized exclamatory, akin with "God!"
Uses: "Light will it, we will be home for dinner"

Harry Potter Series:
Merlin's beard - An exclamation of surprise
Uses: "Merlin's beard! I've lost my Knuts"

Warehouse 13:
Whammied - An expression for what happens when an artifact is used on you/backfires on you.
Uses: "I just got whammied; the top came off my blender"

Doctor Who:
Wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff - a phrase denoting something which is too complicated to be easily explained at that time.
Uses: "Daddy, what are you doing with the engine?" "Wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, son"

That's all I got. Can anyone donate more?

Friday, 7 June 2013

Napier-isms

Charles James Napier was Britain's Commander-in-Chief in India in the mid 1800's. His chief purpose in India was to quash rebellion, and he did so with efficient brutality.

Many of his quotes pertaining to putting down rebellions are well noted:

* The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed.
* the human mind is never better disposed to gratitude and attachment than when softened by fear.

These two quotes should acquaint you with the fierceness of the man, the iron-fist attitude which helped him conquer those who would shake British rule  in India. I think most of us in Western society today--especially after the horrors of the era surrounding World War II, when dictatorship was used to such nightmarish effect--  would agree that this way of thinking is antiquarian, and far too brutal to be used in a modern political forum. 
However, consider these next two quotes from the same man which, while we may not agree with them in principle from our modern Western perspective, are still very much present in our political lives: 

* so perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to be misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another
*Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.
See, Western culture has this nasty habit of thinking that other cultures and nations would be "well ruled" by it. Partly because, as Napier points out, other cultures have certain traditions which appear brutal to the Western eye. So, here's the moral question, one which has been asked over and over, and which I am going to ask again: Do we, as Westerners, have any right to think we are in a moral position to rule over others, and point out which of their customs and behaviors are "right" and "wrong"? 
If we react to what we view as brutality with brutality, are we just as bad and antiquated as Napier? Do we want to be like Napier, or not? Do means ever justify ends in stopping those behaviours we view as cruel? Is there such a thing as a global morality which should be applied across the board, and where does it begin, and where does it end, and what defines it?
No answers here, just throwing out some thought munchies. Because its Friday, and everyone wants to think on a Friday.
You love me anyway.  

Maud: A Monodrama

Just found this today and while I'm not usually a huge fan of Tennyson, I really like it. Good poetry should inspire the senses. Humor me, and read this. . . think of what it makes you see, hear, touch, smell, and feel. 

Maud; A Monodrama (from Part I)

BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
   Come into the garden, Maud,
      For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
      I am here at the gate alone;


And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
      And the musk of the rose is blown.


   For a breeze of morning moves,
      And the planet of Love is on high,
Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
      In a bed of daffodil sky,
To faint in the light of the sun she loves,
      To faint in his light, and to die.


   All night have the roses heard
      The flute, violin, bassoon;
All night has the casement jessamine stirr'd
      To the dancers dancing in tune;
Till a silence fell with the waking bird,
      And a hush with the setting moon.


   I said to the lily, "There is but one
      With whom she has heart to be gay.
When will the dancers leave her alone?
      She is weary of dance and play."
Now half to the setting moon are gone,
      And half to the rising day;
Low on the sand and loud on the stone
      The last wheel echoes away.


   I said to the rose, "The brief night goes
      In babble and revel and wine.
O young lord-lover, what sighs are those,
      For one that will never be thine?
But mine, but mine," so I sware to the rose,
      "For ever and ever, mine."


   And the soul of the rose went into my blood,
      As the music clash'd in the hall;
And long by the garden lake I stood,
      For I heard your rivulet fall
From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood,
      Our wood, that is dearer than all;


   From the meadow your walks have left so sweet
      That whenever a March-wind sighs
He sets the jewel-print of your feet
      In violets blue as your eyes,
To the woody hollows in which we meet
      And the valleys of Paradise.


   The slender acacia would not shake
      One long milk-bloom on the tree;
The white lake-blossom fell into the lake
      As the pimpernel dozed on the lea;
But the rose was awake all night for your sake,
      Knowing your promise to me;
The lilies and roses were all awake,
      They sigh'd for the dawn and thee.


   Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls,
      Come hither, the dances are done,
In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls,
      Queen lily and rose in one;
Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls,
      To the flowers, and be their sun.


   There has fallen a splendid tear
      From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
      She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;"
      And the white rose weeps, "She is late;"
The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear;"
      And the lily whispers, "I wait."


   She is coming, my own, my sweet;
      Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
      Were it earth in an earthy bed;
My dust would hear her and beat,
      Had I lain for a century dead,
Would start and tremble under her feet,
      And blossom in purple and red.

For me, here are the senses inspired:

Sight:
                                  





Smell: The smell of dew on grass in the morning, fresh and clear.
Sound: Crickets, the occasional chirp of a bird. Like a chickadee --dunno why that has to be the bird.
Touch: A cool breeze on my cheeks, wet dew soaking into my feet.
Taste: A taste of wine from last nights revelry, sweet but sour.
Feeling: Bittersweet melancholy (but isn't that the norm with Tennyson?)