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The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven [First published in 1845]

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. `’Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door – Only this, and nothing more.’ Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore – For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore – Nameless here for evermore. And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me – filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating `’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door – Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; – This it is, and nothing more,’ Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, `Sir,’ said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you’ – here I opened wide the door; – Darkness there, and nothing more. Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!’ This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!’ Merely this and nothing more. Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. `Surely,’ said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore – Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; – ‘Tis the wind and nothing more!’ Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore. Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door – Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door – Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, `Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, `art sure no craven. Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore – Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!’ Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’ Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning – little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door – Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as `Nevermore.’ But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only, That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered – Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before – On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’ Then the bird said, `Nevermore.’ Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, `Doubtless,’ said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore – Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore Of “Never-nevermore.”‘ But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore – What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking `Nevermore.’ This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er, She shall press, ah, nevermore! Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. `Wretch,’ I cried, `thy God hath lent thee – by these angels he has sent thee Respite – respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!’ Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’ `Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! – Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted – On this home by horror haunted – tell me truly, I implore – Is there – is there balm in Gilead? – tell me – tell me, I implore!’ Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’ `Prophet!’ said I, `thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore – Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore – Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?’ Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’ `Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!’ I shrieked upstarting – `Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! – quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!’ Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’ And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted – nevermore!

http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/Raven-Tlingit.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raven_in_mythology

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Vintage Art

Growing up Southern is a privilege, really.  It’s more than where you’re born, it’s an idea and state of mind that seems imparted at birth.  It’s more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, football, and country music.  It’s being hospitable, devoted to front porches, magnolias, moon pies, and coca cola with peanuts for dessert.  In the south, the breeze blows softer…neighbors are friendlier, nosier, and more talkative.   Its a different place and a different way of life.  Our way of thinking is different, as are our ways of seeing, laughing, singing, eating, meeting, and parting.  Our walk is different, as the old song goes, our talk and our names.  

  “All I can say is that there’s a sweetness here, a Southern sweetness, that makes sweet music. . . . If I had to tell somebody who had never been to the South, who had never heard of soul music, what it was, I’d just have to tell him that it’s music from the heart, from the pulse, from the innermost feeling. That’s my soul; that’s how I sing. And that’s the South.”  — Al Green      

The runway of fame is paved with broken hearts…

 Artwork cemented in the walk-way near my home. 

 

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light”

  

 It’s so easy, sometimes, to let life get the best of you.  Broke and lonely, I’ve been going through a struggle in my life.  Sometimes I feel true grief for the life I once had.  Live?  Hell, sometimes it’s hard enough just to survive.  I finally understand the impact of that statement.  

Somewhere between ricocheting between anger, emptiness, loneliness, and sadness; I have found peace.  I keep counting my blessings and staying focused on only the positive. (This is much harder than it sounds…)  But, finally, I am finding true over-the-moon happiness with myself and finding a peace from within that I have  never felt before.   I am not content though, and true contentment is what I seek.  But, I am learning to just simply enjoy what I have been given and I am sure, absolutely sure, that one of these days my life will fall from shambles into a perfectly placed puzzle with absolutely no pieces missing…  

I found a park a few blocks from where I live that I have been coming to a lot.  It’s so peaceful listening to the birds sing, to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, and to hear the breeze whistling through the tree tops…  

 

 Oh, the trees in this park are just breathtaking.  Infused with the beginning colors of fall, the maple leaves are beginning to dance from the branches and descend onto the grass; still green with just a hint of autumn sprouting from their roots.  There are huge oaks with low branches just begging to be climbed.  

  

 

 As I sit here now and write, I’m watching (2) separate families each enjoying a BBQ.  The smell of burnt coals and sweet barbecue sauce is wafting through the air.  There are children laughing and squealing with pure delight.  Two girls seeing who can swing the highest.  

Two squirrels are playfully running across the trees; playing a game of tag maybe?  As the wind caresses my face; I am at peace.  It’s all in the small things where true happiness lies.  There is a small walking bridge made of pure wood that crosses a small creek full of cattail.  I can hear crickets and small frogs filling the air with their music.  

  

Somewhere in the distance I can hear a friendly game of basketball ensuing.  As the ball bounces against the black top, I close my eyes.  There is music all around me in the elements of nature.  I am at peace…  

Unfortunately, the moment passes as I am abruptly jerked back to reality by an old woman carrying an umbrella and yelling to a tree (while kicking the stump), “You mother-f***er! I’m sick and f***ing tired of you trying my patience…” I’m not sure what the tree did to her but it must have been very disagreeable! lol  

There is an elderly man walking with a fancy walking cain, wearing a tuxedo (?) Very odd.  As he shuffles along, he stops every few minutes to shake his head as if in disbelief.  He appears lost in time; a moment in his mind he cannot erase.  

There is another man at the corner of the entrance to the park.  He appears to be having a deep and meaningful conversation with an old friend.  But, apparently, his “old friend” is not someone that anyone else can see.  Maybe he’s dealing with ghosts or also stuck in a memory.  So sad.  

After playing fetch with Kiska for almost an hour (she loves it when I take her off the leash), I sit under one of the big oak trees and settle into one of the books I just got from the library.  I always read the same kind of books it seems.  Stories that take place in the heart of the south; in a place and time my mind can wander and visit for awhile.  

I love getting books from the library.  The smell of the musty pages comforts me.  I am in awe of all the books lined up so perfectly with the white pages, filled with black writing, yearning to be read and to come alive.  

I swear one day I will visit Georgia and Louisiana.  I will sit on a porch swing or a wicker love seat on a screened in wrap around porch.  I will swirl ice cubes in a glass that makes that delicious clanking noise; sipping on lemonade that is so cool that beads of sweat and condensation run down the outside of the glass.  I will curl up with my journal or a wonderful book and feel the wind blow on me from a huge swamp cooler fan that has ribbons dancing on the outside; blowing in the man-made wind.  I will listen to the blues of the bayou and eat a southern meal of fried green tomatoes or fried okra…and my mouth waters for some Creole and Cajun recipes.  Even if it is only in my dreams; I still say I will do it…  

Dream with me…  

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness…”  

So we’ll live, and pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh at gilded butterflies…

The Story of the Butterfly:

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it, expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body…Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly.

~Author Unknown

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

The first step into the sunshine of life begins with the opening of a cocoon.  The caterpillar becomes a butterfly spreading her wings into the world.  What she is today is but a tiny mirror of the magnificence that is still yet to come.  Her transformation is not yet complete.  For with time, love, humor, and warmth; she is an ever changing masterpiece.  She will find her center of piece.  A place that is hers and hers alone; the essence of what she is and what she will be.

Her flight through life should be filled with happy adventures and memories to put in her book of life.  And when the sun at last begins to set in the west and her flight nears its end; she can look back along her path and can be content that she has been everything she can be and has done her very best. ~ Linda Dietz

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. ~Maya Angelou

“When, within our souls and psyches we are made aware of a safe but insistent drum beat, repeated like butterfly wings in motion, we sense the message…that our inner self has begun its search for freedom…”

SALT

“Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie), a CIA agent, interrogates a Russian defector, Orlov (Daniel Olbrychski). He tells her about “Day X”, an operation organized by a powerful Russian since the cold war, which will lead to the destruction of the United States. Orlov also mentions that at the funeral of the late Vice President in New York City, the visiting Russian President will be killed by a trained Russian spy. He mentions that the name of the Russian spy is Evelyn Salt. From brain scans performed during the interrogation, Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber), Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and other CIA officials all see that Orlov is telling the truth…”

And so the story begins….

I really enjoyed this movie and in the end was left wanting for more!  I had an incredible day with my mom and brother and was able to just relax and be.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~ Walt Disney

 

Moving Day: July 9th, 2010 

So moving day finally arrived.  The actual process of moving: Packing and unpacking sucks.  Let’s keep it real. lol  But I have my own place now and that part of it is REALLY exciting!!  I am just exhausted. 

So, started the day by packing up the remaining things in the house and loading the U-Haul.  Hell, who am I kidding?  Omari actually is the one who did all the heavy work.  Get to the new place and Omari and Alicia get their stuff unloaded and put in the building storage.  Then they went to her mom’s house to give me a moment “to get acquainted” with my apartment.  Really, they were just over moving…but it sounded good. lol 

I then spent the next (6) hours cleaning the apartment.  You know I have bad OCD right?!  (Not really, but I do believe cleanliness is next to godliness or something like that.)  So that in and of itself was a big production.  Oh, and did I mention it was something like 102 degrees outside?  Yeah, and my little wall unit was just not kickin out enough air.  My garbage disposal was broke and I couldn’t get my toilet to flush.  I was pretty crabby by the end of the night. 

After I had the apartment sparkling (literally) and had plunged the toilet…I began the process of moving my stuff in.  I was at it until  way past midnight.  (I’m sure my neighbors were real happy about that.)  Alicia and Omari brought my sweet Kiska back to my apartment and after I got my bed together; she and I passed out in our new apartment. 

 

(Kiska) 

July 10th, 2010: Happy Birthday Alicia Bonqueesha 

So today I’m feeling a little more settled.  Got all of my boxes unpacked and put away and hung my pictures on the walls.  I can’t wait until September! lol  I need to get some furniture and pictures for mi casa.  On my way to Alicia’s moms house for Alicia’s birthday dinner…maybe swimming??  It’s way too hot in Sac!