Archive for October, 2004

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Nocturne

October 29, 2004

Mood: Quiet

Song: "Starry, Starry Night"

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—

*John Keats*

*The night wanes, but I cannot rest. My thoughts race-

The darkness without mocks the light, but the light will surely pierce it.

*These poems below are in no specific order, but they do share a common theme*

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

“The Starlight Night”Gerard Manley Hopkins

Look at the stars! Look, look up at the skies!
O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!
The bright boroughs, the circle-citadels there!
Down in dim woods the diamond delves! The elves’-eyes!
The gray lawns cold where gold, where quickgold lies!
Wind-beat whitebeam! Airy abeles set on a flare!
Flake-dove sent floating forth at a farmyard scare!—
Ah well! it is all a purchase, all is a prize.

Buy then! bid then!—What?—Prayer, patience, alms, vows.
Look, look: a May-mess, like on orchard boughs!
Look! March-bloom, like on mealed-with-yellow sallows!
These are indeed the barn; withindoors house
The shocks. This piece-bright paling shuts the spous
Christ home, Christ and his mother and all his hallows.

1918

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

“She walks in beauty”George Gordon, Lord Byron

1
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

2
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

3
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

1815

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

“Moonlight”Juliet (as a high school senior)

Stealthily the shadows lengthen—
Silver light gleams on each tree.
Solitude now reigns.
Romantic moonlight, caressing gently;
Concealing moonlight, holding secrets.

Soon to sleep each will surrender
Under her wakeful vigil there.
Stars as sentinels swiftly glide
‘Cross the velvet carpet of a dream.

All nature quivers,
Anticipating dawn’s rosy tendrils,
Not yet come.
Time enough for day’s harsh light,
But for now she stands alone

1998, unpublished

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

From “The Love Poems of Marichiko”Kenneth Rexroth

LVII

Night without end. Loneliness.
The wind had driven a maple leaf
Against the shoji. I wait, as in the old days,
In our secret place, under the full moon.
The last bell crickets sing.
I found your old love letters,
Full of poems you never published.
Did it matter? They were only for me.

1978

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

“Meeting at Night”Robert Browning

The gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

“Night”William Blake

The sun descending in the West,

The evening star does shine.

The birds are silent in their nest,

And I must seek for mine.

The moon, like a flower,

In heaven's high bower,

With silent delight

Sits and smiles on the night.Farewell green fields and happy groves,

Where flocks have took delight;

Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves

The feet of angels bright;

Unseen they pour blessing,

And joy without ceasing,

On each bud and blossom,

And each sleeping bosom.They look in every thoughtless nest,

Where birds are covered warm;

They visit caves of every beast,

To keep them all from harm.

If they see any weeping,

That should have been sleeping,

They pour sleep on their head

And sit down by their bed.When wolves and tygers howl for prey,

They pitying stand and weep;

Seeking to drive their thirst away,

And keep them from the sheep.

But, if they rush dreadful;

The angels, most heedful,

Receive each mild spirit,

New worlds to inherit.And there the lion's ruddy eyes

Shall flow with tears of gold:

And pitying the tender cries,

And walking round the fold:

Saying: “Wrath by His meekness

And, by his health, sickness,

Is driven away,

From our immortal day.“And now beside thee bleating lamb,

I can lie down and sleep;

Or think on Him who bore thy name,

Grase after thee, and weep.

For, wash’d in life's river,

My bright mane for ever

Shall shine like the gold,

As I guard o'er the fold.”

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

“A Night-Piece (composed by 5 January 1798; edited from MS)”William Wordsworth

The sky is overspread
With a close veil of one continous cloud
All whitened by the moon, that just appears
A dim-seen orb, yet chequers not the ground
With any shadow- plant, or tower, or tree.
At last, a pleasant gleam breaks forth at once,
An instantaneous light; the musing man
Who walks along with his eyes bent to earth
Is startled. He looks about, the clouds are split
Asunder, and above his head he views
The clear moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There in a black-blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that small,
And bright, and sharp, along the gloomy vault
Drive as she drives. How fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not! The wind is in the trees,
But they are silent; still they roll along,
Immeasurably distant, and the vault
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens its interminable depth.
At length the vision closes

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

“The Dark Night of the Soul”St. John of the Cross

Upon a darkened night

the flame of love was burning in my breast

And by a lantern bright

I fled my house while all in quiet restShrouded by the night

and by the secret stair I quickly fled

The veil concealed my eyes

While all within lay quiet as the dead

Oh night thou was my guide
Oh night more loving than the rising sun
Oh night that joined the lover
To the beloved one
Transforming each of them into the otherUpon that misty night

In secrecy, beyond such mortal sight

Without a guide or light

than that which burned so deeply in my heartThat fire ’twas led me on

And shone more bright than of the midday sun

To where he waited still

It was a place where no one else could comeWithin my pounding heart

Which kept itself entirely for him

He fell into his sleep

Beneath the cedars all my love I gave
From o’er the fortress walls

The wind would brush his hair against his brow

And with its smoothest hand

Caressed my every sense it would allowI lost myself to him

and laid my face upon my lover’s breast.

And care and grief grew dim

as in the morning’s mist became the light

There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair

There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair

There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

“Whatif”

Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,

some Whatifs crawled inside my ear

and pranced and partied all night long

and sang their same old Whatif song:

Whatif I'm dumb in school?

Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?

Whatif I get beat up?

Whatif there's poison in my cup?

Whatif I start to cry?

Whatif I get sick and die?

Whatif I flunk that test?

Whatif green hair grows on my chest?

Whatif nobody likes me?

Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?

Whatif I don't grow taller?

Whatif my head starts getting smaller?

Whatif the fish won't bite?

Whatif the wind tears up my kite?

Whatif they start a war?

Whatif my parents get divorced?

Whatif the bus is late?

Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?

Whatif I tear my pants?

Whatif I never learn to dance?

Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – *

May your sleep be sweet, my friend, until night is conquered once again by the day.

Until then:

"…Thou couldst not cross

Even this line when once the sun had dropped.

Not that there's any hindrance, save the loss

Of light, to going up; it is night's gloom

Makes impotent the will and thwarts it thus.

Dante Alighieri, Il Purgatorio

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In Vino, Veritas?

October 28, 2004

Mood: Amused
Song: American Pie (explanation to follow)

Note to the wise: there are some things that DEFINITELY make it on Juliet's T.M.I. list (too much info can actually be a bad thing 🙂 ).

Picture this:

A long day already, I am ready to go home and watch the Donald's ridiculous coiffure flailing about as he mercilessly shouts out "you're FIRED!" *include visual of Trump's finger-pointing bravado here*

The last student, my 8:00, walks into the writing center. Though his name is Hamad, he prefers Omar, for reasons I can only speculate about. Being the professional I am, I say, "okay, why don't you have a seat and we can go ahead and get started." He complies, and then it happens…

I ask him how I can help him, and he tells me, "You know, I'm not really sure about this paper I wrote; It might not make very much sense, since I was completely drunk when I wrote it." ?!?!?!?!

Actually, knowing that interesting tidbit of information actually helped explain quite a bit about the paper :). Comma splices=slurred speech. Hmmmm… Maybe I should have had him explain "American Pie" to me. I never did really understand that song.

There are days when, Atlas-like, I carry the weight of useless regrets like so many sandbags. My beloved would agree with this, that I have to see the humor in life; otherwise, it would be unbearable. I thank our Lord that he gives strength when our human bodies are about to snap. It's pretty pathetic when you look forward to student teaching because your life is actually going to ease up some. This morning I could bearly force my eyes to open-they felt like they had literally been stapled shut. Business aside, however, I have never been as fulfilled as I am right now. I am so blessed, being able to breathe the *only slightly polluted* air, fill my stomach whenever I want (although it is NOT getting Ben and Jerry's Brownie Batter OR Primary Berry Graham, no matter how much it is pleading), and know the fulfillment of loving and being loved in return.

Life moves on, season to season, a perfect mixture of change (THIS year) and stability (another spring), and it is as if I have moved into the primeval, archetypical springtime of life at last.

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And Now For a Word From Our Sponsors:

October 28, 2004

We now bring you an important public service announcement from Random, Inc.

211 days left!!!!!! (7 months exactly)

You will now be returned to your regularly scheduled chaos.

Mood: Anticipating
Song: "Flight of the Bumblebee"

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To AIMS, or not to AIMS; That Might Just Possibly, Maybe, All Things Considered, Other Conditions Met, Be the Question

October 27, 2004

Mood: Quizzical (no pun intended)
Song: "Don't Know Much"

I arrived at my internship today, just after finishing my huge breakfast consisting of an All Bran cereal bar (next time I'll just have to take Mir's recommendation and try a Cliff bar), only to discover that my mentor teacher, unexpectedly, was absent today. Though she had *mysteriously* vanished, a note remained: "Juliet, you're in charge"

AAAAAAAAAAH!

After my brief panick attack, I realized that thankfully, I am a *ahem* qualified (ha ha ha) educator, and I set to work, thankful that I had been there yesterday and so had a general idea of what the classes ought to be covering.

Ever lead a discussion on a book that you yourself never got around to finishing? I left first hour feeling like I really ought to have read Cyrano de Bergerac. I think it's a play, right ;)?

First hour is English IV AP; thank goodness I myself was in that very class not TOO long ago, and that I could rely on my Torrey training, so I was able to pull Socratic questions out of thin air, even though I felt like I was on thin ice. I never was a math major, but for all those out there who think Math and English should be as separate as, say, some believe Church and State should be, let me present my version of an equation:

28 AP students + 1 intern teacher (who graduated from that particular high school) – free time= brilliant scheaming.

Somehow, and I'm still puzzling over this one, my awkward High School memories have come back to haunt me.

The students of first hour managed to unearth what I thought was buried forever…a photograph of me, several pounds heavier and DEFINITELY geeky to the core, taken during my Junior Honors Physics class. Actually, I had no idea such blackmail evidence still existed.

Yes, I was obsessed by stars even back then; I am captured on film standing next to my homemade tennis ball launcher, painted with…you guessed it :).

Second hour, English support (formerly C-track English before political correctness had its way) was equally amusing.

Picure Noah (name changed for my protection 🙂 ), a sophomore diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (kindof sortof like Autism, but without the language and communication difficulties). Picture Noah really, really not wanting to write the persuasive paragraph that was the focus of today's lesson. As Noah saw things, he had already written a persuasive essay for another class and so should be exempt, since it wouldn't be fair that he had to write two while everyone else just wrote one.

Master of persuasion though he was, Noah had never expected to reckon with…English Grrrl (namely, me). He thought to defeat me with his secret weapon-surprise, surprise and fear. His two chief weapons were suprise, fear, and ruthless efficency-oh, wait, wrong source. Actually, what Noah really wanted to do was play Super Mario Brothers on the classroom computer, and who could blame him, really?

Swiftly diagnosing the situation and rushing into action with all due haste and alacrity: I told Noah that he could, provided that he wrote me a, you guessed it, persuasive paragraph on why I should allow students to play video games during English. He is still stunned :). By the time he had finished, the computer was already in use…gee, darn ;).

****SPOILER****Rants and Ravings about Education Follow****************

Practicality should be a byword for education, at least as far as many schools are concerned. Students want to know the purpose for assignments, and as instructors what we do should be relevant and applicable to their lives. Of course, the fact that we’re evaluated based on our adherence to the standards set forth for our various disciplines doesn’t hurt either. In the school district where I’m interning, my mentor teacher informed me that she would be subject to evaluation recorded in a new, electronic handheld. From a ludicrously short “slice” of classroom life, the administrator is supposed to assess whether or not the lesson presented falls under the academic standards for the grade level and content area being taught. Let’s think about that for a moment, shall we? There is simply no way ANY principal could possibly know the exact standards for all levels of Math, Science, Social Studies, and English classrooms. It becomes imperative, then, for the teacher to post the standards to which the day’s lesson pertains; otherwise, evaluation will be an extremely unpleasant experience.

Despite what I’ve argued before about the necessity of making education accessible and practical, I am troubled by a simple statement found tucked at the bottom of page 239 in one of my textbooks: “the [learning] strategy should address a key problem that is found in settings that the student must face”. Face value might lead to agreement with the author’s sentiments; there ought to be a “real-world” rationale for how and why we teach certain things. Unfortunately, taken as a whole I fear that this philosophical underpinning, taken to the extreme, will lead to what is currently transpiring in the school which I am placed at this semester. I have a variety of students under my tutelage, from Advanced Placement to Support; should I content myself with simply teaching them functional skills? What if their aspirations would take them beyond this level? I simply cannot say. All I know is that I was recently told, “The principal is against teaching Shakespeare or any other type of literature, since it isn’t taught on AIMS.” Yes, admittedly knowing that Macbeth is the character who says, “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…” after the death of his wife in Act V is probably not a qualification for employment at Starbucks. Certainly it is beyond the current abilities of many of my students, particularly in the Support class, to understand and interpret those words. With no “real world” value in sight, why continue teaching the Bard indeed?

Because I believe that one of my roles as a teacher is to stretch my students’ minds and help them to think critically about the world that we inhabit. When I saw my uncle (a professor at Pace University) web site listing strategies for teaching Shakespeare to ESL students, I wondered to myself why that would even be important. The answer to my question lies in literature’s ability to motivate and teach us about ourselves. Teaching test taking skills, as our text points out, has its place. Let’s be real—students have to pass AIMS in order to graduate, and a diploma is a necessary prerequisite for many occupations; however, I refuse to believe that my job as a teacher is to settle for being glad my students know strategies to do well answering multiple choice questions. I am certainly not implying that you will disagree; in fact, I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the choir, metaphorically speaking. On the other hand, if principals like the one I described earlier still exist, which they obviously do, it is still important to be aware of controversies like these. Unless we encourage our students by giving them work that is beyond their current capabilities and cultivates higher-level thinking skills, we may never see them reach their individual potentials.

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Proof Positive…

October 16, 2004

Just to make this PERFECTLY clear, Charles is DEFINITELY NOT a good boy 😉 🙂 😀

Mood: *Sparkly 🙂 🙂 🙂

Song: *Read below to find out

* * * *
* * *
* *
*Stars * , in your * multitudes
Filling the darkness * with
order * and light, * with order
and light, you * are the sentinels *
silent and sure, * keeping watch in the night
keeping watch * in the night…
You know * your place in the sky,
You hold your * course and your aim *
And each in its season * returns and returns
and * is always the same…

~From Les Miserables (the musical)
Both proof of my *slight* tendency towards being obsessively organized and why stars are SO astounding-

BTW, stars symbolize the seven virtues in Dante-care to guess what they are?

*Faith
*Hope
*Love
*Justice
*Temperance
*Fortitude
*Prudence

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Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Ravioli, Pumpkin Muffins, and Pumpkin ICE CREAM!!!!

October 16, 2004

Mood: Content

Song: "On Fire"-Switchfoot.

So I'm at work on a Saturday-Your point is??? 🙂

Here's where I'm at emotionally right now: It's not always a very pretty place but then again…

//

//

//

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

so often the beauty in this life

cannot be observed with the naked eye

because our sight organs simply aren't strong

enough. "I have learned", the Apostle Paul tells us,

"in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to

be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every

circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hung-

er, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who streng-

thens me" (Philipians 4:11-13, NESV). I have to admit-that verse used

to irritate me greatly when I was a child. I remember Sunday mornings

when all of us children would sing the-I'm sorry to confess it-annoying

song set to those words, and to this day I have trouble getting the

tune out of my mind. As I become a chronological adult, I have

to admit that I'm still no closer to discovering Paul's secret.

It seems at times, as Dickens's Ebeneezer Scrooge says

so eloquently, that the littlest things can affect us-

getting a *light* pumpkin spice Frap at Star-

bucks or reading your fiancee's blog to

discover that he misses you tons

Those are the things that can turn a day compeltely around; they are reminders of how very much we have to be grateful for. I'm enjoying the cooler weather (90 degrees is STILL much better than 110-almost sweter weather for us Phonecians). I love Charles; watching him grow in so many ways has been one of the most amazing experiences and I can't wait to become his wife. I love my family, and even though we know exactly how to push each other's buttons, God has blessed me with thier support. Taking small steps in the right direction (not reacting in anger when someone hurts me, choosing a cup of grapes instead of the Hob Nobs I'd MUCH rather have, not stressing about completing my assignments perfectly…), I will learn to eagerly anticipate finding out where God will lead me and discovering the person he is slowly shaping me into. That said, I will return to my million-item to do list :). Did I mention that, even though I missed out on Sonic Peach Slushes this year, I'm really glad it's October so I can fill up on all the pumpkiny items my heart desires?

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Perfect Melancholy

October 11, 2004

Mood: Wistful/Sad
Song: ?????? (You decide, I'm too exhausted today)

This weekend, to put it mildly, has been horrific. Things turned out as I imagined they might…in my nightmares, that is.

I would put it more strongly, but somehow I am still a lady :).
Sunday it seemed like the entire world was crashing down on me, particularly after a friend of mine yelled at me after I had just spent the last 15 minutes on the longest crying jag I've had in quite some time. *sigh* We're still speaking, but the bonds of friendship have definitely been strained. Transparency hurts like all get out, and maybe that's why we so seldom practice it in our friendships. Also, note to self: weddings are STRESSFUL (my profound insight into the obvious today).

It's amazing what physical impact a fight can have. The gut twisting knot still hasn't gone away.

I could choose to use this as a forum to vent for a while, but I'll spare you (and myself) a rehashing of the details. Sometimes it's so hard to speak the truth anyway, knowing that the person will read into it exactly the opposite meaning as what you intended. I feel miserable, and I know she does too. I can regret how things turned out, but I can't take back what I've said. :*(. Sometimes there simply are no words.