Poem of the day

At the Ball Game
by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

The crowd at the ball game
is moved uniformly

by a spirit of uselessness
which delights them—

all the exciting detail
of the chase

and the escape, the error
the flash of genius—

all to no end save beauty
the eternal—

So in detail they, the crowd,
are beautiful

for this
to be warned against

saluted and defied—
It is alive, venomous

it smiles grimly
its words cut—

The flashy female with her
mother, gets it—

The Jew gets it straight— it
is deadly, terrifying—

It is the Inquisition, the
Revolution

It is beauty itself
that lives

day by day in them
idly—

This is
the power of their faces

It is summer, it is the solstice
the crowd is

cheering, the crowd is laughing
in detail

permanently, seriously
without thought

Hostels struggle to survive in pandemic

From the NYT: “But travel has dramatically changed, and hostels, the backbone of affordable travel, barely survived. The future for many is uncertain. Hostels — the majority of which are small businesses — are built on community and camaraderie, places where people go from introducing themselves to sharing meals and beers or planning the next leg of their journeys together. They are a petri dish for friendships, but in a global pandemic, there was concern they could also be a petri dish for Covid-19. Border restrictions, lockdowns and social distancing were particularly devastating. And the challenges are not yet over: The more contagious Delta variant brings uncertainty for the fall travel season. …

“A rise in domestic travelers or assistance from government programs has helped hostels scrape by. But owners and managers have had to rethink their operating strategies, from launching bagel businesses to renting dorm rooms for group bookings only or creating office spaces. Many cling to the belief that hostels play a vital role in the travel ecosystem — an inexpensive way visit new cities and make friends while doing it — one, they say, not even a pandemic can eliminate.”

Poem of the day

The Searchlights
by Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)

Shadow by shadow, stripped for fight,
⁠      The lean black cruisers search the sea.
Night-long their level shafts of light
⁠      Revolve, and find no enemy.
Only they know each leaping wave
May hide the lightning, and their grave.

And in the land they guard so well
⁠      Is there no silent watch to keep?
An age is dying, and the bell
⁠      Rings midnight on a vaster deep.
But over all its waves, once more
The searchlights move, from shore to shore.

And captains that we thought were dead,
⁠      And dreamers that we thought were dumb,
And voices that we thought were fled,
⁠      Arise, and call us, and we come;
And “Search in thine own soul,” they cry;
“For there, too, lurks thine enemy.”

Search for the foe in thine own soul,
⁠      The sloth, the intellectual pride;
The trivial jest that veils the goal
⁠      For which our fathers lived and died;
The lawless dreams, the cynic Art,
That rend thy nobler self apart.

Not far, not far into the night,
⁠      These level swords of light can pierce;
Yet for her faith does England fight,
⁠      Her faith in this our universe,
Believing Truth and Justice draw
From founts of everlasting law;

The law that rules the stars, our stay,
⁠      Our compass through the world’s wide sea,
The one sure light, the one sure way,
⁠      The one firm base of Liberty;
The one firm road that men have trod
Through Chaos to the throne of God.

Therefore a Power above the State,
⁠      The unconquerable Power, returns,
The fire, the fire that made her great
⁠      Once more upon her altar burns,
Once more, redeemed and healed and whole,
She moves to the Eternal Goal.

Poem of the day

Contraste entre a vida campestre e a das cidades
by Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage (1765-1805)

Nos campos o vilão sem sustos passa,
Inquieto na corte o nobre mora;
O que é ser infeliz aquele ignora,
Este encontra nas pompas a desgraça:
Aquele canta e ri; não se embaraça
Com essas coisas vãs que o mundo adora:
Este (oh cega ambição!) mil vezes chora,
Porque não acha bem que o satisfaça:
Aquele dorme em paz no chão deitado,
Este no ebúrneo leito precioso
Nutre, exaspera velador cuidado:
Triste, sai do palácio majestoso;
Se hás de ser cortesão, mas desgraçado,
Antes ser camponês, e venturoso.

Poem of the day

Horses Chawin’ Hay
by Hamlin Garland (1860-1940)

I tell yeh whut! The chankin’
      Which the tired horses makes
When you’ve slipped the harness off’m,
      An’ shoved the hay in flakes
From the hay-mow overhead,
      Is jest about the equal of any pi-anay;
They’s nothin’ soun’s s’ cumftabul
      As horsus chawin’ hay.

I love t’ hear ’em chankin’,
      Jest a-grindin’ slow and low,
With their snoots a-rootin’ clover
      Deep as their ol’ heads ’ll go.
It’s kind o’ sort o’ restin’
      To a feller’s bones, I say.
It soun’s s’ mighty cumftabul—
      The horsus chawin’ hay.

Gra-onk, gra-onk, gra-onk!
      In a stiddy kind o’ tone,
Not a tail a-waggin’ to ’um,
      N’r another sound ’r groan—
Fer the flies is gone a-snoozin’.
Then I loaf around an’ watch ’em
      In a sleepy kind o’ way,
F’r they soun’ so mighty cumftabul
      As they rewt and chaw their hay.

An’ it sets me thinkin’ sober
      Of the days of ’53,
When we pioneered the prairies—
      M’ wife an’ dad an’ me,
In a dummed ol’ prairie-schooner,
      In a rough-an’-tumble way,
Sleepin’ out at nights, to music
      Of the horsus chawin’ hay.

Or I’m thinkin’ of my comrades
      Of the days of ’63,
When I rode with ol’ Kilpatrick
      Through an’ through ol’ Tennessee.
I’m a-layin’ in m’ blanket
      With my head agin a stone,
Gazin’ upwards toward the North Star—
      Billy Sykes and Davy Sloan
      A-snorin’ in a buck-saw kind o’ way,
An’ me a-layin’, listenin’
      To the horsus chawin’ hay.

It strikes me turrible cur’ous
      That a little noise like that,
Can float a feller backwards
      Like the droppin’ of a hat;
An’ start his throat a-achin’,
      Make his eyes wink that a-way—
They ain’t no sound that gits me
      Like horsus chawin’ hay!

Poem of the day

A White Rose
by John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-1890)

The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
Oh, the red rose is a falcon.
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

Game of the week

Poem of the day

How Do I Love Thee?
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1881)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise;
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith;
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.