Late evening poetry reading – seven selected pieces

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Let’s begin this evening’s readings in outer space:

Jams O’Donnell presents Marzials [1874]:

And scudding by
The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks – “Stop,”
And my heart shrieks – “Die.”
My thought is running out of my head;
My love is running out of my heart,
My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
For my life runs after to catch them — and fled
They all are every one! – and I stand, and start,
At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
On the barges that flop
And dizzy me dead.I might reel and drop.
Plop.
Dead.

Super.  Keeping it Celtic for the moment:

Brummie based Scots expat teen Maureen McGlashan’s Stupid Cupid:

chav_scum_girlYou know you’re such a cupid
You’re so cute you know
Your enemies are f—ed
When you happy slap them.

To me you’re not stupid
Well not much anyway
And I love you, you know, Troy
We’re so well suited.

My blues they’ve been booted
Well over the line
And we’re all alone
And it’s our own time.

Poignant. Chav life must be bliss.

Unable to escape that Celtic themes, McGonagall’s Tay Bridge Disaster:

Sheer magic.  Now, to the other side of the pond –  Sam Jones’ Love Guppy:

You have the finest rosebud’s taste.
Without you my life is waste,
I’ll stick to you like Elmer’s paste.
You’re my love guppy.

I’d break through a citadel.
I’d fight with a raging bull,
Though winning would seem improbable.
You’re my love guppy.

My love’s as strong as the mid-ocean ridge.
You shine like the rainbow bridge
or like that light inside my fridge.
You’re my love guppy.

For you I’d consume haggis,
or lose the joys of Bacchus,
or live in sin with Mike Dukakis.
You’re my love guppy.

What woman could resist that?

And finally, Rumsfeld’s classic Known Knowns:

This post is dedicated to real poet Dearieme’s latest:  Cool on Mushrooms.

In Gish is a great example of the type

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Cherie’s comment about Lillian Gish:

Cute, demure and sophisticated. Some of the best qualities in a woman.

… has to be tongue in cheek or else she’ll have half of womanhood down on her – the now outdated half.   Of course, Cherie said “some of the best qualities”.  I’d like to reiterate some things said about Gish and introduce some others from various sites:

1.  She was inspirational for men in one way and for women in another.  ”With her death,” Katharine Hepburn told Entertainment Weekly, ”all the things that made me think, ‘Oh, I want to be an actor,’ disappeared.”  That’s a big statement.

2.  Director D.W. Griffith may have developed the close-up, but it was Gish who figured out what to do with it, bringing a naturalism to screen behavior that stood in subtle contrast to the vampy histrionics of Theda Bara or the stagy simpering of Mary Pickford.

She movied movie history onwards and upwards.

3.  The heroines Gish portrayed — especially for Griffith, her discoverer and mentor — were fluttery, waiflike creatures assaulted by cruelties straight out of Dickens. However, the actress herself was sensible, gracious, and, according to screenwriter Frances Marion (The Champ), ”as fragile as a steel rod.” After her pure-hearted persona fell out of synch with the party-hearty 1920s, Gish blithely absented herself to the New York stage and occasional character parts in movies.

She was therefore strong inside and this comes out further:

She was actually one tough cookie who took complete control of her career in the early ’20s and crafted some of the best movies of the age. Nobody could sway her from her self-appointed course. With a Botticelli face, she had the mind of a good Queen Bess, dictating her carefully thought-out policies and ruling justly, if firmly.

4.  She’s a great role model for women and men alike: there is the balanced, compassionate grace of that rare person fully at ease with life. ”I’ve never been in style,” Gish once said, with her usual serene clarity, ”so I can’t go out of style.”.

5.  This fragment form Wiki says a lot:

“D. W. Griffith took his unit on location—he told Gish that he thought the crew would work harder for a girl. Gish apparently preferred to remain in front of the camera rather than behind it, since she never directed again. She told reporters at the time that directing was a man’s job.”

That was a measure of the respect he had for her and her compliment to men in return.  Who got his/her way in the end?  She did, of course.  She always would.

6.  This is a post in itself but Gish became one of the leading advocates on the lost art of the silent film, often giving speeches and touring to screenings of classic works. In 1975, she hosted The Silent Years, a PBS film program of silent films.

She’s right.  Silent film was an art form and the clarity and production values of the nitrate film had reached a peak by the time of the talkies.  It was not out of tune honky tonk pianos which accompanied the film, it was often lush orchestration, in the spirit of John Barry.  The acting requirements were different, the whole thing was different.

As I say, that’s a separate post.

7.  Her personal values and poise were admirable: Gish and D. W. Griffith [were] so close that some suspected a romantic connection, an issue never acknowledged by Gish although several of their associates were certain they were at least briefly involved. For the remainder of her life she always referred to him as “Mr. Griffith”.

Mutual respect, professionalism and at the same time, all the obstinacy and other faults of womanhood and why not?

8.  Sense of humour, sense of proportion:

“You know, when I first went into the movies Lionel Barrymore played my grandfather. Later he played my father and finally he played my husband. If he had lived, I’m sure I would have played his mother.”

“Young man, if God had wanted you to see me that way, he would have put your eyes in your bellybutton.”

“The older I get, the more I believe in what I can’t explain or understand, even more than the things that are explainable and understandable.”

“You can get through life with bad manners, but it’s easier with good manners.”

To sum up – she got what she wanted her own way, she’s revered today, she made a statement about the power of women without ever making a statement, she wasn’t shrill about her rights nor a manhater.  She used men and used her charms to do it with, reserving decency to temper the inflamed hearts of men.  It’s because they knew she liked them and respected them too that men didn’t stand in the way of her ambitions.

Contrast that with the shrill nagging of the feminist whose only reaction from me is to stonewall her at every opportunity.  If she hates me, then I’m going to block her.  Simple.

She wasn’t a slatternly woman like some of the vamps and yet her career lasted far longer than theirs.  She got men on by a combination of her inner reserves and her accentuated look – not for her letting it all hang out with the mistaken notion that the only way to attract a man is to show flesh or act coarsely.

Gish – same gender, different approach.  Instead of lecturing, preaching and rewriting history to misrepresent women, she simply showed women the way forward.

Your humble blogger doesn’t have many human heroes to date but Lillian Gish is most certainly one of them.  Fortunately, there are some current day women who are in the same league and I’m lucky enough to know one or two.

Skynet LHC sends beam round faulty machinery

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Oh brilliant [not]:

The collider was designed to accelerate protons to energies of seven trillion electron volts apiece and smash them together in tiny fireballs in an effort to replicate and study the conditions of the Big Bang.

The first time protons circled the collider, on Sept. 10, 2008, the event was celebrated with Champagne and midnight pajama parties around the world. But the festivities were cut short a few days later when an electrical connection between a pair of the collider’s giant superconducting electromagnets vaporized.

Subsequent work revealed that the machine was riddled with thousands of connections unable to handle the high currents required to run the collider at its intended energy.

Physicists and engineers have spent the past year testing and making repairs. While they have not replaced all the faulty connections, they have patched things up enough to allow the collider to run at less than full speed.

tower-of-babelAh right – let me see if I have this right.  Seven trillion electron volts are being sent round a piece of machinery where … what was it now … “the machine was riddled with thousands of connections unable to handle the high currents required”, in an attempt to replicate something which is a figment of the imagination – the Enlightenment theorists’ alternative construction on how they prefer the world to have begun, a true Dawkinesque departure from reality and from sanity?

I see.  Hmmmm.  Yes, of course.

Er … why?

Was I ever asked whether I’d like to run this risk or not?

For the answer to that, one need only look at the diagram to the left and we see the arrogance of Man who always feels he can triumph over nature and over his Maker but never can.  He can’t because he’s missing some vital circuitry in his psyche which his ego won’t concede and therefore his pride becomes paramount.

Has anyone ever heard of Skynet?

And raising this question is “standing in the way of progress”?  Not unlike us naughty conservatives wishing to stand in the way of the unsustainable socialist panacea of CCTV society, everyone on the dole, single mothers encouraged to dislocate utopia001families even further, letting men completely off the hook, where violence and ASBOism characterizes the new tolerant, compassionate society, where the policeman is your friend [not], where the State manages to b—er up anything it touches and where prices spiral upwards despite throwing millions out of work?

That kind of progress?  Feel free to tear my argument to shreds.

In which James is not entirely surrounded by water

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Chapter 9, in which piglet is completely surrounded by water.

Blinking heck and I slept right through it

One dead, dozens trapped in “biblical” floods.

British soldiers conducted house-to-house searches for those trapped by floods as deep as 2.5 metres. Troops also dropped down on lines from Royal Air Force helicopters, breaking through rooftops to pluck people to safety.

Er, right. Let me mosey on over to the window and look out on the raging flood a moment. Oh gosh – it is a bit wet down there. Well, I’ve enough food for the weekend and beyond, so here’s looking at you, kid.

Late evening listening – pictures of Lily

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And then one day things weren’t quite so fine
I fell in love with Lily
I asked my dad where Lily I could find
He said, ‘Son, now don’t be silly’

‘She’s been dead since 1929’
Oh, how I cried that night
If only I’d been born in Lily’s time
It would have been alright

– The Who, 1967

Don’t laugh but your humble blogger fell in love with Lillian Gish yesterday [these things can often last for days] and what was the first clip of her on Youtube?

Yup – the Who -sigh:

The only discrepancy, by the way was that she didn’t die in 1929 but actually went on to a late acting career in her final years, appearing in a film in 1987 and getting good reviews as well.

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The It girl, Clara Bow was great, Louise Brooks was great in her self-centred way but Lillian Gish endures and the Who had it dead right. I’d imagine women wouldn’t be too impressed with our Lily’s little game but it sure is an effective strategy and she’d have most men on a string, eating out of her little hand:

Mythical Monkey says:

I’ve written about Lillian Gish before and I won’t reiterate it all here except to say that she was the best actress of the Silent Era and though she most often played shy, virginal victims, she was actually one tough cookie who took complete control of her career in the early ’20s and crafted some of the best movies of the age.

As screenwriter Frances Marion put it:

“She might look fragile, but physically and spiritually she was as fragile as a steel rod. Nobody could sway her from her self-appointed course. With a Botticelli face, she had the mind of a good Queen Bess, dictating her carefully thought-out policies and ruling justly, if firmly.”

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This next film clip annoys me and though it was just a film, just fiction, the topic of fire and brimstone bigots masquerading as Christians really gets under my guard. I can’t bear the damage they do to what should be a compassionate faith, with a healing ministry attached. Why on earth would you want to box yourself up in a religion which nowhere asks you to come the stern, disdainful moralizer – it only requires you to set the personal example. Anyway, enough of the soapbox:

Well, all right, fair enough – that was a bit OTT and the scene about the bird was questionable but still … let’s press on.

In The Wind, to create the endless sandstorms that are central to the plot, Gish and director Victor Sjöström flew eight airplanes to the middle of the Mojave Desert and cranked their propellers up on high. Coupled with 120ºF temperatures that cooked metal surfaces and warped film stock, it was a pretty miserable experience.

One commenter, a woman, says:

Have you read her autobiography? You get plenty of examples of how tough she was. I mean, this woman was doing theater in London during the Blitz!

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And lastly, the poor little innocent victim finds herself almost swept over a waterfall [it must have been hard going making these]. Once again, do you know of one man who wouldn’t have leaped over that ice to save her? We can see straight through her but still – all power to her tricks of the trade:

An obituary:

There are three reasons why this actress matters to this day.

First, she laid down the ground rules for movie acting.  The truth is, there isn’t an actress working today who doesn’t owe the way she presents herself to a motion-picture camera directly to Lillian Gish. Director D.W. Griffith may have developed the close-up, but it was Gish who figured out what to do with it, bringing a naturalism to screen behavior that stood in subtle contrast to the vampy histrionics of Theda Bara or the stagy simpering of Mary Pickford.

Second, she always knew exactly who she was. The heroines Gish portrayed were fluttery, waiflike creatures, assaulted by cruelties straight out of Dickens. However, the actress herself was sensible, gracious, and after her pure-hearted persona fell out of synch with the party-hearty 1920s, Gish blithely absented herself to the New York stage and occasional character parts in movies.  ”I’ve never been in style,” Gish once said, with her usual serene clarity, ”so I can’t go out of style.”

And finally, with her death, the early days of film become mere history.  What was once alive had now died with her.

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Lillian Gish