Category Archives: |Ramble

Poet Appreciation #6: Eliza Lee Follen


A sprightly silly verse to make us all remember to smile

Originally posted on cricketmuse:

While it’s grand to dig away at meaning, symbolism, and theme, it can refreshing to simply enjoy a poem for its bouncy rhythm and rhyme and wit.  This is the case for Eliza Lee Follen’s “Lines on Nonsense.”

Edward Lear renders an appropriate complement for today’s poem.

Lines on Nonsense

Yes, nonsense is a treasure!
I love it from my heart;
The only earthly pleasure
That never will depart.

But, as for stupid reason,
That stalking, ten-foot rule,
She’s always out of season,
A tedious, testy fool.

She’s like a walking steeple,
With a clock for face and eyes,
Still bawling to all people,
Time bids us to be wise.

While nonsense on the spire
A weathercock you’ll find,
Than reason soaring higher,
And changing with the wind.

The clock too oft deceives,
Says what it cannot prove;
While every one believes
The vane that turns above.

Reason oft speaks…

View original 135 more words

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Days: Easter Sunday

(Yes I am recycling. This is a copy of my Easter Sunday  a while back – when my daughter was 10. It is a Happy Easter Egg of a memory. Time moves on too quickly!)


Another beautiful spring morning. This is my kind of weather – with a sharp chill to the early morning. Just enough of a bite to drive the last bit of sleep from my head when I took an early walk outside. Today was a very early morning start – because the water I had way too late before bed decided it was time. Otherwise I would have slept longer on this wonderful Easter morning.

Besides, I did have to be up early to hide easter eggs for my daughter. I have a cat and that means I need to wait until morning to hide the chocolate eggs wrapped in shiny paper. Cat can’t leave anything shiny alone – “oh sparkly must get it!”. And then the enticing smell makes him want to chew. Not a good idea.

There is an art to hiding the eggs. One dozen chocolate eggs almost the size of real eggs. It can’t be too easy, nor too hard, and often in visual sight but blended with something else in the living room. Some hidden so you have to be sitting in a certain spot to see.

My daughter found 9 of the eggs quickly. ‘Is that all?’ she asked. <em>Isn’t that enough? I said in return</em>. ‘No,’ she said. Her answer is always “no” when it comes to enough chocolate. She is (as is most of the rest of the world!) a chocolate fiend.

<em>3 more, I told her</em>. <em>There are a dozen eggs hidden in this room. Hidden just like soft and hard-boiled eggs – some softly hidden and all are hardly hidden</em>. ‘I can’t find them. Are you sure there were a dozen?’ she sulked. I have to hide my smile.

<em>Of course there are a dozen. I hid them myself. Come eat breakfast and stop looking. Instead, you just need to see.</em> She gives me the same look all girls master as women. The ‘why must you be an annoying male look’. I can’t help but laugh and that just annoys her more. I make her some pancakes and a kiss on the top of her head. <em>It is my job as your Dad to be annoying – how else will you learn to tolerate boys?</em>

She glares even more at that remark – and then stares out the window across from her. ‘Oh! she says. She has found another egg. <em>See. Hardly hidden, I say.</em>

She stands and walks to where I keep some decorative Easter eggs. ‘Yes!’ she says pulling a golden chocolate egg from between the brightly coloured keepsake eggs.

The last egg is a challenge. She finishes breakfast and stalks the room. It isn’t until she flounces down into the armchair that she sees it directly in front of her. ‘Can I eat it?’ she asks. <em>Of course, I say with a smile.</em>

She gives me a hug, and then eats her egg. She unwraps it carefully – smoothing the wrapper. ‘Go take your shower,’ she says. I can see she is thinking and planning.

I come back after my shower and there is the golden wrapper colourfully embellished with bright marker flowers, and in purple printing ‘Happy Easter, Daddy!’ Along with one golden egg that she has chosen – just for me.

There is nothing that can make this day get any better. Happy Easter to all!

Days: Black Saturday

(Yes I am recycling. This is a copy of my Black Saturday y post from 2 years ago. I liked it so I am sharing all over again!)


Today is another quiet morning. It is cool outside. 2 Celsius and the light dances warmly over the edge of the roofs (or is that rooves?) as the sun slips out of her eastern bed spilling out her springtime warmth.

I woke up early and I am writing as I do other things. Dribbling thoughts into my keyboard and up onto the white pages of my blog. Black letters on a white page.

Today is Holy Saturday, or Black Saturday. I don’t really follow the religion I learned as a child. Yet it is still there – the rituals and traditions of growing up. I remember this was always a day of being austere. Puritanical. A quiet day filled with an edge of expectation.

If something still needed to be done to prepare for Easter it was completed. But if it wasn’t needed it was not to be done. Black Saturday is really a day of mourning within the Christian tradition.  In my childhood the meals on Black Saturday  were always simple, something boiled like pasta or roasted like potatoes, and there was no flesh of any kind.  I think for my mother that made today a real and true holiday – as otherwise she was always in the kitchen baking and cooking.

Still, I do remember it was a day for visiting and visitors. Dropping by to see people that you knew you couldn’t see on Easter.  It was a day of going for walks in the nearby woods and seeing if early wildflowers and pussy willows had made an appearance. And then happily bring some home to mom.

Usually by Easter the weather had turned warm enough to melt most of the snow – so it was also a time for us children to go find large puddles and overflowing ponds. In rubber bo0ts and jackets we would explore the gullies for flowing water. There we would make rough boats out of scraps of whatever we could find. Setting them adrift and then watching sail away in the swollen ditches. Asking ‘do you think it will make it to the river?’ Or even better we would find rocks and try and sink each others boats.

If there was a pond near me now I would probably still go set some dream boats free – and imagine the long journey of that boat to the sea.

The birds are awake now. The sun is quickly warming up the air. Time to get going. Time to visit family and friends and enjoy the peace of this day.

Days: Good Friday

(Yes I am recycling. This is a copy of my Good Friday post from 2 years ago. I liked it so I am sharing all over again!)


This day seems to be the forgotten holiday of the year. There is no lead-up to Good Friday. No frenzied fanfare of festivity. No elaborate feasts to plan and prepare. That is probably why I like this holiday the best.

Good Friday really is a day off from the bustle and hustle of the consumer world. No sales. Just time to contemplate the world. I am sitting here this morning with a second cup of coffee, watching the sun peak over the horizon. There is a slight mist on the roofs of the houses as the day slips from springtime chill to springtime warmth.

I have time to think. Let my brain play with words. Roofs. Rooves. I remember learning in school that the plural of roof was rooves. But now we use the american “roofs”. When did that change? The rule I learned was if it ends in ‘f’ or ‘fe’  then to make the plural you drop the “f” sound and writes “ves”.

dwarf to dwarves
elf to elves
hoof to hooves
knife to knives
leaf to leaves
life to lives
self to selves
wolf to wolves

Of course then there are words that ignore the rule anyway – like the plural of beef is not beeves. And the plural of proof is not prooves.

Ah English the language of rules, and long lists of exceptions to the rules! This is why English is such an exceptional language.

As you can see Good Friday is for getting diverted and contemplative. Mindless musing. The above was simply pointless stream of consciousness.  A raw slice of my brain straight up. I am full of trivia. Or full of something.

My favourite memory of Good Friday is from many many many years ago. I was in my early twenties. I was with some friends driving up to Midland, Ontario to find a very specific restaurant that served Lake Huron whitefish. Our friend and driver had heard the fish was incredibly fresh and delicious.

Now I don’t remember the restaurant name but I do think it was Henry’s Fish Restaurant. I’ve been back a few times so my memory may be muddled. And the fish is still worth the long drive!

But this memory isn’t about the destination. It is about the journey. That day was a foggy Good Friday. Dense white cotton fog slowing us down to well below the speed-limit. The trees and posts shadowy dark flickers flashing by us. The road shiny black and slick. There was no-one else on the road. Just us – some friends on a journey. Cocooned in our own reality.

In the back of the car was a book – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - and for me it was an incredible find. At that moment, in that space, that book and the message inside clicked with me. There are concepts in that book that I had no idea could actually exist! My friend – the driver of the car – saw me thumbing through the book and gave it to me.

From where I sit today I can see that same book looking at me from my shelves. It is bedraggled and stained and dog-eared. The book has survived the years – my friend the driver did not. He died later that year from leukemia. But on that Good Friday there was no leukemia darkening our thoughts. On that day we were full of life twenty-somethings on a road trip. Our driver was a big robust man full of life and zest – and by the fall of that year he was an anemic husk gasping for air in a hospital bed. He was much too young to die.

That Good Friday held no hint of the sadness waiting in our future. We laughed, we talked. The restaurant wasn’t open we arrived, so we walked the waterfront. We drank early morning beers (cans in bags – oh we were so clever!) by the lake, while we discussed philosophy and how we would change the world. By the time we had finished our exploration of Midland – the sun had burned away the morning fog.

The fish was indeed wonderful, and we promised that next year we would repeat the road-trip. We promised that this would become our Easter weekend ritual. I’ve been back since then – but the ritual never blossomed.

In the mid-afternoon sunshine we drove back the way we had come. No hurry to get anywhere, we stopped at used bookshops and curio stores along the way looking for old National Geographic magazines. And books on World War II history. Our own version of an Easter Egg hunt for those that no longer believed in the Easter Bunny.

Good Friday: A good day to remember how we have arrived at this moment in time. And to remember those who we loved and left behind.

Days: Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday. As I child I always heard that as Monday Thursday, and I often wondered how on earth could Thursday be Monday? Monday is the start of the week – and in some ways this Maundy is the start of Christianity.

What is Maundy Thursday? It is the Thursday before Easter, and the Christian celebration of the “Last Supper.” For those who aren’t aware the Last Supper is the pass-over meal that Christ celebrates with his followers before he is crucified. Because like all of Easter it is tied to the Lunar Calendar, it is a “movable feast” – meaning it is on a different day each year.

The Maundy refers to the ritual washing of feet that Jesus performs on that day as part of the meal. Maundy derives from that Latin word Mandatum. John 13:1–17 mentions Jesus performing this act.

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

This day is about understanding the Christian mysteries of the faith. The symbolic transmutation of wine into blood; and of bread into the body. The understanding that those that have the power and privilege, need to use that power and privilege for the betterment of others.

This day is the celebration and contemplation of the foundational beliefs of Christianity. We are all here to help one another, and make this world a better place for each other. Christianity at its most basic is about love for one another, and about respect for everyone.