17 September 2009

Reading the Bible book 1 - ...

It's Genesis and I read the whole thing, geneologies and all.

Having just completed reading The Epic of Gilgamesh (sumeria) to the boys and an aborted attempt at the Illiad - two of our older peices of literature - I couldn't help but note some similarities in style and tone...they were all written by Homer?!?

No, but they are all attempts at compilation of oral histories, of communication with and to a degree coersion of primitive societies. It that sence, as a largely unchanged document between the early jewish elite and the jewish people, a written chronicle of a preliterate nomadic tribe written in the infancy of its literacy and establishment!

It was not unenjoyable as a peice of historic literature.
I have entered Exodus and note immediately a change in tone.
I don't feel like going into too much detail but I did note the treachery, deciet and cowardice in these fathers (& mothers)of Israel. I feel like it shows a spiritual & moral complexity that has continued through the first Abrahamic religion.

Such mighty names these books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Kings!

16 September 2009

A man doesn't buy something that is freely provided:

How to be:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

-Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

12 September 2009

an old poem

This settles in my mind as we enter fall and I feel change and loss stir in me and mine:

My Summer is through
I'll put a shotgun to the trees
and squeeze fresh blasts

What part of my lover have I
not sunk my palm and fingers in?
Now. What parts of Autumn
will be strange to my shoed feet?

Or will the ground be untouched
leaves waiting to be stirred,
while the wind - a wallflower -
only passes sidelong gusts


I will then,
shave this beard
when the season is past
and Winter has lost It's starless grief.

I will then walk
barefoot and barefaced through
new-birthed fields of dandelion and thistle

I will then spread my fingers
from my palms to see what weeds I held:
Sharp reddened petals to the ground? A blast of ghosts to the wind?