52_dropoff: (Default)
[personal profile] 52_dropoff
Charlie thumbs through the rather vast collection of poems the Bar provided today. Some of the stuff he knows, much he doesn't. Some is good, some is crap.

And he's dogearred several pages of note.

Date: 2010-04-08 10:54 am (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
"Oh, good - I thought I was the only person I knew who did that," Sallie walks up behind Charlie, launching right into a commentary on the folded-over page corners instead of a hello.

The book itself however is regarded with a kind of cheerful wariness.

"We can't possibly be readin' that whole thing today."

Date: 2010-04-08 11:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"We won't be doing a lot of this book. It's a convenient anthology, the sort they use in colleges. And between you and me, some of what's here is junk.

"But the good stuff makes up for it. Which is what I'm marking. And I have never been one for bookmarks." Something that used to drive his mentor and housemate, Tot Rodor, nuts. "Chronological or random order?"

Date: 2010-04-08 11:19 am (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
"Random. Your favorites? Wait, let me get somethin' to drink first - you want anything?"

It gives Sallie a second to process having seen Charlie again as he actually is. It's not too much of a shock - she's happy for him to be back to normal, even - but it does bring a small amount of uncertainty into how this is all going to go.

Date: 2010-04-08 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"Some water, and a peppermint tea?" He's trying not to think about what anything might mean today. Not yet, at any rate. Today, he just wants to play professor. And maybe to revel in being the right age again.


He leafs through to the sections with the Brownings.

Date: 2010-04-08 10:49 pm (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (teacher!face)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
Sallie comes back with a pitcher of water and a waitrat helping with the tea set.

"I'm all ears," Sallie declares, sitting down after pouring herself and Charlie both something from the pitcher.

Date: 2010-04-08 10:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"OK, this is a rather famous - and rather trite - poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It works if you're in the right mindset." He hands over the book.

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.


"She wrote it with her husband in mind. Robert Browning. A much better poet but the examples of his work in here seem longer than I recall."

Date: 2010-04-08 10:58 pm (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
Sallie reads it twice, three times before smiling and handing it back over.

"'S a nice sentiment? I..."

Well. Sallie has trouble relating to it.

"I can appreciate devotion, in someone."

Date: 2010-04-09 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
Things not to ask about at the moment: Sallie's late husband.

"It's a little high faluting, isn't it? That 'thee' is a bit silly, and why people make fun of it."

Date: 2010-04-09 12:28 am (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
Here is where Charlie gets a confused glance.

"What's wrong with it? It gives it its...solemnity."

Date: 2010-04-09 12:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"It's old fashioned language. People stopped talking like that some time before the poem was written.

"But you do have a point. I like this poem, after all." But he also likes to nitpick.

Date: 2010-04-09 12:35 am (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
"Could've fooled me," Sallie notes. "'Trite' didn't sound like a compliment."

Date: 2010-04-09 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"You treat all your teachers this way?" He smirks and takes the book back to find something he has less reservations about.

"Do you the Odyssey? The story of Ulysses?"

Date: 2010-04-09 12:46 am (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
"Just the ones who are up to it."

Sallie nods. "Joyce, right? I found it in the library here one time."

Date: 2010-04-09 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"Not quite. Though Joyce was based on the legend of Ulysses. To some degree." He never quite saw it. And never did get too far into the book.

"Well, try this and tell me if you understand it."

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
Life to the lees. All times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known,-- cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honor'd of them all,--
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
to whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,--
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with me,--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads,-- you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Date: 2010-04-09 01:12 am (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (wheat)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
Sallie is following along to Charlie reading the poem, but loses her attempt at close attention to the words themselves about halfway through. She just sees the image of it all, here - a master of land, a desire to still go and do and be before

Death closes all

and a desperation to see the task done, even if the task is worth nothing to anyone else.




"It's very pretty."

Date: 2010-04-09 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"At the very least. It represents a way of life, I think." He takes a sip of water. "The line about heroic hearts, that speaks to me and probably to most of my masked fraternity. There are heroes in my world who are close to 90 - albeit with impossibly slowed aging, for some reason. And they still strive.

"Not that Tennyson was writing about them."

Date: 2010-04-09 02:15 am (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (contemplative)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
"And not to yield," Sallie repeats, thinking it appropriate.

Date: 2010-04-09 08:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"And not to yield. Words to live by.

"I like Tennyson because he is one of the more optimistic poets much of the time. Even when he deals with things like death and aging." He didn't really pick this poem because of such ideas. But he would admit that it fits for the dead man and the older woman.

Date: 2010-04-09 10:43 am (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
Which makes Sallie think he did pick it out for that, and her mouth twists to the side in thought in recognition of the theme.

"I like optimism in this kind of thing - I think it's harder to write about than the sad side of life."

Date: 2010-04-09 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"Depressing poems are certainly a dime, a dozen. But not all of them are uniformly bad. I suppose it depends on the skill of the writer and the intent. If someone is just out to be a mopey grunge band noisemaker, it won't work for me." Sorry, Mr. Cobain. "But sometimes..." He looks through the book.

"Nope. No Morte d'Arthur by Tennyson. No Idylls of the King."

Date: 2010-04-10 06:47 pm (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
"Where are all these poems from, anyway?" Sallie asks. "Are they translations or were they all English to start out with?"

Date: 2010-04-11 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"This book is mainly poems written in English. The one exception are the excerpts from the ancient Beowulf, which, I think, Icelandic. And translated.

"And Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are updated from the earlier English." Though he might try to read one in the original. "They date from centuries before my day to very recently, by British and American poets." He doesn't think any here are Canadian, Australian or otherwise.

Date: 2010-04-11 12:47 pm (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
"So...your background, essentially."

Date: 2010-04-11 01:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 52-dropoff.livejournal.com
"Well, my country's background, at any rate.

"And you don't really know any of this." Which would bother him less if he just thought it was because she's unlettered. So are lots of folks. He just worries that all of this is lost. "How about Shakespeare? Milton?"

Date: 2010-04-11 10:50 pm (UTC)
realmrsreynolds: (Default)
From: [personal profile] realmrsreynolds
"Shakespeare, yes."

More so from her efforts in Milliways than anything else, but the name was at least familiar before she came to the end of the universe.

"Charlie - were you just...what made you feel like I needed to be taught any o' this? I don't mind in the least, I just wanted to ask."

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