Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Of the making of books there is no end . . .

. . . and apparently that’s true of the acquiring of books as well. Recently I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I found it was just what I needed to give direction to my heretofore dilatory efforts at decluttering.

Finished bookcases, this iteration, anyway. :-p

For the last two weeks I’ve been going through our books with the goal of having all my books on shelves (or at least on furniture) rather than in boxes in the attic and in piles on the floors of various rooms, which seems like a reasonable enough goal, given that I have more than a hundred and twenty feet of shelf space available, not counting shelves in the bedrooms, plus end tables and various other horizontal surfaces that normal people adorn with knick-knacks.

Untouched bookcases

To date I’ve gotten rid of nearly five hundred (500!) books, and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to meet the goal after all.

Books everywhere!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Recipe from Cookery and Dining in Ancient Rome

I know that since reading about the Romans' habit of eating stuffed dormice a few years ago y'all have all been dying to try it for yourselves. Well, today I came across an authentic Roman recipe.



From the aforementioned cookbook by Apicius, Book VIII, Chapter IX.

The translator adds this helpful note:

Glis, dormouse, a special favorite of the ancients, has nothing to do with mice. The fat dormouse of the South of Europe is the size of a rat, arboreal rodent, living in trees.
Galen, III, de Alim.; Plinius, VIII, 57/82; Varro, III, describing the glirarium, place where the dormouse was raised for the table.
Petronius, Cap. 31, describes another way of preparing dormouse. Nonnus, DiƦteticon, p. 194/5, says that Fluvius Hirpinus was the first man to raise dormouse in the glirarium.
Dormouse, as an article of diet, should not astonish Americans who relish squirrel, opossum, muskrat, “coon,” etc.

You're welcome.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

School out of doors

. . . while I'm reading The Song of Roland, my twelve year old daughter is decorating her sister's hair . . .

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

i thank You God for most this amazing

~ E.E. Cummings (1894-9162)

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hymn for the Third Sunday of Easter

The strife is o’er, the battle done
 ~ tr. from Latin by Francis Potts (1832-1909)

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

The strife is o’er, the battle done,
the victory of life is won;
the song of triumph has begun.

The powers of death have done their worst,
but Christ their legions hath dispersed:
let shout of holy joy outburst.

The three sad days are quickly sped,
he rises glorious from the dead:
all glory to our risen Head!

He closed the yawning gates of hell,
the bars from heaven’s high portals fell;
let hymns of praise his triumphs tell!

Lord! by the stripes which wounded thee,
from death’s dread sting thy servants free,
that we may live and sing to thee.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Listeners

~ Walter De la Mare (1873-1956)

“Is there anybody there?” said the Traveler,  
   Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses  
   Of the forest’s ferny floor:
And a bird flew up out of the turret,  
   Above the Traveler’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;  
   “Is there anybody there?” he said.
But no one descended to the Traveler;  
   No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,  
   Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners  
   That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight  
   To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,  
   That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken  
   By the lonely Traveler’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,  
   Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,  
   ’Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even  
   Louder, and lifted his head:—
“Tell them I came, and no one answered,  
   That I kept my word,” he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,  
   Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house  
   From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,  
   And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,  
   When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Spring Morning

~ Meng Haoran (689-740) [tr. Ulrich Theobald]

I awake light-hearted this morning of Spring,
Everywhere round me the singing of birds—
But now I remember the night, the storm,
And I wonder how many blossoms were broken.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


~ Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

The rain is raining all around,
    It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
    And on the ships at sea.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Cloud

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1922)

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
    From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
    In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
    The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
    As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
    And whiten the green plains under;
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
    And laugh as I pass in thunder.