laene_lif: (Aslan is dead)
"The Snow Man" by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is


Also:
"Perch" by Seamus Heaney

Perch on their water-perch hung in the clear Bann River
Near the clay bank in alder-dapple and waver,

Perch we called "grunts," little flood-slubs, runty and ready,
I saw and I see in the river's glorified body

That is passable through, but they're bluntly holding the pass,
Under the water-roof, over the bottom, adoze,

Guzzling the current, against it, all muscle and slur
In the finland of perch, the fenland of alder, on air

That is water, on carpets of Bann stream, on hold
In the everything flows and steady go of the world.
laene_lif: (Default)
Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.

-- Langston Hughes, "April Rain Song"



It's raining right now, and it's cold -- makes me feel like camping. Camping in a tent that won't flood. With blankets on the floor like seeping bags, doing homework with Brian.

Well, he's doing homework -- I'm more just musing. Reading some old things I wrote and trying to write poetry. I should just start reading Moby Dick or Plato's Theatetus and figure out poetry later.

In going through old entries, I came across a collection of quotes that resonated with me in high school. I thought I'd paste them here. words )
laene_lif: (Default)
Taking a creative poetry class. Egh. I do not have a beautiful poem of mine for tomorrow.

But we are also supposed to bring in beautiful poems from poets. So I am compiling a list to choose from. I'll continue adding to it over time. But for a start...

"The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot
"The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot
"The Wasteland" by T.S. Eliot
"Howl" by Alan Ginsberg
"Ode to a Nightingale" by Keats
"Fern Hill" by Dylan Thomas
"Sunday Morning" by Wallace Stevens
"Night Letter to the Reader by Billy Collins
"here's to opening and upward" by ee cummings
"In a middle of a room" by ee cummings
"Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost
"Celestial Music" by Louise Gluck
"First Memory" by Louise Gluck
laene_lif: (Default)
I've been musing on Rorschach and the other Watchmen some more. I looked up quotes from the graphic novel in an attempt to get Rorschach's speech patterns down better (because I'm rp-ing him at [livejournal.com profile] hogwarts_hocus), and ended up rethinking some things about the character. I somehow just hadn't realized how much of an existentialist he is at his core. And now I like him even more. They did include this speech in the movie, but not in its entirety, and somehow what he meant didn't fully register. Check it out: this is Rorschach's epiphany from about 10 years before the events of the movie.

"Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night. Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world. Was Rorschach."

Free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world?? Ahh, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus!

It's just kind of an odd design he chooses. And somehow I hadn't realized the extent of his faithlessness because of it -- he's right-wing conservative, hates intellectualism, liberalism, decadence, drugs, sex (especially prostitution, but also homosexuality). You just kind of figure that some brand of religious fundamentalism goes along with those ideals and moral absolutism. And I do think he must have embraced that view at some point in his life, for some period of time. But he doesn't hang on to those views because he thinks God wants him to. He thinks God was a delusion, and that everything else attached to it -- that sense of morality -- has to be salvaged. He wants to recreate an imaginary past world where things made sense. It's kind of the opposite of what Nietzsche concluded upon "staring into the abyss" and declaring that "God is dead." Instead of rejecting Christian values and embracing the "will to power," Rorschach tries to rebuild what was there before God died.

But why the sweeping disdain for intellectuals and liberals? Probably because he developed fucked up associations, due to being the bastard son of a prostitute who was abusive to him, that he was eventually taken from. Sex became a far more evil thing in his head than in a normal person's. And he views the world through the eyes of the weak, little and weird. He wants to defend those people (as long as they're thinking the right things and not preying on others and being a corrupting force). That mentality is also why he's so passionate about what he thinks and does. Every criminal's punishment is a personal vendetta. He cares too much, to the point that it borders on deranged.

The Comedian, too, is a kind of existentialist. Except he doesn't quite make it to the step of embracing a new moral code. He just decides the whole thing (life, morality) is a farce. So he's your basic nihilist. Just does whatever. He doesn't identify with victims, like Rorschach, and doesn't feel a need to restore the world to something better. He's a go-getter; he's fine with things as they are. (Or so he tells himself. That guy is, of course, hugely unhappy too. In fact, he may be the unhappiest of all. Rorschach, at least, has a sense of purpose.)

Not sure why I'm writing about this. The non-fans won't care to read and the fans already know all this. Ah, well.

But I found these couple links, from googling "Rorschach existentialism" and they've got some good thoughts:

http://www.hereticalideas.com/2009/03/watchmen-violence-and-vigilantism/

http://jonrowe.blogspot.com/2004/07/greatest-existentialist-hero-in-modern.html

I've seen people say all over the place, in reviews and stuff, that Rorschach's name and mask represent the black-and-white, absolutist view he has. And that works, but it's more than that: it actually represents the inherent subjectivity of the human experience of reality, and morality. Rorschach looks at the world and sees one thing -- knowing that it's just a random inkblot and that other people see other things -- and he sticks with it. Revolting in the face of the absurd (Camus). Living authentically and defining mankind through his choices (Sartre).

So, yeah. This has the makings of a full-blown fan obsession...
laene_lif: (Luke and Leia)
Well, I made a "Blade Runner" fanvid. It's really nothing great -- it's a melancholy, short, simple and quickly-made thing, patched-together from several downloaded scenes, but... Whatever. I hope to make another "Blade Runner" vid eventually (quite possibly to "Karma Police" by Radiohead), once I get the movie (and somehow get WMM fixed or even get a new editing program) but for what it's worth, here's this: Maybe Sprout Wings.

It's sort of about isolation and longing, and hope. An important idea in the book "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", it seemed to me, was getting over the fear of caring about something that might not care about you, and sort of just... just embracing the feelings you get, that seem important to you.

my rambling thoughts about the book and movie )
laene_lif: (Luke and Leia)
She's growing on me. I like poetry better when I understand what it's saying. After reading about the themes of rebirth and transcendence, and true-self and false-self, in Plath's poetry, I'm liking it more.

The Arrival of the Bee Box
(by Sylvia Plath)

I ordered this, clean wood box
Square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift.
I would say it was the coffin of a midget
Or a square baby
Were there not such a din in it.

The box is locked, it is dangerous.
I have to live with it overnight
And I can't keep away from it.
There are no windows, so I can't see what is in there.
There is only a little grid, no exit.

I put my eye to the grid.
It is dark, dark,
With the swarmy feeling of African hands
Minute and shrunk for export,
Black on black, angrily clambering.

How can I let them out?
It is the noise that appalls me most of all,
The unintelligible syllables.
It is like a Roman mob,
Small, taken one by one, but my god, together!

I lay my ear to furious Latin.
I am not a Caesar.
I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.
They can be sent back.
They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.

I wonder how hungry they are.
I wonder if they would forget me
If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree.
There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades,
And the petticoats of the cherry.

They might ignore me immediately
In my moon suit and funeral veil.
I am no source of honey
So why should they turn on me?
Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free.

The box is only temporary.
laene_lif: (Default)
I have to give a 15 minute oral report on Sylvia Plath and the ordering of Ariel this Tuesday. I do not feel very confident about it. I'm also not entirely sure how I feel about her work -- I like it and can appreciate it, but it's probably not going to become a favorite of mine. However, here is a piece toward the end of that collection (Ariel) that I like a lot.


The Moon and the Yew Tree

This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God,
Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility.
Fumey, spiritous mists inhabit this place
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,
White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet
With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky--
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection.
At the end, they soberly bong out their names.

The yew tree points up. It has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness--
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering
Blue and mystical over the face of stars.
Inside the church, the saints will be all blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness -- blackness and silence.
laene_lif: (Luke and Leia)
A number of people on my friends-list have been posting poems. I thought I'd join in. A Wallace Stevens poem for you all. It's long but it's perfect -- here's to living and dreams of now, not never.

Sunday Morning )

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