Older blog entries for marnanel (starting at number 1049)

Meditation in lamplight

by J C Squire

What deaths men have died, not fighting but impotent.
Hung on the wire, between trenches, burning and freezing,
Groaning for water with armies of men so near;
The fall over cliff, the clutch at the rootless grass,
The beach rushing up, the whirling, the turning headfirst;
Stiff writhings of strychnine, taken in error or haste,
Angina pectoris, shudders of the heart;
Failure and crushing by flying weight to the ground,
Claws and jaws, the stink of a lion's breath;
Swimming, a white belly, a crescent of teeth,
Agony, and a spirting shredded limb,
And crimson blood staining the green water;
And, horror of horrors, the slow grind on the rack,
The breaking bones, the stretching and bursting skin,
Perpetual fainting and waking to see above
The down-thrust mocking faces of cruel men,
With the power of mercy, who gloat upon shrieks for mercy.

O pity me, God! O God, make tolerable,
Make tolerable the end that awaits for me,
And give me courage to die when the time comes,
When the time comes as it must, however it comes,
That I shrink not nor scream, gripped by the jaws of the vice;
For the thought of it turns me sick, and my heart stands still,
Knocks and stands still. O fearful, fearful Shadow,
Kill me, let me die to escape the terror of thee!

A tap. Come in! Oh, no, I am perfectly well,
Only a little tired. Take this one, it's softer.
How are things going with you? Will you have some coffee?
Well, of course it's trying sometimes, but never mind,
It will probably be all right. Carry on, and keep cheerful.
I shouldn't, if I were you, meet trouble half-way,
It is always best to take everything as it comes.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/290757.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2014-02-08 18:50:11 from Monument


Almost every day for the last few months I've woken up too tired to think about anything but going back to bed. I've usually forced myself to work, with the result that I was sitting at my desk too tired to think about anything but going back to bed. It's been heavy going.

Today I was properly awake when I woke. I don't know whether this will continue, but I feel I've been given a precious gift today.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/290381.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2014-01-30 11:34:48 from Monument

39 today

Scene: An office. Enter Marn.
Marn: Morning, everyone.
Office: Morning.
Coworker: And... happy birthday?
Marn: Thank you! and well remembered.
Office: Ooh.
Marn: And it occurs to me... oh, don't worry, I'm not going to make a speech...
Coworker: No more than any other day, anyway.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/290292.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2014-01-30 09:31:03 from Monument

double dactyl

Writing this down so I can sleep:

Greekery meekery
Paul the Apostle has
Sent many letters to
Corinth and all;
Why were their answers kept
Readers discovered they
Started... to pall.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/289843.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2014-01-12 23:20:19 from Monument

My ggg-grandparents

My ggg-grandparents, Thomas Thurman (1826-1912) and Mary Thurman née Gilderthorpe (1826-1890).

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/289615.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2014-01-11 21:17:07 from Monument


I walked in darkness. Many a lonely mile,
my eyes and footsteps stumbling and blind,
I sought a kindly light I could not find
in land or ocean, asking all the while
if lightless lives are taken in exchange
for light eternal; memories of sight
would whisper, even I shall see the light!

I never thought the light would look so strange.
Not in a temple, echoing and awed,
nor in a palace, glistening and grand,
nor in my home, nor any friendly land,
but distant, dirty, in a shed abroad,
I met a maiden bloody from a birth
and in her arms, the light of all the earth.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/289280.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2014-01-06 13:59:35 from Monument

Dogged Scribblings - newly on Kindle

Love advice from a fishmonger, what puppies dream about, the invention of flatulence, an unusually honest job application, why King Arthur enjoys a good cuppa, and ten more short poems: Dogged Scribblings is a chapbook of my poetry newly published on Kindle. Reviews and ratings are always welcome!

Click here to buy on amazon.com for $1.99

Click here to buy on amazon.co.uk for 99p

(cover image here)

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/289146.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2014-01-05 16:31:26 (Updated 2014-01-05 16:32:32) from Monument

on a night of snow

This is among my favourite sonnets; I wish it were better known, so here it is:

by Elizabeth Coatsworth

"Cat, if you go outdoors you must walk in the snow.
You will come back with little white shoes on your feet,
little white slippers of snow that have heels of sleet.
Stay by the fire, my Cat. Lie still, do not go.
See how the flames are leaping and hissing low.
I will bring you a saucer of milk like a marguerite,
so white and so smooth, so spherical and so sweet–
stay with me, Cat. Outdoors the wild winds blow."

"Outdoors the wild winds blow, Mistress, and dark is the night.
Strange voices cry in the trees, intoning strange lore;
and more than cats move, lit by our eyes’ green light,
on silent feet where the meadow grasses hang hoar–
Mistress, there are portents abroad of magic and might,
and things that are yet to be done. Open the door!"

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/288843.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-12-23 13:57:53 (Updated 2013-12-23 13:58:27) from Monument

from Iolanthe

Of all the young ladies I know,
This pretty young lady's the fairest ;
Her lips have the rosiest show.
Her eyes are the richest and rarest.
Her origin's lowly, it's true.
But of birth and position I've plenty ;
I've grammar and spelling for two.
And blood and behavior for twenty!

Though the views of the House have diverged
On every conceivable motion,
All questions of party are merged
In a frenzy of love and devotion.
If you ask us distinctly to say
What party we claim to belong to,
We reply, without doubt or delay,
The party I'm singing this song to.

I'm very much pained to refuse,
But I'll stick to my pipes and my tabors;
I can spell all the words that I use,
And my grammar's as good as my neighbour's.
As for birth, I was bom like the rest.
My behavior is rustic, but hearty.
And I know where to turn for the best
When I want a particular party!

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/288208.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-12-13 11:05:40 from Monument

Controversial and offensive

I wrote a thing about the problems with the words "controversial" and "offensive".

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/287594.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Syndicated 2013-12-11 15:16:37 from Monument

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