Once from a big, big building,
When I was small, small,
The queer folk in the windows
Would smile at me and call.
And in the hard wee gardens
Such pleasant men would hoe:
“Sir, may we touch the little girl’s hair!”—
It was so red, you know.
They cut me coloured asters
With shears so sharp and neat,
They brought me grapes and plums and pears
And pretty cakes to eat.
And out of all the windows,
No matter where we went,
The merriest eyes would follow me
And make me compliment.
There were a thousand windows,
All latticed up and down.
And up to all the windows,
When we went back to town,
The queer folk put their faces,
As gentle as could be;
“Come again, little girl!” they called, and I
Called back, “You come see me!”
The madhouse of university instruction has started again. Idiot administrators, daft students, and struggling faculty. I’m counting the days.
There may be chaos still around the world,
This little world that in my thinking lies;
For mine own bosom is the paradise
Where all my life’s fair visions are unfurled.
Within my nature’s shell I slumber curled,
Unmindful of the changing outer skies,
Where now, perchance, some new-born Eros flies,
Or some old Cronos from his throne is hurled.
I heed them not; or if the subtle night
Haunt me with deities I never saw,
I soon mine eyelid’s drowsy curtain draw
To hide their myriad faces from my sight.
They threat in vain; the whirlwind cannot awe
A happy snow-flake dancing in the flaw.
Chaos means something more specific to the mathematically inclined. This little picture shows the pattern of convergence for the complex roots of (X^3-1) with Newton’s method. The colour shows which root was found for each starting point. There’s nothing that vaguely resembles a continuous boundary between regions. (The picture’s left-handed – the Red is X = 1.)
Dark hills at evening in the west,
Where sunset hovers like a sound
Of golden horns that sang to rest
Old bones of warriors under ground,
Far now from all the bannered ways
Where flash the legions of the sun,
You fade—as if the last of days
Were fading, and all wars were done.
For my strong staff, the god Osiris, my spirit adores him.
The one with the baboon reads:
For my strong staff, the gods Osiris and Hapy
Hapy is the god of the flood, associated with new life. The bottom literally is the pictograph for strong and the name Hpy (Hapy). The last pictograph is a leopard’s head, which implies strength. Oddly in terms of English grammar, it applies to the whole phrase, which is sort of like German where the verb is at the end (except it isn’t).
I probably made a few errors in these translations, but they should be close.
Amelia and I are furiously writing a new book where the Egyptian gods walk among us.
Nothing fancy. Beer, lots of it. That and bum on seat – fingers on keyboard.
More seriously, it’s a crisis of self-doubt and/or self-pity. The ultimate blue funk. I’ll often try to edit part of my work. If my brain’s in edit mode rather than create mode that often assuages it. I’ll write an outline rather than details. I’ll sometimes put the project away and look at another one. Sometimes the block is telling me “this is rubbish” and it takes distance to see why.
If all else fails, I go for a walk or boat or play my guitar. The later often transfers the block to those around me, so it’s a last resort.
1 Corinthians 13:4–7
Love is patient and is kind. Love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things