It’s been raining, constantly. Time for a poem about spirits.
Garden Under Lightning
Out of the storm that muffles shining night
Flash roses ghastly-sweet,
And lilies far too pale.
There is a pang of livid light,
A terror of familiarity,
I see a dripping swirl of leaves and petals
That I once tended happily,
Borders of flattened, frightened little things,
And writhing paths I surely walked in that other life—
My specter-garden beckons to me,
In the cloud-grey mornings
I heard the herons flying;
And when I came into my garden,
My silken outer-garment
Trailed over withered leaves.
A dried leaf crumbles at a touch,
But I have seen many Autumns
With herons blowing like smoke
Be still,—be still!
Midnight’s arch is broken
In thy ceaseless ripples.
Dark and cold below them
Runs the troubled water,—
Only on its bosom,
Shimmering and trembling,
Doth the glinted star-shine
Sparkle and cease.
Be still,—be still!
Boundless truth is shattered
On thy hurrying current.
Rest, with face uplifted,
Calm, serenely quiet;
Drink the deathless beauty—
Thrills of love and wonder
Sinking, shining, star-like;
Till the mirrored heaven
Hollow down within thee
Holy deeps unfathomed,
Where far thoughts go floating,
And low voices wander
Christmas Cake is one of our family traditions, brought over from the “Old Country.” Well not so old, as we have current connections to England. It’s a solid good Fruitcake. By English standards, we’re too late. Should have set this up a year ago for proper aging.
In any case here’s the recipe:
Cream 2/3 cup butter or margerine. Add 2 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons molasses. Cream.
Add 5 eggs, one at a time. Then turn the mixer up and cream the lot.
It should look like this. Then add:
4 cups plain flour.
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brandy, doesn’t have to be the best grade. VS is fine.
Add a couple of pounds of candied peel, a cup of raisins and a pound of candied cherries.
After mixing, it will be rather stiff. You’ll need to stir it with a spoon. Traditionally everyone in the house should take a turn giving it a stir.
Then put it in a greased springform pan. The beer can is for scale.
Bake at 350F (200C) until done. It might take 1-2 hours or more. I often leave it overnight, after turning the oven off. It should look like this:
Poke holes in it, and then “feed it” with about 1/2 cup of brandy. Cover it with foil and store in a cool, dark place to mature. I’ll feed the cake every two weeks or so until Christmas.
Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. This is a sample from my work in progress, “Frankenkitty”, and I hope you enjoy it. It started out as a young-adult superhero book, and well, you’ll see. Last week’s snippet introduced two new friends, Amber and Mary. This week Jenny makes an important decision – to take up medicine. Her friendship with Amber and Mary grows, and in the midst of the highlight (or low-light) of high-school biology -fetal pigs- she lets them in on the secret.
Dissecting the pigs was a two-week long dive into the smelly gross insides of a preserved animal. The smelly preservative didn’t easily wash off, and Jennifer’s little brother took to wrinkling his nose and teasing her about it at dinner time. She replied by wiping her hands in his hair; this was, if anything, even grosser, but at least the smell of little brothers washed off.
It wasn’t until halfway through the pig that Mary and Amber noticed something very unusual about Jennifer – she really knew her anatomy. There were details that even Mr. Jefferson missed when he walked around the groups brave enough to dissect, that she would point out.
“Jenny,” Mary asked, “where did you learn this, and don’t tell me study hall; we were all doing math last time.”
Amber concurred, “I was helping you with consecutive number problems.”
“I have this book, these books, at home; they’re all about anatomy, and um,” she paused, “a few other things as well.”
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.