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Category: Reading

Walden: An Unknown Prophetic Clip

“I was witness to events of a less peaceful character. One day when I went out to my wood-pile, or rather my pile of stumps, I observed two large ants, the one red, the other much larger, nearly half an inch long, and black, fiercely contending with one another. Having once got hold they never let go, but struggled and wrestled and rolled on the chips incessantly. Looking farther, I was surprised to find that the chips were covered with such combatants, that it was not a duellum, but a beellum, a war between two races of ants, the red always pitted against the black, and frequently two red ones to one black. The legions of these Myrmidons covered all the hills and vales in my wood-yard, and the ground was already strewn with the dead and dying, both red and black. It was the only battle which I have ever witnessed, the only battle-field I ever trod while the battle was raging; internecine war; the red republicans on the one hand, and the black imperialists on the other. On every side they were engaged in deadly combat, yet without any noise that I could hear, and human soldiers never fought so resolutely. I watched a couple that were fast locked in each other’s embraces, in a little sunny valley amid the chips, now at noonday prepared to fight till the sun went down, or life went out. The smaller red champion had fastened himself like a vice to his adversary’s front, and through all the tumblings on that field for an instant ceased to gnaw at one of his feelers near the root, having already caused the other to go by the board; while the stronger black one dashed him from side to side, and, as I saw on looking nearer, had already divested him of several of his members. They fought with more pertinacity than bulldogs. Neither manifested the least disposition to retreat. It was evident that their battle-cry was ‘Conquer or die.’ “

Reading

Poet Laureate’s Duties and History

I have always wondered what exactly a poet laureate’s duties are.

As for the United States, they are given much latitude. They give a reading to open the Library of Congress’s annual literary series, and close with a lecture. They are appointed from September of one year to May of the next. Poet laureates write occasional poetry. This position was started in 1936 as an endowment for “maintenance of a chair of Poetry of the English language in the Library of Congress.”

Beyond that they are given free reign to make it their own. Joseph Brodsky (he had an interesting life, (exiled from his native Russia), was the first to make a program that reached a national scale.

The current United States poet laureate is Joy Harjo, the first Native American to fill this role.

Other nations and localities have their own poet laureates. The Oregon poet laureate, appointed by Gov. Kate Brown, is Kim Stafford. His occasional poetry centers on the corona virus.

The term laurel was a wreath of honor given to ancient Greek poets or heroes. I would love to see poetry take on more importance and include more conservative voices.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ones of my favorite poets, was the celebrity of his time. “A Psalm of Life” speaks to me when I need encouragement to carry on.


Sources

PoetryReading

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