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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Steeple Photos and "The Steeple" Verse



Thank you to the Visits and Verse readers who sent in photos of steeples. You may still get yours in to me today if you like (see Nov. 16 post "The Steeple" for details). Then comes the drawing for the Amazon Gift Card. I'll announce the winner in my next post.


Two of my camera-loving friends sent in photos of the Winters' home in Blue River, Wisconsin. 


One of the shutterbugs, Anita, is closely related to the family. 


The Winters' home used to be a church building----with a steeple. 




photo by Anita Klumpers






photo by Anita Klumpers






photo by Anita Klumpers




photo by Sue Finley




photo by Sue Finley


Here's the poem:

The Steeple
by Lori Lipsky

The village spire
Built high and seen
From north and east
And surrounding fields

Has its effect
On those nearby
Who view the steeple
Day after day

To some it is beauty
To others a warning
Still others pursue its
Point to the heavens above

Next post: more steeple photos



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Verse by William Carlos Williams

Dear Friends,


 Visits and Verse postings in December may be a bit less regular than usual due to travel and Paige being home.


Also, just a reminder that you have until November 30th (tomorrow) to e-mail me your photo of a steeple or church-with-steeple in order to qualify to win the Amazon gift card. See yesterday's post for details.


********************************************


Here's a much-talked-about poem by William Carlos Williams. He lived from 1883 until 1963. Williams worked both as a medical doctor and a poet. His good friends were Ezra Pound and Hilda Doolittle and he knew Yeats and James Joyce. 


I've learned some important lessons about line length, line breaks, image and 'variable foot' from Williams.




The Red Wheelbarrow
by William Carlos Williams


so much depends
upon


a red wheel
barrow


glazed with rain
water


beside the white 
chickens.



Monday, November 28, 2011

A Visit to (Hong Kong) Cheung Chau Island and Pak Tai Temple from Daughter Paige's Journal Post 4 of 10

Cheung Chau Island, Pak Tai Temple***
from Daughter Paige's journal

Cheung Chau Island is about a 30-minute ferry ride away from Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) in Kowloon.  (My school is located on the peninsula of Kowloon). Cheung Chau is a fishing village that gets a lot of tourism on the weekends.  I went on a Friday, so it was just like a normal residential island.  My eight friends and I were some of the only tourists that day.  It was really nice.  The day ended up being a great photo shoot and it was fun just to walk around.  We wandered the markets and the streets.  We went to few different temples around the area and got some great food.  It was a really fun day.

Left to Right Front Row: Ru, Paige, Leela, Chris;
 Back row: Priya, Chris, Kendall, Becca
(Leela and Becca are Paige's roommates)


Delicious Beef and Noodles


The island is known for their seafood.  Walking around it becomes apparent how much of their revenue is based on seafood.  There are tanks of fish on the sidewalk, fishing boats dominate the waterfront, and baskets of dried fish are everywhere.  No one in my group was daring enough to get what we called fish jerky.



Dried Fish

Fish Jerky




Pak Tai Temple is the most famous temple on the island and one of the most famous temples in the Hong Kong area.  The outside decoration is bright, intricate and gaudy, but interesting.  It is a Taoist temple dedicated to the deity Pak Tai (also known as Yuen Tin Sheung Tai) who is the Supreme Emperor of the Dark Heaven.  It is believed that Pak Tai can avert disasters.


 



The temple is also dedicated to Kwun Yum, and Tai Sui (the Sixty Gods of Time), which I find most interesting, because 60 different statues usually represent it.  The locals don’t allow photos to be taken in the interior of the temple, but I shot a few from my hip.  The inside was really beautiful, except one terrifying looking statue that seemed to be glaring at me for taking photos.  I’ve said it before, but I love all of the lotus motifs— all the temples are covered with lotus flower decorations.








We spent most of the day walking around and exploring the island.  Our group consisted of four trained photographers and a couple of serious amateur photographers.  What does it mean when you have a group with 6 photographers?  It means you move slow and take a lot of breaks, which is usually fantastic.  We meandered through the village and found ourselves at a beach.  It was nice to be around natural elements.  I have pretty much forgotten what trees and grass are, but it’s impossible to forget about the ocean in the Hong Kong area.  We walked the sand, which was speckled with sea glass.  Sea glass is broken pieces of glass that have been smoothed by the water and sand. 



We found ourselves at the end of the beach, but big boulders replaced the sand.  We climbed the boulders for a while admiring the sea from our perch on top the rock.

The end of the day came, so we headed back to New Territories on the ferry.



***Just a reminder that I'd love to include your steeple photo in an upcoming post. Here are the details: 

Submit one or two steeple photos (or three) and I'll include them in a future post (or my favorites of them if we receive more than we can use here).  If you send one or two steeple photos, you'll be entered in the drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. This is not a photo contest and you don't need to be a professional at all to enter. Just go find a good-looking steeple (or two) and take a photo.  

Here are the submission rules:

1. Send photos in jpg form via e-mail to lorilipsky@gmail.com

2. Put the words "Steeple photo" and your full name and city (country if other than USA) of 
residence in the subject line

3. Identify the city, state, country address of the building to which the steeple is attached

4. Submit photos before November 30th and the drawing will be announced the first week of December

 If you win the drawing, don't forget to send me your mailing address within 30 days so I can send the card to you. 

Best wishes!

Lori





Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Poem by Lydia Marie Child


"Over the River and through the Woods" is a Thanksgiving song by Lydia Maria Child. Written originally as a poem, it appeared in her Flowers for Children, Volume 2, in 1844. The title of the poem is, "A Boy's Thanksgiving Day". It celebrates her childhood memories of visiting her Grandfather's House


It is sometimes presented with lines about Christmas, rather than Thanksgiving. For instance, the line "Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!" becomes "Hurrah for Christmas Day!". (from Wikipedia).

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather's house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood—
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood,
With a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark, and children hark,
As we go jingling by.
Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ding",
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!
Over the river, and through the wood,
No matter for winds that blow,
Or if we get the sleigh upset
Into a bank of snow
Over the river, and through the wood,
To see little John and Ann.
We will kiss them all, and play snow-ball,
And stay as long as we can.
Over the river, and through the wood
Trot fast, my dapple-gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood—
And straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood,
Old Jowler hears our bells.
He shakes his pow, with a loud bow-wow,
And thus the news he tells.
Over the river, and through the wood,
When Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, "Oh, dear, the children are here,
Bring a pie for everyone."
Over the river, and through the wood—
Now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie! *****************************
Today is the first Thanksgiving in 28 years (for me, longer for Mark) that we won't be heading to "Grandmother's House" for Thanksgiving. Instead we are off to Tom and Julie's (Tom is Mark's youngest brother) but "grandmother" will be there, so all is well.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!!   Photo of turkeys by Ken Thomas (KenThomas.us (personal website of photographer)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Verse: "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost plus another favorite



These are the sort of trees I picture when Robert Frost mentions a yellow wood in his poem, "The Road Not Taken." My friend Sandy Schelthelm took this photo.


photo by Sandy Schelthelm




If I were to make a list of my favorite poems, this Frost poem below would claim the #1 spot. It's another poem that Katie (former student) and I memorized together about six years ago. She could recite it beautifully.



The Road Not Taken


by Robert Frost


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

If you head over to poets.org you can hear Frost himself (an aged Frost) recite it:

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15717 

*******************
If you were to make a list of your favorite people on earth, who would claim the #1 spot?

Happy birthday wishes to my favorite person! He turns just a little bit older today.

 Paige, Sally and I had fun birthday shopping for him. We're thankful to have the whole
 family together to celebrate. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Verse: "Dreams" by Langston Hughes via Poets.Org



To check out a poem, find out who the most famous contemporary or historical poets are or what the most popular poems are these days,
http://www.poets.org is the place to go.

Currently on their lists at Poets.org, Langston Hughes is the most popular(most searched) historical poet and his poem "Dreams" is in the #2 spot for most popular poem.


Dreams
by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.


Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.


Langston Hughes, 1936 photo by Carl Van Vechten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you like poetry, I suggest a visit to Poets.Org at http://www.poets.org

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Visit to (Hong Kong) Kowloon, Sham Shui Po, Chi Lin Nunnery with Daughter Paige Post 3 of 10

More today from the journals of Daughter Paige, who is currently living in New Territories (near Hong Kong) and attending school in Kowloon. All photography by Paige.


Kowloon, Sham Shui Po, Chi Lin Nunnery from Paige's Journal

I have found my favorite spot in Sham Shui Po today.  I normally don’t feel inspired, or even anything about Kowloon.  It’s the island where my school is located. I’ve discovered an amazing dumpling place down the street, plus a good bubble tea/juice stand.

 The school building is in a poor, crowded, working class neighborhood.  That means a lot of people, lots of bad smells, but tons of amazing family restaurants right off the street, and lots of street food venders.  You can find just about any food.  


On my way to the MTR (transport), or walking to the street market, you’ll pass vendors selling whole fried cuttlefish, fried fish balls, full glazed pigs/chickens/duck, anything, even squid on a stick.  It’s completely common to go to restaurants and see on the menu: pork knuckles, pork ears, tongue, tripe, chicken feet, and pork cartilage.  It’s quite amazing.

 I’m a cowardly eater, which really disappoints me sometimes.  I honestly wish I could get a bowl of tripe and rice or shark fin soup (although unethical).  I at one point in time was holding a chicken’s foot with my chopsticks, examining it, trying to get the courage to bite off the skin from the bone, but I couldn’t do it.  I blame it on the prior dim sum I had that afternoon.  It was the undercooked beef meatball that made any food seem unappetizing.  I did however eat my first cartilage (it was unintentional for it was in a dumpling) but nonetheless, I’m proud of the achievement.




It’s not the food that has me excited, even though I found an amazing beef and egg breakfast sandwich this morning.  It’s a temple that’s around the corner from the restaurant.  I’ve been in 4 or 5 other Buddhist temples in the last week.  What I love about this temple is its ambiance. 

The first temple/nunnery I visited is at Diamond Hill in Kowloon.  Its proper name is the Chi Lin Nunnery.  It is a very interesting place.  It is the first Buddhist temple I had been to.  It is beautiful.  It looks very expensive and extremely well maintained.  There is a huge garden on the way in.  The buildings were built using ancient building techniques, too.  No nails were used.  They constructed the buildings using intricate and amazing leverage techniques.  There are also gorgeous lotus ponds.  After walking through the garden and courtyard we got to the actual temple area.  It’s made up of a courtyard with many buildings.  Inside each building there is an opening with statues of different Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas, offerings and incense. 




Unfortunately, I don’t understand much about Buddhism.  There are ten (to controversially 12) different kinds of Chinese Buddhism.  Probably the most fascinating element of this nunnery is its placement in the city.  There are quite a few points where you can see the traditional architecture with the contemporary Hong Kong skyline behind it.  The contrast of these two worlds is pretty magnificent.



Chi Lin Nunnery is very well taken care of. In my opinion, that almost makes it boring.  I tend to be drawn away from the groomed and attracted to the gritty.  Gritty to me means average, everyday, and mundane to the majority of people.  I find these places to represent reality better than a wealthy, polished facility.



Incense

A lotus pond

Altar

Fountain

Thank you to Paige for sharing some of her photos and journal excerpts with us. 


Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. 


Lori


P.S. If you enjoy this blog regularly or even now and then, I invite you to become a member of Visits and Verse. I would love it. Simply click on the "join here" button at top left and follow the short menu. And thanks to those of you who take the time to leave a comment. I am grateful to hear from you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Verse: The Steeple *plus submit your own steeple photo to enter Amazon Card drawing


The Steeple
by Lori Lipsky

The village spire
Built high and seen
From north and east
And surrounding fields

Has its effect
On those nearby
Who view the steeple
Day after day

To some it is beauty
To others a warning
Still others pursue its
Point to the heavens above



St. John's of Waunakee,WI (my hometown)


The exterior of this building is marvelous!  St. Peter Catholic Church, Ashton, WI


Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center (The High Point steeple)--Madison, WI




Do you have a photo that would work well with this poem? I'd love to include your steeple photo in an upcoming post. 


Submit one or two steeple photos (or three) and I'll include them in a future post (or my favorites of them if we receive more than we can use here).  If you send one or two steeple photos, you'll be entered in the drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card. This is not a photo contest and you don't need to be a professional at all to enter. Just go find a good-looking steeple (or two) and take a photo.  


Here are the submission rules:


1. Send 1 or 2 steeple photos in jpg form via e-mail to lorilipsky@gmail.com


2. Put the words "Steeple photo" and your full name and city (country if other than USA) of 
residence in the subject line


3. Identify the city, state, country address of the building to which the steeple is attached


4. Submit photos before November 30th and the drawing will be announced the first week of December


 If you win the drawing, don't forget to send me your mailing address within 30 days so I can send the card to you. 


Best wishes!


Lori



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Re-Visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum with Writing Friends

Our writing group decided to take a field trip over to the Milwaukee Art Museum for some inspiration and fun.


Looking "mostly-dignified" here.







Too bad my friends and I aren't as dignified and poised as these three sisters




They did obey all museum laws, however, so that's some comfort at least



The special Impressionism exhibit doesn't allow photos and I obeyed that rule, but here is one oil on canvas you'll see if you go:


Waterloo Bridge, Sunlight Effect by Claude Monet, PD via Wikimedia Commons


Have you made it over to the Milwaukee Museum to see the Impressionism Exhibit? It's worth the drive if you like art:     http://mam.org/

I noticed that my friend, Anita, is dedicating a week of posts to the Milwaukee Art Museum. Have a look if you like: http://theprudedisapproves.blogspot.com/



Monday, November 14, 2011

A Verse: "Fall, Leaves, Fall" by EMILY BRONTË

It's been five or six years since Katie and I memorized "Fall Leaves, Fall" together (I tutored student Katie a while back).


Since last week when it snowed, the first part of the poem has been running through my mind. I'm thankful for the colorful leaves of the little maple in our front yard, but I know my favorite person would be glad if he could rake its leaves up before another snowfall arrives.


Here it is last week as the snow was falling--the leaves clung on.






Here is the same tree this morning. Almost all the other trees in the neighborhood have lost their leaves.  Just this tree outside our front window and its friend across the street hang on.





Fall, leaves, fall

BY EMILY JANE BRONTË
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
Source: Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950)



"I shall smile when wreaths of snow blossom where the rose should grow" doesn't express my heart's thoughts,not yet anyway, but the first four lines are sweet--I love Bronte's use of the word bliss here. Genius.