Friday, 20 November 2009

The Dean's Secret Diet

Another random attempt at nothing particularly profound but simply flexing prosodic muscles. This is meant to be a variation on the Sapphic Ode. The final line of each stanza is a bit shorter than normal, but I've tried to use spondees where possible (though it's difficult not to slide into inadvertent trochees).

The crucial question is, I ween,
What are the methods of the dean
By which he keeps himself so lean
And so fit.

Inquiring women want to know
About his metabolic flow
And speculate in whispers low
About it.

Why is his diet so effective?
What is his secret weight corrective?
The global feminine collective
Must know!

But he will make no revelation,
Despite all this interrogation-
"My legs have been since ordination

With words like these he mocks the fuss,
And likewise with the curious
Among the men, he won't discuss
It ever.

Thus sought by casual and keen,
The stubborn nature of the dean
Makes its discovery no mean

And so the secret all do crave
Shall go with him into his grave-
Unless the health his methods gave
Prove endless.

As Clouds Fly O'er

At the constant promptings of Kiran to improve my minimal understanding of prosodic jargon, I recently purchased this book (actually, it was more of an impulse purchase, but don't tell Kiran that). Curiously, I bought it mere days before its author started making a name for himself as a leading anti-religious zealot, but that notwithstanding, the book is excellent. It includes, among many other things, chapters on all major metres in English, and quite a few minor ones, many with which I had had nothing but a passing acquaintance hitherto (often not knowing the metre's name but knowing poems that use it) and several that were utterly novel. This has inspired me to try my hand at a couple, just for fun, and for no particularly good reason I thought I might post some of these. Of course it goes without saying that the copyright (on the off-and-decidedly-unlikely-chance that I ever publish any of these) remains mine.

This one is another potshot at the rondeau form, which I'm finding kind of agreeable, actually- like a sonnet, its nice and compact:

As clouds fly o'er an azure sky
The businessmen don't lift an eye
But in their offices they lurk
And, bending over paperwork,
They disregard the sun on high.

Once long ago, in years gone by,
Each soul began to ossify;
Here see this long process's work
As clouds fly o'er.

Yet comes the day these men will try
And break the mould, revivify
Their spirits, for an instant shirk
The burdens of their office work
And lift their gaze to sun and sky
As clouds fly o'er.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Our Lost Youth

On a whim, I had a go at writing a rondeau today. I don't think it's too bad for a first try. Tell me what you think. I retain copyright.

In our lost youth, we used to laugh;
We'd energy enough by half,
Our interest piqued by petty things,
And in our backyard we were kings,
A broken branch our royal staff.

Yet now, before the epitaph,
Despite the claims of some riff-raff,
I mourn not long nor feel the sting
Of our lost youth.

But why? Youth is a golden calf
Some worship, but at last like chaff
It's borne aloft on Zephyr's wings,
And pining for it only brings
Denial, pain, a bitter laugh
For our lost youth.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Carl Sagan Sings (with Stephen Hawking back-up vocals)

This is cool.

Rapprochement et Eloignement

This is a very interesting article.

It bears out what I have said before about the importance of the present debates on justification within Evangelicalism and the Calvinism/New Perspective divide. I also found this paragraph very interesting:

Beeson Divinity School founding dean Timothy George signed the 1994 ECT statement, which he said was a "circumscribed step forward" in Protestant-Catholic dialogue. Among ECT participants, George said, there is strong agreement with the Augustinian emphasis on the gratuity of grace, that we do not earn salvation by good works or merits. He acknowledges Protestants' and Catholics' lingering disagreement over how justification relates to sanctification and Luther's famous phrase simul iustus et peccator ("at the same time righteous and a sinner"). But he does not see justification as the focal point of Protestant-Catholic disagreement.

Yes and yes. This gentlemen has both identified the core of our disagreement on this particular issue and has also realised that this particular issue is not the core of our disagreement.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Professional Development Woes

There were no classes today. Instead, we had to attend an insufferable professional development day with all the other staff. There were a couple of amusing moments but overall it was tedious and mostly unhelpful, some of it being entirely irrelevant to the profession ("Keynote speech: Customer Service Essentials"?! We're teachers; we have students, not customers!). Behold the fruit of the thinking processes of bureaucrats who haven't stepped into a classroom in years.

Still, rather than complaining (at least in a normal way), I decided during the course of one of these PD sessions to translate my frustration into verse. Below is the result.

Vicarious embarrassment is rife
As corporate drones attempt to motivate,
Instilling in us useful skills for life,
Suggesting that we all participate
With stupid cheers and endless pair-groupwork:
"We-all-learn! Now repeat it after me!"
Nervously, we wonder where this jerk
Has happened to misplace his dignity.
He seems to be (I think) professional
Yet talks to us like we are ten-year-olds:
"This OpenSourceWare's educational
System will assist your teaching goals.
Now turn and ask your partner how they feel
About these diverse possibilities."
Fast falls now from my brain all trace of zeal
In face of these weird incongruities.