Friday, February 10, 2012

"Barter" by Sara Teasdale


Valentine’s Day, for one my age, is no more immune to inspiring thoughts of hearts, flowers, love and ecstasy in me than in the lonely teenager longing for one special someone. My thoughts, however, stretch further than the dear and loving husband whose promise continues after more than thirty years. I think of the love between parent and child as well, not only because I am a mother to a wonderful daughter, but also because my wonderful daughter expects a daughter of her own in early summer. She and her husband will begin the journey through nights cut into pieces by baby’s needs, hearts stretched beyond imaginings, and aches deeper than the deepest crevasse when that child is in pain. And so, for this post, I offer a poetic valentine, not one of my own, but one that speaks to the largesse of love, of universal love, of love that exists each day, all day, long after I have come and gone in this world. Savor “Barter” by Sara Teasdale.

    Life has loveliness to sell,
      All beautiful and splendid things,
    Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
      Soaring fire that sways and sings,
    And children's faces looking up
    Holding wonder like a cup.

    Life has loveliness to sell,
      Music like a curve of gold,
    Scent of pine trees in the rain,
      Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
    And for your spirit's still delight,
    Holy thoughts that star the night.

    Spend all you have for loveliness,
      Buy it and never count the cost;
    For one white singing hour of peace
      Count many a year of strife well lost,
    And for a breath of ecstasy
    Give all you have been, or could be.

    Dear Readers, as Valentine’s Day approaches, love life itself and see the tokens of love that life makes available. Sara Teasdale lists some of those tokens for us.

·      Blue waves whitened on a cliff
·      Soaring fires
·      The wonder of children
·      Music
·      The scent of pine trees
·      Loving eyes
·      Arms that enfold
·      Sacred thought

The price of these cannot be measured, but the price should be paid: Give all you have been, or could be.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Reading Challenge:

Read Calvin Trillin’s love song for his dear wife in About Alice.

Writing Challenge:

Write an essay or story that proves the following: “Success in marriage is much more than finding the right person; it is a matter of being the right person.” (Variously attributed, including as an Arabian proverb)


GUM (Grammar, Usage and Mechanics): Commonly Confused Words

When I enrolled in the course, I never expected the blood to course through my veins so hotly. I found the instructor’s conservative discourse at odds with my own progressive leanings, so much so that his words were as coarse as sand and pebbles under my tender feet.

Choose “u” in course for nouns that refer to:

·      a direction or route taken or to be taken.
·      the path, route, or channel along which anything moves: the course of a stream.
·      advance or progression in a particular direction; forward or onward movement.
·      the continuous passage or progress through time or a succession of stages: in the course of a year; in the course of the battle.
·      the track, ground, water, etc., on which a race is run, sailed, etc.: One runner fell halfway around the course.

Choose “u” in course for verbs that refer to:

·     to run through or over.
·     to chase; pursue.
·     to hunt (game) with dogs by sight rather than by scent.
·     to cause (dogs) to pursue game by sight rather than by scent.
·     to follow a course; direct one's course.
·     to run, race, or move swiftly: The blood of ancient emperors courses through his veins.

Choose “u” in course for idioms:
·      in due course, in the proper or natural order of events; eventually: They will get their comeuppance in due course.
·      of course, certainly; definitely: Of course I'll come to the party. Or, in the usual or natural order of things: Extra services are charged for, of course.

Choose an “a” in coarse for adjectives:

·      composed of relatively large parts or particles: The beach had rough, coarse sand.
·      lacking in fineness or delicacy of texture, structure, etc.: The stiff, coarse fabric irritated her skin.
·      harsh; grating.
·      lacking delicacy, taste, or refinement; unpolished: He had coarse manners but an absolutely first-rate mind.
·      of inferior or faulty quality; common; base.

Thanks to dictionary.reference.com for the definitions above.