The spring semester has always been a favorite of mine. The idea of sweating out finals then stepping into a long summer of fun induces motivation. This is partly the reason why I am elated about this term. But also because if everything goes as it might, I will graduate in the summer. It is most interesting that I will be using a whole semester to write one paper. A new experience which feels rather cool! But it means also that my time management skills would be put to test. I am a procrastinator, after all, and a lot of time usually has a negative effect on my productivity. I have decided to work out a daily routine to research and write. Should I be successful, it would be wonderful, especially since all such past attempts have been unsuccessful. However, I just saw this Ted Talk on breaking bad habits which I think could be helpful in establishing new ones. What is awesome is that I am very lucky to have for an advisor an amazing professor through whom I have gained some of the most interesting and exciting perspectives on life. Prof. Masciandaro is not easy, hence the whole thing should be the more challenging, thus a great learning experience. My thesis is on love through the lens of sin based on a Revelation of Love by Julian of Norwich. The goal is to write an impressive paper; something I can brag about nonstop; something I can start sentences with and bring up in the middle of conversations that are not in the least related. The sort of thing that one can become a broken record about––eventually all your friends have it memorized, not because they wished to, but because they have heard you say it too many freaking times! I will probably frame it on my wall. I am serious. Hence it must be a work of art. But easier said than done, right? This is why I am daring myself to prove to myself (who better can I really impress?) just how good of an essayist I can be. Just this once. I do not plan to write anymore research papers. The understatement is, therefore, I am excited.
Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop
by William Butler Yeats
I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
`Those breasts are flat and fallen now
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty.'
`Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,' I cried.
'My friends are gone, but that's a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart's pride.
`A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.'
William Butler Yeats’ "Crazy Jane Talks With the Bishop" is one of my favorite poems. The humor and wit in the exchange between the speakers are excellent and give one much to chew on. The interest of this analysis is to try and decipher whether Jane is indeed crazy or mistakenly identified as such. The title tells us what is happening in the rest of the poem: a woman, ref…
Staying the night at Wang Changling's retreat*
by Chang Jian
The clear stream is immeasurably deep;
Where you live as a hermit there is only a lonely cloud.
At the edge of the pines a sliver of moon is showing,
Its limpid light still shinning there for you.
Shadows of flowers sleep under your thatched roof;
Moss grows in veins over your peony courtyard.
I'm going to take my leave of the world, like you,
And join the phoenixes and cranes in the western hills.
* Three Hundred Tang poems. Translated by Peter Harris. Everyman's Library Pocket Poets
Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!
There has been a little conversation between myself and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s speaker in “Second Fig” for months now. Sometimes I would forget to think or talk to her for days or even weeks, then run into her riding the shades of a slow afternoon or merging with the shadows of an eerie night. Most recently, though, I have been finding her lisping within conversations shared with others and reading her on pages here and there. The thing is, often, in polite society, we speak only of our minor headaches in such ways that arouse neither genuine pity nor concern for our wellbeing but shine a dim light on our shared struggles in the search of infinite satiation. And this is why the lines of “Second Fig” are irritating––they are shamelessly honest. They can even be called coarse in that they seem to mock and brag simultaneously without apology. T…