This Plot of Land

This plot of land where plow meets Earth,
and swaying grasses feed the sullen sheep
on gentle hills where hiding giants sleep.

A curve of hip, and here an elbow raised on high.
The barn and cottage there, where cattle and the kids,
both human and of goat now gainly grow.

Whence come these lives into the world,
and wither do they waning go?
Difficult for deific gnome so deep to delve
the mysteries of life beyond this mission-farm,
the only home, this heaven here on Earth.

Be watchful of the night through birth of day.
In doing rounds the rough heart does rejoice
much more than in these mysteries unmapped.

by Tomten © 2019
[alliterative verse [1], translated from the Tomten language, by The Guern]


in response to the poem, Tomten
By Viktor Rydberg, 1881
Presented in Swedish and English, Steven Michelsen


[1] See pages xxviii- xxx of Heaney’s Introduction to BEOWULF A New Verse Translation, Bilingual Edition, Seamus Heaney , W. W. Norton & Company, New York, London, 2000

“In one area, my own labours have been less than thorough-going. I have not followed the strict metrical rules that bound the Anglo-Saxon scop. I have been guided by the fundamental pattern of four stresses to the line, but I allow myself several transgressions. For exampel, I don’t always employ alliteration, and sometimes I alliterate only in one half of the line. when these breaches occur, it is because I prefer to let the natural ‘sound of sense’ prevail over the demands of the convention: I have been reluctant to force an artificial shape or an unusual word choice just for the sake of correctness.
“In general, the alliteration varies from the shadowy tot he substantial, from the properly to the improperly distributed. Substantial and proper are such lines as

The fortunes of war        favored Hrothgar        [line  64]
the highest in the land, would lend advice [line 172]
and find friendship in the Father's embrace [line 188]
  • “Here the caesura is definite,
  • “there are two stress in each half of the line,
  • “and the first stressed syllable of the second half alliterates with the first or second or both of the stressed syllables in the first half.

“The main deviation from this is one which other translators have allowed themselves–the freedom, that is, to alliterate on the fourth stressed syllable, a practice which breaks the rule but which nevertheless does bind the line together:

We have heard of those princes   heroic campaigns        [line  3]
and he crossed over into the Lord's keeping [line 27]

“In the course of the translation, such deviations, distortions, syncopations, and extensions do occur; what I was after first and foremost was a narrative line that sounded as if it meant business, and I was prepared to sacrifice other things in pursuit of this directness of utterance.”

— Seamus Heaney

EXAMPLE:

Meanwhile, a thane
of the king's household, a carrier of tales,
a traditional singer deeply schooled
in the lore of the past, linked a new theme
to a strict metre. The man started
to recite with skill, rehearsing Beowulf's
triumphs and feats in well-fashioned lines,
entwining his words. (866-873)

Beowulf [ibid.]


See also my essay, Beowulf: listening for alliterative verse

[blank renku] promises

 at the end of day;
the unexpected happens; 
promises not kept;

Developer with good intentions writes.
He codes until the end of day, or more,
and wanting more than just to do his job,
he promises to get things done for you.

Paul Guernsey, © 2019


[1blank renku – a form of linked verse, written by one or multiple authors in alternating collaboration. Blank renku differs from renku in that stanzas alternate between haiku form, and blank verse. The shortest blank verse stanza would be a couplet. The longest would fill a Post It note, the original (fictional) medium of blank renku, as invented for The Blank Verse Mystery. Variations are expected.

Blank renku can be played as a game, in the original spirit of renku. It merges poetry from East and West. Writers can choose to write in their stronger form or in their weaker one, and in this way it is similar to the game of THUD.[2]

[2THUD –  [see also Terry Pratchett’s 34th Discworld novel Thud!] “Thud is a strategic [board] game based on the ancient struggle between Dwarf and Troll…Players take turns to play the fast moving Dwarfs as they attempt to trap Trolls in a carefully constructed ambush, then take the part of the fearless Trolls who lumber slowly yet powerfully around the board. You can learn to play in a matter of minutes, and no two games are ever the same.” – discworldemporium.com



Refrigerator Magnets 024 Baby Grand

Should we have ever bought the baby grand?
We'd go to visit at the mall. Each week
or so, we'd stroll into the music store
and think how much it needed to be ours.
Eventually, we paid the hefty price,
and into debt we went to have that piece
of wood, that lovely naked oaken gloss
with ringing strings delivered to our home.
We sold it in a year or two, but for
a while it was our own, and brought us joy,
if not a lot of music actual.
But dreams grow large when pretty, shiny
things enthrust themselves into your life.
Perhaps it wasn't worth the cost, Perhaps.
But now, the baby grand is metaphor
for Big Mistake, or Big Blue Sky idea
that makes no Earthly sense, but gathers speed
unto itself and beckons us to join
its sensual, entrancing naked dance.
Perhaps? "...perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub" [1]
So what, if every dream is too unreal?
To be, or not to be? The question still
remains, for without dreams, there is no life,
no life that's worth the salty sweat of time.

Paul Guernsey © 2019


[1] Borrowed without permission, but at least with attribution here, from Hamlet’s famous, “To be, or not to be?” soliloquy, by William Shakespeare [2], published 1603.

[2] Shakespeare also wrote blank verse. [3]

[3] The entire play, Hamlet is blank verse. [4]

[4] Including the soliloquy.

Our Lives in Verse

We write our lives in practiced rhythmic verse.
While leaving work at five to peel the shrimp
and chop the vegetables at half-past six,
then walk the dog and put off sleep till late,
we follow close the moon, the sun, the weeks,
the months and years. The holidays parade,
precision drilling teams of marching song.

The verse is strictly formed and far from free.
Once written down, it's seldom ever read.
Our partners help enforce the meter true,
at times completing one another's rhyme
until at last one's breathing starts to slow
and children who one day we taught to read
must take up pen and finally write their own.

Paul Guernsey, © 2019

Back to School: GEOINT

GEOINT?

I never served to keep my country safe. 
When I was young, I left that up to others.
But now Perhaps I have another chance
to serve, to pay the debt again that once,
so many times before was paid for me.
There are more ways to serve than soldiering.
What can i do to most effective be?

Paul Guernsey © 2019

Computer Programmer, a.k.a Software Developer, a.k.a Software Engineer,
Software Tester,
Software Technical Support
System Admin
B.A. Computer Science, Prinipia College 1983


I met Dr. Eugene Levin, Professor of Integrated Geospatial Information, in his office on the eighth floor [2] of the Dow building on the Michigan Technological University on Friday, November 1, 2019. We spoke about my interest in earning a Master of Science degree in integrated geosptial information at Michigan Tech and some of the possible paths in which this might lead.

One of these paths, one which had not really been on my lidar, was GEOINT, Geospatial Intelligence. Dr. Levin explained briefly what it was and we moved on to discuss other things. But later the next day, on my drive down America’s Prairielands to America’s Swampland, I began to become more intrigued. The words above came to me, nearly in poetic form, and so, I wrote them down.

Is this my path? Could this be a further resolution to the guilt I sometimes feel, the feelings I expressed in my poem, Soldier at an Exhibition? [3]

Other words of wisdom from Dr. Levin

Check out job postings. Find your ideal job, research what its requirements are, then go get them.

Build on the skills you already possess. Do not stray too far from what you know, especially if you are no longer a spring chicken.

Take part in group activities, like the Geospatial Tea Rooms.


[1] GEOINT: Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) is defined in the United States Code, Title 10, section 467 as follow: “The term ‘geospatial intelligence’ means the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the earth. Geospatial intelligence consists of imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information.”

[2] Dow Building, 8th floor: As you enter the Dow building on the campus of Michigan Tech from the south at ground level, you find yourself on the building’s 6th floor. Just stroll past the cafe into the elevator and check the buttons.

[3] Soldier at an Exhibition: 2018 blank verse poem by me, written as the climax to my longer poetic work, The Blank Verse Mystery. In this work, I explore some of the uncompleted goals associated with my education at Principia College in the early 1980’s.


Back To School Index Page

[blank renku] tropic evening fall

tropic evening fall
full moon wastes the dark of night
distant planets call

the osprey cries to rip the night from day
as dark flesh from the white of bone is torn

warping fiber mists
illoominated vapors
color fabric sky

The giants wander through the distant stars.
Tall Jupiter and Saturn cast the rays
of sunshine; discus gaseous clouds reflect
to Earth as surely as the bronze was cast
in fires fanned by desert winds and thrown
into the failing light, our Sun enblazed.

blank renku [1] by Paul Guernsey @pgPlayer © 2019


[1blank renku – a form of linked verse, written by one or multiple authors in alternating collaboration. Blank renku differs from renku in that stanzas alternate between haiku form, and blank verse. The shortest blank verse stanza would be a couplet. The longest would fill a Post It note, the original (fictional) medium of blank renku, as invented for The Blank Verse Mystery. Variations are expected.

Blank renku can be played as a game, in the original spirit of renku. It merges poetry from East and West. Writers can choose to write in their stronger form or in their weaker one, and in this way it is similar to the game of THUD.[2]

[2THUD –  [see also Terry Pratchett’s 34th Discworld novel Thud!] “Thud is a strategic [board] game based on the ancient struggle between Dwarf and Troll…Players take turns to play the fast moving Dwarfs as they attempt to trap Trolls in a carefully constructed ambush, then take the part of the fearless Trolls who lumber slowly yet powerfully around the board. You can learn to play in a matter of minutes, and no two games are ever the same.” – discworldemporium.com

My haiku, by Brittany


selflessly vapid
my haiku, by brittany [1]
a zen in every pot

publish her collected works
satire's stunted voice of truth

ageless sacred words
in opposition fearless
from the empty soul

socialism's wunderkind
totes avocados for all

[satirical ode, in renku form] by Paul Guernsey @pgPlayer © 2019
Founding Schlub Club member



[1] Brittany. A fictional “Valley Girl” on Glenn Beck’s radio show, played by Stu Burguiere. Brittany made regular appearances on the Glenn Beck Show when it was hosted from Tampa, Florida’s News Radio 970 WFLA. One of Brittany’s lasting contributions to the show was her collection of haiku poems, under the general moniker, “My haiku, by Brittany“,

Brittany is still a Hot Property, apparently, since she has made more recent appearances, such as “Brittany with Socialists for Avocados totes calls Glenn out“.

Give Brittany Her Own Blog Space!

This post is my sincere plea to @WorldOfStu and @GlennBeck @TheBlaze to keep Brittany, and to archive for posterity the entire My Haiku, By Brittany collection, in written and recorded form. Brittany should have her own blog, in my opinion, and My Haiku, By Brittany should be a ™ [Trade Mark]. Think of the T-shirts! THESE ARE PRICELESS WORKS OF ART and belong in the Glenn Beck wing of the Radio Hall of Fame.

Socialists for Avocados, UNITE!


Refrigerator magnets 023 Bunsen Burner

But why does Bunsen get all the credit? What about Desega and Farady?

Bunsen burner, device for combining a flammable gas with controlled amounts of air before ignition; it produces a hotter flame than would be possible using the ambient air and gas alone. Named for 

  • Robert Bunsen, the German chemist who introduced it in 1855
  • (from a design by Peter Desdega, who likely modified
  • an earlier design by Michael Faraday), …

Encyclopaedia Britannica