Thank You Readers!

200 Follows!

Congratulations on getting 200 total follows on
Live Life. Create Dreams.!
Your current tally is 203.
Before I begin, I would like to take a moment to thank all of you who read my blog. I am honored to be included on your reader feed. I did not start this blog in order to gain “followers” or to earn money. I started this blog because I love to read blogs and I love writing. This blog gave me a platform for my creative spirit. After a time, I found that I had become a better writer and more creative. This blog and all of my readers have become my inspiration–my muse. Thank you.
And now I shall begin…
I had not been paying attention to my stats lately. I am always happy to welcome a new reader, or visit blogs of those who have taken the time to visit and “Like” a post, but the stats just never seemed to matter. A few months ago, I received a notification that I had received my 500th “like,” but even though I smiled when I saw it, it did not change how I feel about myself or my blog.
However, for some reason this particular notification struck me as odd in a way. First of all, I never consider the people who follow this blog to be “followers”–I consider all of you to be readers and fellow bloggers, poets, DIYers, photographers, dreamers and livers of life. We are all creative people who have something in common. Secondly, this notification was unexpected. As I said, I do not pay much attention to my stats, so when I saw this, I thought, “Really? 200 people actually enjoy my blog enough to see it in their daily reader feed?”
This prompted me to review my blog. What is it that draws people to it? It’s a mess in my opinion. I am extremely eclectic, so unlike most of your blogs and other bloggers on WP, my blog does not have a central theme or focus. That is unless you consider the theme and focus to be creativity. I would say that I am a creative person, even if my creativity happens to be eclectic. I suppose there is a little bit of everything except politics and religion on my blog. After all, life does not happen in tidy little themes and is anything but a focused topic! Last week I was considering starting a new blog titled “Chic by Angelique” in which I would post my DIY, Interior Decorating, and projects. It would have a theme. It would be focused. But then I thought, “what about my photography, poems, and musings? Where would I post them?”
I’ve been at this juncture before. I even wrote a post about it (oddly enough, it was exactly one year ago). Do I exit now or stay the course? I have finally made a decision. I will keep this blog as it is–chaos and all–but, because I eventually want to continue selling unique pieces when I return to the states, I will also post to Chic by Angelique. Eventually I would like to have a booth at a flea market or antique mall. Before we received orders to move to Germany, I had already made plans to open a booth. I even had cards and a large advertising car magnet made. I even had a website at one point. So, moving all of the DIY posts to the new blog is next on my agenda. Thanks to WordPress, the transfer of my current posts is seemless and easy. But don’t worry–I will also post them here!
Again, I thank you all for reading and hope that I can continue to entertain you. Whether it is my muttering musings, my poetry, my projects, my obsession with interior decorating, my scholarly writings, or something else that drew you to my blog, I appreciate you!

We A r e What we R e a d

This poem speaks my truth. I have tried many times to express this sentiment, but always end up failing. Wuji Seshat nails it eloquently.

Wuji Seshat

15

We A r e What we R e a d

To some of us, failed writers
Poetry is the human heart beat of language
Something that vaguely “saved us”
At some point in our destiny

When we maybe had nowhere to turn
No one to see us through our ordeals
Poetry began the telling of all tales
It lived and breathed our history

It immortalized our most grandiose love-affairs
And insulated us from our tragedy
To some of us, word lovers
Poetry is the human heart

On a tree of life where each voice
Is a sacred leaf, each a note
In the immortal prayer of poetry
Back to the nature of language

Odes to evolution, mirrors of our neural states
There is a discourse in the wane of beauty
And when art dies, we lose a bit of our human spirit
And the memory of renaissance

And the reincarnation…

View original post 62 more words

“Serial Girl”—erasure poem from the Beatles’ “Happiness is a warm gun”

“Serial Girl”—erasure poem from the Beatles’ “Happiness is a warm gun”

She’s a girl

acquainted with velvet

on a window pane;

with multicolored mirrors

On boots,

Lying with eyes,

Working overtime.

Impression

donated.

Down—

I need a fix

to the bits I left;

I need a fix, I’m down.

Jump—

the gun;

Superior gun.

Happiness is bang, bang.

Happiness is shoot, shoot.

Hold you in my arms,

Finger on your trigger;

I can do harm.

Because a warm gun

Is Happiness

Bang, bang.

Don’t you know?

Ryobi Nail Gun from Home Depot

The next toy for my tool box.

 

It’s Time For Another Vintage Suitcase Project!

A few days ago a friend and I were at a local thrift shop when she spotted a vintage suitcase for me. I took one look and fell in love. It’s not intricate or beautiful in the same way that my last one was, but it is unique. It looks like it may be from the late 40s to the mid-50s. It is most likely of German origin. I purchased it, not having any clue as to what I was going to do with it.

image

image

Yesterday, as I was contemplating what to do with my “new” suitcase, I remembered a post I recently saw on Leah’s Confession Closet. She posted a picture of her Ikea Vanity table, which lit my creative imagination.  Then I did what any normal Diyer does–I went to Pinterest. It’s not that I need a tutorial or further inspiration, but I do love to look at what others have done so that I can improve upon my own ideas. I also wanted to see what kind of legs would look best.

Here are a few of the Vintage Suitcase Vanity Tables that I came across on Pinterest.

The first two are from Mrs. Hyde’s on Etsy. Click on the pictures to visit her shop.

suitcase vanity table insp
From Mrs. Hydes

I just love the long tapered legs on this vanity table.

suitcase table 2

I love the idea of turning a smaller suitcase into a table top or dresser top vanity. Her work on this one is beyond me. I love the fabric that she chose.

This one is from Optimize Design. I found the picture on Houzz.

I love the vanity lights, but I don’t think that they will look right when the vanity is closed.

I really can’t wait to get started on this project. I will have to contemplate the leg style. I would love to use hairpin legs, but they are quite expensive. I do think it would look good with angled tapered legs though. In the mean time, I have to finish the other projects that I already started.

WWI: A Catalyst of the Modern Poetic Movement

WWI: A Catalyst of the Modern Poetic Movement

By 1914, the Victorian era was history for the youth, the industrial revolution was in full swing, and the arts were beginning to reflect the rapidly changing times.  Women’s rights, worker’s rights, and child labor laws were spurring change in the government as well as the population.   The countryside, however, was still tranquil and slow to change in comparison to London.  A poetic revolution was occurring.  There was a push for a freer verse and less obscurity.  The poets and artists of the time wanted clear, concise works that were direct (Greenblatt, 2377). Early modernists such as Joseph Conrad (The Heart of Darkness) and Bernard Shaw (Pygmalion) were paving the way for the future of Modernism.

However, the progression of the Modern movement took a sudden leap forward with the onset of World War I.  Unlike the United States, World War I was fought practically in the backyards of the English—too close to home, one could say.  After Germany declared war on France and Belgium on August 3, 1914, Britain followed with her own declaration of war against Germany the following day.  According to Martin Gilbert’s history of WWI, the majority of the men who fought on foreign soil in that war were from the lower and middle classes and before the war ended, Britain had lost almost an entire generation of men (35, 70).  The modernity of the machines and weapons used in this war were unlike any that had ever been seen before and acted as a catalyst in the Modern poetic movement.

According to the Longman Anthology biography of Rupert Brooke, one of the first of Britain’s “war poets,” he served on a ship outside of Belgium during the war and died of blood poisoning before ever witnessing battle (Damrosch 2183-84). The biography also mentions that before the war, Brooke was quite a patriot, which is why he enlisted soon after Britain declared war (2183).  “The Soldier,” Brooke’s famous war patriot poem was the last one he wrote before his death in 1915.  Brooke and his poem are “immortalized as the symbol(s) of English pride” (Damrosch 2184).

Though Brooke never saw combat, his (and most likely every English soldier’s) longing for and pride in England are evident in “The Soldier.” For example, the first stanza, “If I should die, think only this of me:/That there’s some corner of a foreign field/That is forever England. There shall be/In that rich earth a richer dust concealed” (1-4), exemplifies the speaker’s English pride.  Wherever the soldier shall go, England is with him because he is “A body of England’s” (7).  Even in death, “A pulse in the Eternal mind, no less/Gives somewhere back the thoughts by English given” (10-11).  Brooke deals directly with the issue at hand: a soldier of English pride who will forever remain English and consecrate his burial mound as English soil.  Clearly, the Modern movement is well underway.

The Soldier

Though Brooke’s poem spoke of English pride, Wilfred Owen’s experience in the war contrasted greatly with the idea of dying nobly for one’s country.  The Longman Anthology biography of Owen states that he was deciding whether or not he wished to continue his studies with the clergy, but decided instead to enlist with Britain’s Artists’ Rifles in 1915 (Damrosch 2188). Owen was blown into the air while sleeping in a foxhole in 1914 and spent fourteen months in Craiglockhart War Hospital for treatment of shell shock.  Brooke returned to combat, and was killed in action one week before Armistice Day.

In contrast to Brooke’s Poem, “The Soldier,” Owen argues that there is no sweet patriotic death in his poem, “Dulce Et Decorum Est.”  In this poem, Owen describes the horrors of the war, specifically the mustard gas. In describing the physical condition of the soldiers as they pushed forward he writes, “Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots/But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;/Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots/Or tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind” (5-8).  Suddenly, a soldier yells, “Gas! GAS! Quick boys!” (9). The speaker is able to fit his mask on, but one soldier was not as lucky.  Owen’s describes the scene as “Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a sea, I saw him drowning” (13-14).  After he leaves the war behind, the speaker says “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,/He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning” (15-16).  In summation the speaker says to his audience, “My friend, you would not tell with such high zest/To children ardent for some desperate glory,/The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est/Pro patria mori” (25-28). Those final lines reflect the attitudes of the past generation of Romantics who glorified and mystified the subjects.  The realism and unmetered verse adds an authoritative voice to the poems—one of the goals of the early Modernists.  In the fall of 1917, Owen’s wrote “Anthem for Doomed Youth,” in which he writes, “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?/—Only the monstrous anger of the guns./Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle/can patter out their hasty orisons” (1-4).  Here, Owen’s relates in a direct manner the events taking place, and the sad fact that these men are sent to die in much the same way that cows are sent to slaughter houses.

Dulce et decorum

“Anthem for Doomed Youth” By Wilfred Owen
“Anthem for Doomed Youth” By Wilfred Owen

Like Owen, Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry was vastly different from Brookes’ gentle patriotic poetry.  Sassoon’s biography in the Longman Anthology states that he was born to a wealthy Jewish family and served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in France and was awarded a Military Cross for aiding a wounded soldier (2186).  Like Owen, he was also treated for shell shock and returned to the battlefield.  Though he survived the war, he became a recluse and lived the remainder of his life “in seclusion in the country” (2186) where he continued to write poetry and memoirs.

Sassoon’s 1917 poem, “The Rear Guard,” though not written with the same poetic technique as Owen, is another fine example of the affect that the war had on the Modern movement. The poem, written in the third person omniscient, is about a soldier who finds his way down a tunnel as he pushes toward the front lines “step by step” (1). In the dark he stumbles over a soldier’s corpse whose “livid face” (15) is “Terribly glaring up, whose eyes yet wore/Agony dying hard ten days before;/And fists of fingers clutched a blackening wound” (16-18).  When the soldier reaches the end of the tunnel,  “He climbed through darkness to the twilight air,/Unloading hell behind him step by step” (24-25).  There is a sense of urgency to keep moving forward, lest the soldier become one of the “Rear Guard.”  The rhythm of this poem is unlike that of the Romantics and embeds the realistic urgency felt by the soldier.  Again, facing the terrors such as the ones witnessed in the first World War, there is no other way to describe the events without being direct and changing losing the strict verse styles of the earlier styles of poetry.

sassoon the rear guard

These poets and many English citizens witnessed for the first time a modern world in all of its wretched capabilities.  When facing such surreal reality, it is not possible to talk around the event of massive destruction and horrendous deaths.  Colossal machines, rapid gunfire, and chemical warfare were, up to the First World War, the things of science fiction and fantasy.  The sudden use of such technology at the onset of the Modern Movement was the catalyst that drove these writers to add verisimilitude to their writing, thus setting a standard for Modern poetry.

Works Cited

Damrosch, David, ed. The Longman Anthology of British Literature.Vol 2. 2nd ed. New York: Addison-Wesely, 2003. Print.

Gilbert, Martin. The First World War: A Complete History. New York: Henry Holt, 1994. Print.

Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. E-book.

Brooke, Rupert. “The Soldier.” Greenblatt 2019.

Owen, Wilfred. “Anthem for Doomed Youth.” Greenblatt 2035.

—. “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” Greenblatt 2037.

Sassoon, Siegfried. “The Rear Guard.” Greenblatt 2024.

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