On First Looking into Keats’s Sonnets

I want to talk today about Keats’s sonnets. I’ve always liked Keats—it’s hard to imagine not liking Keats—but I’ve mostly read his odes. Is it possible to graduate from an English-language high school without reading “Ode to a Grecian Urn?” I certainly hope not. But I honestly can’t recall ever reading any of his sonnets except for “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.” I didn’t know what I was missing. Continue reading

Music of the Spirit–Happy Riḍván!

Today is the first day of the holiest of all Bahá’í festivals, Riḍván (usually pronounced as it is in Farsi: rihz-vahn). The name means “Paradise” and was the name Bahá’u’lláh, the Messenger of God for this day whose teaching formed the Bahá’í Faith, gave to the garden just outside of Baghdad where he formally announced his Mission to his family and closest followers. The twelve days of Riḍván commemorate the twelve days Bahá’u’lláh spent in that garden.

The writings of the Bahá’í Faith speak highly of the power of the arts. When used properly they can uplift the soul, ennoble the spirit, and serve as a great force of attraction drawing humanity together. Continue reading

Kurt Vonnegut on just about Everything

I am writing a post today on Kurt Vonnegut for no particular reason. There are other posts I could work on that would be far more in keeping with the overall theme of this blog, but this is what I feel like writing today. One of the nice things about a blog is that you can write anything you want and publish it. There’s no guarantee anyone will ever read it, but that holds true for books as well. Continue reading

Spring, the Limits of Expression, and the Men who Won’t Fit In

IMG_1745How’s that for a title? Spring has been steadily growing here, and as I sat outside one warm evening, it occurred to me that there are definite limits to how much of my experience I can communicate in this blog. I add audio recordings to this blog to help fill in some of the details that photos can’t capture (and I’m going to post a video soon!), but there’s no way I can capture the soft, moist touch of a warm spring breeze blowing through the trees of a park at night. I suppose I could record the sound it makes, but even that would be difficult–it’s too quiet, too subtle–and without the accompanying feelings of the gentle night-warmth and the soothing way the wind brushes across your skin, it just wouldn’t be the same. Continue reading