31 December, 2009

Happy New YE"ART"!!

Hi all,

This has been one of the busiest Christmas seasons I've seen. Well its soon coming to an end and everything seems to be pacing down now. Thank God. I have made the best of my Christmas season though, and managed to spend some time with family and friends.

Well, the new year is here...well almost... and its time to look forward to new beginnings. I'm looking forward to the new year, new adventures, a chance to do all the things that I did not get done last year.

I am thankful for the wonderful blogs that are around that somehow always seem to inspire me. I just want to show you guys a video that I love by the artist Maxim Grunin.

There is another part to this video which can be found on Maxim's blog here - Maxim Grunin, Painting.

There is also a new blogger who I decided to show my support to. I know how important this is to all bloggers. Checkout her art, photography and poetry blog here - A Look at the Ultimate Masterpiece.

I look forward to my continued art search and look forward to your post as well which inspires and encourages me as I go along. Well, I'm out for now.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

29 December, 2009

A New Beginning or Perhaps a Journey Continued

Climbing the mountain
Flickr user - doemehuber

Hey Everyone,

Every year, as the new year approaches, I set goals for myself, and list out all the things that I would like to achieve for the upcoming year. Well generally, there are a few things which stay the same. For example, grow closer to God, grow closer to family and friends, be a little more active, read a little more etc. Well, since I've started this blog I've also considered the changes I am going to make here also. I think I need to get a little more organized here and maybe keep focused on the path I had taken in the first place : the History of Literature...lol...but there is always so much to share. Secondly, I would like to recognize the efforts of people who have contributed and still are contributing to the development of Literature. Additionally I would like to write more poetry (I know that this has nothing to do with the organization or development of this blog but since this is a poetry blog I might as well encourage it :-D).

Well, I have already started and have written a "New Year" poem. I hope you like it:

A new beginning
Another leg of the journey
Look ahead
Only to see another mountain approaching
There'll be moments up hill
Times to go down also
Each moment, every minute, each second
A privilege
Another minute to live
Another second of life
Be pessimistic
Or savor each moment alive
Choose to remain stagnant
Or climb to higher heights
Whichever brings more contentment...

One fact remains
We were chosen, blessed
Given the chance to live

27 December, 2009

A bit of Encouragement

Why celebrate Jesus one may ask? Well, I came across a passage that has been an encouragement to me. Jesus, the son of God, humbled himself and became human just so that we may be saved. Because of Jesus' ultimate sacrifice, his death on the cross for our sins, we have been reconciled with God. That is the greatest thing that ever could be done for us. Jesus' death allows us to be reconciled with God, all we have to do is confess our sins to Him, believing that He can save us. Forgiven and blameless before God, we can now fellowship with God and have achieved for ourselves eternal life with God in heaven. How amazing is that!

Colossians 1:15-22 (NIV)
The Supremacy of Christ

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—

26 December, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hey Everyone,

I know I'm late but I'd just like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas (and a Happy New Year in case i don't get to say it on time). I wish you all God's richest blessings now and in the new year to come.

Well, I hope that this season has been one filled with love for everyone and that we all took a break from our busy lives to spend some time with family and friends and let them know how much we appreciate them. And if you didn't it's never to late to start.

Happy Holidays Everybody

12 Days of Christmas

Yesterday, Christmas day, began the 12 days of Christmas which is suppose to represent the journey taken by the Magi, the wise men, who brought gifts for Jesus. Well I just thought I'd share some Literature related to the 12 days of Christmas. They are actually sung as songs which we should know very well. These songs do have meaning, and are not just silly words put together to rhyme. You can find out more about the message of these songs here.


21 December, 2009

Christmas Without Jesus

I've been searching for more and more Christmas poetry, mainly those poems which have focused on Jesus as the real reason for Christmas (I don't hate Santa Claus but we already get a lot of him from everywhere else). Anyway, I found this poem: Christmas Without Jesus, which I thought would be great to share.

Christmas Without Jesus

No mangers in the shopping mall
No star to light the night;
This is the Christmas season,
But Christ is not in sight.
We are told it is a holiday tree,
And we can't say Merry Christmas,
If we're not celebrating the birth of Christ,
Then will you tell me what this is?

The virgin in the stable,
Giving birth in Bethlehem;
The kings who traveled from the East,
To bow down and worship Him...
The star that led the shepherds,
The angel announcing His birth;
Finally a Saviour born,
For all sinners on this Earth.

God manifest in the flesh,
Celebrated since that day;
When Christ laid in the manger,
Humbly born, laid in the hay.
Are we not to all remember,
That Jesus is the reason;
We gather to worship and celebrate
This wondrous special season?

Where are the season's carols,
The songs of Mary's flight?
Oh Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,
Peace On Earth and Silent Night?
How can there be a Christmas..
If Christ has not a part:
Of the joy that dwells in our spirit
And the love that lives in our heart?

It is His life alive in me
That makes the season bright;
The knowledge that the Christ was born
Upon this Holy Night.
So keep your holiday greetings;
Well wishes and all the fuss....
For me there is no Christmas
Without my Lord Jesus.

This poet has many other great pieces. Visit her website - Sentimental SpentHeart. Hope you like it.


The Christmas Story

Good Morning Everybody,

Can't believe that Christmas is creeping up on me so quickly. Well, in keeping with the "reason for the season", I'm just sharing a biblical account of the birth of the Christ-child and maybe a poem or two :-D.

The Birth of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:18-25 NIV)

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins."

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"[d]—which means, "God with us."

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

There's No Christmas without Jesus

There's no Christmas without Jesus,
It's to Him our eyes should see.
Not to jolly old Saint Nicholas
Nor a glitt'ring Christmas tree!

Shops in town are decorated
Decked in colors bright and gay
Tinsel lights and shapes created
Merge into one grand display.

"There's no Christmas without buying
Gifts and toys to give," they say.
Oh, that they should be realizing
All these things will fade away!

Santa Claus is just a story
Reindeer never pulled his sleigh.
Why then, does he get the glory
On this sacred, holy day?

But a baby in a manger
Really lived in Israel:
He was born to be our Savior
It's His story we must tell!

I will think of Christ this Christmas,
How He left His throne above,
Gave up all His heav'nly riches
For to manifest His love!

Take the tinsel and the glitter
And the 'Santas' all away
For God's love is far, far greater
Than this man-made display
Poet Unknown

You can find more Christmas poetry here.
Bye for now

20 December, 2009

Busy but Enjoying the Season!

HI all! been having a real busy time. Well a lot of air traveling usually takes place during this season. People flying back home to spend the time with family and loved ones and giving Air Traffic Controllers like myself a lot of work to do at the Airports.I really wanted to take a break from work to get some of my personal stuff done but unfortunately this was not the case. Because of the staff shortage, I did not have a choice but to work the entire Christmas. I guess every disappointment has some sort of blessing along with it.
Anyway I have not been doing as much post as I use to when I just started but I am hoping to get back into the flow that I once had. I guess that is how things get when responsibility really starts catching up on you LOL! I am getting the hang of things and learning how to manage my time. I have been hanging around the Literature Poetry Blog a lot. Lots of interesting posts. I have also been spending a lot of time in the music realm. Music is another form of art that I really love and the musicians themselves are so incredibly artistic. One musical work of art that I am presently enjoying is that of Vance Perry. He is fantastic in Acappella. I want to share two of his videos with you all. Dont stop Believing and Carol of the Bells. Hope you like them. Enjoy the Holidays all!!

Happy Holidays Everyone!! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Significance of It All

Hey everyone,

Christmas is just around the corner and I think that we should spend some time meditating on the real reason for the season, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was God's gift to humanity. Sin had once separated man from God. But Jesus Christ was made the bridge by which we can be reconciled with God. Long before his birth, the prophet Isaiah foretold that a baby would be born of a virgin and that His name would be Immanuel.

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14

As predicted, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. As also predicted in Isaiah 53, Jesus suffered (and died) so that we may be reconciled with God. All we have to do is accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives.

What better way to celebrate Jesus Christ this year than to make Him the Savior of our lives? After all, it's a free gift that He has handed to us, that is salvation from sin. All we have to do is accept it. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

18 December, 2009

Christmas Gets Better Every Year

Hey everybody,

Just dropping by this morning. It's a very cold morning I must say... but it's calm and cool. Well I have a long day ahead of me. I'm going on a clean up campaign and give the house a major clean up...(Wish me luck). Anyway, I was just browsing through some videos on You tube when I came across a very nice one. I just had to share. It's a Christmas poem: "Christmas Gets Better Every Year." I hope you like it.


17 December, 2009

A Poem Gift

I've found more Christmas poetry (yay)...this time without having to look to far. Well, I just thought that I'd share this poem by Mike Bullock.


Here we are awaiting Christmas
Storing up our gifts and food
Spending lots of lovely money
Don't forget, we must include
Auntie Betty, Uncle Norman
Cards for all upon our list
Daren't forget a single person
Can't upset the one that's missed.

Whilst were stuffing all the turkey
Christmas pud helped down with wine
Slumping down in front of tele
Snoring through the pantomime
This is usual for the masses
Greed and gluttony abound
Whilst, outside, the homeless passes
Searching pavements for a pound.

Jesus Christ was born at Christmas
Sent to earth to save us all
Lived to serve all those around Him
Always perfect, standing tall
Helped the leper, healed the cripple
Underdog and down and out
Suffered greatly for His mercy
Hated by the men with clout.

So we must be all like Jesus
Following His every way
Showing love to all who need it
Living in His humble way
For He loves a cheerful giver
One who relegates himself
To the role of peoples servant
That is how we earn our wealth.
Mike Bullock

Mike Bullock is also a blogger and you can visit his blogs, Anglican Odes and Christian Poet's Pen where you'll find lots more poetry.

More Holiday Poetry

Hey everybody,

Just dropping by to do a short post. I've been much less busy with responsibilities now that the holidays are here...for example, I no longer have to teach AWANA til school resumes (AWANA is a Christian Club : Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) and other such responsibilities are pretty much on a hold right now. However, I place myself in front of my computer much less for now. I am growing to realize that the little joys of life I enjoyed as a child have diminished from my life because of the rise of technology. .:-D. Well, considering the season that we're in, I think it much better and more contenting to spend some time with family and friends...doing things together...even dusting out the old board games in the cupboard :-D.

Anyway, yesterday, I took some time to browse for some poetry. I stumbled across Marie Anne St. Jean who have written some holiday poetry. For some reason, it was her acrostic poem which attracted me. (For those who don't know, an acrostic poem is one in which the words are arranged in such a way that a certain letter in each line, first or last, when taken in order spell out a word or motto.) What is being spelled out in her poem is "Mary Did You Know". Her poem can be viewed here.

She has also written a haiku, which is a verse form with three unrhymed lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively. This can be viewed here.

Well, that's all for now.
Cheers! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

14 December, 2009

Some Hanukkah Poetry

Hey All

I spent some time looking for a little "Hanukkah Literature", be it a poem, a rhyme, a story. Well I did find many. I've found stories and poems, songs, even prayers and blessings. I found one person in particular who had written a number of Hanukkah poems. I have not found out very much about her, but Eva Grant has expressed the significance and joy of Hanukkah quite nicely with her poetry.

Hanukkah Quiz

Why is the story of Hanukkah told?
To honor the brave Maccabeans of old.
What makes our mouths water, handed around?
Platefuls of pancakes, deliciously browned.
There are the Hanukkah gifts hidden? Well . . .
That is a secret which no one should tell!
What do we place on the table to hold
The gay-colored candles? It's polished gold.
The shining menorah!
What comes once a year?
Hanukkah fun!
At last it is here
Eva Grant

Joyous Hanukkah

At last! At last! Hanukkah is here!
The whole house is bursting with holiday cheer.

Pancakes are sizzling as hard as they can,
Browning delectably crisp in the pan.
The dreidels can scarcely wait to be spun;
Presents are hidden for Hanukkah fun;

And there, on the table, polished and bright,
The shining menorah gleams through the night,

Like the oil lamp in ancient history,
That burned on and on miraculously!

And each flaming candle proclaims the great story
Of the Maccabean heroes, their deeds and their glory.
Eva Grant

A number of other poems by Eva Grant can be found at various websites. More Hanukkah Poetry can be found here.

13 December, 2009

The Festival of Lights

Photo Compliments: wikipedia.org

Christmas is not the only celebration in December which is filled with lights. In fact, Hanukkah, also considered "The Festivals of Lights," began yesterday. This festival is Jewish and commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple at Jerusalem after the Maccabees drove the Greco-Syrians out of Judea.

The story goes that about 2200 years ago, Greek kings, who reigned from Damascus, ruled over the land of Judea and the Jews living there.

One Greco-Syrian King, Antiochus Epiphanes, forbade the Jewish people from praying to their God, practicing their customs, and studying their Torah. Antiochus forced the Jews to worship the Greek gods. It is said that he placed an idol of the Greek God Zeus on the alter in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.

In response to this persecution, Judah Maccabee and his four brothers organized a group of resistance fighters known as the Maccabees. They fought against paganism and oppression.

Against great odds, after three years of fighting, the Maccabees succeeded to drive the Greco-Syrians out of Judea.

The Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They cleaned the Temple, removing the Greek symbols and statues. When Judah and his followers finished cleaning the temple, they rededicated it. On the 25th day of the month of Kislev in 164 B.C., the Temple was purified and rededicated.

It is said that when the Maccabees entered the Holy Temple, they discovered that the Greco-Syrians had defiled the oil which was used to light the Temple's menorah. Only one vat of purified oil remained - enough for only one day. It would take the Jews a week to process more purified oil. Then a miracle occurred. The Maccabees lit the menorah and it burned for not one, but eight days, by which time the new, purified oil was ready. This is why the Hanukkah Menorah has eight candles (not including the shamash candle used to light the others) and one reason why Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days.

An account of this is given in the books of 1 & 2 Maccabees. These books can be found in the Catholic Bible but are not considered canonical in most protestant churches.

Photo Compliments: Wikipedia.org
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2e/ Tiffany_glasswork_Hanukkah_ menora02.jpg/685px-Tiffany_glasswork _Hanukkah_menora02.jpg

One significant ritual of Hanukkah is the kindling of Hanukkah Lights. Eight candles are lit to represent the eight days which the Menorah in the Holy Temple stayed lit for. Each night, for eight nights, an additional candle is lit on the Menorah. Hence, one candle is lit on the first night, two on the second night etc. These lights are to be used for nothing else than to publicize and meditate on the Hanukkah Story. Therefore, an additional candle called the Shamash is also included on the Hanukkah Menorah in case any additional illumination is needed. Some light the Shamash first each night and use it to light the others.

The Menorah is placed at a window or near or door so that passers-by would see it and be reminded of the miracle of Hanukkah.

Happy Hanukkah
Cheers! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Whimsical Flying machine

GJ Pearson - Flying Machine

Hi all!
Today I spent some time looking at toy sculptures and characters and I fell upon the work of this marvelous artist GJ Pearson. His whimsical art definitely caught my attention as soon as I laid my eyes on them.

GJ Pearson’s art mostly sculptures that resemble whimsical figures of all sorts. They are also quite interesting and their individualism are what attracts viewer unto the characters. The hidden mystery of these toy-like pieces forces observers to participate in the work of this artist to feed their curiosity.

It is known that GJ Pearson’s studio is an amazing ad exciting whimsical park and it is really a reflection of the a quality of naturalness in his work. It can be easily concluded that the heart of GJ Pearson is in his art and his art is in his heart. You can visit his website here - GJ Pearson. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

10 December, 2009

Christmas All Year Round

Photo Compliments: flickr.com

Hi all

I was sitting and just thinking about the season. Christmas time is definitely the most joyful time of the year; sharing of gifts, spending time with family, sharing love and not to mention the GREAT food. It is sad, however, that this is only time of the year that some people place a big emphasis on showing affection when they should really be showing love everyday. Some even forget the true meaning of this time of year. The memory of the Baby in the stable who came to save the world.

Christmas will always be a season of joy though....a season where we should appreciate and love each other... just as Christ loves us. We should not only do this during the Christmas season, but we should also take into our everyday lives throughout the year and keep the Christmas cheer.

This is a poem I wrote earlier...not with the intention of dampening anyone's Christmas spirit. I just wanted to give the Christmas theme a new twist. However, one thing we can learn from this poem, is that our love should not only be seen at Christmas...but everyday of the year....

I hate Christmas
maybe if there were no Christmas
We'd spend the whole year thinking about God's love
How He sent the Christ child Jesus
from heaven up above
Demoted him to human status
For His Sacrifice of Love

maybe if there were no Christmas
I wouldn't have to wait whole year to get me some new toys
Giving would be human nature
Not just a seasonal show
Maybe there'd be less poor people
Just maybe...Cause only God knows

maybe if there were no Christmas
I'd know all my cousins; nieces and nephews too
Without the convenience of Christmas
We'd want to keep in touch
Family would be a priority
Not just a second choice

But most of all I hate Christmas
maybe if there were no Christmas
Then we would always ever show love
It would be a part of us
of others first to think
We'd put aside our human ways
And do as Jesus did

But maybe I do like Christmas
Maybe if there were no Christmas
My dreams won't all come true
The best in us which Christmas always brings
Would disappear for good.


08 December, 2009

The Countdown Is On

Photo Compliments: wikipedia.org
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b8/Nativity_scene_Church_ of_Our_Lady_and_the_English_Martyrs _Cambridge.JPG

Hello Everybody,

It's 16 days and a few hours before Christmas and I think that everybody should be made aware. So, I decided to add a countdown timer as a constant reminder of how close we are to Christmas. Also, I added a Christmas tree in the "spirit of Christmas." Initially I wanted to add a nativity scene to represent the true meaning of Christmas, but I guess we have deviated so far from it that I could not really find any. However, I couldn't resist adding a little "christmasy" feeling to the blog, so I added a Christmas tree. These have been placed on the top left corner :-D.

Looking for some Christmas fun? I was browsing through blogs and noticed that the Mystery Artist of Rare Art Arena added a Christmas game in one of his recent posts. Well, I gave it a try and could not help Santa go past level 3. Sorry Santa. Maybe you should give it a shot. :-D.

Well... today is Bodhi Day...and I would like to wish everyone a happy one...(I'm not sure if anybody is Buddhist here.) But, I do hope that everyone did have a great day....

Bye for now
Cheers ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

07 December, 2009

Whats your score?

Hey all. I found a cool lil Christmas game hehe! Draw Santa a path and assist him in collecting the gifts. How well can you do??

Change and Christmas!

Christmas throughout Christendom
Compliments - wikimedia.org

Hi all! I was sitting and thinking about the month and the days ahead. I am one of those who love the Christmas season and just love the joyful atmosphere. Anyway, I was wondering whether I really needed to add some light to the Blog for the season and as you can see, my decision was yes. I decided to add a white background which reminds me of snow and purity. I also added a little Christmas tree at the top left for a decorative purposes. I wonder what gifts I would receive under this tree. I found a lil Santa game hehe. Kinda cool. Hope you all are enjoying the season. I am. Take care all! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good Ole Saint Nick

Photo Compliments: wikipedia.org
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/00/ Saint_Nicholas_icon, _Holy_Trinity_Church,_Halki_seminary_.JPG

Happy Monday Everybody!

It's not too much of a bright morning this morning, but nonetheless, we have life and should be glad. This week is not a very busy week for me so I have lots and lots of time to read... :-D.... and do other fun stuff..(LOL). Well, things are just getting more lovely as the weeks go by. I can finally feel the spirit of Christmas in the air and I'm surely going to spend a lot of times with loved ones for the holidays. So I guess that things are great. Anyway, yesterday was Saint Nicholas Day and I thought that it'd be nice to share.

Saint Nicholas, the common name for Nicholas of Myra was a bishop of Myra (Demre in Lycia, part of modern-day Turkey.) He had been raised as a devout christian by his rich parents, and after they died, he felt obliged to obey Jesus' words, "sell what you own and give the money to the poor." He achieved for himself a reputation of secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus.

Saint Nicholas died on 6th December, 343AD after much suffering under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians. The anniversary of his death became known as St. Nicholas Day.

The Story of St. Nicholas

Once there was a little boy
who lived by the shore of the sea.
He watched the ships go sailing by
all wrapped in mystery.

"What do you carry, where do you go?"
he said as he saw them there.
I hope you bring many good things
to girls and boys everywhere."

Nicholas was the little boy's name,
in case you'd like to know.
He loved surprising others with gifts
and seeing their faces glow.

Then he would hide
and no one would know
the one who loved them,
who loved them so.

Once a father had grown so poor
as to sell his daughters three.
Three nights to his window Nicholas came
with gold to keep them free.

Nicholas went to church one day
and all the people stood:
"You have a heart like God's," they said,
"A heart that is so good."
Will you be our bishop
And lead us as God would?"

When Nicholas died God welcomed him
to heaven's great applause:
"Well done, well done, good Nicholas,
for serving well my cause."

Now every Christmas Nicholas comes
with gifts for girls and boys.
You know his name as Nicholas,
But it's also Santa Claus.

O Good St. Nicholas, children's friend,
friend of girls and boys,
through the clouds come again,
and fill your bag with toys.

Give me too a giving heart,
for loving others too,
I want to know how good it is
to give good gifts like you.
Fr Victor Hoagland

Photo Compliments: flickr.com

Little is known of how St. Nicholas was transformed into Santa Claus, "the Father of Christmas." However, many sources attribute it to Clement Moore, through his poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." This poem was written in 1822 and it was the first time that the patron Saint was associated with a sleigh or reindeer.

The story of Santa Claus, in my opinion (and according to many sources), has distorted the real Christmas story, that is, the birth of the Christ child. Many people have now resorted to giving gifts on the 6th December in order to focus on Jesus during the Christmas.

A Visit From St. Nicholas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
Clement Moore

05 December, 2009

The Posidippus Scroll

Photo Compliments: bu.edu


I was searching for examples of the various types of poetry as I had promised when I thought that it would be great if I could actually get examples of Ancient Greek poetry rather than the modern ones. Well, my search led me to the Posidippus Scroll (also called the Milan papyrus). This papyrus scroll is more than 2000 years old and is the oldest surviving Greek poetry book. The papyrus bears 112 epigrams which have been attributed to third century B.C. writer Posidippus.

The scroll was found enshrouded with a body that was mummified for preservation. The mummy dates from the second century B.C. The mummy and the papyrus was found by tomb raiders. The papyrus was then passed through many European antiquities market in the 1900's until it was brought to the University of Milan in Italy.

Prior to its discovery, to of the poems on the scroll were already known and attributed to Posidippus. These were:

The purple whip and shimmering reins that deck the horse-
ennobled passage into your temple are gifts
of Plangon, who beat Philainis racing bareback, steed
against steed, the colts of evening just starting to whinny!
Beloved Kypris, grant her the glory she deserves
in victory, her thanks forever here memorialized.


Wherever you hold Pythermos the good, who died
under the chill of Capricorn, cover him lightly,
black Earth. But if it's you, Father of the Sea, who keep him
hidden, put him out now, intact, on the bare sand
in full view of Kyme [a place], giving, as you should, the dead man,
O Master of the Sea, back to his native land.

Among the newly discovered is:

Lysippus, Sikyonian sculptor, daring hand, learned artisan,
your bronze statue has the look of fire in its eyes,
that one you made in the form of Alexander. The Persians deserve
no blame. We forgive cattle for fleeing a lion.


04 December, 2009

Back on Track

Hey Everybody,

Its been a while since I've really gone into the history of Literature. As I said previously, I did not want to move on before clarifying what the different genres developed by the Greeks were. So I've finally put together a list with what almost everyone of the forms are. They are not detailed definitions but I hope that you do get the general ideas. I will be sure to get examples of each type of poetry and share with you in subsequent posts.

Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry originally got its name from the fact that is was sung by individuals or chorus accompanied by an instrument called a lyre. It is a form of poetry that does not attempt to tell a story but is of a more personal nature. Rather than portraying characters and actions, the lyric poet addresses the reader directly, portraying is or her own feelings, states of mind and perceptions. Most lyric poetry is made in a "singable" and "rhymable" way. However, the rhyme does not define lyric poetry.

Examples of lyric poetry developed in the Ancient Greek Era include Odes and Elegies. Other forms of lyric poetry include sonnets, songs, villanelles and hymns.

Drama (Dramatic Poetry)
Dramatic Poetry is any poetry that uses the discourse of the characters involved to tell a story or portray a situation. What is noteworthy about Ancient Greek Drama is that is was intended as an act of worship and honour to the god Dionysus. This drama involved simple choral songs and dialogues performed at festivals in honour Dionysus. Costuming and training the chorus was considered a religion act of duty.

Both tragic and comical drama was developed at that time, both of them being religious "rituals". The comedy, however, differed from the tragedy in that it was full of frank obscenity, abuse, and insult.

An ode is simple a poem of celebration. Odes are usually longish, serious and dignified.

A pastoral is a poem that depicts rural country life in a peaceful, idealized way.

An Elegy is usually a formal lament for someone's death.

An Epigram is a very short, satirical and witty poem usually written as a brief couplet or quatrain.

A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject. Two treatises which was developed in the Ancient Greek Period are Rhetorical Treatises and Philosophical Treatises. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

03 December, 2009

Early art ... La Grotte de Lascaux

Lascaux Painting
Compliments - wikimedia.org

Ever wondered what inspired the early cave dwellers to produce the art on the wall of the caves?? I have. Though I did not receive the answer to this question, my curiosity led me to the famous Grotte de Lascaux.

Lascaux cave located in southwestern France is famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac. They contain some of the best-known Paleolithic art estimated to be 16,000 years old which primarily consist of realistic images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
The cave was discovered on September 12, 1940 by four teenagers. In a few years, the carbon dioxide produced by 1,200 visitors per day had visibly damaged the paintings and led to the temporary closure of the cave. After the cave was closed, the paintings were restored to their original state, and were monitored on a daily basis. Rooms in the cave include The Great Hall of the Bulls, the Lateral Passage, the Shaft of the Dead Man, the Chamber of Engravings, the Painted Gallery, and the Chamber of Felines.
The cave contains nearly 2,000 figures, which can be grouped into three main categories -animals, human figures and abstract signs. Notably, the paintings contain no images of the surrounding landscape or the vegetation of the time. Most of the major images have been painted onto the walls using mineral pigments, although some designs have also been incised into the stone. Many images are too faint to discern, while others have deteriorated.
Over 900 can be identified as animals, and 605 of these have been precisely identified. There are also many geometric figures. Of the animals, equines predominate, with 364 images. There are 90 paintings of stags. Also represented are cattle and bison, each representing 4-5% of the images. A smattering of other images include seven felines, a bird, a bear, a rhinoceros, and a human. Among the most famous images are four huge, black bulls or aurochs in the Hall of the Bulls. There are no images of reindeer, even though that was the principal source of food for the artists.
The most famous section of the cave is The Great Hall of the Bulls where bulls, equines and stags are depicted. But it is the four black bulls that are the dominant figures among the 36 animals represented here. One of the bulls is 17 feet long - the largest animal discovered so far in cave art. Additionally, the bulls appear to be in motion.

Lascaux Painting
Compliments - wikimedia.org

A painting referred to as "The Crossed Bison" and found in the chamber called the Nave is often held as an example of the skill of the Paleolithic cave painters. The crossed hind legs show the ability to use perspective in a manner that wasn't seen again until the 15th century.
In recent years new research has suggested that the Lascaux paintings may incorporate prehistoric star charts. Dr Michael Rappenglueck of the University of Munich argues that some of the non-figurative dot clusters and dots within some of the figurative images correlate with the constellations of Taurus, The Pleiades and the grouping known as the "Summer Triangle". Based on her own study of the astronomical significance of Bronze Age petroglyphs in the Vallée des Merveilles and her extensive survey of other prehistoric cave painting sites in the region — most of which appear to have been specifically selected because the interiors are illuminated by the setting sun on the day of the winter solstice - French researcher Chantal Jègues-Wolkiewiez has further proposed that the gallery of figurative images in the Great Hall represents an extensive star map and that key points on major figures in the group correspond to stars in the main constellations as they appeared in the Paleolithic.
An alternative hypothesis proposed by David Lewis-Williams following work with similar art of the San people of Southern Africa is that this type of art is spiritual in nature relating to visions experienced during ritualistic trance-dancing. These trance visions are a function of the human brain and so are independent of geographical location. Nigel Spivey, a professor of classic art and archeology at the University of Cambridge, has further postulated in his series, How Art Made the World, that dot and lattice patterns overlapping the representational images of animals are very similar to hallucinations provoked by sensory-deprivation. He further postulates that the connections between culturally important animals and these hallucinations led to the invention of image-making, or the art of drawing. Further extrapolations include the later transference of image-making behavior from the cave to megalithic sites, and the subsequent invention of agriculture to feed the site builders.
Since the year 1998 the cave has been beset with a fungus, variously blamed on a new air conditioning system that was installed in the caves, the use of high-powered lights, and the presence of too many visitors. As of 2008, the cave contained black mold which scientists were and still are trying to keep away from the paintings. In January 2008, authorities closed the cave for three months even to scientists and preservationists. A single individual was allowed to enter the cave for 20 minutes once a week to monitor climatic conditions. Now only a few scientific experts are allowed to work inside the cave and just for a few days a month but the methods of removing this fungi has taken its toll and left dark patches where it happened ruining the pigmentation. Compliments - wikipedia.org

I also want to share this link that I found with you all. It is a virtual walk through the famous La Grotte de Lascaux. Hope you enjoy!


The Bodhi Day Story

Photo Compliments: flickr.com

Hello Everybody,

It's a very cold morning today and I know that must be nothing compared to the people in places where it snows. Can't stand the temperature? Well, a nice vacation to the tropics would be nice... Don't you think so? Well I'm trying to make the best of my day despite how cold I feel :-D. I hope you do so also.

Today I spent some time reading about Bodhi Day... and I actually got a story to share with you. I know its still five days away, but there is so much happening in December so I have to find the time to squeeze in everything. It's so interesting learning about the different celebrations happening around and how they started. Don't you think so?

Well... here's the story :-D

Buddhists celebrate December 8 th as Bodhi Day, the day young prince Siddhartha Gautama of the Shakya clan dropped all clinging and aversion, stopped seeking, transcended suffering, and awakened to his true nature and to the true nature of all being. The young prince then became known as the Buddha, or the awakened one. For 2,600 years his teachings have spread across this planet, providing tools and insights that enable human beings everywhere to transcend the cause of suffering and awaken to their true nature.

The Buddha’s story is very much our story, in one way or another, so when I tell the story of the Buddha, I tell it as it might happen today.

Siddhartha was born into a wealthy and powerful family, much like the Kennedys or Rockefellers. His was a life of extreme privilege. He had no wants as his parents had the resources to provide anything and everything he wanted or needed.

He grew up in California in a beautiful and exotic gated community overlooking the Pacific Ocean. His father continued in the family business that had created the family fortune generations ago. From a very young age Siddhartha was groomed to someday take over the business.

Siddhartha’s mother was a beautiful, charming and compassionate woman who did great good as the family philanthropist. She believed in graciously sharing the family’s good fortune with those in need.

Siddhartha went to the very finest private school. He was an excellent student and athlete but tended to annoy his teachers and fellow students by questioning everything. He had an inquiring mind and always wanted to know how his teachers knew what they claimed to know. He was seen as being somewhat contrary, and yet he was very sincere in his questioning. He was a natural skeptic.

When he graduated from private school, he went on to Harvard. He did fairly well academically but was distracted by all of the fascinating possibilities that existed in the Cambridge/Boston/New England area. He found young women were very attracted to him and so he began experimenting sexually. He visited nightclubs and bars and went to rock concerts. He had many a late night.

Influenced by his studies in human psychology, Siddhartha began experimenting with various psychedelics. Through these experiments, he discovered how little humans really know about themselves and reality. He came to see that, like everyone else, he was deeply entranced by his conditioned mind and his assumptions about reality. What he thought was true was just that — thought. He found that, like everyone else, he lived within a self-reflecting bubble of perception.

And then one night an event occurred that radically transformed Siddhartha’s life. His latest girlfriend was intelligent, beautiful, and more than a little odd. She wanted Siddhartha to go with her to a talk that was to be given at a small meditation center way out in the country somewhere. If he hadn’t already read the scientific reports on the tremendous value of meditation, he would have never gone.

The meditation teacher was a very simple and unpretentious person who simply pointed out that no matter how powerful, wealthy, intelligent, or important you imagine yourself to be, chances are you will suffer, grow old, be sick, and die. This that we call “my life” is impermanent and transitory. It appears and then disappears, here one day and gone the next, like a bubble popping on the surface of a stream.

“What are you, really?” the teacher asked. “What is really real? What is really true?” The teacher looked directly into Siddhartha’s eyes. “You had better find out now, while you still have a chance.”

Siddhartha left the center completely in turmoil. He couldn’t sleep for several nights, as he saw the truth of everything the teacher had said. Even though he had been raised in the traditional family religion, he had early on rejected it, as none of the ministers of his church could even come close to satisfactorily answering the questions of his inquiring mind. From his point of view, they were a fearful and superstitious lot, accepting without question what they had been told to believe.

But now Siddhartha wished he could believe in something, in anything! He clearly saw the apparent emptiness and meaningless of life. You are born, you live awhile struggling with the tasks of everyday living, you grow old ( if you are lucky), get sick, and die. What does it all mean? Where is it all going?

In his last days at Harvard, Siddhartha entered into full-blown existential despair. He became anxious, depressed, bitter, and cynical. He easily saw through all of the traditional answers given by religion, philosophy, and science. Just before he graduated, he made an appointment to see the meditation teacher who had so disrupted his life. The teacher listened to his story with great attention and interest.

When Siddhartha had finished explaining the depths of his anxiety, depression and despair, the teacher laughed and said, “There can be an end to your despair. I can’t tell you how, only that it can happen. You must find it. There is now no other possibility for you. Ha, ha, ha, ha! And when you do find it, you will then know that you have always had it. You have always been it.”

Siddhartha graduated from Harvard and returned to sunny California. He entered the family business. He bought a beautiful home and several exotic cars and had all the luxuries of life. He soon met a wonderful young woman from a prominent family and they married. Within two years, they had a healthy baby boy. Everything in Siddhartha’s life seemed absolutely perfect. He seemed to be living the charmed life of privilege and power that everyone dreams of.

And yet every night he would spend hours lying awake contemplating the fact that he was one day closer to his death and he still had no idea what he really was and what life was really about, if anything at all. Although Siddhartha had it all, he couldn’t enjoy it, as his ongoing existential despair was a barrier between him and his life of privilege. Finally, he decided to do something about it.

Siddhartha began reading all of the books and attending all of the seminars and trainings by all those considered to be the best spiritual teachers around such as Adyashanti, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Ken Wilber, Gangaji, and the Dalai Lama. He went on retreat in India, Japan, and Costa Rica. He learned to meditate, chant powerful mantras, be present, create his own reality, and generate powerful, positive attractor fields.

Because he was a quick study, came from a well-known family and was a bit of a celebrity himself, he began to be asked to teach with the famous teachers. He wrote introductions to their books, appeared on TV shows with them, and sat at their side during satsang. Everyone assumed he was enlightened, because he was so charming and knowledgeable and could even sit quietly during meditation.

And yet something was still wrong. The overlay of spiritual knowledge and experience stopped working after the novelty of it all wore off. The existential despair returned, worse than ever. Siddhartha knew all of the popular spiritual answers, practices and truths, but they were clearly not it. What to do? Where to go? Who to be? Now what?

Late one evening, Siddhartha spontaneously left his gated community and caught the last night flight to Boston. He didn’t use the family jet, as he didn’t want anyone to know where he was going.

Early the next morning, he drove out to the little meditation center in the country. The teacher was home all alone. Once again, Siddhartha told him his story and once again the teacher listened with great attention and interest. When he finished, the teacher simply said, “There is nothing you can do and there is nothing you need to do. How hard is it to be what you are? Let everything fall away that can fall away. Let everything die that can die. And then see what is always here — unborn, deathless.”

Siddhartha went out into the woods behind the meditation center and sat under an old oak tree. Somehow, all seeking stopped. Everything fell away. The center pole that had propped up his whole house of cards collapsed. The dream of separation ended. Truth awakened to itself. Siddhartha was no longer Siddhartha, but Buddha, the Awakened One. Only One.

After awhile, Siddhartha got up and went back inside the meditation center. He sat quietly with the teacher in the meditation room for quite some time. Finally, the teacher said, “Come. Let’s eat.” They went into kitchen. Silence prevailed as they ate together. After the meal, they went outside to enjoy the cool New England weather and look out into the vastness of the night.

Siddhartha turned to the meditation teacher. He had to say it, deep from his heart, even though he knew it wasn’t necessary.

“Thank you. Thank you very much.”

The teacher smiled and replied, “De nada.” And then the teacher said to Siddhartha, “You know, teaching will begin to happen through you soon.”

“But this can’t be taught!” said Siddhartha. “There is nothing to teach! Teaching would be like selling water to fish in the middle of a lake.”

“Yes, yes, and it will all happen anyway. Spontaneously. And the teaching will be misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misrepresented from the very beginning. What to do? And yet, somehow, some will see it and awaken anyway.”

Eventually, Siddhartha left the center and returned home. His wife and parents thought he had had a complete mental breakdown because he just wasn’t himself any more. He eventually left the family business and the gated community that had been his home throughout his life.

Teaching did begin to happen through him and he was roughly criticized from all corners, as his teaching was nothing like those being sold in the marketplace. A few of his old teachers understood what had happened to him, nodded their heads, and kept their mouths shut. There was really nothing to say.

Compassionately, that which cannot be taught continued to be taught through Siddhartha for the rest of his long life. And over time, those who wanted to know the truth more than anything else eventually found their way to Siddhartha.

Tom Thompson

(adapted from http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/teachers/bodhi_thompson.htm)

A more factual account of Bodhi day can be found here.

Enjoy Your Day Everyone!


01 December, 2009

Almost there

Mystery Artist - Untitled

Hi all! Today I spent some time reading up and observing the work of a few artist. It is so amazing how an artist can apply just the slightest shades of color to work their way to the magnificent creations. Today I spent some time working on this piece. I wanted to use a sort of fog effect and at the same time trying to keep the gloomy feature away. I still have a bit of detailing to do. Hope you like it so far. Anyway, I decided to spend the rest of my night with someone who is very special to me and is also a great part of my daily inspiration. It is always good to let others know how much they mean to you and show your appreciation whenever you can. It is the beginning of the last month of the year and there is still a lot more to get done. I can smell the Christmas Spirit around the corner. Hopefully I will soon be on vacation so I can spend that time doing more "work" lol! I guess that is just life. Anyway, Enough of my talking for now. Cheers!! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

December is Here

Photo Compliments: flickr.com

Wow. December has come so quickly and the year is coming to an end. Before it does, there are still many events left to be celebrated such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and even Bodhi Day (for the Buddhist). Well I'm sure that each of these celebrations has a story behind them, some maybe even more than one and I do intend on taking the time out to find out and of course share with you. For now, the month starts with World AIDS Day, intended to raise the awareness that AIDS does exist and that we need to protect ourselves. You can have a look at the official World AIDS Day website yourself here.

(The image above was taken on evening of the unveiling ceremony for "TAY", the Brighton AIDS Memorial on Friday 9th October 2009 at Brighton, East Sussex, England, UK. The sculpture was designed by local artist, Romany Mark Bruce. The entwined lovers echo the shape of the AIDS awareness ribbon.)

Well, that's all for now. It's a very busy morning with lots to be done.

Have a great day everyone
BYE ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------