Thursday, December 24, 2009

To a Friend Concerning Several Ladies

Sour Grapes (1921)
by
William Carlos Williams

To a Friend Concerning Several Ladies

You know there is not much
that I desire, a few chrysanthemums
half lying on the grass, yellow
and brown and white, the
talk of a few people, the trees,
an expanse of dried leaves perhaps
with ditches among them.

But there comes
between me and these things
a letter
or even a look--well placed,
you understand,
so that I am confused, twisted
four ways and--left flat,
unable to lift the food to
my own mouth:
Here is what they say: Come!
and come! and come! And if
I do not go I remain stale to
myself and if I go--
I have watched
the city from a distance at night
and wondered why I wrote no poem.
Come! yes,
the city is ablaze for you
and you stand and look at it.

And they are right. There is
no good in the world except out of
a woman and certain women alone
for certain. But what if
I arrive like a turtle,
with my house on my back or
a fish ogling from under water?
It will not do. I must be
steaming with love, colored
like a flamingo. For what?
To have legs and a silly head
and to smell, pah! like a flamingo
that soils its own feathers behind.
Must I go home filled
with a bad poem?
And they say:
Who can answer these things
till he has tried? Your eyes
are half closed, you are a child,
oh, a sweet one, ready to play
but I will make a man of you and
with love on his shoulder--!

And in the marshes
the crickets run
on the sunny dike's top and
make burrows there, the water
reflects the reeds and the reeds
move on their stalks and rattle drily.

Sources:

Public domain text taken from The Poets' Corner

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ragamuffin


Webster says a synonym for ragamuffin is tatterdemalion, a few other dictionary sources make mention; ragabash, brollaghan, gangrel, and vagabond. Shortened to ragga, the term has even made its way into the music world as the name for fans and the style of clothes they wear to dance halls that play a combination of hip hop and R&B.

Ragamuffin by today's usage has become a term of affection says The Word Detective:

    .....a rambunctious, scruffy child, probably a boy, probably quite dirty, who reduces his clothes to tatters and his parents to dismay on a daily basis. The word carries none of the desperate implications of "urchin," an abandoned child of the streets. All today's "ragamuffin" really needs is a bath.

A ragamuffin was a term used to describe a person in dirty clothes; part of the word obviously comes from the word rag. Muffin is thought to have been derived from mitten (Middle Dutch) since there is no evidence of the term muffin in common usage until the seventeenth century.

During the fourteenth century, it was spelled ragamoffyn as the name of a demon in Piers Plowman, a satire and allegory written during the fourteenth-century some attribute it to William Langland. Written in 1393 it's considered one of the best poems from medieval times about a group of characters named for moral abstractions such as Truth, Wisdom and Will. No one can be sure where Langalnd got the name ragamuffin but some experts think it may be a combination of ragged and ffyn as a distortion of fiend. Some researchers have determined the word goes back even further to 1344 to a woman named Isabella Ragamuffin even then it still carried the same connotations of being dirty and unkept. In 1554 Annibale Caro (1507 - 1566) wrote a collection of comedic prose based on several real people of Rome called The Ragamuffins (Gli straccioni). By the end of the sixteenth century ragamuffin was still being used to refer to being dirty and unkept but in particular now as a reference to a boy. Two centuries later all of the demonic associations were dropped when Charles Dickens created his own idea of what a ragamuffin was when he used it for the character in a novel by the same name called Barnaby Rudge. Inspired by Sir Walter Scott's The Waverley Novels and Ivanhoe it was Dicken's first attempt at historical literature (his second being A Tale of Two Cities). Rudge as the main character, is depicted as a simple but good hearted boy who unwittingly gets involved in the Gordon Riots when he falls into bad company, later arrested and sentenced to death. Sources:

The Maven's Word of the Day

Picture Source

Reggae Mexicano - Base

Word

The Word Detective

Frito pie

¡Hola!

¿What is this Frito Pie?

What you will require:

    One long sleeve cowboy shirt
    Tight blue Levis
    Leather Crazy Horse cowboy boots
    One large white Stetson hat
What you will need to do:

Drive up to the local Circle K. Set a ThirstBuster on the fountain to fill in the mean time get a tall bag of Frito's from the shelf open the side and saunter over to the free condiments for hot dogs. Into the bag put some chili. Put in the microwave for 40 seconds or so.* While you're waiting tuck the long sleeved cowboy shirt that accidentally came out into the back waistband of your Levi's. Oh, the ThirstBuster is full. Go get that and remove the sizzling bag of Frito's from the microwave. Now back to the free condiments. Pull the stems from a couple of jalapeños and add them (these provide some nice heat take a taste and sweat, but not too much). Pour a little bit of savory salsa from the ladle in the condiment bowl. Toss in some roughly chopped onions, whole cherry tomatoes, and some pieces of sharp cheddar cheese. Ah, the pie's done. Grab a spork. Add perhaps some more salt and pepper, maybe some extra cheese. Garnish with a spur-of-the-moment wink at that exceptionally friendly woman standing next to you in line.

Oh my Dan's Frito Pie!

While fresh Frito pie es muy delicioso at the local convenience store, home cooked is good too! This recipe got its beginnings in the 1930's. With the Frito-Lay Company being based in Dallas, this dish is about as Texan as you can get. A quart of homemade is the best chili to use, but canned chili like Hormel will do just fine. I prefer their turkey or vegetarian brands. Chili No Beans could be substituted for it. Two to three cans are enough for a family style meal.

Have ready three cups of corn chips a bowl of grated sharp cheddar cheese and one large chopped onion. In a two quart casserole dish place two cups of corn chips, arrange the diced white onions and half of the grated cheese on top. Pour the chili over the chips, onion, and cheese. Top with the remaining chips and grated cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees until the topping browns (around 40 minutes).

As a pico de gallo:
Combine small dices of medium tomatoes, a fresh minced jalapeño, minced with fresh lime juice, a small red onion chopped and handful of cilantro, salt and pepper, to taste.

Condiments:
More grated cheddar and jalapeño jack cheeses, fresh sour cream or for a healthier choice, yogurt, torn cilantro, shredded lettuce, extra chips.

Serve with:
A fresh fruit salad and toasted Mexican rolls (bolillos) brushed with garlic juice and melted butter.

*Warning: Never put metallic bags in a microwave.