Claire V. Bogdanos

Acceptance,Knowledge,Love,New Chapter,Process,Wisdom,

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ USA “NIGHTINGALES” ( 2013 ) 2013/07/07


In 1945, I stumbled upon a poem, “Transcience” by a poet, Sarojini Naidu.  I was unaware that she was a woman or that she was so very special.  However, my hungry mind gravitated to her incredible thoughts and words.  In my effort to commit them to memory, I devised a plan by using the first 4 words of each of 3 stanzas and it worked.  “Nay, do not grieve, Nay do not pine, Nay, do not weep,”  now here we are almost 70 years later and with this single device I am able to recall that piece without hesitation.  I find that time has not diminished its value or the consolation it carried in its rhythmic style to alleviate the almost unbearable tragedy of that era and its world impact !  This reminds me of another man of note and pathos, Siegfried Sassoon of World War I, still one more voice in the “wilderness “along with a cadre of others.  Oddly enough both of these poets shared similarities, born late 1800’s , died after WWII concluded,educated in England and rooted in Indian culture with a passion for peace.  Both deserve your attention and respect !  Please allow me to close with the last 4 lines of my personal favorite:

“Nay, do not weep; new hopes,new dreams,new faces,

The unspent joy of all the unborn years,

Will prove your heart a traitor to its sorrow,

And make your eyes unfaithful to their tears.”

by Sarojini Naidu

And so again, we find another facet of magic words in the hands of “word warriors” not to be ignored.  I find myself compelled to think of one greater, the Preacher,Solomon, have you read him lately?  That’s Ecclesiastes !

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ USA “LEST WE FORGET” ( 2013 ) 2013/07/04

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 1:16 pm
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Where are we now? By 1939 the Great Depression was taking a breather !  The PWA and the WPA had been busy building schools, libraries, city halls, hospitals, county and state institutions for years.  While two and a half million brave adventurous young lads from farm and city across this nation became the heart and strength of the CCC movement.  They criss-crossed our country clearing lakes and rivers, planting 17 million trees, surveying hills and mountains, building roads, dams and bridges.  At the same time saving  their families from the impact of poverty by earning a monthly stipend of $30 from the program, $22 of which was sent directly home leaving them each eight dollars for their own use!  This was the brainchild of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the right man at the right time!  They swarmed across our land with hope and sacrifice, only a few years later to be called upon to fight our attackers in WWII.  These were our “greatest generation” and when the time came, they streamed across the deserts of Africa, the sands of Iwo Jima, the beaches of Normandy and the surf of the Solomon’s !  Next time you stroll among those familiar structures in your neighborhood, check out the year on those brick and concrete lintels and cornerstones, if the dates fall within 1933 to 1943 time frame, chances are they were built by the men and boys who labored long and hard to save their homeland !  Learn to be aware and appreciate the contribution of these “the meanest tools that we may chance to use”.  Familiar,huh?

 

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: HOBOKEN, NJ,USA (2013) “OH DIOGENES”

Filed under: MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 1:23 am
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What is poetry?  I believe poets tell the ugly truth, but cushion the telling with soft and gentle words !  My father told me that something can’t be a lie unless it is based upon an actual fact, else it would be a simple fantasy !  Story telling !  Oh well, I’m not astute enough to be able  to distinguish the difference but it appears that I live in the right place at the right time !  I find myself torn by dichotomy, on one hand, Diogenes and on the other, Socrates.  The thought of carrying a candle searching for an honest man in these “tornadic” times seems senseless, but who chooses to drink hemlock to score a point ?  Kind of reminds one of the   ” Lady and the Tiger “.  When checking on my words and meaning, I find library “source” books much more factual than I.T. shorthand database which reports multiple opinions and conclusions in minutes, even seconds, as fact !  Scant time for nuances, sadly.  No more ancient volumes residing in the world’s most sacred library in Alexandria, Egypt, right? Only ashes?

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE : HOBOKEN, NJ, USA (2013) “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” 2013/06/28

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 10:42 pm
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In Philadelphia, July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress formally adopted Mr. Jefferson’s masterpiece !  However, our national anthem which began as a poem written by a 35-year old Maryland lawyer ( who wasn’t born until 3 years after the signing of our nation’s birth certificate ) while he was being detained, a British prisoner on the deck of a warship in Baltimore Harbor on September 13, 1814.  The fleet continued a crushing bombardment of  Fort McHenry throughout the night, the Americans had ordered the largest flag to overfly the encampment to encourage the occupants of Baltimore.  On the morning of the 14th, when the smoke had cleared the question was heard, “oh say, can you see” and the answer was, “yes” !  Well, that insignificant poem written on the back of an envelope exists today with the entire world recognizing its power !  And yet the War of 1812, first invasion of our homeland, doesn’t warrant interest ?  Reminds me that the reason behind our war of independence was, hold on, take a deep breath, “taxation without representation” !  I believe America needs a refresher course, don’t you?  And who is in charge of “TRUTH.COM”, anyone you know?  “Not I”, said Ducky Lucky, “not I”, said Turkey Lurkey; farmyard tales, oh no!  While those brave men in Indian war paint tossed that whole cargo of tea into Boston Harbor, the rest of the citizenry backed them up !  Since there was no coffee, probably just chickory, did they drink wine or beer?  Well, it’s our birthday again and we are all here, although we are still in need of truth and glory !

 

DATELINE:HOBOKEN, NJ, USA (2013) “O CANADA”

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 5:24 pm
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What do you know about the classic epic poem “Evangeline”?  Basic details, but not the “heartless” truths behind its creation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of “Hiawatha” fame?  “Evangeline”  is not a simple romantic tale of love gone awry, but the saga of an ethnic cleansing tragedy that actually occured 1745-1755 on our continent and impacted our nation in ways untold !  Remember the original colonizers “due north” of us were French fur traders, explorers, settlers with Samuel de Champlain at the helm in 1603.  “Hello”, Lake Champlain?  Let’s tax your knowledge of history once again, think French and Indian War, where that boy ‘who cut down the cherry tree” earned his stripes and became a HERO!  Moving on, the French had settled Nova Scotia, called Acadia,New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island ( the Maritimes ) and Quebec 150 years prior to the Brits appearing on that scene !  The year 1755, the French lost, the Acadians were neutral , not good enough !  Next “The Great Expulsion” relocating the Acadians after separating men from women and children .  Load the men onto English man’o’wars and dump them in the swamps of French Louisiana prior to the Revolutionary War and the “Purchase” by Jefferson.  Transport the rest to ports along the lower Atlantic coast from Maine to Vineyard’s Harbor ( Cape Cod ) to prevent increasing numbers above the possibly remaining 20,000.  However, without the Acadians who “morphed” into Cajuns, we could have lost the Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815 in the War of 1812 along with Andrew Jackson’s eventual presidential win.  I failed to cite “Mardi Gras” et al, their gift to us!

 

DATELINE: HOBOKEN, NJ, USA (2013) “MAJOR LEAGUE” 2013/06/27

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 2:19 pm
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Do you know the story of Mary Hays McCauley nee Ludwig?  Born 1754, Trenton, NJ, more commonly known as “Molly Pitcher” the heroine of the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse June 28, 1778.  Last time I was there, more than 60 years ago, she was memorialized with a monument, a plaque and the famous cannon she manned when her husband fell !  In the “good old days”, children revered the brave deeds of those who”purchased” our freedom and rights as the youth of today idolize sports figures.  That June day was unusually hot, 100°F, it could be called the “World Series of Battles” as it included all the major players, all the stars of both TEAMS !  Washington, von Steuben, Marquis de Lafayette and Gen. Charles Lee ( who really struck OUT ) for the home team.  With Clinton and Cornwallis battling for the visitors !!  Americans, 12,000 men, British 11,000.  The cannon required water to cool down the barrel after each shot and a ramrod swab out !  Water girls were kept busy carrying water throughout each battle , most were wives.  Almost half of the casualties were due to heat stroke.  In 1822, Molly ( nickname for Mary ) was awarded a lifetime pension for her valor by the Pennsylvania assembly.  The victory at  Monmouth coming after the crossing at Trenton, ended the larger effort to win in the north and resulted in British retreat to the south, after their escape from Sandy Hook, New Jersey.  Molly Pitcher’s Well can still be visited !  How’s that for another homerun for our side ?  P.S. General Lee was court martialed as a coward, his “contract” was not renewed, but you guessed that !

 

DATELINE: HOBOKEN, NJ, USA (2013) “AULD LANG SYNE” 2013/06/24

Filed under: POEMS.....THOUGHTS.....MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 5:25 pm
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Who is the BAD BOY of poetry?  I’d opt for my special love, Robbie Burns, remember to roll the R !  He began writing rhyme and chasing girls according to his own words in his 15th year.  Remarkable!  Born 25 January 1759, first of 7 children, one of a kind, handsome roue and charmer of words died 21 July 1796.  Wow! I’m not sure if anyone has written more verses than he, like an onion one just keeps peeling away layer after layer, you laugh and you cry and you learn !  No fantasy there, simply magic.  My personal favorite ” To A Louse “, yes it’s about head lice BUT it’s about a girl he met in church who refuses to acknowledge him and shakes her long curls as she turns away,

 Oh Jenny, do not toss your head,

And set your beauties all abroad !

The light shining through the stained glass window above the pew illuminates the path of her “cooties” and evokes this stunning conclusion:

Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us

To see oursel’s as others see us!

It wad frae monie a blunder free us

And foolish notion:

What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,

And ev’n devotion !

Just another one of my magic prods, 7 words, ” to see ourselves as others see us”.  Can’t beat it right?  By the way, the best biography of Burns that I know is by William Ernest Henley ( 1897 ).  Sound familiar?  Between the bible and the bards, if I had another 100 years, it wouldn’t be enough time to absorb and digest the thoughts and words and ideals to fill my need !  Not so bad for a public high school grad with one semester NYU night school and one year at a NY Art School, what do you think?

 

DATELINE: HOBOKEN, NJ, USA (2013) “BREATHLESS” 2013/06/18

Filed under: POEMS.....THOUGHTS.....MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 3:18 pm
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Shall we speak of another poet of whom I know little or nothing about, only the words?  R.L. Sharpe, c. 1809, and the poem, ” A Bag of Tools “, beginning with the line, ” Isn’t it strange that princes and kings and clowns that caper in sawdust rings and common folk like you and me are builders for eternity? ”  Powerful thoughts and words, ” Each is a given bag of tools, a shapeless mass, a book of rules and each must make ere life is flown a stumbling block or a stepping stone”.  Will you know which choice you have made when you approach your final destination?  But of course by then, it is too late for correction, isn’t it?  Life is about choices, ” The lady or the tiger “!  However, another poet of small fame could be Adelaide Crapsey who observed ” On seeing weather beaten trees”, in eighteen simple words, an entire philosophy, ” Is it as plainly in our living shown, By slant and twist, which way the wind hath blown? ”  Just the thought leaves me breathless, how about you?

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE :HOBOKEN, NJ,USA (2013) “ICEMAN COMETH”

Filed under: MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 12:16 pm
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Remember the peddlers? Well, I’m still in the 30’s and recalling that bygone era with much affection. Especially the iceman who came once a week the entire year long. We never questioned where the ice came from, much like today’s children who do not query the existence of Wi-Fi. How much we take for granted since Ben Franklin’s experiment with a simple kite in an open field. I think I was about three and we lived on Cambridge Avenue in Jersey City, close to the park on the first floor of a frame building with a wooden porch in front of three large railroad rooms with a shared toilet in the hall! It was just up the steep hill from Hoboken off Congress Street with cheaper rent. It was a very hot summer. If you wonder what “railroad” means think of trains, opening one into another minus wasted hallway space (of course no privacy). Two huge double-hung windows porchside and two in the kitchen, yardside, with wide walls in between, there were large pocketdoors on the front room to save coal in the winter. No bath! Enough said, a huge laundry tub and a folding screen next to the obligatory black iron coal stove with a giant water cauldron over the glowing embers, familiar to anyone? But back to the ice, my dad built a shelf for an oscillating fan and placed an enamel pan with a 10 cent piece of ice on top of the icebox, opened all the windows, and “voila”, old fashioned air conditioning for a dime. No radio, no TV, no online, just the bible, loads of conversation, love, family, neighbors, poverty and ingenuity! Great huh?

 

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ, USA ” ROOTS & WINGS ” ( 2013 ) 2013/06/16

Filed under: POEMS.....THOUGHTS.....MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 3:00 pm
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There is an old saying ” there are but two gifts we can give to our children, one is roots, the other is wings”, Anon.  Well, I can assure you never were those words more true than in the America of the 1930’s !  And yes, we did go to bed hungry but we didn’t complain, what good would it have done?  We simply learned to share, it became our way of life, that and the love of God sustained us !  I worked three jobs until the time of my marriage at age 25, close to “spinsterhood”.  Keeping busy was the impetus of the day, and the time-worn admonition, “Idle hands do the devil’s work” was the familiar motto!  We sure had roots as family was our “community” and wings translated into “dreams” of which there was always an abundance!  How I miss the love that we knew then, it was free of conditions, fear and bribery.  Can you imagine, love for the sake of affection?

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ, USA ” ORANGE PEELS ” ( 2013 ) 2013/06/14

Filed under: MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 4:55 pm
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Are you familiar with the term ” hand-me-downs ” ?  For those of us who are , it epitomizes a way of life that seems to have faded into a form of casual oblivion !  However, with this disappearance we lose a huge chunk of the basic tenets of our American heritage, our raison d’ etre.  I’ve been wearing ” castoffs ” for the better part of my life, which is why and how I learned early to boldly ” cut and sew ” or to turn used sweaters into vests and ” bobby sox “.  I was taught to knit and crochet by the age of eight and to weave by ten.  It was ” disgraceful ” to discard any object that displayed even the faintest signs of  ” resurrection “.  Recently, I was thrilled to watch a TV program about the recycling of orange peels into feed for cattle ( chock full of vitamins ).  Bravo !  When I was first married, my favorite place to shop was called, the ” Salvation Army ” ,  and every item chosen became a labor of love !  Each eventually made its way into a ” family heirloom ”  or a garage sale, thats American ingenuity and entrepreneurship !  I must admit that as my sons entered grade school,  I ceased ” making ” their clothing but they did wear  ” hand-me-downs ” for an extensive time after.  The result of which is that the youngest of four remains to this day a vision of sartorial splendor !  Hmm, I wonder why?

 

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

JUST A THOUGHT ( 2013 )

Filed under: POEMS.....THOUGHTS.....MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 3:04 pm
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I have lived in quite a few divers places, observing their customs and mores ( sound the ES as EZ ) and guarantee you, we have been blessed as no other nation !  Let us not slay the goose that lays the golden eggs, I beg you !

 

HYPOCRISY ( 2013 ) 2013/06/13

Filed under: POEMS.....THOUGHTS.....MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 8:47 pm
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I used to be married to this person I know

I must say that it was such a long time ago.

Perhaps had been better if a stranger were he

Unless one of us moves seems I’ll never be free

We live in this small town that’s only one mile square

If I shop in a store you can bet he’ll be there.

It has been forty long years since we shared a home

Much nicer this way as we are each on our own.

 

And now we are friends and can casually chat

About family and such, about this and that.

It’s been a long road the healing did not come quick

Looks like fate had a laugh and has played us a trick.

So here we are approaching the end of the trail

With our egos intact and a marriage that failed !

 

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ, USA ” THE FORERUNNER ” (2013)

Filed under: POEMS.....THOUGHTS.....MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 8:21 pm
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And who is that?  One George Herbert, 1593 – 1633, another English clergyman, who wrote “The Temple”,  a seemingly endless collection of homilies in rhyme!  However, no subject remains unnoticed.  One needs to ” tip-toe ” gently through the many pages of Olde English sextets, but trust me, that could be an incredible task.  My personal favorites appear about halfway, beginning with :

Scorn no mans love, though of a mean degree;
( Love is a present for a mightie king )
Much lesse make any one thine enemie.
As gunnes destroy, so may a little sling.
The cunning workman never doth refuse
The meanest tool, that he may chance to use.

A lifetime of wisdom in six short sentences with not a word to spare.  Well worth the effort !  Consider a foray into the unknown, do you dare? 

 

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ, USA “FEET OF CLAY” (2013)

Filed under: POEMS.....THOUGHTS.....MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 11:34 am
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Have you heard of an English poet named William Ernest Henley?  I was 15 when I was introduced to his “Invictus” in Miss Lorena E. Fry’s English Class in high school.  Now that was a very long time ago,  it was the era of World War II,  or as many of today’s collegians say,  “W.W. Eleven” ( you know I’m speaking the truth ).  I thought of Henley as totally in control , evinced by his most powerful poetic conclusion as follows:

  It matters not how strait the gate ,

  How charged with punishments the scroll ,

  I am the master of my fate :

  I am the captain of my soul.

Wow !  I’ve quoted that composition for close to 70 years,  actually it became my personal mantra.  Ask my children, they’ve heard it enough I’m sure, and one of them can recite it by rote!  Imagine that through these years of adulation.  I was made aware that this multi-talented genius possessed  “feet of clay”  and is believed to have ended his  own life !  That shines a new light on his words and causes me to revisit his works with a different perspective, a deeper meaning.  Will you join me?  Or accept it for what it is, his heroic creed!

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE : Hoboken, NJ, USA ” MAGIC WORDS ” ( 2013 ) 2013/06/10

Filed under: MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 12:24 am
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Do I have your attention?  Oh good, because today I’d like to introduce you to 5  ” magic words “, the keys to the kingdom.  I promised my children that these words, used properly,  would guarantee them success in life,  not in terms financial,  but in terms of peace and joy,commodities in short supply .  These words are:  ” PLEASE “, ” THANK YOU “,  ” SORRY”,” MA’AM “, and ” SIR ”  ( as in ” no ma’am”  or  ” yes sir ” ). ” Please ” and ” Thank you ” stand on their own merits and need no instructions !  However my family had difficulty accepting the responsibility of  ” Sorry “, does this sound familiar?  “Why?” you ask. ” Sorry ” does not signify your guilt. It simply reinforces your concern for others.  You should be sorry when you observe someone in stress or pain,  don’t you agree ? Therefore,   this word connotes genuine empathy in a world which appears to have lost its ” humanity “! If I do not agree with you on an issue,   I apologize and doesn’t that help you to experience less antagonism?    Now as regards the use of ” Ma’am ” and ” Sir “,   these words are a show of respect, another disappearing ” nuance ” of our fading society  ( with the exception of the military ). Structure plays a larger role in achieving personal success in as much as it utilizes our best qualities when necessary and these words form a part of that ! They indicate that we do care and will make an effort to listen with respect.   Am I mistaken?

 

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ, USA “FLAG DAY ” ( 2013 ) 2013/06/08

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 2:08 pm
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Do you remember Flag Day? June 14, ( 1777 ),  the day the stars and stripes became , by Congressional Order, the national standard of this nation?  Can anyone tell me what happened to it?  I keep losing things,  some I don’t really miss like D.D.T. , others I certainly would love to see disappear yesterday, like hunger,  still others I feel rapidly slipping away like freedom !  Can you hear me?  One voice in this brick and mortar I.T. ” wilderness “,  however no ” locusts and wild honey ” on the menu!  How about you ?

 

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ, USA ” D- DAY ” ( 2013 ) 2013/06/07

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 5:14 pm
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A-B-C-D,  D-Day who remembers? This is one of my ” special ” dates, 6/6/44,  that time cannot fade and years should not erase!  We all need to be reminded once in a while of man’s inhumanity to man, and one trip to the beaches of Normandy reinforces that belief.  Each time that I return to this consecrated ground I am reminded of those men, women and children, numbering in the millions worldwide, whose lives were changed forever on that day.  From Ste. Mere Eglise to that piece of land deemed to be our sovereign soil, called the American Cemetery,  you cannot keep a dry eye!  It makes you feel so insignificant and so powerless.  What a history lesson!  May I suggest that you try it?

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE : Hoboken, NJ, USA ” IMPORTANCE OF WORDS ” ( 2013 ) 2013/06/04

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 3:10 am
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Have you ever thought about the importance of words?  The impact?  Such power!  We need to take great  care not to elicit ” improper ” response or reaction to poorly ” selected ” verbs, nouns and pronouns.  It is our duty since words are our ” work tools ” and come with implied cautions, prime example being ” Conciliation With The Colonies ” by Edmund Burke !  Read it.

Let’s consider Marie Antoinette’s  ” Let them eat cake, ” that was a true ” faux- pas “, do you agree?  How about ” Give me liberty or give me death “, 1775, what a result !  We are all familiar with Booth’s , ” Sic semper Tyrannus “, and notice what that brought about !  Heck, I’ve just begun, try on, ” VINI, VIDI, VICI ” for size.  There’s ” Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes, ” of Bunker Hill notoriety and what of John Paul Jones,  while in English waters,   ” I have not yet begun to fight “?

Can you picture Revere riding ” cross – country ” minus G.P.S., on his horse, shouting ” The British are coming “?  Do I see a few smiles emerging?  I am impressed with Hale’s, ” I regret that I have but one life to give for my country “,  aren’t you?  We are and have been a nation of heroes from our very first humble beginnings; a blending of convicts , slaves, fatherless exiles, deserters, whores, the dregs of European society and those seeking religious autonomy!  So let’s keep it up, after all this IS America the great!  Do you agree?  HooRah!  God bless us all.

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA”OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES” ( 2013 ) 2013/05/30

Filed under: POEMS.....THOUGHTS.....MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 2:51 pm
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May I share with you one of my favorite American poets, a man of versatility and ” exquisite ” sensitivity ?  Born in 1809, he was a doctor during the Civil War and the father of a Union Soldier who served 30 years as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes ( the younger ).  The senior Holmes wrote volumes including ” The Last Leaf”, ” Old Ironsides ” and the creme de la creme,  ” The Chambered Nautilus “.  Who can forget “Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,” concluding with ” Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea! “?  Father and son, men of honor, confirming an old adage ”  the apple doesn’t fall far from the apple tree “.  Please take the time to research and perhaps ” find ” another hero!

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

 
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