A Knitter’s Guide to Life

I found a hole in my world today,

Gaping like a dropped stitch that I just now saw.

Something had twisted the fibers away

With disregard for any law.

 

So I paused my knot-making, to look back over and see

This net of neat plans I’d so carefully crafted,

And I saw throughout the yarn, now mocking me,

The many lists I’d painstakingly drafted.

 

What the puncturing source was, I knew quite well.

I knew what had picked through the weave.

And though I regretted, I choose not to dwell

On what’s been done and not done and said.

 

For a far more pressing concern I now found,

As I looked at this hole in my world.

For the life I had meant to be wrapped around

Seemed now just a flag to be furled.

 

But surely the hurt is not so great; I can patch it together

With just an out-of-place stitch here and there.

Perhaps it will last, through all the stormy weather,

An ugly spot masked with just a bit of care.

 

Then I think of the time it took to make this,

Compared to the time still before me,

And I think this a chance that I choose not miss,

A chance to change the pattern and to use a new key.

 

So I unravel the stitches and swallow my pride,

And craft a new world from the old piece.

Now a ball of fate’s yarn sits here by my side,

For opportunity has yet to cease.

Writing Words (Is Really Hard)

 

“Writing Words (Is Really Hard)”
by JABBA

No more flashy phrases.
Lots of empty pages.
Staring at an empty screen, tears in my eyes.
I know I’ve got a deadline soon, but what to write?

Writing words is really hard,
But there is nothing I can do.
Writing words is really hard.
I just have to face it this time; it’s true.
Writer’s block is always hard to resist but consider this:
With a deadline in sight,
I just need stuff to write.

Run-on sentences.
Split infinitives.
The old familiar rules, I must break,
And also skip the editing, all for time’s sake.

Writing words is really hard,
But there is nothing I can do.
Writing words is really hard.
I just have to face it this time; it’s true.
Writer’s block is always hard to resist but consider this:
With a deadline in sight,
I just need stuff to write.

An Anglo-Saxon Epic

When darkness falls, beware Heorot.  A monster has arisen, and when night comes he lurks in the hall of King Hrothgar of the Shieldings, slaying whomsoever he finds.  Brave warriors have fallen; the king despairs; the Shieldings fear.  But unbeknownst to them, a hero is coming to deliver the people from the monster or die in the attempt.  He is a man of fame.  His name is Beowulf.

Titled for its main character, Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon epic and the longest poem written in Old English.  It was composed sometime between the middle of the seventh and the end of the tenth century A. D. and was passed down orally.  Although the poem is set in pagan Denmark, it is full of anachronistic Christian references which most likely became part of the text as it was handed down through generations.

Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney (lived from 1939 to 2013)

This school year I have been studying medieval literature, and one of the best works I have read is Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney.  As with other poems recited orally, the poetic devices the authors of Beowulf employed were ones that affected how the poem sounded:  rhyme, alliteration, assonance, and consonance.  The translation by Seamus Heaney is filled with the vivid beauty and resonance of the original poem, which makes it an excellent work to read aloud.

Beowulf is a classic tale of a hero and his adventures and feats of arms.  The poem goes beyond its plotline, however, for it demonstrates the character qualities the Anglo-Saxons valued, presenting Beowulf as an ideal hero.  Unlike the French medieval hero Roland from The Song of Roland, Beowulf displays more than just courage and strength.  Beowulf is also defined by wisdom, forgiveness, kindness, and foresight.  He is a loyal subject to Ecgtheow king of the Geats, a helpful friend to Hrothgar of Denmark, and later a good monarch to his own people.  Although he is not perfect and perhaps cares too much about glory, Beowulf is an admirable character who deserves the respect and love which he wins from his friends, enemies, and countrymen.

Eadgils' Barrow
Eadgils’ mound in Uppsala, Sweden

Note: A wonderful version of Beowulf read by Seamus Heaney himself is available online for free.  The recording is divided into two parts and can be found through the following links.

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaB0trCztM0

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zsxxg5P-DnY

A Piano Masterpiece

Johannes Brahms once said, “Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind” (“22 Inspiring Composer Quotes”).  When one listens to Brahms’s compositions, it quickly becomes evident that his music is where craftsmanship and inspiration meet.  From magnificent themes to a masterful use musical instruments, Brahms knew how to compose.  One piece in which Brahms’ skill shines through with particular brilliance is his Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Opus 83.

This concerto is beautiful and unusual.  Although concertos typically have three movements, this one has four.  Another unique aspect of the piano concerto is how many solos and cadenzas Brahms gives to instruments besides the piano.  The 1st movement “Allegro non Troppo” begins with a tender French horn solo which introduces the main theme before the piano joins in.  The mellow notes of the horns combine with the piano to create what sounds like a sunrise.  Brahms also includes a cello solo in the 3rd movement “Andante.”  At one point, the solo pianist even accompanies the cello.

Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms (lived from 1833 to 1897)

Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 is full of warmth and color.  Each movement contains gorgeous themes, and Brahms weaves these in and out of the composition.  As a theme passes from one instrument to another, Brahms develops it and introduces variations on it.  Sometimes the piano and orchestra echo a theme back and forth, creating an intricate tapestry of sound.  As a pianist himself, Brahms understood the capabilities of the instrument, and this piano concerto showcases stormy scherzos, tender solos, and playful accompaniments.

The Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat Minor by Johannes Brahms is a brilliant piece full of passion and grace.  For this piece alone, Brahms deserves the fame he has won as a composer.

Works Cited

“22 Inspiring Composer Quotes.”  ClassicFM.com.  4 Jan. 2016 <www.classicfm.com/discover/music/inspiring-composer-quotes/johannes-brahms/>.