Saturday, June 30, 2007

Der Erlkönig

Here's another of my favorite German poems. It is a widely known tale, the Erlkönig being a much-feared bogeyman under many a child's bed. Goethe wrote it in 1782 & Franz Shubert, always on the lookout for a good text, set it to music and still stands today as one of his most loved lieder.

It's a tale of great tension and horror: a blustery night, lots of wind: a father cradling his sick young son in his arms as he gallops through the night on his horse. While the father is concerned about the sick child, the sick child is more concerned with the apparition that beckons him along side the horse and the terrifying reality that his father isn't buying any of it.

The father, thinking the boy is delirious, doesn't give much weight to the boy's cries and, en fin, both meet with a bad end. Not exactly a "Date Poem".

Der Erlkönig
Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind;
Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm,
Er faßt ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.

Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht? -
Siehst Vater, du den Erlkönig nicht?
Den Erlenkönig mit Kron und Schweif? -
Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif.

-»Du liebes Kind, komm, geh mit mir!
Gar schöne Spiele spiel ich mit dir;
Manch bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand,
Meine Mutter hat manch gülden Gewand.«

Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht,
Was Erlenkönig mir leise verspricht? -
Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind;
In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind.

- »Willst, feiner Knabe, du mit mir gehn?
Meine Töchter sollen dich warten schön;
Meine Töchter führen den nächtlichen Reihn
Und wiegen und tanzen und singen dich ein.«

Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort
Erlkönigs Töchter am düstern Ort? -
Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh es genau:
Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau.

- »Ich liebe dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt;
Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Gewalt.«
Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt faßt er mich an!
Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan! -

Dem Vater grauset's, er reitet geschwind,
Er hält in den Armen das ächzende Kind,
Erreicht den Hof mit Mühe und Not;
In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

~Johann Wolfgang Goethe

The Erl-King

O who rides by night thro' the woodland so wild?
It is the fond father embracing his child;
And close the boy nestles within his loved arm,
To hold himself fast, and to keep himself warm.

"O father, see yonder! see yonder!" he says;
"My boy, upon what dost thou fearfully gaze?"
"O, 'tis the Erl-King with his crown and his shroud."
"No, my son, it is but a dark wreath of the cloud."

The Erl-King Speaks
"O come and go with me, thou loveliest child;
By many a gay sport shall thy time be beguiled;
My mother keeps for thee many a fair toy,
And many a fine flower shall she pluck for my boy."

"O father, my father, and did you not hear
The Erl-King whisper so low in my ear?"
"Be still, my heart's darling--my child, be at ease;
It was but the wild blast as it sung thro' the trees."

"O wilt thou go with me, thou loveliest boy?
My daughter shall tend thee with care and with joy;
She shall bear thee so lightly thro' wet and thro' wild,
And press thee, and kiss thee, and sing to my child."

"O father, my father, and saw you not plain
The Erl-King's pale daughter glide past thro' the rain?"
"Oh yes, my loved treasure, I knew it full soon;
It was the grey willow that danced to the moon."

"O come and go with me, no longer delay,
Or else, silly child, I will drag thee away."
"O father! O father! now, now, keep your hold,
The Erl-King has seized me--his grasp is so cold!"

Sore trembled the father; he spurr'd thro' the wild,
Clasping close to his bosom his shuddering child;
He reaches his dwelling in doubt and in dread,
But, clasp'd to his bosom, the infant was dead.

-- Transliterated by
Sir Walter Scott (1731 - 1832)

Here is the complete lieder sung by, I believe, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau - THE master of Shubert lieder. Click on Frankie's original manuscript below to hear the entire drama.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Saltwater Energy

So, here's this guy, retired, and in the course of trying to find a cure for Cancer, he stumbles upon this! A true, self-actualized being - a true magnet for Source Energy.

Many thanks to Jeff Solomon for sending this to me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Der Rattenfänger von Hameln

Today marks the 723rd anniversary of the Pied Piper of Hameln's not so legendary recourse against what can only be called: Dodgy Government.

Hameln, a small town due southwest of Hannover, Germany had a problem. Rats. What to do? What to do?

Along comes this guy dressed up in a getup that would draw attention even in West Hollywood. Pied, meaning many colored, was his couture and to top off the 'look', he played the flute. Never mind. He told the city fathers that he could lure any living thing to follow him and that included rats. Here's his rapsheet:

In 1284, the town of Hameln is suffering from a terrible plague of rats. The town council tries everything to get rid of them -- without success. At last, the Mayor promises 1000 florins to the one who can put an end to the plague.

A stranger dressed in bright red and yellow clothes shows up and says he can rid Hameln of the rats. At night, the stranger starts to play a soft tune on a flute, luring all the rats out of the houses and barns towards the river Weser, where they drown.

The Mayor refuses to pay the piper: "Playing a tune on a flute is not worth 1000 florins. Get out of Hameln!"

But the piper returns on a Sunday morning, when all the grown-ups are at church. Again he starts to play a tune on his flute. This time, all the children follow him, as he walks out of the gate to the mountains.

Suddenly, a cave opens in the mountain. The piper walks into the mountain, still followed by the children, and the cave closes again.

The children were never seen again in Hameln.

Now, the key here is 'seen again in Hameln'. The earliest reference to this event was written 150 years later in Latin. Later, in 1602, a verse was inscribed on a wall in the Rattenfängerhaus in Hameln:

Anno 1284 am dage Johannis et Pauli
war der 26. junii
Dorch einen piper mit allerlei farve bekledet
gewesen CXXX kinder verledet binnen Hamelen gebo[re]n
to calvarie bi den koppen verloren

(In the year of 1284, on John's and Paul's day
was the 26th of June
By a piper, dressed in all kinds of colours,
130 children born in Hamelin were deduced
and lost at the "calvarie" near the "koppen")

Some insist this never happened. Most believe that it did happen but maybe not in quite the way Der Bruders Grimm handed it down to us. William Manchester, the author, is convinced that this is a case of the worst form of Pederasty ever recorded; that the children were used in all sorts of unspeakable ways and the bodies chopped up and left to rot in the nearby forest.

Still others maintain that it is really a tale of immigration:

"Some speculate that the piper was hired by some sovereign to recruit settlers for new colonies in Eastern Europe (a popular version of the tale has the children walk through a tunnel all the way to Transsylvania; serious research accounts see evidence that the "children" went to Moravia -- the Eastern part of the modern Czech republic). Other theories believe in a "dance epidemic", the plague, a children's crusade or some battle etc."

In any case, something happened on the 26th of June, 1284 and it's been memorialized by some pretty lofty guys: Goethe, Robert Browning, the two Grimm dudes, the list goes on and on. Check out the Hameln, Germany webpage to see what events are scheduled for this summer.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Sunday Afternoon Diversion

A friend sent a video alert to me and I thought it might be nice on here, too. Amazing talent . . .

This will blow you away!

Verlorene Liebe von der Vergangenheit

From the 12th century comes one of my favorite verses, written by a nun to a cleric (!).

Who was she? Who was the cleric she was writing to? What happened to them? Did she make her confession to him? We'll never know as the verse is anonymous. The only vestiges of their love and existence are these scant 6 lines. I wonder what circumstances arose to put them into their clerical state. Were they lovers before entering the orders, and were they forced into an exile within the church, much like Lancelot and Guenevere? Or was it after they they took their vows that they met and fell desperately in Love?

Lost. They are lost in Time but for her words set down on paper/parchment and then discovered, centuries later by someone of whom they could hardly have dreamt.

Its simplicity is charming and the sentiment sweet. (The translation is mine from the original

Dû bist mîn, ich bin dîn:
Des solt dû gewis sîn.

Dû bist beslozzen

In mînem herzen:

Verlorn ist daz slüzzelîn:

Dû muost immer drinne sîn.

(Thou art mine, I am thine.
This thou should'st know.

Thou art locked

In my heart:

Lost is the little key:

Thou must always therein be.)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Log Cabin Knittin'

Upon reading about a knitted curtain recipe found in Mason Dixon Knitting, I placed a hold on the title at the library so I could take a gander at it. Sadly, it was for a small window and the authors didn’t recommend using it for large areas. T’was ok since I didn’t care much for the pattern – it was supposed to resemble champagne bubbles (!) and I guess it did . . .

BUT: what really caught my eye were the Log Cabin patterns. I wasn’t familiar with this method so, naturally, fell into the pond headfirst. I’m just finishing up my first (sacrificial) project – a kitchen towel which will NOT win a beauty pageant. But, I chose colors that would kinda go with the kitchen and give enough contrast between the blocks so that I could see and understand the construction easily. Well, it’s important at my age.

The picture shown here is not my work but a picture I found online (“Knitty Knitty Bang Bang” is the blog and a gal named Molly worked it up); it shows clearly how the thing is composed. How cute is *that* blog name, BTW?

If you don’t know about Log Cabin here’s the skinny:

It’s REALLY REALLY mindless knitting – super easy, no counting, no worries about putting it down and wondering where you left off, no trips to the (dreaded) Frog Pond, no life-lines . . . just pure knitting. A nice break from that 34 line lace pattern you’ve been slogging through. Here’s how it works: You start with a center shape, say a square or rectangle, and the fabric ‘grows’ from that center shape out by picking up the stitches on the left side of that shape. (Viz: Look at the photo. First shape is the red square. : Red goes to orange to pink to blue to purple to light pink to yellow to green to navy, etc., round and round, always to the left ending with the top strip of lighter green.)

You garter-stitch a square or rectangle. You’ll have to make up your mind how many ‘ridges’ tall these strips will be. (I chose 6 ridges, counting them on the right side!) Decide which side will be the Right side. When you determine that your first block is the right size for the center of your piece, cast-off on the right side. You’ll end up with one stitch left on your right needle. Turn the piece 90 degrees so that you now have what was the left hand side of the shape on top. Either stay with your first color or tie on a new color for your next strip. I tied on then cut the old color off. Take your left needle and pick up the ridge stitch closest to that remaining stitch. Now, knit it. Continue picking up the rest of the ridge stitches until you get to the last one; in my case I had 6 ridges so I had 7 sts. on that first picked up edge. Turn work and knit back across until you’ve got 6 ridges on the new right side. Bind off, turn work 90 degrees, select new color or use the old one again, pick up the side (actually this is your cast on stitches side so if you cast on 20 sts., you’ll be picking up those 20 sts. BUT IT DOESN”T MATTER A WHIT if you don’t get all 20 or get more than 20. This is mindless knitting: just plough forth!) Continue knitting until you get those 6 ridges again. Bind off on the right side, turn 90 degrees, pick up the edge 6 ridges and you’re off.

Start off with a (gasp) SAMPLE to get the hang of it. My sample was my ugly towel. The book shows patterns and pictures for some beautiful blankets and throws. You can even use this technique for odd-shaped parallelograms, or any other shape you create. One of the other patterns that they show is a wonderful bathroom bathmat which will be worked up for the master bath shower room. It’s done with 3 strands of Wally World 1 pound cone cotton. I’ve got two cones in cream and one in snow white. Worked on size 15 needles, it will take, I’m guessing, 45 minutes and change. (=^D)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reward of Song

Some years ago during National Poetry Month (April), I stumbled upon a book of old poems that contained some wonderful, but mostly forgotten, poems. One in particular jumped out at me and said: "Read me!".

To one who loves to write, this poem's message of our future value to those not yet born through what we pen today is quite moving and inspiring.


Alfred Noyes

Why do we make our music?

Oh, blind dark strings reply:

Because we dwell in a strange land

And remember a lost sky.

We ask no leaf of the laurel,

We know what fame is worth;

But our songs break out of our winter

As the flowers break out on the earth.

And we dream of the unknown comrade,

In the days when we lie dead,

Who shall open our book in the sunlight,

And read, as ourselves have read,

On a lonely hill, by a firwood,

With whispering seas below,

And murmur a song we made him

Ages and ages ago.

If making his may-time sweeter

With dews of our own dead may,

One pulse of our own dead heart-strings

Awake in his heart that day,

We would pray for no richer guerdon,

No praise from the careless throng;

For song is the cry of a lover

In quest of an answering song.

As a child might run to his elders

With news of an opening flower

We should walk with our young companion

And talk to his heart for an hour,

As once by my own green firwood,

And once by a Western sea,

Thank God, my own good comrades

Have walked and talked with me.

Too mighty to make men sorrow,

Too weak to heal their pain

(Though they that remember the hawthorn

May find their heaven again),

We are moved by a deeper hunger;

We are bound by a stronger cord;

For love is the heart of our music,

And love is its one reward.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

And THIS Just In . . .

Squirrel goes on rampage, injures 3

Thur Jun 14, 2007 11:00AM EDT

BERLIN (Reuters) - An aggressive squirrel attacked and injured three people in a German town before a 72-year-old pensioner dispatched the rampaging animal with his crutch.

The squirrel first ran into a house in the southern town of Passau, leapt from behind on a 70-year-old woman, and sank its teeth into her hand, a local police spokesman said Thursday.

With the squirrel still hanging from her hand, the woman ran onto the street in panic, where she managed to shake it off.

The animal then entered a building site and jumped on a construction worker, injuring him on the hand and arm, before he managed to fight it off with a measuring pole.

"After that, the squirrel went into the 72-year-old man's garden and massively attacked him on the arms, hand and thigh," the spokesman said. "Then he killed it with his crutch."

The spokesman said experts thought the attack may have been linked to the mating season or because the squirrel was ill.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I read the following today on a blog that I subscribe to. It's a blog that provides daily messages of thoughtful purpose and inspiration. But, today's left me muddled. Here's an extract:

We sometimes look outside ourselves for what’s wrong with the world, but the outside world is really just a mirror reflecting us back to ourselves. When we encounter negativity—anger, depression, fear—we empower ourselves by looking for its roots inside of ourselves. For example, if you have a friend who is unreliable, observe yourself and notice if there are ways in which you are unreliable. You may be surprised to discover that you have your own struggles with this issue in ways you weren’t able to see. Once you own the issue for yourself, you can begin to work for change within yourself. This will also enable you to have more compassion for your friend. At the very least, as you strive to become more reliable, you will become more of the person you want to be. In the best-case scenario, you will be an inspiration to others."

I find this line of thought unfortunate and surprising. Searching for and bringing up again one's past failings only sets in motion the attraction of more of those failings. When remembering past greed or intolerance that we may have had, we also experience the emotions that went with those acts. All emotions, in conjunction with
the thought of the acts that produced that emotion, will, through the Law of Attraction, cause the Universe to fulfill our desire to relive that emotion with a brand new experience, be it good or bad. At this very moment each of us is perfect Source Energy. What has happened before certainly contributes to where we are now but we have a choice to either dwell on the Joy, the Beauty and the Miraculous of our past and be grateful for those things and attract more of the same into our lives, or to drag up the useless baggage of our past failings and attract that back into our lives. Such emotions need to be released back into the Universe and be allowed to leave us for they offer no good end. Each of us has the power to control only our own lives and nothing we think or feel will matter in the least toward changing another person's behavior. By willfully creating Joy and Beauty and personal Happiness for ourselves, we inspire others to create their own Happiness & Perfection for themselves.