Tuesday, February 24, 2009

anglo-saxon history

Mr. Schlect read a selection from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle this morning. The year is 938 AD, the moment the battle of Brananburh under king Ethelstan which pushed the vikings northward after their invasion, the words strong and well-placed.

"The sons of Edward their board-walls clove, and hewed their banners, with the wrecks of their hammers. So were they taught by kindred zeal, that they at camp oft'gainst any robber their land should defend, their hoards and homes. Pursuing fell the Scottish clans; the men of the fleet in numbers fell; 'midst the din of the field the warrior swate. Since the sun was up in morning-tide, gigantic light! glad over grounds, God's candle bright, eternal Lord! 'till the noble creature sat in the western main: there lay many of the Northern heroes under a shower of arrows, shot over shields; and Scotland's boast, a Scythian race, the mighty seed of Mars!With chosen troops, throughout the day, the West-Saxons fierce press'd on the loathed bands; hew'd down the fugitives, and scatter'd the rear, with strong mill-sharpen'd blades, The Mercians too the hard hand-play spared not to anyof those that with Anlaf over the briny deep in the ship's bosom sought this land for the hardy fight. Five kings lay on the field of battle, in bloom of youth, pierced with swords."

Would I could post the entire entry. More phrases like The king of the fleetwith his slender craftescaped with his lifeon the felon flood and The northmen sail'd in their nailed ships, a dreary remnant, on the roaring sea; over deep water Dublin they sought, and Ireland's shores, in great disgrace. The hearty, hammering words full of life and thrust (bringing to mind Hopkins' poetry), and names like Eric Bloodaxe, Ethelwulf, Bagsac, and Swein Forkbeard, make me hungry for more history of these people.

(See http://www.britannia.com/history/docs/asintro2.html for the work I quoted from.)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

poem written in Mr. Jones' class

August 5, 2006

I come dripping up from the lake
into air heavy and sweet
with propane fumes and smoke
and settling twilight.

With an old blue towel
rough around my shoulders
I take the long-handled fork
you offer me,

serve the thick black steaks,
cris-crossed with imperfect diamonds
and sprinkled with salt and herbs,
and sit beside you.

Our plates are smeared with charcoal and fat
and a little blood from center of the beef
as we saw with plastic knives
that will break so easily.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

morning monastics pt 2

Remember the monastic routine we're doing for our history class?
I usually remember it.
I did forget one day until after 10 am, and another day I messed up and copied down the wrong Bible verse... in pen of course. Nastiness. I've got to get better about this. It's going to be pure humiliation to hand in my finished copy if I make any more mistakes.
Mr. Schlect encouraged us to do this in groups. I never have. I think it's probably a good idea, but most days of the week I stay here until about 11... and I have made a habit of doing the reciting, reading and writing the same time & place every day (after breakfast in the study). Yes, that is one suggestion I have taken.
Another suggestion was adding one small bit. I poked a little 5-or-8-minute Latin Bible reading into it. Usually I only read a few verses, but I flatter myself I may keep the language partially green and alive in doing so.