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About Heather

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  1. The ending was terrible! Presumably it was based on the book. The flashbacks to the children's disappearance became more extended and it looked as though the teenagers must have been involved, but in the end we were told they weren't. There was no answer given at all - just hints at two possibilities, one supernatural and one ludicrously unlikely (there are animals living in the forest, but they have only ever interacted with humans once). If three children went into a forest and only one was found, what would the police do? They'd bring in tracker dogs, that's what. I agree about the mixture of two stories - that didn't work at all.
  2. This is a sacred city, built of marvellous earth. Life was lived nobly there to give such Beauty birth. Beauty was in this brain and in this eager hand. Death is so blind and dumb, death does not understand. Death drifts the brain with dust and soils the young limbs' glory. Death makes justice a dream and strength a traveller's story. Death drives the lovely soul to wander under the sky. Death opens unknown doors. It is most grand to die. John Masefield - 'By a Bier-side'
  3. My father, he was a mountaineer, His fist was a knotty hammer; He was quick on his feet as a running deer, And he spoke with a Yankee stammer. My mother, she was merry and brave, And so she came to her labor, With a tall green fir for her doctor grave And a stream for her comforting neighbor. And some are wrapped in the linen fine, And some like a godling's scion; But I was cradled on twigs of pine And the skin of a mountain lion. And some remember a white, starched lap And a ewer with silver handles; But I remember a coonskin cap And the smell of bayberry candles. The cabin logs, with the bark still rough, And my mother who laughed at trifles, And the tall, lank visitors, brown as snuff, With their long, straight squirrel-rifles. I can hear them dance, like a foggy song, Through the deepest one of my slumbers, The fiddle squeaking the boots along And my father calling the numbers. The quick feet shaking the puncheon-floor, And the fiddle squealing and squealing, Till the dried herbs rattled above the door And the dust went up to the ceiling. There are children lucky from dawn till dusk, But never a child so lucky! For I cut my teeth on "Money Musk" In the Bloody Ground of Kentucky! When I grew tall as the Indian corn, My father had little to lend me, But he gave me his great, old powder-horn And his woodsman's skill to befriend me. With a leather shirt to cover my back, And a redskin nose to unravel Each forest sign, I carried my pack As far as a scout could travel. Till I lost my boyhood and found my wife, A girl like a Salem clipper! A woman straight as a hunting-knife With as eyes as bright as the Dipper! We cleared our camp where the buffalo feed, Unheard-of streams were our flagons; And I sowed my sons like the apple-seed On the trail of the Western wagons. They were right, tight boys, never sulky or slow, A fruitful, a goodly muster. The eldest died at the Alamo. The youngest fell with Custer. The letter that told it burned my hand. Yet we smiled and said, "So be it!" But I could not live when they fenced the land, For it broke my heart to see it. I saddled a red, unbroken colt And rode him into the day there; And he threw me down like a thunderbolt And rolled on me as I lay there. The hunter's whistle hummed in my ear As the city-men tried to move me, And I died in my boots like a pioneer With the whole wide sky above me. Now I lie in the heart of the fat, black soil, Like the seed of a prairie-thistle; It has washed my bones with honey and oil And picked them clean as a whistle. And my youth returns, like the rains of Spring, And my sons, like the wild-geese flying; And I lie and hear the meadow-lark sing And have much content in my dying. Go play with the towns you have built of blocks, The towns where you would have bound me! I sleep in my earth like a tired fox, And my buffalo have found me. Stephen Vincent Benét - 'The Ballad of William Sycamore (1790-1871)'
  4. maggie and milly and molly and may went down to the beach (to play one day) and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles, and milly befriended a stranded star whose rays five languid fingers were; and molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and may came home with a smooth round stone as small as a world and as large as alone. For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it's always ourselves we find in the sea e.e.cummings - 'maggie and milly and molly and may'
  5. To see a world in a grain of sand And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour. A robin redbreast in a cage Puts all heaven in a rage. A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons Shudders hell through all its regions. A dog starved at his master's gate Predicts the ruin of the state. A horse misused upon the road Calls to heaven for human blood. Each outcry of the hunted hare A fibre from the brain does tear. A skylark wounded in the wing, A cherubim does cease to sing. The game-cock clipped and armed for fight Does the rising sun affright. Every wolf's and lion's howl Raises from hell a human soul. The wild deer wandering here and there Keeps the human soul from care. The lamb misused breeds public strife, And yet forgives the butcher's knife. The bat that flits at close of eve Has left the brain that won't believe. The owl that calls upon the night Speaks the unbeliever's fright. He who shall hurt the little wren Shall never be beloved by men. He who the ox to wrath has moved Shall never be by woman loved. The wanton boy that kills the fly Shall feel the spider's enmity. He who torments the chafer's sprite Weaves a bower in endless night. The caterpillar on the leaf Repeats to thee thy mother's grief. Kill not the moth nor butterfly, For the Last Judgment draweth nigh. He who shall train the horse to war Shall never pass the polar bar. The beggar's dog and widow's cat, Feed them, and thou wilt grow fat. William Blake - from 'Augeries of Innocence'
  6. We're foot—slog—slog—slog—sloggin’ over Africa! Foot—foot—foot—foot—sloggin’ over Africa— (Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again!) There’s no discharge in the war! Seven—six—eleven—five—nine-an’-twenty mile to-day— Four—eleven—seventeen—thirty-two the day before— (Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again!) There’s no discharge in the war! Don’t—don’t—don’t—don’t—look at what’s in front of you. (Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again!) Men—men—men—men—men go mad with watchin’ ’em, And there’s no discharge in the war! Try—try—try—try—to think o’ something different— Oh—my—God—keep—me from goin’ lunatic! (Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again!) There’s no discharge in the war! Count—count—count—count—the bullets in the bandoliers. If—your—eyes—drop—they will get atop o’ you (Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again!) There’s no discharge in the war! We—can—stick—out—’unger, thirst, an’ weariness, But—not—not—not—not the chronic sight of ’em— Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again! An’ there’s no discharge in the war! ’Tain’t—so—bad—by—day because o’ company, But—night—brings—long—strings—o’ forty thousand million Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again. There’s no discharge in the war! I—’ave—marched—six—weeks in ’Ell an’ certify It—is—not—fire—devils—dark or anything, But boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up an’ down again, An’ there’s no discharge in the war! Rudyard Kipling - 'Boots'
  7. Does the road wind up-hill all the way? Yes, to the very end. Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? From morn to night, my friend. But is there for the night a resting-place? A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. May not the darkness hide it from my face? You cannot miss that inn. Shall I meet other wayfarers at night? Those who have gone before. Then must I knock, or call when just in sight? They will not keep you standing at that door. Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? Of labour you shall find the sum. Will there be beds for me and all who seek? Yea, beds for all who come. Christina Rosetti - 'Up-hill'
  8. The maidens came When I was in my mother's bower; I had all that I would. The bailey beareth the bell away; The lily, the rose, the rose I lay. The silver is white, red is the gold; The robes they lay in fold. The bailey beareth the bell away; The lily, the rose, the rose I lay. And through the glass window shines the sun. How could I love and I so young? The bailey beareth the bell away; The lily, the rose, the rose I lay. Anonymous
  9. Sherwood in the twilight, is Robin Hood awake? Grey and ghostly shadows are gliding through the brake; Shadows of the dappled deer, dreaming of the morn, Dreaming of a shadowy man that winds a shadowy horn. Robin Hood is here again: all his merry thieves Hear a ghostly bugle-note shivering through the leaves, Calling as he used to call, faint and far away, In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day. Merry, merry England has kissed the lips of June: All the wings of fairyland were here beneath the moon; Like a flight of rose-leaves fluttering in a mist Of opal and ruby and pearl and amethyst. Merry, merry England is waking as of old, With eyes of blither hazel and hair of brighter gold: For Robin Hood is here again beneath the bursting spray In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day. Love is in the greenwood building him a house Of wild rose and hawthorn and honeysuckle boughs; Love it in the greenwood: dawn is in the skies; And Marian is waiting with a glory in her eyes. Hark! The dazzled laverock climbs the golden steep: Marian is waiting: is Robin Hood asleep? Round the fairy grass-rings frolic elf and fay, In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day. Oberon, Oberon, rake away the gold, Rake away the red leaves, roll away the mould, Rake away the gold leaves, roll away the red, And wake Will Scarlett from his leafy forest bed. Friar Tuck and Little John are riding down together With quarter-staff and drinking-can and grey goose-feather; The dead are coming back again; the years are rolled away In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day. Softly over Sherwood the south wind blows; All the heart of England hid in every rose Hears across the greenwood the sunny whisper leap, Sherwood in the red dawn, is Robin Hood asleep? Hark, the voice of England wakes him as of old And, shattering the silence with a cry of brighter gold, Bugles in the greenwood echo from the steep, Sherwood in the red dawn, is Robin Hood asleep? Where the deer are gliding down the shadowy glen All across the glades of fern he calls his merry men; Doublets of the Lincoln green glancing through the May, In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day; Calls them and they answer: from aisles of oak and ash Rings the Follow! Follow! and the boughs begin to crash; The ferns begin to flutter and the flowers begin to fly; And through the crimson dawning the robber band goes by. Robin! Robin! Robin! All his merry thieves Answer as the bugle-note shivers through the leaves: Calling as he used to call, faint and far away, In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day. Alfred Noyes - 'Sherwood'
  10. With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies! How silently, and with how wan a face! What, may it be that even in heav'nly place That busy archer his sharp arrows tries! Sure, if that long-with love-acquainted eyes Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case, I read it in thy looks; thy languish'd grace To me, that feel the like, thy state descries. Then, ev'n of fellowship, O Moon, tell me, Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit? Are beauties there as proud as here they be? Do they above love to be lov'd, and yet Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess? Do they call virtue there ungratefulness? Sir Philip Sidney - from 'Astrophil and Stella'
  11. When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, lest he returning chide; “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?” I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and wait.” John Milton - 'Sonnet 19'
  12. Obviously reading every word has never got in the way of your enjoyment as a reader! However, the ability to skip if you're getting bogged down is a key skill for children to learn. Instead of abandoning a book if it's heavy going, they can skip ahead to try to find a more enjoyable bit. I'm sure failing to learn this is one of the reasons why so many educated, intelligent adults never read books. The article seems to say that speed reading doesn't work in the way it's supposed to because you don't retain the information, even if you have genuinely read every word. What we need is a comment from a person who has learned this kind of speed reading and can say whether it works. However, I suspect that a forum for people who love books isn't the most likely place to find one.
  13. I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone to do a course on speed reading! However, I'm not sure that all books deserve slow reading. Being able to skim read (or just skip) is a huge advantage when you're reading a book which you enjoy, but which has boring bits, or sections which are candidates for Private Eye's Bad Sex Award. It's also useful when the book is interesting but badly written. I find it essential when I'm reading a book which I'm not really enjoying, but want to finish so that I can discuss it in my book group. Cassandra Jardine, who used to write for the Telegraph, once mentioned in an article that she could only do 'mental reading', saying each word to herself as she read. I knew that she read English at Cambridge, which involves reading a gigantic amount, and wondered how on earth she managed it. Of course, slow reading is essential if you're really trying to understand what a book is saying (mainly non-fiction). The other thing I do is re-reading. If I enjoy a book I want to read it again and again, sometimes going straight to my favourite bits. Most people in my book group say they hardly ever do this. I suspect it's because I read very quickly, so I have time to read both old books and new books. I am certainly sceptical of the claim that slow readers (may) read more. Obviously if you schedule lots of reading time, rather than only reqading for 15 minutes during your commute, you'll read more! However, for the same amount of time, fast readers are bound to read more. What about you?
  14. The schoolboys still their morning ramble take To neighboring village school with playing speed, Loitering with passtime's leisure till they quake, Oft looking up the wild-geese droves to heed, Watching the letters which their journeys make; Or plucking haws on which their fieldfares feed, And hips and sloes; and on each shallow lake Making glib slides, where they like shadows go Till some fresh passtimes in their minds awake. Then off they start anew and hasty blow Their numbed and clumpsing fingers till they glow; Then races with their shadows wildly run That stride huge giants o'er the shining snow In the pale splendour of the winter sun. John Clare - 'Schoolboys in winter'
  15. Gently dip, but not too deep; For fear you make the golden beard to weep. Fair maiden white and red, Comb me smooth, and stroke my head: And thou shalt have some cockle bread. Gently dip, but not too deep, For fear thou make the golden beard to weep. Fair maiden white and red, Comb me smooth, and stroke my head; And every hair, a sheaf shall be, And every sheaf a golden tree. George Peele - 'Gently dip, but not too deep'
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