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21st November – On This Day In History

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Born:

1694 Voltaire (philosopher & writer)

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Died:

2017 David Cassidy (singer & actor)

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On This Day:

1789 North Carolina ratifies The Constitution and officially becomes the 12th State of the USA

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Have a good Wednesday, 21st November

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Bored

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All those times I was bored
out of my mind. Holding the log
while he sawed it. Holding
the string while he measured, boards,
distances between things, or pounded
stakes into the ground for rows and rows
of lettuces and beets, which I then (bored)
weeded. Or sat in the back
of the car, or sat still in boats,
sat, sat, while at the prow, stern, wheel
he drove, steered, paddled. It
wasn’t even boredom, it was looking,
looking hard and up close at the small
details. Myopia. The worn gunwales,
the intricate twill of the seat
cover. The acid crumbs of loam, the granular
pink rock, its igneous veins, the sea-fans
of dry moss, the blackish and then the graying
bristles on the back of his neck.
Sometimes he would whistle, sometimes
I would. The boring rhythm of doing
things over and over, carrying
the wood, drying
the dishes. Such minutiae. It’s what
the animals spend most of their time at,
ferrying the sand, grain by grain, from their tunnels,
shuffling the leaves in their burrows. He pointed
such things out, and I would look
at the whorled texture of his square finger, earth under
the nail. Why do I remember it as sunnier
all the time then, although it more often
rained, and more birdsong?
I could hardly wait to get
the hell out of there to
anywhere else. Perhaps though
boredom is happier. It is for dogs or
groundhogs. Now I wouldn’t be bored.
Now I would know too much.
Now I would know.

 

– Margaret Atwood

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19th November – On This Day In History

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Born:

1962 Jodie Foster (actress – Silence Of The Lambs)

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Died:

1828 Franz Schubert (composer)

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On This Day:

1863 Abraham Lincoln delivers The Gettysburg Address

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Have a good Monday, 19th November

The Shadow Voice

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My shadow said to me:
what is the matter

Isn’t the moon warm
enough for you
why do you need
the blanket of another body

Whose kiss is moss

Around the picnic tables
The bright pink hands held sandwiches
crumbled by distance. Flies crawl
over the sweet instant

You know what is in these blankets

The trees outside are bending with
children shooting guns. Leave
them alone. They are playing
games of their own.

I give water, I give clean crusts

Aren’t there enough words
flowing in your veins
to keep you going.

 

– Margaret Atwood

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18th November – On This Day In History

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Born:

1939 Margaret Atwood (poet)

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Died:

2015 Jonah Lomu (famous rugby player, youngest ever All Black)

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On This Day:

1918 Latvia declares independence (from Russia)

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Have a good Sunday, 18th November

In The Secular Night

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In the secular night you wander around
alone in your house. It’s two-thirty.
Everyone has deserted you,
or this is your story;
you remember it from being sixteen,
when the others were out somewhere, having a good time,
or so you suspected,
and you had to baby-sit.
You took a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream
and filled up the glass with grapejuice
and ginger ale, and put on Glenn Miller
with his big-band sound,
and lit a cigarette and blew the smoke up the chimney,
and cried for a while because you were not dancing,
and then danced, by yourself, your mouth circled with purple.

Now, forty years later, things have changed,
and it’s baby lima beans.
It’s necessary to reserve a secret vice.
This is what comes from forgetting to eat
at the stated mealtimes. You simmer them carefully,
drain, add cream and pepper,
and amble up and down the stairs,
scooping them up with your fingers right out of the bowl,
talking to yourself out loud.
You’d be surprised if you got an answer,
but that part will come later.

There is so much silence between the words,
you say. You say, The sensed absence
of God and the sensed presence
amount to much the same thing,
only in reverse.
You say, I have too much white clothing.
You start to hum.
Several hundred years ago
this could have been mysticism
or heresy. It isn’t now.
Outside there are sirens.
Someone’s been run over.
The century grinds on.

 

– Margaret Atwood

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17th November – On This Day In History

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Born:

1942 Martin Scorsese (director – Goodfellas)

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Died:

1917 Auguste Rodin (sculptor – The Thinker)

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On This Day:

2014 Church of England allows the appointment of female bishops

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Have a good Saturday, 17th November