Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Reading “The Daffodils” by William Wordsworth

     I read this poem when I was eleven years old, and was so impressed that I memorized it.
     It still haunts me, so I want to share it with you. However, it must be enunciated and embellished with the correct flourishes to come out right. Further it should be recited to an audience (of at least one) as I did at the Broad River Elementary School in those dear bygone days.
I wandered lonely (Here one looks melancholy for a moment)
as a cloud (Eyes briefly look upward as if avoiding bird droppings)
That floats on high o'er (I know you want to include the V but forget it)
vales and hills, (No, not veils, this is not a damn funeral)
When all at once (Smile wanly — that means sort of melancholy but wistful with just the hint of a tear)
 I saw a crowd, (Here the elbows are held to each side warding off the mob)
A host, of golden (These days that is more likely to be TiN, a combination of titanium and nitrogen, a form of refractory plasmonic ceramics which is much less expensive and lasts longer)
daffodils; (Break into a brief grin)
Beside the lake, beneath the trees, (place arms over head)
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. (Here one skips a bit and wobbles side to side)

Continuous as the stars that shine (Blink the eyes repeatedly)
And twinkle on the milky way, (Make squeezing motions like pulling udders)
They stretched in never-ending line (Draw a circle with your finger)
Along the margin of a bay: (Draw a box with your finger indicating edges)
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, (hold out both hands, fingers wide)
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. (You know what to do here energetically)

The waves beside them danced; (Twirl twice once left once right) but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: (Broad smile showing teeth)
A poet could not but be gay, (Skip again)
In such a jocund company: (Hop vigorously on one foot)
I gazed—and gazed—(Hold hands over eyes peering left and right)
but little thought (Open mouth wide and slack)
What wealth the show to me had brought: (Lick fingers and count a few “bills”)

For oft, when on my couch I lie (Fold hands to side of face and close eyes)
In vacant or in pensive mood, (Pinch up brow, putting finger to forehead) 
They flash upon that inward eye (Close one eye then the next)
Which is the bliss of solitude; (One more wistful smile)
And then my heart with pleasure fills (Make heart shape with fingers)
And dances with the daffodils. (Dance off stage to applause)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Waxing moon

Waxing moon slides silent across the navy-blue sky
Swallowing, digesting, spewing star debris
What does it wonder as it wanders ever west?
Does it notice us noticing it, or even care?
It may not be as lifeless as many believe
The Earth was its mother so very long ago

I hope it does not wish to visit home soon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Nancy Fulton's letter to the Morning Sun.

I have lived all of my adult life in Mt. Pleasant, most of those years in a Midwest “half-house” built in 1896 by John Kenney, an early developer of the South Neighborhood. Oliver and Emmeline Troutman bought the house in 1918. For some it is still “the Troutman house,” though my husband and I have lived in it longer than any other owners. When I first came to Mt. Pleasant in 1969, I enjoyed walking around this neighborhood, usually in the evening, when I could catch glimpses of the interiors of the houses that lined Washington, Main, and University. At that time many families still lived in these houses, but a shift was underway as the fast-growing university loosened its requirements that students live in dormitories. The old houses near campus became prime targets for developers who carved them up into apartments, hoping to benefit from the increasing demand for off-campus housing.

By the middle of the 1970s my husband and I found ourselves in a perpetual battle with city planning bodies, especially Zoning Board of Appeals, who somehow saw it as their duty to cater to developers. The variances and special use permits they approved led to increased density in the neighborhood, which in turn led to parking lots instead of back yards, front yards littered with trash and discarded furniture, and noisy parties. The neighborhood that had once been a logical choice for a new professor who wanted to be within walking distance of campus—my husband, for example, in 1968—lost nearly all of its appeal.

Some of us have stayed, of course, because we love our houses and streets lined with mature trees. We like being a ten-minute walk from campus, the public library, the downtown stores, Island and Millpond Parks. We’ve had good experiences with most of the university students who have lived on our block, and so we believe it is possible for households of all ages to live together peaceably in this neighborhood. Indeed, a neighborhood is healthiest when men, women, and children of every age and profession live in it. Those who reside here for a few seasons before moving on to their professional lives infuse the neighborhood with energy. And those of us who remain here year after year can be models for them of responsible civic behavior: for enjoying our music without inflicting it on our neighbors; for keeping our yards clean; for driving with care; for greeting one another with a smile or a wave, as neighborliness demands.

In the 1980s the city revised the zoning for this neighborhood, hoping to clean up the mess made by variances and loopholes. But now we seem to be losing the city’s support for preserving the integrity of this neighborhood. The planning bodies have agreed to higher density in exchange for new housing that mimics the style of the older residences. This makes no sense to me when the university is projecting a decline in enrollments in the coming decades, and numerous apartment complexes—only 60% occupied, I have been told —have risen up outside the city limits.
If Mt. Pleasant succumbs once again to permitting greater density, I can imagine the neighborhood south of High Street and north of the campus becoming a dormitory without a housemother. It will be more difficult for both year-round residents and students alike to resist a “them” and “us” mentality. We will lose more of the historic homes that remind us where we have come from, and we will lose the opportunity to enhance the education of the students who live among us.     

                                                                                        Nancy Casey Fulton

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy 12th Night!

Today, the 12th night of Christmas, your true love delivered the last load of gifts. And such gifts!

You now have a total of 364 presents, including 12 partridges and pear trees, 22 turtledoves, 30 French hens, 36 collie birds, 40 gold rings worth about $48,000, 42 geese a-laying having laid 168 eggs so far, 42 swans a-swimming, 40 maids a-milking whose cows have produced 720 gallons of milk to date, 36 pipers piping up a storm, 30 drummers drumming, 22 lords a-leaping and 12 ladies dancing.

You have added 140 people to your household staff.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Sketch of the Circus

The circus is a mystery thing. A field becomes a city of gently swaying canvas envelopes. Why they visit us is a secret they will not tell, if they know. But go quickly into the magic darkness unafraid. Wish the unwishable, believe the unbelievable. Memorize the sights, the sounds, the smells—by dawn, the wispy city becomes a field again.

There were colorful posters and billboards on every flat surface available, advertising the Circus Mystique.


The black-and-white outlines were filled with red, yellow, and blue, showing each beast in highly unlikely poses—a joganot on a tightrope? A joganot was a large herbivore that ate its weight in vegetation each day. Many homes had a pet joganot instead of a kitchen disposal unit. They also pulled wagons if wearing a feed bag. The purple gross was a bird to be avoided because it had never been potty trained, and the long-billed snooze slept during the day and caught insects at night. Its wings beat so quickly that it could be heard as a whoosh above in the black sky.

This performance will include the following:

1. The Grand Entrance Parade. The Circus Mystique is proud to welcome each and every one of you.

2. Danger in the Cat Cage. In the center ring, within a cage of steel, these wild beasts perform amazing tricks such as jumping through a hoop of flame!

3. The Riding Gelatos. In ring number one, Papa Gelato oversees seven of the finest jackalopes doing superb dances, while in ring number three, Eve Gelato supervises her children riding bareback, doing flips and whirls on their jackalopes.

4. The Flying Maidens. High above you, our aerial chorus line dances and cavorts for your pleasure while dangling from ropes high above the arena.

5. Here Come the Clowns. Mayhem in the arena as our masters of fun amuse one and all.

6. Bring on the Dogs. In all three rings, watch and be amazed by their seriously silly antics.

7. The Elephant Shrews. In the center ring, these amazingly graceful animals will astound you with their dancing and high jinks!

8. The Wire of Death. In the stratosphere above the center ring, the Abasheds Quintet will defy the danger of the high wire for your approval.

9. Six Performing Joganots. These gentle giants, having astonishing dexterity, perform in the center ring.

10. Great Jumping Gerbils. In all three rings, watch these graceful beauties leap or climb through a variety of hoops,runs, and ladders.

Following the Intermission:

1. Clown Alley. Here they are again with more hilarious misadventures.

2. The Big Bang. Shot from a cannon in ring number one, watch Tony Toledo land in the net in ring number three! Do not try this at home!

3. The Supremes. This is the finest trapeze act of all time, right above your heads!

4. Rodeo. Throughout the arena, watch these trick riders try to outperform each other.

5. Ballet in the Sky. A lavish production of aerialists who defy the laws of gravity, accompanied by the world’s only performing goldfinches.

6. Menagerie Madness. You saw them in cages and dens, now see the unbelievable dexterity they have racing and prancing in all three rings. Cats! Dogs! Gerbils! Rabbits!

7. Ring Toss. In all three rings, we present the most famous jugglers of our day.

8. Scramble. Clowns, jugglers, rope skippers, chipmunks, and rabbits everywhere!

9. Mystique. The moment you’ve been waiting for. The one, the only Professor Mystique will perform magical spells and pose questions without answers in the center ring.

10. The Circus on Parade. In a fond farewell to you all, the entire cast and our beloved animals circle the arena.
Extracts from Lands of Inchoate Trilogy, 3rd Edition, by Edward J. Fisher, Xlibris 2014.
Barnes & Noble,,,, The Bookshelf, Mt. Pleasant, Mi.