Marvel Shmarvel – the real Super Heroes are the Volunteer Readers for #TeamLibriVox

And the Super Hero In Chief at LibriVox is the…

Amazing…
Spectacular…
Sublime…
One And Only…
Able To Read the Densest Tomes Without Once Tying The Tongue…

Mr. Bob Neufeld

Seriously folks, if you love classic literature and love to listen to classic voice actors, you need to check out Bob Neufeld’s grand body of work.

Seriously folks, I’ve been a fan of Neufeld’s ever since I found him at the beginning of my First Commitment to Emerson (yes, that’s still a thing – stay tuned).

Seriously folks, I just finished Neufeld’s reading of a Heart of Darkness and I’ve never experienced the book so deeply and movingly. More to follow on this reading.

Seriously folks, go to his page, load up your Kindle with all books Neufeld has narrated, and spend your summer, like intend to, listening to the greatest literature being read by one great voice actor.

And you can do it all for free.

You’re welcome, folks.

Seriously…

 
 

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A Poetic Response to our Occult Relationship with the Vegetable as found in “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown. Its effect is like that of a higher thought or a better emotion coming over me, when I deemed I was thinking justly or doing right.

Give me the Forest

give me the forest
the whispers
the wind

where only the keening call of the morrow
dare break the sacred calm of the sylvan now

the ritual of the soaring hum

give me the forest
the neglected
the free

where there are no rules
but the rooting scrawls of the cloven beast
unearthing pagan creeds
blasphemous guides to the dark
to the place where all the fears are found

all the magic

give me the forest
the sanctified
the holy

where the haunted howls of midnight
call to worship
to prayer
all the pious and profane

all the naked unbelievers who mock the baptismal of the moon

give me the forest
the ancient
the eternal

where the tattered persona is stripped away
ripped away and hung from the treetops
desperate semaphore signals for the dire

the damned

where the anima dances on fresh laid graves
sodden with tears of the holy

the helpless

 

A Meditation on an Introduction’s Second Paragraph as found in “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Having moved slow and steady through two readings of Nature, with nightly accompaniments of Librivox audio readings that would lull me away to sleep with visions of all the vast universal wonderments dancing in my head, it is now time to sift through my sporadic notes and swirling thoughts to try to make use of what I have come across, as I look to somehow apply to my life all that which Emerson teaches with his complexly simple essays as found in Nature.

However, as I consider such intellectual derring-do, I find myself drawn back to one of the first opportunities for learning the work provides me; one found in a most bold and faith-requiring passage from the introduction:

Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable.
We must trust the perfection of the creation so far as to believe that whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds,
the order of things can satisfy.

What a wonder of a statement – Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable.

What a brave, perhaps reckless even, proclamation – We must trust the perfection of creation…

Must we?

Do you believe that?

Undoubtedly – without any doubt?

Do I believe that?

As wonderful and bold as this passage may be, alas can it possibly be true?

Can it be possible that the order of things can satisfy completely my curiosity? Can this perfection answer all my questions, from those of the most simple and mundane to those of the most metaphysically profound?

And even if it can be possible, will it?

Only time will tell, I suppose.

Until then, for answers to all my seemingly unanswerable questions, I rely upon the only thing the perfection of creation presently allows me…

And that is my less than perfect Faith.


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Edition 003-15 is germane.

 

A Conclusion of our Two-Week Daily Writing Prompt Pilot…of sort

Well that sure was a fast two weeks.

Time flies when you’re having fun having to come up with new and different things to write about on a daily basis.

So, let’s get to the bottom line first, as we like to say in the military.

Bottom line: the Daily Writing Prompts are daily no more.

I think we all realize that, while we had many very talented and creative authors submitting work, we just don’t have a large enough interest to support this as a daily, long-term endeavor.

So, instead, we will have random writing prompts as the mood – and time availability – strikes me. Stay tuned for those…

But the past two weeks were a big nuclear blast of awesomeness and I would like to recognize and thank all those who submitted their creative efforts in an effort to support of this effort of a daily writing prompt thingie. To do so, I list their names by order of submission count. And we all know that the best way for all of us to recognize and thank all of them is for all of us to follow all of them and visit their sites regularly and comment often on their work.

Josh Wrenn (7) – myfridayblog.wordpress.com

karen rawson (4) – karcherry.wordpress.com

Mandy Moran (4) – mandymoran.wordpress.com

Priyanki (3) – jollyprivy.wordpress.com

Dancing Echoes (2) – cjdraper1961.wordpress.com

J Hardy Carroll (2) – hawesescapes.com

Guidance Fitness Personal Training (2) guidancefitnesspt.wordpress.com

gabriel360live (2) – gabriel360live.wordpress.com

kanzensakura – kanzensakura.wordpress.com

randomwordbyruth – whitewhoppie.wordpress.com

intuitivemeditation – fromstillness.wordpress.com

mjlstories – mjlstories.wordpress.com

Ritu – butismileanyway.wordpress.com

Myas – preziosofrye.wordpress.com

Clintington – harrclin.wordpress.com

Satin Sheet Diva – satinsheetdiva.wordpress.com

Yoshiko – zyoshiko.wordpress.com

NR Wishart Healing – nrwisharthealing.com

Jesani D – empowerlovecatalyst.wordpress.com

Doug – almostwisconsin.wordpress.com

(I apologize if I miscounted or misspelled)
 

What a very wonderful list of authors. Truly. I am most thankful for all’s encouraging support of this most fun and entertaining of endeavors. And I especially would like to thank Josh Wrenn for his motivating support and for getting out there to “beat the bushes,” so to speak, in an effort to drum up more participation. Thanks, Josh!

Now, back to other things – like refocusing on our Newsletter Love Emerson, First Commitment. I invite everyone to subscribe to our little salon-like space of a newsletter full of love and join us there in another writing challenge of sort…

Right on?

Write on!

Beauty in the Bleak

Bleak and Beautiful

lose me the colors
blemish me the sacred land
bleak is my demand

I need not the blossom hue
I need not the morning dew


Inspired by Nature? Join our Newsletter Love Emerson, First Commitment.
Must be a subscriber to participate.
Edition 003-15 is germane.

 
 

A Word or Two about my First Commitment to my Reading of Emerson

While I had resolved myself to reading Emerson deeply, I had not expected to find myself meditating and reflecting so deeply on individual passages of his writing. I assumed it would be more like me reading an essay and write a summary essay in response. However, what I find is that his writing is so powerful so frequently that I am just as frequently compelled to expression from it; which is why you find my written responses to my reading so focused on and specific to only single passages or even just a sentence or two.

This is a first for me. I hope you don’t mind.

A Meditation on an Introduction’s Opening Passage as found in “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?

Here we find Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the opening passage of his introduction to his seminal essay “Nature,” bemoaning the distance he and his generation are from anything Original and True as compared to preceding generations. As he sees it, only through the firsthand experiences and the tales of our forefathers and foremothers have we been able to learn our life’s lessons and traditions. The gleaming highest highs our civilizations are able to reach are only because of the solid foundations built from and with Nature’s sacred mud by the caring and calloused hands of those to whom have gone before us and who now uplift us still.

If the great Emerson, a transcendental man, perhaps the Transcendental Man as he was in possession of a most extraordinary ability to focus and perceive that which the eye of most mortals miss, is shocked by such a revelation, then it seems to this less-than-transcendental and exceedingly mortal man just how far we find our present selves from those God beholding foregoing generations would bring about the death of fright to such a perceptive and feeling man as he.

And it is not just a distance in generational time I am referring to, but also, mostly, a distance in understanding, as perhaps the same could be said of Emerson’s meaning; though as far as he felt his generation was from an understanding of the Original and True, just how much farther away from understanding we of the present are is too hard for me to imagine.

Just what does our generation know of Nature? of God? of the Universe? Just how many more countless sepulchres have we built and how many more countless biographies have we written? Surely we know greatly of nature and of god and of the universe through the words and misdeeds of our spawning and splintering sects and religious disorders, and through the kaleidoscopic lens and the equations of the material, the physical, carried out to the farthest nth of a degree, accessible to only but a few of our most scientific of brains. Yea, ours is but a weak and plastic generation with hardly one of us finding even a germ under the nail let alone a fleck of sacred earthen mud, so far removed from Nature and Her Elements are we.

Like the everlasting trees
Of the most symbolic

Our ancients bare green before us
Full in their lustrous branches
Roots firmed in their foundation
While with the passing breeze
Our limbs naked and thin
We waive

Lo! but look at me. Look at me, me with my naked, thin limbs waiving away my right of birth to ancient spirits more alive long dead than I whose blood still courses hot will every be. I whose blood still courses hot but whose heart has grown cold and without passion for the Original, the True. I lie content each night having yet let another day slip away without once baring my feet and stepping into the grass; without once feeling the raw moonglow on my rusty skin.

But it wasn’t always so. I wasn’t always so distant from the Original and the True. And neither were you, for we were all born of and from the Original and of the True. It is who, in essence, I am and who you are.

We just forgot, that’s all.

We just allowed each passing day to take us farther and farther from who we were born to be.

So much time has
passed since then,
since I last felt raw
moonglow on
my rusty skin,
that I have forgotten
how the breath of night
can upturn a sallow face.

Long ago,
when I could still remember
how to pause,
and how to listen,
and how to breathe,
for more reasons
than just to breathe,
I knew fields
and wood,
and calico aster;
I knew how to kneel,
and how to observe,
and how to bring myself to quiet.

And I knew,
without knowing,
that if I lay
on my back
beneath the reeds
and remained hushed,
as night clouds
floated by,
shadowed and silent,
that my Self
would simply fall
away.

Step Into the Grass, an excerpt
from Poems from the River

As romping youth we did not have to be told how to meditate, how to pray. We just knew. We had no need for such technical terms as spirituality or epiphany or satori, for it was in our unknowing that we were able to truly know them. And now that we know them, we know nothing.

I suppose the question is, then, can we return to our essence? Can we, in our knowledge and understanding, return to the bliss of ignorance, to the wisdom of youth, so that we can come back again, if even just a little closer, to the Original and True.

Are we able to do that, knowing what we know?

Tonight
I’ll bare my feet
and step old and aching
into the caliginous balm
of the cool redemptive night.


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Everlasting

Everlasting

Like the everlasting trees
Of the most symbolic

Our ancients bare green before us
Full in their lustrous branches
Roots firmed in their foundation
While with the passing breeze
Our limbs naked and thin
We waive


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Edition 003-15 germane

 
 

A Meditation on a Title and an Introductory Poem as found in “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson: Biography by Oliver Wendell Holmes

A subtle chain of countless rings
The next unto the farthest brings;
The eye reads omens where it goes;
And speaks all languages of the rose;
And, striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Too often I’ll show little regard to introductions and read through them with hardly reading them at all, my eyes skimming dismissively over the words in an effort to get to “the true essence” of the work. However, as I have resolved to not just read, but to read deeply the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, I have to remember, then, that care needs to be given to each of the words that Emerson had specifically chosen to pen, as he had entrusted each chosen word to convey its part of a broader message that he had, himself, intended to convey. So it is with care and attention that I proceed.

~~~~

Other than the title, the above poem is our first encounter with the essay “Nature,” the first piece presented in The Complete Essays and Other Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson; and, consequently, the first commitment to that which I have resolved myself. But before considering the poem, we mustn’t overlook the essay’s title; for, from it, we can focus more clearly on the meaning of the poem specifically, as well as the body of work writ large.

Hardly can there be a title broader in meaning than “Nature,” for the word encompasses so much: the essence of the Natural Environment – all within the world and all the worlds within the universe; the essence of the Human Environment – all that which the mind thinks and the body feels; as well as the Environment of the Animal, which may or may not include humans, depending on one’s belief. Though broad and ambiguous, it is full of meaning, as any title should be, as it prepares our minds for all the largesse and grandeur that both Nature, Herself, and the mind and poetic ambition of Emerson can account for. The title, therefore, helps us greatly in our discovery, in that it prepares us to read both the poem and the essay with a universal and open mind, where metaphors and allusions are to be found with meaning, and meaning more.

The poem, itself an introduction to the introduction, is both untitled and unattributed. Often we find authors will select poems and quotes from others, mostly those recognized by history as being of the elite authorial class, as a preface or opening to his or her work. These introductions in brief are generally an attempt to provide a broad look into the author’s mind and, hopefully, to the direction that his or her writing will be taking us. However, as it is untitled, and as Emerson’s reputation precedes his work, for he, himself, is regarded by many to be an elite author, it is easy enough to assume that the poem is an original piece by him. Still, the poem remains untitled, which only means that we will have to rely more heavily on its content, looking closely at each sentence and the words within for us to gain of it our fullest appreciation. So with the poem, let us begin.
 

A subtle chain of countless rings / The next unto the farthest brings;

Right away, the poem’s “subtle chain” announces that in the essay, as in Nature, we should expect revelations of mysteries linked yet boundless; simple in form, perhaps, yet complex and profound in meaning. For the “subtle” or simple chain, a common yet powerful metaphorical device, enlightens us with its “countless rings” – its circles of life – by alluding to the eternal fact that Nature in all her majesty enjoins all together in common constituency within her universal realm, from the most diminutive to the most grand, “unto the farthest brings” – to the infinite’s endless end.

The eye reads omens where it goes;

Sad would be the soul who hasn’t walked even the shortest way into the wood or out into the empty, expansive field, to where everything slows down to quiet and allows one to hear Nature’s call, be it through the creaking sway of the trees or the hum of the wind upon the grass. For once where She Her presence reveals, so, too, will Her omens, signs signalling the nature of our Collective and Universal Soul through the mundane: acorns scattered on the wooded floor signals life’s endless cycle of birth and death, as the mist of the passing clouds signals the transformative and transient nature of life itself.

And speaks all languages of the rose;

While not all of us speak the same language, we all can look at the rose and equally understand its beauty. And, regardless of all the many different ways we may express it in words, we all have that same feeling of awe and humility as we arrive at that deep and soulful understanding of just how small our presence is when looking up towards that grand vastness above filled with its countless twinkling diamonds of light.

And, striving to be man, the worm / Mounts through all the spires of form

The line suggests that the worm in its striving is emulating our behavior; however, I read it as further suggesting that from the worm’s behavior we have learned to strive, from the worm we have evolved, and as the worm forever works through all forms of nature – be it the soil, the wood, the apple – to realize its true nature, we, too, forever work “through all spires of form” – be they the physical or metaphysical – continuous “unto the farthest brings,” as do links of an endless “subtle chain,” in a most noble and enduring of effort to realize our own true nature.

~~~~

With this meditation on a one-word title and one-sentence poem we discover that, while both may appear simple in form, both hold complex and profound messages that are, we must assume, a herald’s call as to the further complexities and profundities that await us.


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Edition 003-15 is germane