Thursday, January 28, 2010

best cat poem

I was just reading "How to Read a Poem" by Edward Hirsch, and stumbled on an old favorite,
Jubilate Agno, Fragment B, [For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry]
by Christopher Smart

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.

For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having considered God and himself he will consider his neighbor.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.

For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he's a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel
from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For the dexterity of his defense is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For he is of the Lord's poor, and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually--Poor Jeoffry!
poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
For he is docile and can learn certain things.
For he can sit up with gravity, which is patience upon approbation.
For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick, which is patience upon proof positive.
For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
For he can jump from an eminence into his master's bosom.
For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the latter refuses the charge.
For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Icneumon rat, very pernicious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God's light about him both wax and fire.
For the electrical fire is the spiritual substance which God sends from heaven to sustain the
bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For, though he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.
Lastly, here is my daughter, multi-tasking.
- Kathy

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

two poems for a wintry January day

These roses were from my garden last year, just a reminder of what will come this summer. Here are two lovely poems for you:


May the best hour of the day be yours.
May luck go with you from hill to sea.
May you stand against the prevailing wind.
May no forest intimidate you.
May you look out from your own eyes.
May near and far attend you.
May you bathe your face in the sun’s rays.
May you have milk, cream, substance.
May your actions be effective.
May your thoughts be affective.
May you will both the wild and the mild.
May you sing the lark from the sky.
May you place yourself in circumstance.

May you be surrounded by goldfinches.
May you pause among alders.
May your desire be infinite.
May what you touch be touched.
May the company be less for your leaving.
May you walk alone beneath the stars.
May your embers still glow in the morning.

Knitting by Eireann Lorsung

When are you coming back to stand in front of the window?
(I heard you whistling last night. Cars pass me by all day,

waves circling the enormous globe.)
So much is left out, I'm knitting a pattern without

stitches, without needles, only long fingerbones
to carry yarn. There was something buried

the night I left Eau Claire for good, and I never knew
how it would grow. Now your childhood friends

are my students, I walk past houses you lived in
without my knowledge and your scent trails

from abondoned bakeries. Whole warehouses
have been invented to catalogue want like this.

I go on knitting night and day because I don't know
any other thing. All unknits by darkness

into twine birds use piece by piece. What secret
name can I call you? What adventure are you on tonight?

There is forgetting in the density of raw new wool,
yarn shop one block from your apartment,

the cheap scarf - you don't value things
because you never make them. Moon over the whitening world

sharpens spindle, windowframe. The sash
is pulled, seam is set: without material, there is no map.

Eireann Lorsung was born in Minnesota but now lives in England. She has published a book of poems titled "Music to Land Planes By". There are more poems here.

Thomas A. Clark's poem is on Elspeth Thompson's wonderful blog (she is converting two Victorian railway carriages into an eco-friendly home). And again on Justine Picardie's lovely blog. But I can find no other information about him other than he is Scottish.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Donna Druchunas Alaska Knitting Cruise

From Katherine Jane in New York City:

We have a lot of exciting things in the pipeline this year, with several new audiobooks coming out in the next few months. One of those will be Arctic Knits by Donna Druchnas, which is set to be released later this spring. The book tells the story of Donna’s trip to Alaska to research the history and use of quiviut, otherwise known as the most deliciously soft and warm musk ox down, and also tells stories of and from the Yup’ik and Inupiat women that she encountered. It’s just lovely.

At the moment, though, Donna is doing a blog tour promoting her Alaska knitting cruise. She is co-hosting this cruise with the fabulous Lucy Neatby. And oh my goodness, doesn't the sound of that just fill you with joy? Donna and Lucy, a beautiful ship filled with knitters, cruising through the gorgeous landscape of Alaska, knitting all day in like-minded company, and taking knitting classes and going to knitting mixers… and there are apparently non-knitting activities as well, so you can even bring along your non-knitting friends (i.e., those you haven’t managed to convert yet) and they’ll have something to keep them busy while you are knitting. By the pool. On your way from one beautiful location to the next. While someone else takes care of the food and dishes.

If that isn’t a description of Heaven, then I don’t know what is.

For more information about the May 2010 Musk Ox and Glaciers cruise with Donna Druchnas, click here—and keep an eye out for the KOL release of Arctic Knits later this spring!

- Katherine Jane


Katherine Jane Arathoon lives in New York City and occasionally guest blogs for Knitting Out Loud. She also blogs at Between Ewe And Me.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tea and knitting with a friend

I dropped in on my friend Karen Jelenfy the other day, on my way to Augusta for a meeting of Fiber Maine-ia. It was a cold brilliantly sunny day. With snow on the ground. Perfect knitting weather! I love Karen's baskets of yarn about the place.
Karen owns Village Books, a charming used bookstore in Washington, Maine, and she is a painter. But when she heard the story on our audiobook Knitting Memories of the knitted map of Paris, she started knitting her art (WIP above). Her knitted pieces can be seen at the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, Maine.
Karen carries local crafts in her bookstore, and I bought these gorgeous mittens knitted by Carol Bacon. They remind me of the Swedish mittens in The Mitten Book by Inger Gottfridsson.
I am knitting a pair of socks.
Isn't Karen's stash pretty? It made me want to rush right home and organize my stash in baskets according to color.
The Jelenfys recently acquired two cashmere goats. They are Lucy and Winnie.

My camera isn't working very well, and it was very sunny, but here is Karen with her goats. What a gift, to spend a few hours knitting with a friend.

The world is focused on Haiti right now and people all over the globe are doing what they can to help the Haitians in this terrible crisis. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.