26 March 2017

just a silly thing I spent way too long on

A post from someone's tumblr has been circulating on facebook--and, while it's a cute idea in theory, I think it kinda failed in the execution. Source is here: http://phony-time-traveler.tumblr.com/post/158270493442/jk-rowling-suddenly-light-started-shining (quoted below)
  • JK Rowling: Suddenly, light started shining through the window!
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: The window, which hanged on the wall, softly letting its curtains dance around the room, suddenly brought a bright light into the house.
  • Douglass Adams: Quite unexpectedly, light shined through the window in the room, which was less surprising when you think about the fact that's what windows are for.
  • Lemony Snicket: Light shined through the window abruptly. abruptly, usually means unexpected, or sudden. For instance, if your mother picked you up from school after telling you twice about doing that, it would not be abruptly. However, if someone were to tell you your house burned down and your parents were dead without telling you to sit down first, it would very much be called, abruptly.
My primary issue with the above is the preponderance of grammatical errors and poor diction--while the four authors had divergent styles, they all had a very good grasp of grammar and mechanics. To me the most egregious error (ascribed to Tolkien) is confusing the words "hung" and "hanged"...

So, rather than simply complaining, I decided to give it a go myself. Here's my stab at more or less the same thing...


JK Rowling: Then, through the window, came a sudden blaze of light.

JRR Tolkien: There came a light through the window: it was unexpected, a torrent of ethereal gold pouring through the glass, as though the warmth of fair Lothlorien had followed them hither, spreading open its gilded arms to beckon them away from their rising despair.

Douglas Adams: Suddenly, light shone through the window--or, rather, it would have done, had the window survived the series of shockwaves proceeding said shining light. Although some might argue that photons passing through a pile of shattered window fragments is more or less the same thing, and that is ultimately what happened.

Lemony Snicket: Light poured through the window suddenly. Or, to be precise, this seemed sudden to the Baudelaires. For something to seem sudden, it would have to surprise you, or to have been somehow unexpected, meaning you did not see signs warning that it was coming. A flash of lightning would seem sudden to most people, but might be completely expected by a researcher conducting an electrical experiment. You may think that your friend's decision to move to France and study the mating habits of the Greater Scaup was sudden--but to your friend it was the natural conclusion of many hours spent considering the possibility. When my beloved Beatrice broke off our engagement, to me it seemed sudden. But the time she spent writing a two-hundred-page treatise on why we should not marry would suggest that this decision was, from her perspective, anything but sudden.

20 March 2017


today i watched two
little crabs
no bigger than a grain of sand
scuttle white and camouflaged
across my palm
only their furtive sideways skittering
setting them apart
from fragments of coral and
silicon crumbs
(i only saw their tiny
legs once i had leaned in
close enough).
today i filled my hands
with little shells
black and white and brown and
seemingly the same
each resident creature gathered
up the courage to come out
exploring the strange new surface
of my skin
revealing snail or
hermit crab.
and then i told my dad that i
would write a poem about it.
that i would capture these
littoral microcosms
these days rolling beneath
emphatic surf--
liquid earth flying into roiling sea
twilit walks up an overgrown hill
wind tugging at branches heavy
with chameleons
bright hibiscus blooms
by bright nineteen-month-old.
i told him i would write
about the feeling
of salt in my hair
of the entire sea stretched out
beneath me
of summery sunny sweetness
distilled into a morning
bowl of fruit
of looking up at stars
spattered across improbable skies
even the shyest among them
bright enough to see.
i told him i would prove
fidgeting silences
hot miles crossed on blistered feet
that i could write a poem
about two white crabs so small
i almost didn't see them.
i suppose
i always meant
to prove that
darkness isn't the only thing
i know how to write about.