Friday, June 13, 2008


It's the end of our first full week of classes and I am whooped. It's been so busy. I just checked my email and facebook for the first time in four days, I think. It's hard to keep track. I think I would be able to juggle it all if I was not sick. I have an ear infection, and now, a sinus infection. This makes school hard because I don't feel like sitting in class or staying up late. This weekend will be good. I can catch up on what I haven't done and hopefully get a little ahead for next week. Everyone's been really great. The girls take care of me with medicine, tea, food, etc. No profound thoughts for today. But I will say that "Christobel" is very interesting to learn about and discuss when you haven't read it. And there was a great thunderstorm in the middle of the night that I woke up for for parts of. It was the good waking up, where you're aware of what's happening but have no problem going right back to sleep. We had an excursion due today for travel writing where we talked about the different images of England from books and literature that informed our expectations, and I talked about Austen and Bronte and then poets like Larkin and Arnold. These authors offer very different images of England. And here is Arnold's poem, tragically beautiful. Compare it to rosy life in a manor house and you might get some shivers.

Dover Beach Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the A gaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

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