Language of the people

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Bain News Service, P. (1920) W.B. Yeats, portrait bust. date created or published later by Bain. [Image] Retrieved from the Library of Congress

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.

W.B. Yeats, 1865-1939

I find this thought, attributed to William Butler Yeats, worth considering.  We all are governed by life experiences,  our own knowledge base, local/cultural linguistics, etc.  We have stylistic choices as well.  My leaning is towards simplicity–or attempting simplicity–attempting to use words and phrases that are  understandable by an imagined collection of readers. Whether I am successful will depend on the reader, but I nevertheless see accessible language as an ideal goal. Below I have reproduced Yeat’s ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’, which I find very easy to absorb though written in 1888.  I have also reproduced a quote below the poem, in which Yeat reflects about the language that he used.

Lake Isle of Innisfree
 

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

– W.B. Yeats

I had begun to loosen rhythm as an escape from rhetoric and from that emotion of the crowd that rhetoric brings, but I only understood vaguely and occasionally that I must for my special purpose use nothing but the common syntax. A couple of years later I could not have written that first line with its conventional archaism — “Arise and go”—nor the inversion of the last stanza.

W.B. Yeats

“William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms.” Wikipedia

I would like to thank Elusive Trope who recently posted The Second Coming by Yeats –a brilliant poem reflecting on the social/political climate of  Yeat’s time, but feeling relevant today. My choice of quotes for this Writer’s Quote Wednesday post had a circuitous journey of its own branching off from The Second Coming.  If you are in the mood for more nature poetry of the same era, please visit Silver Threading at the Writer’s Quote Wednesday link above, where Colleen Chesebro features poet Mary Webb.

Words of a leader

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, made his State of the Union address last Tuesday (January 12, 2016).  He addressed many important issues, but my focus is on how the current leader of the United States proposes to address climate change. The good news is that President Obama talks about taking steps to transition away from the burning of fossil fuels.  Whether or not those steps will be sufficient, is, at this stage, less important than whether those who support action will prevail  after the elections later this year. Here is an excerpt from his speech where he addresses climate change:

……

Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You will be pretty lonely because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.

(APPLAUSE)

But even if — even if the planet wasn’t at stake, even if 2014 wasn’t the warmest year on record until 2015 turned out even hotter — why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?

(APPLAUSE)

Listen, seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills and employs more Americans than coal — in jobs that pay better than average.

We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy — something, by the way, that environmentalists and Tea Partiers have teamed up to support. And meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60 percent and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.

(APPLAUSE)

Gas under $2 a gallon ain’t bad either.

(LAUGHTER)

Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future, especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. We do them no favor when we don’t show them where the trends are going. And that’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet. And that way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system. (APPLAUSE)

Now, none of this is going to happen overnight, and yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo. But the jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, the planet we’ll preserve, that is the kind of future our kids and our grandkids deserve. And it’s within our grasp.

Now, climate change is just one of many issues where our security is linked to the rest of the world, and that’s why the third big question that we have to answer together is how to keep America safe and strong without either isolating ourselves or trying to nation- build everywhere there’s a problem.

………

Be in love with your life–Jack Kerouac

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“Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.” — there is a certain intensity to this proposition that is hard to keep up with. Yet I like the challenge–the notion of living positively, moment to moment.  It fits with the season–for those of us who feel an inclination to reflect on life in 2016.

The quote is emblazoned on a journal I received as a gift for Christmas–shown above. It is attributed to Jack Kerouac, but I have not found the source.  There is a clue though in Kerouac’s 30-point  Belief and Technique for Modern Prose point #4 is ‘Be in love with yr life’. (‘yr’ is how he wrote it).  Two more of the 30 points are:

5. Something that you feel will find its own form

and

13.Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition

All 30 points demonstrate how to write in a spontaneous, connected way (please follow the link above for the full list).

Jack Kerouac is well-known for his novel, On the Road, which was made into a movie. This line from his book seems to capture the energy of  ‘Be in love with your life every minute of it’:

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars, and in the middle, you see the blue center-light pop, and everybody goes ahh…

Jack Kerouac lived 47 years, from 1922 to  1969, a relatively short but intensely creative life.  I hope you have enjoyed this Jack Kerouac excursion–I certainly did. Most known for his novels, he was also a poet and a major contributor to the American English form of haiku, one of my new interests.  He is considered to be a pioneer of the ‘Beat’ generation and recognized for his method of spontaneous prose.

Now I have explored my journal cover quote, I wonder if I will be able to live up to it when I write within….

Promise of light emerging from darkness, #BeWoW

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Beside my home just after 10 AM on Friday Dec 18, 2015

With the arrival of winter’s low dark sky, communities around the world look to the miracle of light as a sign of rebirth and a source of hope. We celebrate the promise of new life and recommit ourselves to the protection of everyone’s right to his or her own radiant humanity.

UUA on Celebrating Christmas Eve

At this time of year many of us  celebrate Christmas, while also trying to be aware that not everyone celebrates it, or that for some, it is a secular celebration, not a religious one.  I’m not sure how to best demonstrate this awareness–the dominant assumptions don’t include me–perhaps that applies to many people.  I celebrate Christmas as one who, as a child, went to church and sang in the church choir; and as one who lives  in North American society.  As an adult, I explored the Unitarian Church and then moved on to Buddhism, where  my  heart remains. None of these aspects of me are in conflict. They are all part of who I am.

Snippets of these thoughts have been brewing in me over the last while…now, I would like to return to the quote.  At this time of year, those of us going through winter in Northern countries experience a lack of light and profound appreciation for its gradual increase.  Where I live, we may not have snow yet, but there are short days, chill, fog, and damp; leading to a  desire to snuggle and hibernate.  Cold and dark tends to send us to the interior of our homes; into our hearts; and for some, into depression.  They inspire creativity and reflection, oven-cooked foods; and gatherings of family and friends.

For me, the quote speaks of hope and renewal; and a recommitment to caring for all humans, near and far. These are my wishes for all in this season of celebrations: hope, renewal, and an appreciation for all humanity.

©2015, all rights reserved by ontheland.wordpress.com

‘Love song to the earth’—Writer’s Quote Wednesday–#BeWoW

This is a love song to the earth,
You’re no ordinary world,
A diamond in the universe,
Heaven’s poetry to us,
Keep it safe, keep it safe, keep it safe,
‘Cause it’s our world.
See Mama earth is in a crazy mess,
It’s time for us to do our best,
From deep sea straight up to Everest,
She under crazy stress unless you wanna be motherless,
Clean heart, green heart, is the way I stress,
Speediness and too much greediness,
6 Billion people all want plentiness,
Some people think this is harmless,
But if we continue there’ll only be emptiness.

My quotes for today are from ‘Love Song to the Earth’, a charity single released on September 4, 2015.  The first section is the song’s refrain and the second is one of the verses.  The song was written by a group of writers at the request of the United Nations Foundation. There are a variety of  authorship attributions, but these names have been cited most often:  Tony Gad, John Shanks, Natasha Bedingfeld, and Sean Paul.

‘Love Song to the Earth’  is an anthem intended to increase public awareness and support for climate action as we approach the UN climate talks in Paris (November 30 to December 11).  The idea is that  general public support for climate action will motivate world leaders at the climate talks to reach a bold consensus.

Before reading more, I invite you to listen and view this beautiful lyric video starring 16 well-known pop performers, including Paul McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi and Sheryl Crow:

The first time I listened to the song I thought it was sort of ‘soft’.  It is gentle, but I have come to like it.  I quoted the rap verse, because I feel that musically, it has the most ‘punch’–as do the words.  The gentleness of the song was intentional.  People tune out to climate change fear messages. The writers felt that appealing to feelings of love and a desire to care for our planet would be more empowering than trying to motivate with fear. I tend to agree. What are your thoughts on this?

This is more than a song, it’s a political strategy.  The song has a website: lovesongtotheearth.org  and a twitter handle: #sharethelovesong. On the website you are invited to sign a message, to world leaders attending the climate summit, saying:

“Please take a strong stand to keep Earth safe at the global climate negotiations.”

The message, with signatures, will be presented at the opening of the climate talks.  On top of all this,  any royalties from purchasing, streaming, or sharing the song will go to the United Nations Foundation in its work to promote international climate change efforts, and to Friends of the Earth U.S., for its climate change work.

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This post is being linked  to Writer’s Quote Wednesday October 7 hosted by Colleen Chesebro, author of Silver Threading.  Please follow the above link to read her launch post. As well, there are links to other Writer’s Quote Wednesday posts in the Comments section.

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And for more quotation posts, visit  Ronovan Writes #BeWoW, October 7This link will take you to a  post by Ronovan, host of #BeWoW– Be Writing on Wednesday  and Be Wonderful on Wednesday.