…quite a bit happened that has interest for me. NaBloPoMo‘s theme for this month is “look up”, which I interpret to mean looking up something interesting to post. The last few posts were just suggested by things happening, but I thought I would Google May 5th to see what happened on this day in history (never mind the obvious Cinco de Mayo). Of course, I’m only putting down things that have interest to me — there was a lot more going on in previous Mays than I could even try to talk about. Here’s the short list, then:
Now to explain what they all have to interest me!
Kublai Khan interests me mainly because of the gorgeous poem by Coleridge, which I wish he had been able to finish, as it’s the one I like best of his poems. Probably most people do.
The first woman awarded a patent is, of course, worthy of mention in our so-paternalistic society (!), and a patent for something involving silk and thread — just gravy to my cross-stitcher self!
The opening of Carnegie Hall is a great day for any musician, and since my brothers and friends have played there on numerous occasions, it is even more special (though I have never attended a concert there myself).
The Scopes trial is of note for obvious reasons, especially given my definite support of literal creation. Not theistic evolution or any other such panderings, but the real six-day, God-spoke-and-it-was-done deal!
The crowning of the present King of Thailand in 1950 is meaningful to me because we were there in Bangkok in 2006 when they celebrated his 60th anniversary of accession to the throne and saw all the glitter and events, if not live, then on live TV.
The caning of the American teenager in Singapore is interesting for several reasons — first, because it was considered “too harsh” by Americans, whose society that is steadily losing control over the young; second, because it was partly for polluting the environment, if even in a small way; and third, because I taught at a Singapore school and know people from there.
The birthdate of John Rhys-Davies is a good one to remember for any Tolkien fan, since he was cast as Gimli the dwarf in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, which, while it drastically changed some parts of the books and left out great swathes of material, nonetheless is a great movie set and really gives the flavor of the books, if not remaining completely true to the original.
Michael Shaara, who died on this day, is the author of several war novels, including the epic Killer Angels, a retelling of the events at Gettysburg, which the movie Gettysburg is based on. A must for any high school history teacher or Civil War fanatic. *cough Kent and Ian cough*
Of course, being married to a Dane, I must notice Denmark’s celebration of the end of World War II. I am glad my Danish husband comes from people who put up such a stout and constant resistance to Hitler’s regime.
And now, channeling Garrison Keillor once again, here is a poem for today by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And ‘mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ‘twould win me
That with music loud and long
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
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