Human Family

I note the obvious differences

in the human family.

Some of us are serious,

some thrive on comedy.


Some declare their lives are lived

as true profundity,

and others claim they really live

the real reality.


The variety of our skin tones

can confuse, bemuse, delight,

brown and pink and beige and purple,

tan and blue and white.


I’ve sailed upon the seven seas

and stopped in every land,

I’ve seen the wonders of the world

not yet one common man.


I know ten thousand women

called Jane and Mary Jane,

but I’ve not seen any two

who really were the same.


Mirror twins are different

although their features jibe,

and lovers think quite different thoughts

while lying side by side.


We love and lose in China,

we weep on England’s moors,

and laugh and moan in Guinea,

and thrive on Spanish shores.


We seek success in Finland,

are born and die in Maine.

In minor ways we differ,

in major we’re the same.


I note the obvious differences

between each sort and type,

but we are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.


We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.


We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.


~ Maya Angelou


"Our Banner in the Sky" by Frederic Edwin Church, 1861

Frederic Edwin Church, 1861

There is perhaps no branch of work amongst the arts so free at the present time as that of the writing of fiction. There are no official prohibitions, no embarrassing or hampering limitations, no oppressive restraints.  Subject and method of treatment are both free.  A writer is under no special obligation, no preliminary guarantee; he may choose his own subject and treat it in his own way.  In fact, his duty to the public—to the State—appears to be nil. What one might call the cosmic police do not trouble him at all.  Under these conditions, hitherto kept possible by the self-respect of authors, a branch of the art of authorship has arisen and gone on perfecting itself in mechanical excellence, until it has become an important factor of the life of the nation.  Today if the supply of fiction were to be suddenly withdrawn the effect would be felt almost as much as the failure of the supply of breadstuffs.


~ From “The Censorship of Fiction” by Bram Stoker, born on this day in 1847


Bram Stoker, circa 1906

Bram Stoker, circa 1906


I wake, but before I know it it is done,

The day, I sleep…And of days like these the years,

A life are made. I nod, consenting to my life.

—But who can live in these quick-passing hours?

I need to find again, to make a life,

A child’s Sunday afternoon, the Pleasure Drive

Where everything went by but time—the Study Hour

Spent at a desk with folded hands, in waiting.

In those I could make. Did I not make in them

Myself? the Grown One whose time shortens,

Breath quickens, heart beats faster, till at last

It catches, skips? Yet those hours that seemed, were endless

Were still not long enough to have remade

My childish heart: the heart that must have, always,

To make anything of anything, not time,

Not time but—

                        but, alas!  eternity.


                                                                  ~ Randall Jarrell


Frederic Leighton, 1877

Frederic Leighton, 1877


Out I went into the meadow,

Where the moon was shining brightly,

And the oak-tree’s lengthening shadows

On the sloping sward did lean;

For I longed to see the goblins,

And the dainty-footed fairies,

And the gnomes, who dwell in caverns,

But come forth on Halloween.


                                     ~ From “Halloween” by Arthur Peterson


Illustration of Fairy Ring by Arthur Rackham, 1908

Illustration of Fairy Ring by Arthur Rackham, 1908

Even the sun-clouds this morning cannot manage such skirts.

Nor the woman in the ambulance

Whose red heart blooms through her coat so astoundingly –


A gift, a love gift

Utterly unasked for

By a sky


Palely and flamily

Igniting its carbon monoxides, by eyes

Dulled to a halt under bowlers.


O my god, what am I

That these late mouths should cry open

In a forest of frost, in a dawn of cornflowers.


                                                  ~ Sylvia Plath, born on this day in 1932


"Oriental Poppies" by Laura Muntz Lyall (1860-1930)

“Oriental Poppies” by Laura Muntz Lyall (1860-1930)


Gold of a ripe oat straw, gold of a southwest moon,

Canada-thistle blue and flimmering larkspur blue,

Tomatoes shining in the October sun with red hearts,

Shining five and six in a row on a wooden fence,

Why do you keep wishes on your faces all day long,

Wishes like women with half-forgotten lovers going to new cities?

What is there for you in the birds, the birds, the birds crying down

     on the north wind in September – acres of birds spotting the

     air going south?


Is there something finished?  And some new beginning on the way?


~ Carl Sandburg


"Oat Field" by Karl Nordstrom, 1887

“Oat Field” by Karl Nordstrom, 1887

In the winter, we will leave in a small pink railway carriage

     With blue cushions.

We will be comfortable. A nest of mad kisses lies

     In each soft corner.


You will close your eyes, in order not to see, through the glass,

     The evening shadows making faces,

Those snarling monstrosities, a populace

     Of black demons and black wolves.


Then you will feel your cheek scratched…

A little kiss, like a mad spider,

     Will run around your neck…


And you will say to me: “Get it!” as you bend your neck;

— And we will take a long time to find that creature

     — Which travels a great deal…


~ Arthur Rimbaud, born on this day in 1854


Image of Black Andrew Wood by Walter Baxter

Image of Black Andrew Wood by Walter Baxter

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