Quirky Cool Poem (There Be Lions)

Photo courtesy Irum Shahid at Stock.xchnge

I love anything that’s written in an absurd or quirky style, and “Sunt Leones” (translated from Latin: there be lions) certainly meets that criteria.  Following is the now classic poem written by the talented Stevie Smith (1902-1971).

Sunt Leones

The lions who ate the Christians on the sands of the arena
By indulging native appetites played what has now been seen a
Not entirely negligible part
In consolidating at the very start
The position of the Early Christian Church
Initiatory rites are always bloody
And the lions, it appear
From contemporary art, made a study
Of dyeing Coliseum sands a ruddy
Liturgically sacrificial hue
And if the Christians felt a little blue
Well people being eaten often do
Theirs was the death, and theirs the crown undying
A state of things which must be satisfying
My point which up to this has been obscure
is that it was the lions who procure
By chewing up blood gristle flesh and bone
The martyrdoms on which the Church has grown
I only write this poem because I thought it rather looked  
As if the part the lions played was being overlooked
By lions’ jaws great benefits and blessings were begotten  
And so our debt to Lionhood must never be forgotten. 

See a list of books by Stevie Smith on amazon.com.

Poets are like Butterflies

The editor of Poesy Magazine proclaims on his News page that he’s “back again,” and, after 18 months of downtime, he’s “continuing Poesy and returning refreshed, rested and with a vengance to make an impact.”  Except that was posted 5 months ago and there doesn’t seem to be any activity since. 

Ah, well.  I know what it’s like to burn out on a project; I myself am the proud owner of a number of abandoned blogs and social networking pages strewn far and wide across the internet.  Anyway, the good news is that you can still read some cool stuff on the site, including several featured poems from the last issue.

Photo courtesy Asumann at Stock.Xchnge

Following is an excerpt from a poem called “Poem for David Church” by A.D. Winans.  It is from a memorial poem written for a poet who passed away:

poets are like butterflies
inhabiting temporary space
tasting the pollen of life
spreading their wings
reshaping the stars the universe
cosmic matter waiting to be reborn

Temptation Drive-Thru (Flash Fiction)

Courtesy of C. Glass at stock.xchnge

For those of you unfamiliar with flash fiction, it is the short version of the short story.  It is also the specialty of Every Day Fiction, a site that delivers daily short fiction to your mailbox (you can also read stories online).  Here is an excerpt from a fantastic story recently published by EDF called Temptation Drive-Thru by Greg Likins:

I pulled up to the window. The girl leaned out, twisting her necklace around a fingernail studded with stick-on gems. I paid, and when she returned my change, that fingernail lingered in my palm. It felt like a condiment packet scratching my skin, and instinctively I squeezed it. She didn’t seem to mind.

Read the entire short story here or visit the author’s website.

Satan and his Wife Own a Small Business in Orange County

Photo courtesy Ilco at Stock.Xchnge

I have endured some horrendous working conditions in my lifetime, and, while I wouldn’t wish that on others, it’s oddly comforting to know I’m not the only one.  Dionne Galace, a terrific writer and entertaining blogger, has written an account of her job from hell that is both horrifying and hilarious.  Her first (unheeded) clue that she was going to work for seriously unstable people was in the interview process:

My second interview was with the married couple who owned the company. You could tell the wife used to be pretty, but living with this man for however long they’ve been married had already killed something inside of her. The husband grunted a lot, didn’t smile once, and interrupted his wife a lot. The wife tried to ask me a couple of questions, but the husband cut her off often. She would passively-aggressively say later, “I have a few more questions, but I’m afraid I didn’t get to ask them because I kept getting interrupted.” Awwwwwkward.

Read the entire post, called How NOT to Respond to a Resignation.  Dionne’s blog, Dionne Galace–It’s Not Chick Porn, has a lot of other things to offer, as well, including book reviews (heavy on the romance genre) and movie reviews.  (Warning:  the blog contains strong language and sexiness.)

Quotes About Writing

 Here are some great quotes about writing:

Photo courtesy Hilde Vanstraelen at Stock.Xchnge

Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.–Flannery O’Connor

So often is the virgin sheet of paper more real than what one has to say, and so often one regrets having marred it.–Harold Acton

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.–Elmore Leonard

 For more writing quotes, visit The Quote Garden.

Something About L.A. (Flash Fiction)

Photo courtesy Daniel Zamora at Stock.xchnge

Gay Degani has a new story out called Something About L.A. that was recently published over at Litsnack.  Here is an excerpt:

The truck shivers to a stop, dust swirling. The door opens as a small figure slides off the driver’s seat. A boy, just a boy, dark skin and hair, wearing a faded plaid shirt and jeans. Barefoot.

Puts his hands on hips and says, “I ain’t gonna hurt you.”

“I guess not.” I’m feeling better now knowing I’ve got 50 pounds on him.

Read the whole story here.  Gay Degani is a talented writer who has been featured on this blog before:  see Flash Fiction Story by Gay Degani – The London Eye and Flash Fiction: Dani-Girl’s Guide to Getting Everything Right.  Also visit her homepage, Words in Place.

My Sneaking Tears (Poem)

I saw this poem and found it so beautiful that I immediately searched for the author (Mark R. Slaughter) online in order to ask his permission to post it here. Fortunately, I found him, and even more fortunately, he was kind enough to allow me to reprint this poem and share it with all of you.

My Sneaking Tears

How heavy fell the rain that day
From burdened clouds of mournful grey.
The torrent forced them stay their height –
Composure swayed by onerous might.

My skin wrung wet with icy chill
As mud embraced that sodden hill.
But mind of mine had elsewhere gone –
‘Twas clouds abandoned I was on.

The driving drops advanced their gears
To camouflage my sneaking tears –
Whence now did swell such floods of pain
To see me melt into this rain…

On equal bearing now were we:
This rain; myself, in harmony.

The author lives in the United Kingdom and is a prolific writer.  You can view more of Mark R. Slaughter’s poems (over 200 of them!) at poemhunter.com.  Also, visit his website, Poem Crypt, and follow him on twitter.

Global Warming: Fact or Fiction?


global warming

Photo courtesy Bartek Ambrozik, Stock.Xchange

I was originally going to re-write this in a more informal, blog style, but I decided to post it in its current essay form.  I wrote this for a college composition course.  Students working on similar projects will hopefully get a lot ouf of it, and I think the subject is one that will appeal to the general public, as well.  Additionally, leaving in the references to scientific sites and studies backs up my potentially controversial point of view.

Global Warming:  Fact or Fiction?
by Edie Montgomery-Pool

Global warming is a “hot” topic right now.  News anchors, documentaries, newspapers, the internet, and even petition-waving Greenpeace advocates standing outside of Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores and establishments across the United States–all warn of the dire consequences of global warming.  According to an article titled “Why Bother?” published in The New York Times Magazine in April 2008 and reprinted in the book Beyond Words Cultural Texts for Reading and Writing in 2009, “Climate change is upon us…” (Pollan 507).  The concern is that man-made greenhouse emissions will continue to warm, and eventually possibly even destroy, our planet.

I used to work in an environmental geology firm.  The environmental geologists I talked to about global warming all had two things in common.  1) They were highly educated regarding the earth, its structures and processes, and its climate, and 2) they were of the opinion that global warming was a myth.  The disagreement was not about the fact that the earth is getting warmer, which is a universally accepted fact among global warming proponents and opponents, alike, but the claim that the warming is being caused by humans.

In a December 2009 article in The New York Times, the author observes, “…warnings from the scientific community are becoming louder, as an increasing body of science points to rising dangers from the ongoing buildup of human-related greenhouse gases — produced mainly by the burning of fossil fuels and forests” (Revkin).  However, in the book Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, the authors, S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, state that, “The Earth is warming but physical evidence from around the world tells us that human-emitted CO2 (carbon dioxide) has played only a minor role in it.  Instead, the mild warming seems to be part of a natural 1,500-year climate cycle (plus or minus 500 years) that goes back at least one million years” (1).

Dr. Singer is an atmospheric and space physicist and professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia.  Avery is a former agricultural analyst for the United States Department of State.  They go on to say in their book that, “The Earth continually warms and cools.  The cycle is undeniable, ancient, often abrupt, and global.  It is also unstoppable.  Isotopes in the ice and sediment cores, ancient tree rings, and stalagmites tell us it is linked to small changes in the irradiance of the sun….The cycle shifts have occurred roughly on schedule whether  CO2  levels were high or low” (2).

There is evidence that the earth’s temperature is prone to cyclical fluctuations.  Even those scientists who warn against man-made greenhouse emissions do not dispute this fact.  Historical documents written by people experiencing climate change in history, as well as scientific data gathered from the sources stated above (ice, sediment, tree rings, etc.) show this to be true.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website supports this assertion:  “The Earth’s climate has changed throughout history. From glacial periods (or “ice ages”) where ice covered significant portions of the Earth to interglacial periods where ice retreated to the poles or melted entirely – the climate has continuously changed” (USEPA).

Physicist Spencer Weart is the former Director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics and the author of the book The Discovery of Global Warming, as well as the website by the same name.  In the 2009 article “Past Climate Cycles: Ice Age Speculations,” he states, “Toward the end of the 19th century, field studies by geologists turned up [a] fact…There had been not one Ice Age but several…The series of glacial periods had alternated with times of warmer climate, each cycle lasting many tens of thousands of years” (Weart).   He then goes on to say, “Most geologists concluded that the planet’s climate had at least two possible states. The most common condition was long temperate epochs, like the balmy times of the dinosaurs. Much rarer were glacial epochs like our own, lasting a few millions of years, in which periods of glaciation alternated with warmer ‘interglacial’ periods like the present.”

There are historical recordings of climactic warming in Roman times (200 B.C.-A.D. 600), a medieval warm period (also known as the medieval climate optimum or the medieval climatic anomaly) (900-1300), and a cooling in what is commonly referred to as the “Little Ice Age” (1300-1850)  (Singer and Avery 2). 

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change catalogs publications from the scientific community regarding “the climatic and biological consequences of the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content” on their website, CO2science.org.  Run by Craig D. Idso, who has an M.S. in agronomy (the science of soil management and the production of field crops), a Ph.D. in geography, and is the author of three books and the producer of three documentaries on carbon dioxide and the climate, the organization attempts to “separate reality from rhetoric” in the ongoing global warming debate.  Reports referenced by The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, from different experts in different fields of study, point time and again to the same conclusion:  global warming is not a new thing.  For example, in a study of sediment core from Lake Redon in Spain, the medieval warm period was categorized “with temperatures about 0.25°C warmer than it is currently” (Pla, S. and Catalan, J. 24: 263-278).  In a separate study in Apennines, Italy, on soil periglacial and glacial processes, it was estimated that temperatures in this area during the medieval warm period were “at least 0.9°C higher” than present day (Giraudi, C. 64: 176-184).   The people of the medieval era did not possess the technology or the population to impact greenhouse emissions like we do today.  So if it is not us, then what is causing this repetitive change in earth’s temperature?

The reason for global warming, many scientists exert, is not greenhouse emissions, but solar activity.  A Wall Street Journal article called “Science Has Spoken: Global Warming is a Myth,” explains:

“The temperature of the atmosphere fluctuates over a wide range, the result of solar activity and other influences. During the past 3,000 years, there have been five extended periods when it was distinctly warmer than today. One of the two coldest periods, known as the Little Ice Age, occurred 300 years ago. Atmospheric temperatures have been rising from that low for the past 300 years, but remain below the 3,000-year average (A. Robinson and Z. Robinson 2).”

That is not to say that the greenhouse effect is not a real thing.  Even without humans on the planet, plants and animals would contribute to the greenhouse effect, which is part of a natural cycle.  The National Climatic Data Center website states that:

The greenhouse effect is unquestionably real and helps to regulate the temperature of our planet. It is essential for life on Earth and is one of Earth’s natural processes. It is the result of heat absorption by certain gases in the atmosphere (called greenhouse gases because they effectively ‘trap’ heat in the lower atmosphere) and re-radiation downward of some of that heat. Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas, followed by carbon dioxide and other trace gases. Without a natural greenhouse effect, the temperature of the Earth would be about zero degrees F (-18°C) instead of its present 57°F (14°C). So, the concern is not with the fact that we have a greenhouse effect, but whether human activities are leading to an enhancement of the greenhouse effect by the emission of greenhouse gases through fossil fuel combustion and deforestation (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).”

The facts surrounding global warming have often been distorted or misrepresented.  It has been portrayed as the cause of all our current climactic catastrophes and the imminent cause of our doom.   Roy W. Spencer sums it up best in his book Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies That Hurt the Poor.  “Dramatic video of weather events that occur naturally every day suddenly becomes evidence for global warming.  Floods?  Global warming.  Droughts?  Global warming.  Ice calving off of glaciers and falling into the ocean?  Global warming.  Hurricanes?  Global warming.  Do you see a pattern here?  Global warming” (xiii).

In addition, in a Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change article titled “Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming, Where We Stand on the Issue,” the authors state, “In…considering the seven greatest temperature transitions of the past half-million years–three glacial terminations and four glacial inceptions–we note that increases and decreases in atmospheric CO2 concentration not only did not precede the changes in air temperature, they followed them, and by hundreds to thousands of years” (C.D. Idso and K.E. Idso).

I am not saying that we should not focus on minimizing negative human impact upon the environment.  Environmental consciousness and activism are always good ideas, and a reduction of fossil fuel emissions can only be beneficial for us all.  However, while we continue to work toward contributing to a healthier planet, let us also get our facts straight.  And the facts are these:  the earth’s temperature is cyclical, global warming has happened before, and global warming will happen again, whether we humans are here to witness it or not. 


global warming myth

Photo courtesy Jan K., Stock.Xchange

What do you think?  Do you agree with me that global warming is not caused by man, or do you think I’m hopelessly deluded and uninformed?  Either way, I’d like to hear from you:  post a comment and tell me how you feel.


Works Cited

C.D. Idso and K.E. Idso. “Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming, Where We Stand on the Issue.” The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. 1998. Web. 8 May 2010.

Giraudi, C. “Middle to Late Holocene Glacial Variations, Periglacial Processes and Alluvial Sedimentation on the Higher Apennine Massifs (Italy).” Quaternary Research. 2005. The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. 2010. Web. 8 May 2010.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Climatic Data Center. “Global Warming Frequently Asked Questions.” 20 Aug. 2008. Web. 10 Apr. 2010.

Pla, S. and Catalan, J. “Chrysophyte Cysts from Lake Sediments Reveal the Submillennial Winter/Spring Climate Variability in the Northwestern Mediterranean Region throughout the Holocene.” Climate Dynamics. 2005. The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. 2010. Web. 8 May 2010.

Pollan, Michael. “Why Bother?” The New York Times Magazine. 20 Apr. 2008. Beyond Words Cultural Texts for Reading and Writing. Ed. Lynn M. Huddon, Katharine Glynn, and Donna Campion. 2nd ed. New York: Longman, 2009. 507. Print.

Revkin, Andrew C. “Global Warming.” The New York Times. 8 Dec. 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2010.

Robinson Arthur B. and Robinson Zachary W. “Science Has Spoken:  Global Warming Is a Myth.” The Wall Street Journal. 4 Dec. 1997. Print.

Singer, Siegfried Fred and Avery, Dennis T. Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007. Print.

Spencer, Roy W. Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies That Hurt the Poor. New York: Encounter Books, 2008. Print.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. “Climate Change – Science.” 28 Sep. 2009. Web. 10 Apr. 2010.

Weart, Spencer. “Past Climate Cycles: Ice Age Speculations.” The Discovery of Global Warming. Oct. 2009. Web. 7 May 2010.

Cabbages, Kings, and Pigs with Wings

I don’t know what Lewis Carroll was smoking, but it must have been some pretty good stuff to come up with poetry like this… 

The Walrus and the Carpenter

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright–
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done–
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun!”

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead–
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
“If this were only cleared away,”
They said, “it would be grand!”

“If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head–
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat–
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more–
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed–
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”

“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
“After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!”
“The night is fine,” the Walrus said.
“Do you admire the view?

“It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf–
I’ve had to ask you twice!”

“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
“To play them such a trick,
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“The butter’s spread too thick!”

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

Read more of Lewis Carroll’s poetry at poemhunter.