Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Lady of Shalott (by Tennyson)

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road run by
To many-tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil'd,
Slide the heavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early,
In among the bearded barley
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly;
Down to tower'd Camelot;
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy
The Lady of Shalott."

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot;
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad
Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
And sometimes through the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two.
She hath no loyal Knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
"I am half sick of shadows," said
The Lady of Shalott.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon'd baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armor rung
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn'd like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro' the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, burning bright,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow'd
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look'd down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack'd from side to side;
"The curse is come upon me," cried
The Lady of Shalott.

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining.
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And around about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance --
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right --
The leaves upon her falling light --
Thro' the noises of the night,
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.
For ere she reach'd upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame,
And around the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? And what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
All the Knights at Camelot;
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Red Rock Open Space

This is Red Rock Open Space off highway 24 near Manitou and Garden of the Gods, with fellow teachers Jenny and Eric and Jen's dog Baloo.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Upper Columbine Trail

Mt. Cutler was closed for maintenance - but we found other trails in the area. Thanks for coming down Carol - and sharing zucchini! We intensely examined and pondered tree sap, listened to the wind, talked about Sherman Alexie novels, Alzheimer's and lots of other things. I guess I talked her ear off. Then she drove home to a wildfire, which had also been a topic of conversation....

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Mom and I were walking the dogs and the little old hispanic lady across the street by the track compelled us to visit her on her shady porch because her family was out. She is 83 and lost her husband of 62 years this spring. She cried about it and went on telling us about various things in her life, often looking far into the distance with her memories while repeatedly forgetting our names and losing track of the conversation. I thought of my own grandmother down in Florence in the Veteran's home, silently comparing how well the two women of the same age were in terms of health and memory.

My neighbor never drove, so she walks to the store, although her son and other family that live with her or visit her disapprove, she said, worrying about her safety. Often her house is overrun with people and cars - she has 18 great-grandchildren. But at the moment she was alone. She said it gave her a chance to clean up the house and went on about a particularly messy room used by a grandson.

Today she was upset that she didn't have a cold drink to offer us, she said; Someone in her family was supposed to bring her some soda but they hadn't, and she was clearly disappointed or distressed. After awhile we left,having to excuse ourselves, as she would talk as long as we would sit and we were always eager to go on back to our homes.

And I went to my house across the street and contemplated if I should bring her a soda. I wanted one myself after being out in the heat, and I knew she must be sitting there wanting one, too. How terrible that I was contemplating it and not just doing it without a second thought. But here I was, thinking things like if it would upset her son who lives with her but wasn't home at the time, or if she has some medical problem that a soda would exacerbate, like the lady in Chocolat, or if I would make her feel bad by bringing it over.

But finally I went to my fridge, found I had two sodas left, and I got them both out, put one on my counter and took the other, went out my front door and across the street to give it to her. She came down to the fence to meet me. I gave her the soda and fresh tears came to her eyes.

"I was just sitting there praying to God for someone to give me a cold soda!"

I thought that was a funny prayer, and then followed that thought, "Well, why not pray to God for a cold soda?", but I just said, "Well,there you go, then," wondering if I was really the answer to a prayer for cold soda and still feeling pretty stupid about the whole thing. But her tears had taken me aback, made me uncomfortable that I did it and uncomfortable that I almost didn't.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Devil's Head Lookout

So today I met some IES friends at Devil's Head Lookout on Rampart Range Rd. for a hike. For the drive up, I went through Deckers and the remnants of the Hayman fire and it took about 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 hours. The hike took maybe two hours, and then for the drive home I stayed on Rampart Range Rd. down to Woodland Park - dirt all the way but I got home in about two hours.

After a 1.4 mile hike up, you go up these stairs to get to the lookout tower. A ranger is stationed there to look for forest fires.

Here is one view from the tower. There were some turkey vultures flying around, so if something looks like a bug, it is probably one of the vultures. Oh and you can buy a t-shirt from the ranger to prove you were in the tower, if you want. :) He also gives out these little cards to everyone that goes up there to prove you were there. And you can sign a log book. Some of the kids were busy signing it and I wanted to head down since I didn't know what to expect for the drive back down the dirt Rampart Range Rd.

I recommend the hike, but it does require some fitness to get to the top. Fast and easy down. I thought my niece and nephew were going to go with me, but they ended up having a birthday thing today. It was a long drive without company but I didn't really mind except briefly in the middle of Rampart Range Rd. when I hadn't seen another soul/car for many miles and a fair chunk of time. :) No one would know where to look for me. Did you ever read that Richard Bachman (Steven King) story about the roads that cut through time?

I would like to hike more but I need a partner; my mom would worry too much if I did it alone very much. So let me know if you want to go hiking sometime. I'm not going back to working Saturdays this fall - I am arranging to try to pick up near the same hours during the week after my regular work day - so Saturdays would be great!

Saw the moose at the Cheyenne Mt. Zoo yesterday.