Category: Poetry

Art and Fashion Enchant an English Palace

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Enchanted_palace_kensington Before embarking upon my recent trip to London with one of my best girlfriends, she told me she really wanted to visit a palace. Though Buckingham Palace does offer tours, it’s only during certain months, and it wasn’t available to us during our 3 days there, so I checked out what Kensington Palace had to offer.  I was so excited with what I found!

Not only do they offer tours through the State Apartments, but a theatre group called Wildworks  has been brought in to bring the rooms to life, not as it was, but an enchante d version that lets you get a *feel* for the lives of the seven princesses that once lived there. The Enchanted Palace is what Kensington Palace has become, through the fashion and art installation that tells their stories. 

(Image from http://ireallylikedaisies.blogspot.com/2010/10/enchanted-palace-seven-princesses-in.html)

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We started our visit with afternoon tea on the terrace of The Orangery, an 18th century building commissioned by Queen Anne (reign: 1702-14)  with French floor to ceiling windows overlooking a manicured garden.  “The building was supposed to serve as greenhouse for over-wintering exotic plant and citrus trees that ornamented the gardens in summer. Its accomplished interior decoration reflects the Orangery’s other uses as a ‘summer supper house’ and a place for entertainment.” 

The only hints toward the Enchanted Nature of what awaited were: 1) the design printed atop a chocolate tea cake and 2) the whimsical archway at the garden entrance.

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The Words of Inauguration Day – Poetry

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The power of words and of music, of culture, of prayer, and of history were felt today. President Obama's speech is available online, but I couldn't find Elizabeth Alexander's poem, or the Benediction Prayer, so here they are, transcribed by me, to the best of my ability!

Only the coolest presidents had poets…

Alexander will be only the fourth poet to read at a presidential swearing in. Robert Frost read for President John F. Kennedy, and Maya Angelou and Miller Williams read at President Clinton's inaugurations.”

(According to http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/12/20/DD0C14R9NL.DTL&feed=rss.entertainment)

Elizabeth Alexander’s

Praise song for the day

Each day we go about our business and pass each other

Catching each other’s eyes or not,

About to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise.

All about is noise and bramble, thorn and din.

Each one of our ancestors on our tongues.

 

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,

Repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum, with cello, boombox, harmonica, voice.

 

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky.

A teacher says “take out your pencils, begin”

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed

Words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone

and then others who said "I need to see whats on the other side,"

"I know there’s something better down the road,"

"We need to find a place where we are safe"

We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

 

Say it plain, that many have died for this day.

Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,

Who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

Picked the cotton and the lettuce,

built brick by brick the glittering edifices

they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle

Praise song for the day

Praise song for every hand-lettered sign

The figuring it out at the kitchen tables

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thyself"

Others by "First do no harm" or

"Take no more than you need".

What if the mightiest word is "love"?
Love beyond marital, filial, national.

Love that casts a widening pool of light

Love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

 

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air

Anything can be made.

Any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp.

Praise song for walking forward in that light.

The Words of Inauguration Day – Benediction

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Dr. Joseph E Lawry’s Benediction

 

God of our weary years

God of our silent tears

God who has brought us thus far along the way

Thou who has by thy might led us into the light

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, oh God, where we met thee.

Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand.

True to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day.

We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant,

Barack Obama the 44th President, of these United States, his family, and his administration.

He has come to this high office in a low moment

in the national and indeed the global fiscal climate.

But because we know you ‘got the whole world in your hands’,

We pray for not only our nation but for the community of nations.

 

Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills,

For we know that Lord you’re able, and willing

to work through faithful leadership to restore stability,

mend our brokenness, heal our wounds,

and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, (or the least of these),

And from favoritism toward the rich, (the elite of these).

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th President,

to inspire our nation to believe that Yes We Can work together

to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed, (the wind of greed) and corruption,

and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption,

we seek forgiveness, and we come to spirit of unity and solidarity to commit

our support to our president

by our willingness to make sacrifices,

we respect your creation to turn to each other and not on each other.

 

And now Lord, in the complex arena of human relations,

help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate,

On the side of inclusion, not exclusion

Tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family.

Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosque, wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, first lady Michele, look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

 

We go now to walk together, children,

Pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficulties ahead.

We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power, and your heart of love.

 

Help us then now Lord to work for that day

when nations shall not lift sword against nation,

When tanks get beaten into tractors,

When every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree

and none shall be afraid

When justice will roll down like water and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labor rest

Joy of a new beginning,

we ask you to help us work for that day when:

Black will not be asked to get back

When brown can stick around

When yellow will be mellow

When the red man can get ahead, man

And white will embrace what is right

Will all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen, say Amen, and Amen.