Ben Langhinrichs

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April, 2009
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Sun 19 Apr 2009, 07:51 PM
It may come as a bit of a surprise to some of you Twitter fans, but people have been writing short lines filled with meaning for centuries, and many of them even rhymed!  Yes, I am speaking of poetry.  Now, I suggested to a fellow blogger that perhaps the Lotus blogosphere is not quite ready for this sort of poetry, but he said that I should give it a try.  He might have even insinuated that the blogger community could use a bit of "high brow".

So, in the interest of balance, I want to offer a wonderful poem I read by an Irish mathematician and poet, and then my response poem (back then, response poems were all the rage).  If poetry doesn't suit you, think of them as Twitter storms that happen to rhyme.  These are the "tweets" I read and write when NOT on Twitter.



It is not Beauty I demandby George Darley  (Dublin, 1828)

It is not Beauty I demand,
  A crystal brow, the moon's despair,
Nor the snow's daughter, a white hand,
  Nor mermaid's yellow pride of hair.

Tell me not of your starry eyes,
  Your lips that seem on roses fed,
Your breasts where Cupid trembling lies,
  Nor sleeps for kissing of his bed.

A bloomy pair of vermeil cheeks,
  Like Hebe's in her ruddiest hours,
A breath that softer music speaks
  Than summer winds a-wooing flowers.

These are but gauds; nay, what are lips?
  Coral beneath the ocean-stream,
Whose brink when your adventurer sips
  Full oft he perisheth on them.

And what are cheeks but ensigns oft
  That wave hot youth to fields of blood?
Did Helen's breast though ne'er so soft,
  Do Greece or Ilium any good?

Eyes can with baleful ardor burn,
  Poison can breath that erst perfumed,
There's many a white hand holds an urn
  With lovers' hearts to dust consumed.

For crystal brows--there's naught within,
  They are but empty cells for pride;
He who the Syren's hair would win
  Is mostly strangled in the tide.

Give me, instead of beauty's bust,
  A tender heart, a loyal mind,
Which with temptation I could trust,
  Yet never linked with error find.

One in whose gentle bosom I
  Could pour my secret heart of woes.
Like the care-burdened honey-fly
  That hides his murmurs in the rose.

My earthly comforter! whose love
  So indefeasible might be,
That when my spirit won above
  Hers could not stay for sympathy. 





There, now that didn't hurt TOO much, did it.  Did anybody get this far?

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