Poetry Month – Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din”

Okay, maybe Kipling isn’t politically correct, but his heart was in the right place. It was a different time and a different world.

I can’t help it. I love this poem.

Please watch the video of this poem being recited perfectly. I got chills watching it!

That’s the glory of Victorian poetry. It was meant to be read aloud and enjoyed by the growing British middle classes as well as the aristocrats. They didn’t have Scandal or American Idol, but they had Kipling and “Gunga Din!”

Fyi, the name “Gunga Din” means “Spirit of the Ganges.”  So cool!  More chills!!

YOU may talk o’ gin an’ beer

When you’re quartered safe out ‘ere,

An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;

But if it comes to slaughter

You will do your work on water,

An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ‘im that’s got it.

Now in Injia’s sunny clime,

Where I used to spend my time

A-servin’ of ‘Er Majesty the Queen,

Of all them black-faced crew

The finest man I knew

Was our regimental bhisti, Gunga Din.

 

It was “Din! Din! Din!

You limping lump o’ brick-dust, Gunga Din!

Hi! slippy hitherao!

Water, get it! Panee lao!

You squidgy-nosed old idol, Gunga Din!”

 

The uniform ‘e wore

Was nothin’ much before,

An’ rather less than ‘arf o’ that be’ind,

For a twisty piece o’ rag

An’ a goatskin water-bag

Was all the field-equipment ‘e could find.

When the sweatin’ troop-train lay

In a sidin’ through the day,

Where the ‘eat would make your bloomin’ eyebrows crawl,

We shouted “Harry By!”

Till our throats were bricky-dry,

Then we wopped ‘im ’cause ‘e couldn’t serve us all.

 

It was “Din! Din! Din!

You ‘eathen, where the mischief ‘ave you been?

You put some juldee in it,

Or I’ll marrow you this minute,

If you don’t fill up my helmet, Gunga Din!”

 

‘E would dot an’ carry one

Till the longest day was done,

An’ ‘e didn’t seem to know the use o’ fear.

If we charged or broke or cut,

You could bet your bloomin’ nut,

‘E’d be waitin’ fifty paces right flank rear.

With ‘is mussick on ‘is back,

‘E would skip with our attack,

An’ watch us till the bugles made “Retire.”

An’ for all ‘is dirty ‘ide,

‘E was white, clear white, inside

When ‘e went to tend the wounded under fire!

 

It was “Din! Din! Din!”

With the bullets kickin’ dust-spots on the green.

When the cartridges ran out,

You could ‘ear the front-files shout:

“Hi! ammunition-mules an’ Gunga Din!”

 

I sha’n’t forgit the night

When I dropped be’ind the fight

With a bullet where my belt-plate should ‘a’ been.

I was chokin’ mad with thirst,

An’ the man that spied me first

Was our good old grinnin’, gruntin’ Gunga Din.

 

‘E lifted up my ‘ead,

An’ ‘e plugged me where I bled,

An’ ‘e guv me ‘arf-a-pint o’ water—green;

It was crawlin’ an’ it stunk,

But of all the drinks I’ve drunk,

I’m gratefullest to one from Gunga Din.

 

It was “Din! Din! Din!

‘Ere’s a beggar with a bullet through ‘is spleen; 65

‘E’s chawin’ up the ground an’ ‘e’s kickin’ all around:

For Gawd’s sake, git the water, Gunga Din!”

 

‘E carried me away

To where a dooli lay,

An’ a bullet come an’ drilled the beggar clean.

‘E put me safe inside,

An’ just before ‘e died:

“I ‘ope you liked your drink,” sez Gunga Din.

So I’ll meet ‘im later on

In the place where ‘e is gone—

Where it’s always double drill and no canteen;

‘E’ll be squattin’ on the coals

Givin’ drink to pore damned souls,

An’ I’ll get a swig in Hell from Gunga Din!

 

Din! Din! Din!

You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!

Tho’ I’ve belted you an’ flayed you,

By the livin’ Gawd that made you,

You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

 

Amazing Music !

I feel so honored. I had no idea that amazing singer-songwriters ever read my humble blog.

Earlier today I posted about one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Aimee Mann. I hesitated about posting because it seemed like I was getting a bit off topic.  After all, I’m the Crazy Bee Lady. 🙂

I am so glad I followed my heart instead of my head.

Two truly amazing musicians commented on my post, Padraig O’Connor and Anita Holt. I listened to their music and fell in love.

Here are my favorite videos.  I know you will enjoy them as much as I did!

Girl History Month – Aimee Mann, Singer-Songwriter

Aimee Mann

Aimee Mann

One of the best things about having my own Girl History Month is I can write about any Girl I like. I really like Aimee Mann.

In my humble opinion, one can’t have a Tumultuous Love Affair or Doomed Relationship With A Narcissist without Aimee’s songs as background music. Somehow, it makes it all worthwhile. 🙂

Enjoy the music and videos. You won’t regret it!!

A Bunch Of The Boys Were Whooping It Up …

malamute

I adore Robert W. Service, and his poems of the Arctic are fun reading this time of year. Here is one of my favorites!

The Shooting of Dan McGrew

A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o’-love, the lady that’s known as Lou.

When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and the glare,
There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.
He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse,
Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks for the house.
There was none could place the stranger’s face, though we searched ourselves for a clue;
But we drank his health, and the last to drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew.

There’s men that somehow just grip your eyes, and hold them hard like a spell;
And such was he, and he looked to me like a man who had lived in hell;
With a face most hair, and the dreary stare of a dog whose day is done,
As he watered the green stuff in his glass, and the drops fell one by one.
Then I got to figgering who he was, and wondering what he’d do,
And I turned my head — and there watching him was the lady that’s known as Lou.

His eyes went rubbering round the room, and he seemed in a kind of daze,
Till at last that old piano fell in the way of his wandering gaze.
The rag-time kid was having a drink; there was no one else on the stool,
So the stranger stumbles across the room, and flops down there like a fool.
In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;
Then he clutched the keys with his talon hands — my God! but that man could play.

Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,
And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could HEAR;
With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold,
A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold;
While high overhead, green, yellow and red, the North Lights swept in bars? —
Then you’ve a haunch what the music meant . . . hunger and night and the stars.

And hunger not of the belly kind, that’s banished with bacon and beans,
But the gnawing hunger of lonely men for a home and all that it means;
For a fireside far from the cares that are, four walls and a roof above;
But oh! so cramful of cosy joy, and crowned with a woman’s love —
A woman dearer than all the world, and true as Heaven is true —
(God! how ghastly she looks through her rouge, — the lady that’s known as Lou.)

Then on a sudden the music changed, so soft that you scarce could hear;
But you felt that your life had been looted clean of all that it once held dear;
That someone had stolen the woman you loved; that her love was a devil’s lie;
That your guts were gone, and the best for you was to crawl away and die.
‘Twas the crowning cry of a heart’s despair, and it thrilled you through and through —
“I guess I’ll make it a spread misere,” said Dangerous Dan McGrew.

The music almost died away . . . then it burst like a pent-up flood;
And it seemed to say, “Repay, repay,” and my eyes were blind with blood.
The thought came back of an ancient wrong, and it stung like a frozen lash,
And the lust awoke to kill, to kill . . . then the music stopped with a crash,
And the stranger turned, and his eyes they burned in a most peculiar way;

In a buckskin shirt that was glazed with dirt he sat, and I saw him sway;
Then his lips went in in a kind of grin, and he spoke, and his voice was calm,
And “Boys,” says he, “you don’t know me, and none of you care a damn;
But I want to state, and my words are straight, and I’ll bet my poke they’re true,
That one of you is a hound of hell . . . and that one is Dan McGrew.”

Then I ducked my head, and the lights went out, and two guns blazed in the dark,
And a woman screamed, and the lights went up, and two men lay stiff and stark.
Pitched on his head, and pumped full of lead, was Dangerous Dan McGrew,
While the man from the creeks lay clutched to the breast of the lady that’s known as Lou.

These are the simple facts of the case, and I guess I ought to know.They say that the stranger was crazed with “hooch”, and I’m not denying it’s so.I’m not so wise as the lawyer guys, but strictly between us two –The woman that kissed him and — pinched his poke — was the lady that’s known as Lou.

NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year again.  November 1.  A day that I both dread and anxiously anticipate.

On November 1, literally thousands of writers tackle the challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel in one month during an event known as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.

It’s hard to explain the program – and even harder to describe why anyone would sign up to create 1,667 words a day (that’s the pace you need to maintain to finish on time) – and yet it’s become phenomenally popular, with an estimated 300,000 writers from around the world participating this year.

This is my second year participating. Last year I completed a supernatural mystery entitled “Promises to the Dead”. I’m still editing it. That pesky cookbook “Cooking With Honey” got in my way.  🙂

NaNoWriMo began in 1991, the brainchild of freelance writer Chris Baty, with “20 other overcaffeinated yahoos,” in the San Francisco Bay Area. “We wanted to write novels for the same dumb reasons twentysomethings start bands,” Baty writes on the event’s Web site. “Because we wanted to make noise. Because we didn’t have anything better to do. And because we thought that, as novelists, we would have an easier time getting dates than we did as non-novelists.”

But a funny thing happened on the way to 50,000 words. They discovered the writing process was fun, something they hadn’t expected. It was like watching TV. “You get a bunch of friends together, load up on caffeine and junk food, and stare at a glowing screen for a couple of hours,” Baty writes. “And a story spins itself out in front of you.”

The next year, a friend created a web site, and 140 people participated, with 29 winners – as those who complete the 50,000 words by the Nov. 30 deadline are called. Since then, Baty’s turned the project over to the nonprofit Oakland-based Office of Letters and Light (supported by donations and corporate sponsors) and NaNoWriMo has grown to more than 500 official chapters around the world. Last year 256,618 people participated, with 36,843 winners.

Kids can get involved, too. More than 100 schools participated in the Young Writers Program in 2005, increasing to 2,000 last year.

Perhaps the most impressive number of all? The number of words officially logged during last year’s event: 3,074,068,446. (If you haven’t guessed yet, the Office of Letters and Light loves statistics and you can find all sorts of numbers on the web site.)

Another impressive number – although it’s listed only as “many” – are the NaNoWriMo winners who go on to publish novels. One of the most successful is Sara Gruen, author of the bestselling “Water for Elephants.”

Once you’ve registered on the Web site, you’re privy to all kinds of encouragement (and distraction, if you’re not disciplined). You can join a local group of writers, attend writing events (known as “write-ins”) and discuss your novel on various forums with writers from around the world.

This year I’m writing a supernatural thriller entitled “The Warlock of Wall Street.”  I’ll still be posting on Romancing the Bee, which is my first love.  Probably recipes containing lots of chocolate and caffeine…

Wish me luck!

Much of the above is reprinted courtesy of http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2012/11/01/aspiring-novelists-race-to-write-50000-words-during-nanowrimo/

Magnolias

I love Magnolia trees.  I have a huge one right next to my house. It’s in bloom now and smells heavenly!

Ode to Gertrude Jekyll

When I talk about English gardening, I’m referring to the style of garden created by Gertrude Jekyll, the British garden designer, writer and artist. It’s sometimes referred to as “cottage gardening.”

Gertrude Jekyll

Jekyll was part of the Arts and Crafts Movement, a broader movement in art, architecture, and crafts during the late 1800s which advocated a return to the informal planting style derived as much from the Romantic tradition as from the actual English cottage garden.

The Arts and Crafts Exhibition of 1888 began a movement toward an idealized natural country garden style. The garden designs of Jekyll were often associated with Arts and Crafts style houses. She was influenced by William Morris, one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts Movement.  She shared Morris’s mystical view of nature and drew on the floral designs in his textiles for her gardening style.

Here are some of her gardens, which are still thriving today:

Upton Grey

Barrington Court

Bois des Moutiers

I adore this gardening style, and so do my bees!

I will be providing some advice, gardening plans and personal experience on this blog, I hope inspired by my Gardening Guiding Spirit, the esteemed Ms. Jekyll.

For more on Gertrude Jekyll and the Victorian Gardening Movement, see The Garden Triumphant by David Stuart

Beehives in the Border