Poem: The Swan

I wrote this in 2006, I believe.

The Swan

It was early in the morning,
Not long after sunrise,
That I was trudging to my workplace,
Crusty sleep in eyes;

My sagging head was lowly hung,
My face was bleak and wan,
And then at once bold in my path
Was stood a snow-white swan.

A mother warding her dear child
Destroyed my pensive mood
(The swanling doddled ‘tween her legs
Canal bank grass for food).

Her breast was out, her neck was stiff,
Her eyes that shone were keen,
Her form was strong, unmoving
Save her eyes that had me seen;

And nearer by a couple glid
So calm, and peaceful, free,
With pink mouths ope and trumpeting
Their happy song to me,

And there!
My gloomy wallow was forgot
As joy and bliss and truth begot.

© 2006 – 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Swan.spreads.wings.arp.jpg

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Poem: The Bluebells

Bluebell Wood

I wrote this in around 2004-2005. Walking around parkland, I rounded a corner near the Thames, and all-of-a-sudden I saw this field of bluebells. A transcendent feeling overtook me wholly. I was a firmly committed atheist by that point, had been for years.  None-the-less, the pantheistic language of this poem I felt appropriately captured the way I felt in that sublime moment when I felt like I was gifted this field of bluebells.

The Bluebells

I thank the lord my God I’m blessed
To see nature resplendent dressed,
All clad in richest purple hue,
The grass become a sea of blue;
And look what gently flutters by,
A wing that flashes golden eye,
As I amidst the long grass be,
Whilst golden sun shines down on me.
The heavens harken up above
To birds whose breasts resound with love,
A cool breeze makes the bluebells nod
To witness majesty of God.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://www.cotonmanor.co.uk/images/bluebells/bluebell_wood-coton_manor.jpg

The Greatest Frustration Duolingo Can Give… @duolingo #duolingo

… is when you get a sentence wrong because you idiotically made a mistake on the ENGLISH!! 😀

DuolingoFail

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

Semantic Satiation @thesfep

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Editing a student’s MSc dissertation earlier. For some reason, this Briton wrote using entirely American spelling. I read and corrected the word “behavior” so many times that I genuinely became skeptical that it was an English word at all; with or without the “u”, it seemed like a French word I had only just now come across. Yet I was sure I could remember using it five minutes previously and knowing what it meant.

Semantic Satiation, a not uncommon affliction when I edit people’s work. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

P.S. I can edit your work for you. HIRE ME NOW. I NEED TO EAT.

© 2016 Bryan. A. J. Parry

featured image from https://forums.sfep.org.uk/templates/sfep/images/sfep/sfep_banner_960x182.png

The Greatest Pleasure Duolingo Can Give… @duolingo #duolingo

…is when you finish one lesson but it refreshes more than one!

😀

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© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

Project Polyglot Parry IV: Reborn! / New Year’s Resolutions 2016 @irishpolyglot #newyearsresolution @resolutions

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New Year’s Resolution 2016: An Update

Project Polyglot Parry: my personal quest to turn myself into a multilingual maestro. But I haven’t really applied myself to the task well of late. So one of my major new year’s resolutions for 2016 is to get back on track with my language learning. Part one of which is to start regularly doing Duolingo in Spanish and Swedish again. Well, I have now started.

One of the best ways of sticking to personal goals is to tell everyone. This way, social stigma forces you to see it through. Consider yourselves told.

© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

 

 

Project Polyglot Parry III: January 2016 Update @irishpolyglot

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Project Polyglot Parry is me turning myself into a multilingual maestro. Unfortunately, despite being pretty regular on Duolingo, the graphic below(PROJECT Polyglot Parry March 2014) is still an accurate reflection of my language levels. How can that be possible? I’m where I was 22 months ago! Ah yes; a combo of not enough practice and not pushing myself enough when I do practice. Well, learning languages is on my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions, so I’ve got to get a grip. Enrolling on a class might be the way to force myself forward.

I don’t want to make excuses or put things off, but I am actually in the middle of several really important life things right now. I physically don’t have that much time. But I’m going to force myself to Duolingo again, effective immediate; I can do it on the bog (half an hour per language per day). Then I reckon in a couple of weeks or so, I can think about enrolling on classes and so on.

My ultimate goals for 2016 are to get myself the certificates and/or level of:

  • B1 TISUS level in Swedish,
  • B1 DELE in Spanish,
  • refresh my ancient Greek by successfully re-finishing Duff and then starting on Taylor’s GCSE to Greek I again,
  • Doing Portuguese Duolingo half an hour / two “disks” per day for the whole year.

As much as I’m keen on Basque — I’ve always loved the language, my wife is Basque, we have a house in the Basque Country –, I decided to only focus on learning that when I am certified C1 in Spanish.

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Polyglot Parry I
Polyglot Parry II

© 2015 – 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry

 

The True Meaning of Christmas #Yule #Christmas #TrueMeaningOfChristmas

spirit_of_yuleChristmas, Xmas, Noel, Yule. So many names. But why? Christmas: Christ-mass. That one’s simple enough. “X” is the first letter of the word Christ in Greek (Χριστος), hence Xmas. Noel comes from French, and ultimately the Latin, for “birth” [that is, of Jesus]. Yule, on the other hand, was originally the name for a heathen feast of around the same period in Northern Europe. Yule is therefore the homeborn English word.

But what is the true meaning of Christmas? Father Christmas, gifts, and feasting? Family, charity, peace on Earth? The baby Jesus?

As a non-Christian, I like to use Yule to consciously stand for the cultural, as opposed to religious, celebration. Why? Because “Christmas” is and always has been about more than just Christianity. The Church, in a rather savvy move, would often recast local heathen festivals in a Christian mould. And the winter festivities were no different. Therefore, the Christian aspect is but one part of the Christmas period. So why should I tacitly let Christians take the Christmas period as their own, let them dictate to me and the rest of society how, when, and why I should celebrate the period? Christmas is as much mine as it is a Christian’s. Eventually the word Yule fell out of use, except in some dialects, and was brought back to mainstream life in the nineteenth century. Therefore Christians can keep the word Christmas if they like; the rest of us have Yule.

I don’t celebrate Christmas. I celebrate Yule. Happy Yule, everybody!

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

article adapted from my article Yule and the Months posted at my blog Wrixlings.

featured image from http://americanhumanist.org/HNN/details/2012-12-out-with-christmas-in-with-yule

Shadow-outline @FiatLingua #conlang

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A nonce word is one made up on the spot, for the occasion — a one-off, one-time-use word, as it were. Recently I wanted to say “silhouette”, but the word would not come to mind — so instead, shadow-outline plopped out.

I was immediately struck with how elegant and self-explanatory this nonce word is. Since then I’ve tried slipping it into conversation, but that’s been quite hard — how often do we talk about “silhouettes”, in any case? But when I have used it, it seems to have gone down well. That is, nobody has noticed I’ve smuggled in a made-up word — and I seem to have been clearly understood(!)

So there we are. Shadow-outline. A nonce word worth keeping around, perhaps? (if I do say so myself) And it also does away with remembering how to spell that Frenchy word S-I-L-H-O-U-E-T-T-E.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

this post originally appeared on my other blog Wrixlings: https://wrixlings.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/shadow-outline/

featured image from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silhouette#/media/
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The Inevitability of Being (Poem)

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Poems are never completed, only abandoned, and I think I’ve just about given up on this one (it’s been fifteen months since I was able to edit it). So here we go! Constructive criticism is quite welcome (you might help kickstart my mind!).

The Inevitability of Being
Stephen King was asked: why the horror voice?
He replied: why d’you think I have a choice? 

Writers write ‘cos they don’t know how to not.
Pigs root in shite, and smile, for it’s their lot.
And time ticks down till end of all—just ‘cos.
But it’s not bad to revel in the what
You have unchange-inevit-ably got.

So hear me, world, this proclamation!
—declared outside of Barking station!

I make up languages no one can speak!
I love Sci-fi, lattes, and ancient Greek!
I crave cliff top vistas yet I hate heights!
The snoozing city stirs my soul at nights.

Hear me, world!
I need a pillow ‘tween my legs in bed!
Hear me, world!
I inevitably was — and now dead.

© 2013-2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://cdn3.whatculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/stephen-king.jpg