Ellen Loudon

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Archive for the ‘poem’ Category

Carl Sagan – ‘A Glorious Dawn’ ft Stephen Hawking (Cosmos Remixed)

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big thinking on a day off


Written by ellenloudon

November 27, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Posted in links, music, poem, religion, stuff


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I am not sure what heaven is…there are some great biblical hints but it is an illusive place sometimes best understood by it’s antithesis.

Contemplating Hell

Contemplating Hell, as I once heard it,
My brother Shelley found it to be a place
Much like the city of London. I,
Who do not live in London, but in Los Angeles,
Find, contemplating Hell, that it
Must be even more like Los Angeles.

Also in Hell,
I do not doubt it, there exist these opulent gardens
With flowers as large as trees, wilting, of course,
Very quickly, if they are not watered with very expensive water. And fruit markets
With great leaps of fruit, which nonetheless

Possess neither scent nor taste. And endless trains of autos,
Lighter than their own shadows, swifter than
Foolish thoughts, shimmering vehicles, in which
Rosy people, coming from nowhere, go nowhere.
And houses, designed for happiness, standing empty,
Even when inhabited.

Even the houses in Hell are not all ugly.
But concern about being thrown into the street
Consumes the inhabitants of the villas no less
Than the inhabitants of the barracks.

Bertolt Brecht

Written by ellenloudon

January 24, 2008 at 8:26 am

Posted in poem

not emerging, drowning

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I have tried to come up for air
but it feels like someone has their foot on my head.
I keep gasping and waving but I think I am going under again.
If I swim like this — I seem to keep afloat, but it is painful and not my stroke.
If I swim like this — the foot goes back on again and I go under.

I am not emerging,
I am struggling.
I think I am drowning.

I am sitting in a pew with a sore bum.
I am trying to play nicely with boys.
I am trying to learn how to turn the machine on.
I am whispering into a yellow flower on a sandy beach.
I am not thin or pretty.
I am not softly spoken.
I am not very meek or mild.

I can see legs under the water.
They are kicking and kicking and not getting anywhere.
I wonder if I swim closer we could try and go up for air together?

Written by ellenloudon

September 6, 2007 at 5:39 pm

Posted in lament, poem

The Song of The Great Capitulation

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Long ago when I was a green beginner
I believed I was a special case.
(None of your ordinary run of the mill girls, with my looks and my talent, and my love of the higher things in life!)
And if I picked a hair out of my dinner
I would put the cook right in his place
(All or nothing. Anyhow, never the second best. I am the master of my Fate. I’ll take no orders from no one.)

Then a little bird whispered in my ear:
“That’s all very well, but wait a year
And you will join the big brass band
And with your trumpet in your hand
You’ll march in lockstep with the rest.

Then one day, look! The battalions wheel!
The whole thing swings from east to west!
And falling on your knees, you’ll squeal:
The Lord God, He knows best!
(But don’t give me that!)
And a month or two before that year was over
I had learned to drink their cup of tea.
(Two children round your neck, and the price of bread and what all!)
And the day soon came when I was to discover
They had me just where they wanted me.
(You must get in good with people. If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Don’t stick your neck out.)

And that little bird whispered in my ear:
“You didn’t even take a year!
And you have joined the big brass band
And with your trumpet in your hand
You marched in lockstep with the rest.

But one day, look! The battalions wheeled!
The whole thing swung from east to west!
And falling on your knees, you squealed:
The Lord God, He knows best!
(But don’t give me that!)”
Yes, our hopes are high, our plans colossal!
And we hitch our wagon to a star!
(Where there’s a will there’s a way. One can’t hold a good man down.)
We can move mountains, says St. Paul the great Apostle
And yet: how heavy one cigar!
(We must cut our coat according to our cloth.)

For that little bird whispers in your ear:
“That’s all very well but wait a year
And we will join the big brass band
We march in lockstep with the rest.

But one day, look! The battalions wheel!
The whole thing swings from east to west!
And falling on our knees, we squeal:
The Lord God, He knows best!
(But don’t give me that!)

Another poem by Brecht. Taken from Mother Courage

Written by ellenloudon

April 19, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Posted in poem


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WAS angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunnèd it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,
And into my garden stole,
When the night had veiled the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

by: William Blake (1757-1827)

Got so much to do. This week is the time I sit down with the PhD and assess where I am up to. My foe is not so much a person or a thing more a mindset that tells me that I can’t get all this done.

Written by ellenloudon

March 5, 2007 at 10:45 pm

Posted in PhD, poem

To the Students of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Faculty

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So there you sit. And how much blood was shed
That you might sit there. Do such stories bore you?
Well, don’t forget that others sat before you
who later sat on people. Keep your head!
Your science will be valueless, you’ll find
And learning will be sterile, if inviting
Unless you pledge your intellect to fighting
Against all enemies of all mankind.
Never forget that men like you got hurt
That you might sit here, not the other lot.
And now don’t shut your eyes, and don’t desert
But learn to learn, and try to learn for what.


I have been thinking about the privilege of learning. Particularly the sort of learning I am engaged with at the moment. I am tired and challenged but it is easy to take what I have here for granted.

Written by ellenloudon

January 10, 2007 at 4:50 pm

Posted in lament, poem

Ulm 1592

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Said the Tailor to the Bishop:
Believe me, I can fly.
Watch me while I try.
And he stood with things
That looked like wings
On the great church roof-
That is quite absurd
A wicked, foolish lie,
For man will never fly,
A man is not a bird,
Said the Bishop to the Tailor.

Said the People to the Bishop:
The Tailor is quite dead,
He was a stupid head.
His wings are rumpled
And he lies all crumpled
On the hard church square.

The bells ring out in praise
That man is not a bird
It was a wicked, foolish lie,
Mankind will never fly,
Said the Bishop to the People.

Brecht again

Written by ellenloudon

December 19, 2006 at 7:58 pm

Posted in poem, religion