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Archive for the month “September, 2012”

For Dr. Becker: Steve’s Current Read – Parzival

Hello there everyone,

It seems like it was just the other day I was writing that remembrance for Dr. Shirley, and now another amazing professor of mine, Dr. Harald Becker, has passed after a recent battle with cancer.  He was a person with a passion for German heritage and literature, and he strived to help students see just how important everything he taught was in regards to life and living.  The class I took with him was completely dedicated to just reading the German novel Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach.  It’s a sad thing to have two such amazing people pass over the past month.

A photo of Dr. Harald Becker's Parzival class all in Parzival red

I was considering starting an official post in regards to what I’m reading at the time, not specifically poetry but whatever book I’m reading.  I actually have several in my stack of current reading, but I decided to pull Parzival off the shelf and give it another read through in light of Dr. Becker’s passing.

I want to include a short passage from a later section in the book:

Excerpt from Book XVI

Now Anfortas received these two joyously, and yet with signs of suffering.  He said, “I have bided in misery for you to come and make me glad. You left me before in such a way that, if you are sincere about helping me, you must regret. If ever praise was spoken of you, then prevail upon the knights and maidens here to give me death and let my agony end! If your name is Parzival, keep me from the sight of the Grail for seven nights and eight days, and then all my lamentations will cease. I do not dare give you any further hint. Blessing upon you if help is reported of you!– Your companion is a stranger here: I cannot have him standing before me. Why do you not allow him to go and rest?”

All in tears then, Parzival said, “Tell me where the Grail is kept here. If God’s goodness triumphs in me, this throng of people shall be witness to it.”

Then, facing in that direction, he genuflected thrice in honor of the Trinity, praying that help might be vouchsafed for this sorrowful man’s pain of heart. He rose to his feet again and said, “Uncle, what is it that troubles you?”

He, Who for Saint Sylvester’s sake brought a bullock back to life from the dead, and Who bade Lazarus rise, the Same gave help that Anfortas was healed and made well again.

Rest in Peace Dr. Becker and may whatever ails you be made well,

Stephen R.

Naomi Shihab Nye – “Alive”

Hey everyone out there,

Alright, I know this poem of the week is a little delayed, but for those who missed the tweet I put out, I wasn’t feeling well when I usually write up that post, so I decided to delay it to today. Anyway, this poem comes from Naomi Shihab Nye, a poet who I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and hearing read from the book I have of hers: Transfer.

I feel like a few of the poems I’ve posted lately have had a bit of a sad undercurrent to them, so I thought I’d liven things up a bit with this one. It makes me smile to read and I can recall hearing this one read by Naomi. I hope you all enjoy.


Dear Abby, said someone from Oregon,
I am having trouble with my boyfriend’s attachment
to an ancient gallon of milk still full
in his refrigerator. I told him it’s me or the milk,
is this unreasonable? Dear Carolyn,
my brother won’t speak to me
because fifty years ago I whispered
a monkey would kidnap him in the night
to take him back to his true family
but he should have known it was a joke
when it didn’t happen, don’t you think?
Dear Board of Education, no one will ever
remember a test. Repeat. Stories,
poems, projects, experiments,
mischief, yes, but never a test.
Dear Dog Behind the Fence, you really need
to calm down now. You have been barking every time
I walk to the compost for two years
and I have not robbed your house. Relax.
When I asked the man on the other side
if you bothered him too, he smiled and said no,
he makes me feel less alone. Should I be more
worried about the dog or the man?

– Naomi Shihab Nye

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