Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Mediterranean Black Bean and Garbanzo Bean Salad

We're in the process of using up what we have in the cupboard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today's recipe uses a couple of cans of beans as well as some fresh ingredients.

When I saw the pin on Pinterest for a Mediterranean Black Bean and Garbanzo Bean Salad, it leads to Yummly. However, the entre recipe doesn't show up. After I made the salad and looked back later at the Yummly website, I realized there is a link for the full directions.

We liked the flavor of the dressing, mint, and parsley combine with the different textures of the beans and onions. I think adding the feta cheese, avocado, and red pepper would definitely add more texture and flavor to the salad. I would use all these ingredients the next time I make this salad.


1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup diced red onion
feta cheese, optional but delicious (I didn't see this ingredient in the link, so didn't include it. I would next time)
1 medium avocado, chopped (I didn't see this ingredient in the link, so didn't include it. I would next time)
1 red pepper, chopped (I didn't see this ingredient in the link, so didn't include it. I would next time)


2 cloves of minced garlic
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon honey


In a large bowl, dump in rinsed and drained black beans, garbanzo beans, diced red onions, and chopped red pepper. Add in avocado.

Pour in fresh lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and garlic.

Then add chopped mint and parsley.

Gently toss to combine, making sure to incorporate the dressing in the bottom of the bowl.

Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to meld together.

Toss gently. Sprinkle feta on top if desired. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Hummus and Veggie Wrap

I'm continuing to try a variety of new recipes that I've pinned on Pinterest including this one for a
Hummus and Veggie Wrap that led to Big Oven.

It's an easy recipe to make - just slicing lots of vegetables. I did not warm the wrap on the grill as instructed since the wrap was rather than compared to the one pictured on the pin.


1 whole wheat wrap
1 leaf lettuce (such as green leaf lettuce)
2 slices tomato
1/4 c. bell pepper; julienned
1/4 c. cucumber; julienned
1/8 c. red onion; sliced
4 T hummus (we had caramelized onion and garlic/dill for our two choices)
1/8 c. sun-dried tomatoes


Warm wrap on the grill.

Place all items on the table for people to create their own custom sandwiches.

On bottom of wrap, spread an even layer of hummus and the sun-dried tomatoes, top with peppers, onion, cucumber, lettuce and tomato then wrap tightly. Serve cut in half on a bias.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

More Window Stars for Easter

I made some more window stars since I'm finding I have a bit more time because of the stay-at-home order in Minnesota. It has been fun to try some new patterns that I've pinned on my Pinterest board.

This is a closer look at the left side of the window:

This is a closer look at the right side of the window:

The first window star that I tried was a pin that led to an image.

I used 3"x5" paper because I couldn't figure out the size from just looking at the image. Maybe trying a larger square would create the star - perhaps a 4" or 5" square. My version, in pink, looks different than the yellow star, but that's fine. I'm happy with it.


Next, I made a purple star from a pin that led to Meinesvenja:

I used 3"x3" square paper for this window star and it came out just as the image above.


Next, I made a gold star using the pattern below. It came from a pin that led to Origami Maniacs.

This is my version of the window star:


I found another pattern I liked on Pinterest that led to Origami Maniacs.

It didn't turn out exactly like the instructions. It's kind of difficult without knowing the paper size since even something that's off by 1/4" or 1/2" can substantially change the way the final window star looks. 


I've had my eye on this pattern for a while because the points are different at the tips than other stars I've made. Since it's Spring and almost Easter, I chose lime-green paper for this 16-point star. The pattern is from Deschdanja.

This is my version:


Last, I tried this pattern. The pin doesn't lead to an image, so I just followed the directions on the left side of the image. It does not even come close to the image on the right. If I had looked closer at the directions, I would have noticed that before starting.

What's interesting is that when folding the points, they end up much smaller at the center so instead of 8 points, 16 points are needed to make the window star.

Even though the window star didn't come out even close to the image of the red star, it's fine. I still have a pretty star for our Spring/Easter window. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Window Stars for Easter

I made three new window stars for Easter as part of my 2020 goals. Although I'm no longer making window stars to sell through my Etsy shop due to continued pain from the car accident in November 2018, I still like to make window stars here and there for holidays.

The first one is a blue window star that I saw on Pinterest. I realized that I had already tried this pattern when I looked at the pin. (I made it in red the first time I made this window star.)

My version of this star for Easter is in pink and is made from 3"x5" paper:

The second pattern I tried, also a pin on Pinterest, I also used 3"x5" paper. Once I got to the third step (pictured on the left below), the folds were a bit more challenging due to the multiple layers of paper. Perhaps a larger size paper would have been easier to fold (maybe 4"x6"). 

I made this star in yellow so all the details could be seen in the points. With a darker paper, the details would have been lost. 

The third pattern is one that Olivia tried and she wanted to see if I could make because her window star didn't turn out like she wanted it to look. The pattern is pinned and leads to a video on YouTube:

This paper uses 8 squares that are 3 1/4" x 3 1/4". This is how my window star turned out using the pattern on the video:

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Yesterday, I saw a pin on Pinterest for Mediterranean Couscous Salad that led to Jessica Gavin. Made it for dinner and it was very good. It reminded me of my Tabouli recipe that I've made for many years. There are some minor ingredient differences, but nothing too major. This recipe could use a bit more dressing (maybe a double batch). Other than it, it has a nice flavor.



1 cup water

1 cup instant couscous

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


½ cup diced roma tomato, ¼-inch dice

½ cup diced english cucumber, seeds removed, ¼-inch dice

½ cup diced red bell pepper, ⅛-inch dice

½ cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup minced red onion

½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

2 tablespoons feta cheese

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon chopped mint

1 teaspoon chopped basil

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

Lemon Dressing

1 teaspoon lemon zest (I didn't include this since I used bottle lemon juice)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil



Bring water, salt, and olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous and stir quickly. Turn off the heat and cover.

Let couscous stand until tender, 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork and let cool.


Combine couscous, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, garbanzo beans, red onion, olives, cheese, parsley, mint, basil, and oregano in a medium bowl.

Lemon Dressing

Whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and whisk until a thickened dressing forms.

Pour dressing over the couscous salad, stir to combine.


For a 2/3 cup serving, there about 203 calories.

This recipe makes enough to serve six people.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Artist/Picture Study - M. C. Escher

Olivia is working on her artist/picture study this year and currently is learning about M.C. Escher. According to Wikipedia, "Maurits Cornelis Escher (June 17, 1898 – March 27, 1972) was a Dutch graphic artist who made mathematically-inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. Despite wide popular interest, Escher was for long somewhat neglected in the art world, even in his native Netherlands. He was 70 before a retrospective exhibition was held. In the twenty-first century, he became more widely appreciated, with exhibitions across the world.

"His work features mathematical objects and operations including impossible objects, explorations of infinity, reflection, symmetry, perspective, truncated and stellated polyhedra, hyperbolic geometry, and tessellations.

"Early in his career, he drew inspiration from nature, making studies of insects, landscapes, and plants such as lichens, all of which he used as details in his artworks. He traveled in Italy and Spain, sketching buildings, townscapes, architecture and the tilings of the Alhambra and the Mezquita of Cordoba, and became steadily more interested in their mathematical structure.

"Escher's work is inescapably mathematical. This has caused a disconnect between his full-on popular fame and the lack of esteem with which he has been viewed in the art world. His originality and mastery of graphic techniques are respected, but his works have been thought too intellectual and insufficiently lyrical.

"In his early years, Escher sketched landscapes and nature. He also sketched insects such as ants, bees, grasshoppers, and mantises, which appeared frequently in his later work. His early love of Roman and Italian landscapes and of nature created an interest in tessellation.

"Although Escher did not have mathematical training—his understanding of mathematics was largely visual and intuitive—his art had a strong mathematical component, and several of the worlds that he drew were built around impossible objects. After 1924, Escher turned to sketching landscapes in Italy and Corsica with irregular perspectives that are impossible in natural form.

"Escher often incorporated three-dimensional objects such as the Platonic solids such as spheres, tetrahedrons, and cubes into his works, as well as mathematical objects such as cylinders and stellated polyhedra.

"Escher's special way of thinking and rich graphics have had a continuous influence in mathematics and art, as well as in popular culture."

Below are six works of art that M.C. Escher created and what Olivia remembered about them after studying them for a while.


Woodcut, February 1952

Olivia remembered: 
- In the picture, there's a puddle and tracks from cars and people and maybe some bikes.
- The mud looks like it is a few days old. It looks like it has had a few days to dry and isn't super wet.
- The reason I say that it has had a few days to dry, because the tracks are very defined - you can see how the mud has squished up into the tires and into the different patterns of the tires. 
- The puddle - you can see the reflection of trees in the puddle. You can see some pine trees and a deciduous tree that has kept some of its leaves or has fruit on it. 
- You can see some spiky things on it - some type of flower or prickly fruit. 
- The people's tracks - the ones on the right side - are walking in one direction and the other set is walking in the other direction.
- You can tell there's a dip in the ground, you can see the tracks of the car go down, then the puddle, and then back up. 
- In the upper left hand corner you can see his signature. 
- Mostly blacks and light brown or tan and then a white or grayish white are in the picture. There are no bright colors in it. 
- You can see where water has seeped into some of the footprints. 
- It must be nighttime (because of the moon). The moon is really well hidden. It is a full moon. 


Lithograph and Watercolor, June 1952

Olivia remembered: 
- It's interesting. At first glance, it looks like a five-pointed star. You know how you cut out a star, then place another five-pointed star on that. Then there's another point sticking out of that. So, it's like a 12-pointed star.
- All of the points have four sides and on each of the four sides you have a little window.
- Sticking out of the windows - a head and three or four limbs. It's interesting because some of the limbs have claws or fingers - I don't know what to call them - and with the ones that have five, there isn't an opposable thumb. The finger is right next to the other ones.
- Some of them only have three toes. 
- The colors of these strange animals that have a head that looks like a long-necked dinosaur or the Loch Ness monster are green, yellow, blue, red, orange, and like a magenta or purple.
- The animals kind of look like they are trapped within the points and their limbs are sticking out of the windows. 
- They are all kind of bent - like how you would bend your knee. Like you are in a crab-walk position. The hands are kind of like that too. 
- The faces have an eye that is on the side of their head - they are not predators, they would be prey animals. 
- They have a wavy line on the side of their face and below that would be where their mouth opens.
- The star looks like it is made out of metal and looks like it is a gray metal. Could be steel. 


Lithograph, 1955

Olivia remembered: 
- In the picture, there is a scroll and starting at the bottom of the scroll, part of it is still rolled up, and you can see triangles. There are three dark ones and four lighter ones. The light ones are inverted so they fit in between. 
- This pattern is repeated except as you go up, the triangles look less triangular and they have more wavy sides. 
- The third row, they look like poop emojis except without the face. 
- As you keep going up, the triangles are starting to become birds. 
- As you keep going up, the birds become more detailed. 
- At the very top, there is a lot of detail in them. 
- You can tell that these birds are looking in different directions - some are looking to the left and some are looking to the right. You can see that especially in the top row. 
- It's black and white, but the parchment is like a cream color almost and a hint of that is mixed in with the gray. 
- You kind of wonder if the rest of scroll would have the normal triangles. 
- The birds are slowly becoming free from the standard triangle. You can see the change taking place in it. 


Three Worlds
Lithograph, December 1955

Olivia remembered: 
- In the picture, it looks like there is a lake or pond and the season is Fall because there are a bunch of leaves on the lake. 
- The leaves look like they come from an oak, maple, and birch tree. 
- Beneath the surface of the water, you can see a fish. He's a big fish, but he's close enough to the surface that you can see his eyes, individual scales, and his whiskers. 
- Further in the back of the picture, you can see three trees and their reflection in the water. 
- The entire picture is done in black and white, and you can see the gray tone - where the white meets the black. 
- The leaves at the front of the picture have a lot of detail in them. 
- I think the meaning of the picture is that you have one world that is right beneath the surface, then you have one at the surface level (where the leaves and fish are), and then you have the trees - and because the trees reach towards the sky, it is saying the third world is the sky. 
- The trees are bare and don't have any leaves because they have all fallen down. You only see the reflection of the trees. 
- It looks like it is during the day, you don't see any reflection of the sun or moon. You can just tell it is much lighter - either the morning or daytime, or early evening. 


Lithograph, October 1961

According to Wikipedia, "The two towers of Waterfall's impossible building are topped with compound polyhedra, one a compound of three cubes, the other a stellated rhombic dodecahedron now known as Escher's solid."

Olivia remembered: 
- Very interesting picture. This picture has a house as the main feature and part of the house is a watermill. The other half looks like it is the actual living part of it. There looks like there's a patio wit ha person outside hanging up laundry. 
- This house looks like it is built in a mini-crevice or canyon because there are doors and stairs that go down.
- This house looks like it is meant to be under water. There is a garden that looks like it is full of sea coral. 
- The waterfall in this feature that looks like it goes down, but it is pumped back up to keep the waterfall going. 
- The parts where the corners meet is like an archway with four pillars. These are like the connection points. 
- The top of these arches are made out of brick and it looks like they have some nice detail to them. 
- The background looks like it is on a cliff with seating that looks natural or a really big amphitheater where someone tried to cut out benches, but didn't do a good job with keeping them all even. 
- In between these seating arrangements, there are like gardens and plants, so it makes it look like this little area was under water. 
- It has a black and white theme with a hint of tan or light brown.
- On top of the towers, there is a boxy pointy thing that looks like an important piece of something. 
- You don't see any actual doors, you just see the archways that are rounded. 
- The windows are just the normal square or rectangle shape. 


Lithograph, July 1953

Olivia remembered: 
- This is the kind of picture that you have to turn every which way to make sense of it. 
- It's interesting because there is a person on almost every single staircase. 
- It's interesting because you can kind of follow where the stairs go and where they connect. There are other ones that connect, but you aren't sure how they connect. 
- There's one person who is carrying a pot and it looks like there is either a plant or water in it. 
- There's another person who has a tray and it looks like it came from serving a couple at a table, and he has a champagne or wine bottle on it. 
- These people look like they aren't wearing a lot of clothes, but they don't have faces. 
- There are a couple of people who are just sitting - one is sitting on a bench and another person who is taking a break on the stairs. 
- There is one person who is coming up the stairs and there is a sack over his shoulders. 
- This entire picture looks like it was done with a pen.
- It kind of looks like a medieval castle set-up because you have the wooden doors and stone arches. 
- The entire picture is black and white with gray.
- His artist signature is at the upper left-hand corner. 
- There are balconies and patios, and there is a garden on one side, and a restaurant with an outside dining area. 
- You have where a couple is walking, there is a tree by them and it looks like made out of coral.
- There is a staircase that leads up and then it has an arch at the top of it. Above the arch is another staircase. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Poet/Poetry Study - John Greenleaf Whittier

Olivia is continuing with the poet and poetry study this year. This week we focused on John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) who was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. He was listed as one of the Fireside Poets, and was influenced by Robert Burns, a Scottish poet.

Whittier was first introduced to poetry by a teacher. His sister sent his first poem, "The Exile's Departure", to the Newburyport Free Press without his permission. This poem was published on June 8, 1826.

Whittier attended Haverhill Academy, and needed to raise money to do so. Whittier became a shoemaker for a time, and a deal was made to pay part of his tuition with food from the family farm. Before his second term, he earned money to cover tuition by serving as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. He attended Haverhill Academy from 1827 to 1828 and completed a high school education in only two terms.

During the 1830s, Whittier became interested in politics but, after losing a Congressional election in 1832 at age of 25, he suffered a nervous breakdown and returned home.

In 1833, Whittier published the anti-slavery pamphlet Justice and Expediency, and from there dedicated the next twenty years of his life to the abolitionist cause.

Around 1845, the stresses of editorial duties, worsening health, and dangerous mob violence caused Whittier to have a physical breakdown. Whittier went home to Amesbury, and remained there for the rest of his life, ending his active participation in abolition.

Below are six poems written by John Greenleaf Whittier. Olivia's thoughts about the poems follow each one.

An Easter Flower Gift

O dearest bloom the seasons know,
Flowers of the Resurrection blow,
Our hope and faith restore;
And through the bitterness of death
And loss and sorrow, breathe a breath
Of life forevermore!

The thought of Love Immortal blends
With fond remembrances of friends;
In you, O sacred flowers,
By human love made doubly sweet,
The heavenly and the earthly meet,
The heart of Christ and ours!

Olivia thought:
- Definitely has the Spring beginning, Easter, new-growth kind of feel.
- Follows a rhyming pattern for most poetry.
- You don't expect the part about bitterness of death.
- This maybe would be something you would hear at church.
- The first stanza talks about Jesus's resurrection and how people felt before and during his death; and then how they felt when he was resurrected.
- I like some of the parts and there are other parts that I don't like as much.



Dry the tears for holy Eva,
With the blessed angels leave her;
Of the form so soft and fair
Give to earth the tender care.

For the golden locks of Eva
Let the sunny south-land give her
Flowery pillow of repose,
Orange-bloom and budding rose.

In the better home of Eva
Let the shining ones receive her,
With the welcome-voiced psalm,
Harp of gold and waving palm!

All is light and peace with Eva;
There the darkness cometh never;
Tears are wiped, and fetters fall,
And the Lord is all in all.

Weep no more for happy Eva,
Wrong and sin no more shall grieve her;
Care and pain and weariness
Lost in love so measureless.

Gentle Eva, loving Eva,
Child confessor, true believer,
Listener at the Master's knee,
"Suffer such to come to me."

Oh, for faith like thine, sweet Eva,
Lighting all the solemn river,
And the blessings of the poor
Wafting to the heavenly shore!

Olivia thought:
- Well, it is definitely talking about one person: Eva.
- It sounds like it is talking about her death and her life before she died.
- It also talks about her rebirth in heaven.
- Someone who is very close to her - like a family member - would be saying this poem.
- In the third stanza, it sounds like the angels are welcoming her to heaven.
- I think I like this one better than the other one. It was kind of easier to figure out.



Dream not, O Soul, that easy is the task
Thus set before thee. If it proves at length,
As well it may, beyond thy natural strength,
Faint not, despair not. As a child may ask
A father, pray the Everlasting Good
For light and guidance midst the subtle snares
Of sin thick planted in life's thoroughfares,
For spiritual strength and moral hardihood;
Still listening, through the noise of time and sense,
To the still whisper of the Inward Word;
Bitter in blame, sweet in approval heard,
Itself its own confirming evidence:
To health of soul a voice to cheer and please,
To guilt the wrath of the Eumenides.

Olivia thought:
- That one was certainly interesting. It is very different from the other two.
- This was harder to understand.
- It was a little confusing.
- It seemed very sad or dismal.



For the bass-relief by Preston Powers, carved upon the huge boulder in Denver Park, Colorado, and
representing the Last Indian and the Last Bison.

The eagle, stooping from yon snow-blown peaks,
For the wild hunter and the bison seeks,
In the changed world below; and finds alone
Their graven semblance in the eternal stone.

Olivia thought:
- Talking about the changes the world has gone through and the eagle is observing it.
- The eagle is seeing how much the world has changed because he no longer sees any of his friends.
- The poem is melancholy.
- I was surprised that the only thing that the eagle found was a stone monument that showed the pictures or carvings of the bison and Native American hunter.
- I think I like Eva first and then this poem second.


The Jubilee Singers

Voice of a people suffering long,
The pathos of their mournful song,
The sorrow of their night of wrong!

Their cry like that which Israel gave,
A prayer for one to guide and save,
Like Moses by the Red Sea's wave!

The stern accord her timbrel lent
To Miriam's note of triumph sent
O'er Egypt's sunken armament!

The tramp that startled camp and town,
And shook the walls of slavery down,
The spectral march of old John Brown!

The storm that swept through battle-days,
The triumph after long delays,
The bondmen giving God the praise!

Voice of a ransomed race, sing on
Till Freedom's every right is won,
And slavery's every wrong undone!

Olivia  thought:
- That was interesting. I thought it would be happier because of its title (Jubilee Singers).
- It talks a lot about righting wrongs that have been done.
- They are talking about the slaves and how they cried out to have someone save them.
(We looked up John Brown and his view of slavery. Comments follow what we read:)
- The next two stanzas are about people fighting to free the slaves.
- Ultimately the goal is to end slavery.
- I feel better about the title, but I still would pick a different one.


The Light that is Felt

A tender child of summers three,
Seeking her little bed at night,
Paused on the dark stair timidly.
"Oh, mother! Take my hand," said she,
"And then the dark will all be light."

We older children grope our way
From dark behind to dark before;
And only when our hands we lay,
Dear Lord, in Thine, the night is day,
And there is darkness nevermore.

Reach downward to the sunless days
Wherein our guides are blind as we,
And faith is small and hope delays;
Take Thou the hands of prayer we raise,
And let us feel the light of Thee!

Olivia thought:
- It sounds like the kids are afraid of the dark.
- She (the little girl) is seeking comfort from her mom.
- The older kids are seeking comfort from the Lord.
- The third one is about adults asking or praying for help from God.
- It goes from the youngest to the oldest in the poem.
- I liked the poem about slavery more and the meaning behind it.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Vegan Thai Peanut Wraps

I was looking for a good vegetarian recipe and came across a pin that led to Raw Juice Guru for Thai Peanut Wraps. The wraps have a wonderful blend of textures and flavors, and an amazingly delicious peanut sauce that's easy and quick to make.

We have been using the mixture as both a filling for the wraps and a salad. For both, we drizzle the sauce on top of the mixture. For the wrap, we do this before rolling them up.

The only recommendation would be is to add the peanuts to each wrap right before making them so that they don't get soft in refrigerator if there is leftovers.


For the Thai Peanut Wraps

4 cups cabbage, shredded
1½ cups carrots, shredded (about 5 large carrots. However, I use pre-shredded carrots)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup edamame, cooked and shelled (I didn't include this)
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup green onions, chopped
½ cup honey-roasted peanuts (I used plain, salted peanuts)
1 cup wonton strips (I didn't include this since it wasn't available at the grocery store. Instead, I added another 1/2 cup of peanuts)
5 Gluten free wraps or you can use collard if you like (I used wraps)

For the Peanut Sauce

2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp garlic, minced
¼ cup peanut butter (I doubled this since the sauce was a bit on the thin/runny side)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes


For the Peanut Sauce

Using a small mixing bowl, add rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, and garlic. Whisk until well combined.

Add the peanut butter, salt, and red pepper flakes. Whisk until smooth.

For the Thai Peanut Wraps

Using a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the wraps. Mix until well combined.

Divide the mixture evenly between the wraps.

Drizzle Peanut Sauce on top and then roll up flatbreads; cut in half before serving.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Poetry Study - John Donne

Olivia is working on continuing her poetry study that we began in 2012. We haven't been consistent with it as I had hoped. However, both Sophia and Olivia have been introduced to a variety of poets.

Today's focus is John Donne. From Wikipedia: John Donne was born on January 22, 1572 and lived until March 31, 1631. He "was an English scholar, poet, soldier and secretary born into a Catholic family, a remnant of the Catholic Revival, who reluctantly became a cleric in the Church of England.

"He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets. His poetical works are noted for their metaphorical and sensual style and include sonnets, love poems, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires. He is also known for his sermons.

"Despite his great education and poetic talents, Donne lived in poverty for several years, relying heavily on wealthy friends. He spent much of the money he inherited during and after his education on womanizing, literature, pastimes, and travel.

"In 1601, Donne secretly married Anne More, with whom he had twelve children. In 1615, he was ordained as a deacon and then an Anglican priest, although he did not want to take Holy Orders and only did so because the king ordered it. He also served as a member of Parliament in 1601 and in 1614."

Below are six poems that I read to Olivia. She and I talked about them and she shared some of her thoughts about each one.


The Flea

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do.

Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, nay more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, w'are met,
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that, self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.

Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and say'st that thou
Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;
’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:
Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.

Olivia's thoughts:
- That's a lot of "thee"'s!
- I guess it talks about how evil fleas are and that they shouldn't exist.
- Fleas don't stay on one person - they go from person to person.
- It is kind of a confusing poem.
- The second stanza doesn't seem to have anything to do with fleas. It is more about the marriage.


No Man is an Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

Olivia's thoughts:
- No one is alone and they are all part of something else or connected to one another.
- Any loss is painful for him.
- When someone dies, a person mourns and feels less than. A piece of that person is gone.
- When the bell tolls means when someone dies.
- I like this poem better than The Flea.


The Apparition

When by thy scorn, O murd'ress, I am dead
And that thou think'st thee free
From all solicitation from me,
Then shall my ghost come to thy bed,
And thee, feign'd vestal, in worse arms shall see;
Then thy sick taper will begin to wink,
And he, whose thou art then, being tir'd before,
Will, if thou stir, or pinch to wake him, think
Thou call'st for more,
And in false sleep will from thee shrink;
And then, poor aspen wretch, neglected thou
Bath'd in a cold quicksilver sweat wilt lie
A verier ghost than I.
What I will say, I will not tell thee now,
Lest that preserve thee; and since my love is spent,
I'had rather thou shouldst painfully repent,
Than by my threat'nings rest still innocent.

Olivia thought:
- So he becomes a ghost or he become a ghost? No, he is the ghost.
- I think you have to look up the meaning of this poem in order to understand it. (We did this here.)
- It was funny once you looked up the meaning of it.
- I thought it was funny that the woman couldn't get help from her current husband and that she is afraid her ex-boyfriend will haunt her and she's laying there in a cold sweat.


The Bait

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,
With silken lines, and silver hooks.

There will the river whispering run
Warm'd by thy eyes, more than the sun;
And there the 'enamour'd fish will stay,
Begging themselves they may betray.

When thou wilt swim in that live bath,
Each fish, which every channel hath,
Will amorously to thee swim,
Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.

If thou, to be so seen, be'st loth,
By sun or moon, thou dark'nest both,
And if myself have leave to see,
I need not their light having thee.

Let others freeze with angling reeds,
And cut their legs with shells and weeds,
Or treacherously poor fish beset,
With strangling snare, or windowy net.

Let coarse bold hands from slimy nest
The bedded fish in banks out-wrest;
Or curious traitors, sleeve-silk flies,
Bewitch poor fishes' wand'ring eyes.

For thee, thou need'st no such deceit,
For thou thyself art thine own bait:
That fish, that is not catch'd thereby,
Alas, is wiser far than I.

Olivia thought:
- So, it is saying that there is a man who wants to take a woman fishing and the fish want to be caught by the woman and no one else.
- All the other poor fishermen are going to get stuck or cut on other stuff - like the shells and weeds.
- The men are trying to catch the fish by tricking them, but the fish isn't falling for the trap.
- The original fisherman who brought the woman fishing said that she doesn't need any of the traps or deceit because the fish like her and want to be caught by her.
- This isn't a bad poem. No Man Is An Island is still my favorite one and then The Apparition is my second one because it is funny.


A Burnt Ship

Out of a fired ship, which by no way
But drowning could be rescued from the flame,
Some men leap'd forth, and ever as they came
Near the foes' ships, did by their shot decay;
So all were lost, which in the ship were found,
They in the sea being burnt, they in the burnt ship drown'd.

Olivia thought:
- The ship is on fire and can only be saved by drowning.
- Sailors tried to jump off the ship to survive, but they were so badly burnt that they drowned with the ship - even as they got near the enemy's ship.
- No one survived - the last line implies that there were no survivors.
- This was a surprising poem. This was very different from his other ones. This one had more of a gruesome end to it than the other poems.


From the website A Poem A Day: "English is a great punning language, as John Donne skillfully shows here. This is the type of poem where you laugh despite yourself. You don't really expect to laugh in a poem about a lame (invalid) beggar. Who laughs at a beggar? Still, if the beggar is telling the truth, he lies. Lies on the ground, that is. It's the sort of pun that takes you by surprise and which must be rather disorienting for non-native speakers."

A Lame Begger

I am unable, yonder beggar cries,
To stand, or move; if he say true, he lies.

Olivia thought:
- What?
- I don't like this one as much. It's very confusing. It makes my head hurt trying to figure it out.