The Writer's Almanac®, a daily program of poetry and history hosted by Garrison Keillor, can be heard each day on public radio stations throughout the country. Each day's program is about five minutes long—check your local radio listings for the station and time in your area. Our archive of almanac entries stretches back to 2001.
If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give - yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
Literary and Historical Notes:
Today is All Saints Day, and Pope Julius II chose this day in 1512 to display Michelangelo's paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for the first time. The chapel itself was built about twenty-five years earlier, and various Renaissance painters were commissioned to paint frescos on the walls. It was Pope Julius II who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling.
Michelangelo was 33 years old at the time, and he tried to point out to the Pope that he was known for his sculpture, not his painting, but the Pope wouldn't listen. So Michelangelo used his skills as a sculptor to make the two-dimensional ceiling look like a series of three-dimensional scenes - a technique that was relatively new at the time. It took him four years to finish the job, between 1508 and 1512. He worked from a scaffold 60 feet above the floor, and he covered about 10,000 square feet of surface. Every day fresh plaster was laid over a part of the ceiling and Michelangelo had to finish painting before the plaster dried.
Pictures I have taken in the last few months. These include people I have met campaigning for Ralph Nader, my kids, my friends, people who have helped me for no reason...
All photos are Copyright John Bescherer 2004
Adventures in Matchland I'm 47 and the last year has been the best year of my life. It started off slowly. I got laid off from my job of 13 years but I got a great new job and have met some amazing women through Match.com and Yahoo Personals. Disaster and success stories will abound. Looking for your contributions too.
A Cranky Consumer Complaints about Cingular and other companies offering poor customer service or whose products are shoddy. Also, postings about poorly designed websites and marketing plans. For example, 1-800-Flowers.com sends out email ads on Mondays for products it won't deliver on Mondays.