sharing my love of books with you

Month: June 2022 (Page 1 of 2)

I Wake Close to Morning, by Mary Oliver

Why do people keep asking to see
God’s identity papers
when the darkness opening into morning
is more than enough?
Certainly any god might turn away in disgust.
Think of Sheba approaching
the kingdom of Solomon.
Do you think she had to ask,
“Is this the place?”

“I wake close to morning”, mary oliver, in felicity, 2015

For Tom Shaw S.S.J.E (1945 – 2014), by Mary Oliver

Where has this cold come from?
“It comes from the death of your friend.”

Will I always, from now on, be this cold?
“No, it will diminish. But always it will be with you.”

What is the reason for it?
“Wasn’t your friendship always as beautiful as a flame?”

“For Tom Shaw S.S.J.E (1945 – 2014)”, Mary Oliver, in Felicity, 2015

Holmes on Hobbies

“It is a hobby of mine to have an exact knowledge of London.”

“The Red-HEaded League”, The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, circa 1891

Jabberwocky: My Favorite Poem

Found in Chapter 1 of Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, “Jabberwocky” is my absolute, most favorite poem. I love the nonsense words he uses like brillig, slithy, frumious, and frabjous. When I read this poem, I picture a king sending his son to hunt down the Jabberwock, like old tales of knights hunting dragons. The joy of the king is contagious when his son returns alive, having slain the beast. “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” This is such a fun poem to read.

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves 

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: 

All mimsy were the borogoves, 

And the mome raths outgrabe. 

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! 

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun 

The frumious Bandersnatch!” 

He took his vorpal sword in hand; 

Long time the manxome foe he sought— 

So rested he by the Tumtum tree 

And stood awhile in thought. 

And, as in uffish thought he stood, 

The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, 

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, 

And burbled as it came! 

One, two! One, two! And through and through 

The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! 

He left it dead, and with its head 

He went galumphing back. 

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? 

Come to my arms, my beamish boy! 

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” 

He chortled in his joy. 

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves 

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: 

All mimsy were the borogoves, 

And the mome raths outgrabe.

Sholmes on Jotson’s Breakfast

“From certain facts within my knowledge, Jotson, I deduce that you will have no breakfast this morning,” said Sholmes.

I started.

“Sholmes!” I murmured.

“I think you will find it will prove to be so, Jotson.”

“From what data, Sholmes, do you draw this very remarkable deduction?” I could not help inquiring.

Sholmes smiled.

“I do not mind explaining, my dear fellow. The food restrictions cause only a certain amount of provender to be placed upon the breakfast-table – “


“The portion allotted to me did not satisfy my appetite, Jotson, and I therefore at your breakfast as well as my own. There is nothing left for you, my dear fellow. To the trained mind the conclusion is obvious. You will have no breakfast this morning.”

I could only gaze at my amazing friend in silent admiration. I need not say that Sholmes’ deduction proved to be perfectly correct.

“THE CASE OF THE CURRANT BUN”, The Complete Casebook of Herlock Sholmes, by Charles Hamilton, circa 1917


A new word from “The Engineer’s Thumb” in The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Munificent – larger or more generous than is usual or necessary

Usage: “The work appears to be light and the pay munificent.”

A Month of Holmes

It has been about a month since I started reading The Greatest Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. My volume contains 4 complete novels and 44 short stories. I think I have listened to all (or most) of the Holmes tales once. I have watched many Holmes movies and TV shows and listened to countless dramatized radio shows.

But I had never sat down to read them for myself, until now.

Sherlock Holmes needs no introduction from me. I am sure you have heard his name at least once. However, if you ever get the chance to read any of the Holmes tales by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I highly recommend that you do. I don’t think you’ll regret it. I am so glad that I started this journey. My volume (which I bought at Barnes & Noble) is arranged in chronological order of when the stories were written. So far, I have read:

  • A Study in Scarlet
  • The Sign of Four
  • “A Scandal in Bohemia”
  • “The Red-Headed League”
  • “A Case of Identity”
  • “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”
  • “The Five Orange Pips”
  • “The Man with the Twisted Lip”
  • “The Blue Carbuncle”
  • “The Speckled Band”
  • “The Engineer’s Thumb”
  • “The Beryl Coronet”
  • “The Copper Beeches”

Wow, that’s actually a lot. I didn’t realize how much I had read ’til I started to list them here. The first two are novels, the last eleven are short stories which appear in the book The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. So far, my favorites are “The Red-Headed League” and “The Engineer’s Thumb”. I will post separately about these two stories another day.

Fun Fact: Did you know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle hated Sherlock Holmes? He tried to kill him off several times. He was a distraction from Doyle’s other, “more important” writing.

Sholmes on Government Offices

Volumes of reports, observations, minutes, remarks, despatches, annotations, etc., were being bound in red tape, and forwarded from the Circumlocution Department to the Sealing-Wax Office, thence to the Pipeclay Department, to the Lead-Pencil Office, then to the Permanent Consideration officials, to reach their last resting-place in the Waste-Paper Department!

Spoken by Dr Jotson in The Complete Casebook of Herlock Sholmes, by Charles Hamilton, circa 1917

In “The Red-Tape Mystery”, Sholmes was requested to locate missing red tape for the Circumlocution Department. Without the red tape, all written communication had ceased. As quickly as the red tape was delivered to the office of Mr. Slack Karr, it disappeared. Although he was suffering from the effects of eating tinned tongue in Chicago, the great detective took the case and discovered the red tape which had been carefully hidden. Herlock Sholmes saved the Empire!

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