Being Human

In 1860, the Victorian poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, wrote a long poem entitled “Tithonus.” The title character is in love with Eos, goddess of the dawn, so he asks her to grant him immortality so they may stay together. She does that but forgets to include...

“Stage Beauty”

I recently watched the 2003 movie “Stage Beauty” for the third time. It is about theater in mid-to-late seventeenth century England when women were not allowed to act on stage. Female parts were played by young male performers called “boy...

Deep Space

The James Webb telescope is sending back amazing images from deep space, changing our whole approach to the universe and our place within it. Recently I saw ten of those photographs and was mesmerized by them. The colors and amorphous shapes drew me in to the unknown,...

Speech after long silence

This is the first line of a poem by William Butler Yeats that I have liked for many years. It’s written to a woman he loved when very young, but I have brought it to mind when I’ve been out of touch and am re-engaging with myself or a friend. It’s...

Trees

The first words I read about trees was the much-panned poem by Joyce Kilmer.  My mother had me memorize and recite “Trees”  when I was about ten.  I remember the opening and closing lines–“I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a...

Community

Twenty-six years ago, I began co-ordinating a program offered at my university (University of Minnesota) for bright high school seniors. The course is taught in their high schools by their teachers and carries university-level credits recognized by colleges and...