A Poem for Absinthe Day

March 5th is Absinthe Day. In 2013, Pernod Fils approved the label design for the return of their pre-ban Absinthe original recipe, and the first Absinthe Day was celebrated.

Absinthe gained quite an unsavory reputation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its high alcohol content (90 proof or higher) combined with its popularity among adherents of bohemianism, especially artists and writers in Paris, led to its condemnation by social conservatives and prohibitionists.

When a doctor reported that concentrations of thujone, a chemical compound present in absinthe only in trace amounts, caused seizures in lab rats, many countries in Europe banned absinthe. The United States banned it in 1912, and didn’t lift the ban until 2007.  More recent studies have proved that absinthe is not more hazardous than any other high-alcohol-content spirit, and the trace amounts of thujone it contains will not cause hallucinations or seizures in humans.

Marie Corelli (1855 – 1924), was an English novelist, poet and Christian mystic. Some of her books outsold Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells and Rudyard Kipling. Her first novel, A Romance of Two Worlds, was a fantasy with elements of science fiction, including an evolution vs. creationism debate and galactic travel. Today’s featured poem “I am the green fairy” is from her novel published in 1890, Wormwood: A Drama of Paris. While it was produced in the traditional Victorian three-volume format, it is considered an early proto-modernist work. Much of the book is about the supposed effects of absinthe on the denizens of fin-de-siècle Paris. The poem represents the view of absinthe at the end of the 19th century as a dangerous hallucinogenic drug, ‘the green fairy’ leading those who imbibe its sweet green poison to their destruction.

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To read Marie Corelli’s poem, “I am the green fairy”, please click

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Marguerite Taos Amrouche Was Born March 4th

On March 4, 1913, Marguerite Taos Amrouche was born. She was an Algerian author and singer, one of the first Algerian women to publish a novel in French. She also collected and interpreted Kabylie Berber songs. She was born after her family had moved to Tunisia to escape persecution when they converted to Roman Catholicism, but she and her brother Jean returned to Algeria for extended visits, and she became interested in the rich oral traditions of the Kabyle Berber people. Amrouche’s first novel, Jacinthe noire (1947; “Black Hyacinth”), recounts the story of an “uncivilized” young Tunisian girl who is sent to a French pension for studies, reflecting her own days as a student in Tunisia and later in France. Taos Amrouche recorded several phonograph albums, and produced a number of programs for French radio and television, including Chants sauvés de l’oubli (“Songs Saved from Oblivion”) and Hommage au chant profond (“Homage to a Profound Song”).


To hear Marguerite Taos Amrouche singing,  click:

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A Poem for Sun Day


March 3 was designated as Sun Day by U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1978, at the suggestion of Denis Hayes, who coordinated the first Earth Day in 1970. It is a day for advocacy of solar power. For the first Sun Day, there were events on the Mall in Washington DC, including speeches by environmental activist Barry Commoner and Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, and a concert by Jackson Browne. Events were also planned in 22 other countries.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American’s best-known woman poet and one of the nation’s greatest and most original authors, lived the life of a recluse in Amherst Massachusetts. She wrote nearly 1800 poems, ignoring the traditional poetic forms prevailing among most of the other poets of her day. The extent of her work wasn’t known until after her death, when her younger sister Lavinia discovered her cache of poems.

To read Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I’ll Tell You How the Sun Rose” click

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TCS: Poems for Black Women in Jazz & the Arts Day

Good Morning!

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Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

______________________________

I walked into the palaces of kings and queens
and into the houses of presidents. And much more.
But I could not walk into a hotel in America and
get a cup of coffee, and that made me mad.

– Josephine Baker

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International Polar Bear Day 2021

February 27th is International Polar Bear Day, and polar bears are under threat because of the melting ice caps. But they are far from the only animals we are in danger of losing.

Jackie Kay (1961 – ) is a Scottish poet, playwright, and novelist, known for Other Lovers, Trumpet, and Red Dust Road. She was Scot Makar, the poet laureate of Scotland, from 2016 to 2020.

To read Jackie Kay’s poem “Extinction” please click:

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TCS: Connected By Love and A Leash

Good Morning!

______________________________

Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

______________________________

“I care not for a man’s religion whose
dog and cat are not better for it.”

– Abraham Lincoln

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Two Views of the Celestial Spheres

This engraving by an unknown artist is called Empedocles Breaks through the Crystal Spheres. It first appeared in 1888 in a book by Camille Flammarion with the caption: “A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch …”

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On February 19, 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus was born, the Polish mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe with the Sun instead of the Earth at the center. His book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), triggered the Copernican Revolution which culminated with Isaac Newton’s laws of motion and universal gravitation.

George Santayana (1863-1952) born as Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás in Madrid, Spain; philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters. In 1912, at the age of forty-eight, Santayana left his position at Harvard University and returned to Europe permanently, never to return to the United States. During his 40 years in Europe, he wrote 19 books, including The Sense of Beauty, Reason in Religion, and Interpretations of Poetry and Religion. 

To read George Santayana’s poem, ‘Tis love that moveth the celestial spheres, click:

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A Poem for Pluto Day

Pluto is as far across as Manhattan to Miami,
but its atmosphere is bigger than the Earth’s. 

– Alan Stern, American planetary scientist


On February 18, 1930, the planet Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh, at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona, and then it was named by Venetia Burney, who was 11-years-old at the time.

In 2006, a controversial vote at the International Astronomical Union downgraded Pluto to a dwarf planet, which means it’s still a planet of a sort.

Should size really matter so much?


Maggie Dietz was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She is a poet and editor. In 1999, she won the Grolier Poetry Prize, and her poetry collection, Perennial Fall, won the 2007 Jane Kenyon Award. She was assistant poetry editor for Slate magazine (2004-2012), and she also served as director of the Favorite Poem Project, started by Robert Pinsky during his terms as U.S. Poet Laureate (1997-2000).

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To read the poem “Pluto” by Maggie Dietz, click here:

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A Poem for National Almond Day

February 16 is National Almond Day.

English author D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) is far more famous for his novels, especially Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which was considered quite shocking. It was first published privately in 1928 in Italy, and in 1929 in France. An unexpurgated edition was not published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960, when it was the subject of a watershed obscenity trial against the publisher Penguin Books. Penguin won the case, and quickly sold 3 million copies. The book was also banned for obscenity in the United States (1929-1959), Canada, Australia, India, and Japan.

However, he also wrote short stories, plays, and quite a bit of poetry. I find I connect better with his poems when I read them aloud, and discover their rhythms.

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To read D.H. Lawrence’s poem, “Almond Blossom”, click here:

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TCS: In Their Own Words – Presidents Day 2021

 Good Morning!

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Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers
on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum,
so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in
your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.

______________________________

“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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