Tag Archives: harvard


What is So Rare As a Day in June?

AND what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;

Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;

Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;

Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;

The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;

The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there’s never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature’s palace;

The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o’errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;

His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;

He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;

Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;

No matter how barren the past may have been,
‘Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;

We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;

We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;

The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;

And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;

We could guess it all by yon heifer’s lowing,
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,

Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!

Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;

Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;

‘Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,
‘Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?

In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;

The soul partakes the season’s youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep ‘neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

James Russell Lowell, age 29, 1848

James Russell Lowell (1819 – 1891) was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets who used conventional forms and meters in their poetry, making them suitable for families entertaining at their fireside. [before radio, TV or Facebook]

Lowell was admittedly depressed and often had suicidal thoughts. He once confided to a friend that he held a cocked pistol to his forehead and considered killing himself at the age of 20.

He gained notoriety in 1848 with the publication of A Fable for Critics, a book-length poem satirizing contemporary critics and poets. Lowell became editor of The Atlantic Monthly. And served as ambassador to Spain and, later, to England.

Lowell believed that the poet played an important role as a prophet and critic of society. He used poetry for reform, particularly in abolitionism.. Lowell attempted to emulate the true Yankee accent in the dialogue of his characters, particularly in The Biglow Papers. This depiction of the dialect, as well as Lowell’s many satires, were an inspiration to writers like Mark Twain and H. L. Mencken.

Dedicated to Mr Landrigan, my English teacher at Boston Latin School who for years regaled his classes with a recitation of this poem from memory on the first of June.  A tradition I now humbly continue.


Oh Oh Elena Kagan!

(August 5) – Elena Kagan, once a solicitous general, has been confirmed as the 112th Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (or, “SCOTUS” in DC parlance).

While other nominees have ben pilloried for their judicial activism and views as divined from years of published judicial opinions, Ms. Kagan was pilloried for just the opposite. The quietest nominee since Silent Cal Coolidge.

Well, we did learn that she is a policy wonk, Justice Marshall nicknamed her “shortie,” she plays softball, and we know where to find her on Christmas Day —  like any nice Jewish girl, “in a Chinese restaurant.” My girl has a sense of humor! And brains. Forget Julia Roberts, too 80s. Today’s hot woman has smarts – has laughter – has – a great slow inside pitch!

Planet Washington salutes the newest member of
The Supremes!

Parody of “Oh, Pretty Woman”
by Ken Rynne
See, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, 510 U.S. 569 (1994) (the “Pretty Woman/Ugly Woman” case) established that a commercial parody can qualify as fair use of copyright material.

Elena Kagan, walking down the street
I don’t believe you, you’re not the truth
No one could BE AS…wicked SMART — as you!

ELENA KAGAN, won’t you pardon me
ELENA KAGAN, I could not help see
That your IQ is high as can be
Are you NERDY just like me

ELENA KAGAN, stop a while
ELANA KAGAN, talk a while
ELENA KAGAN , yeah yeah yeah
ELENA KAGAN, look my way
ELENA KAGAN, pitch slow, inside to me
‘Cause I need you, I’ll treat you right
Come with me baby, read briefs tonight

Elena Kagan, don’t walk on by
Elena Kagan, don’t make me cry
Elena Kagan, don’t walk away, hey…okay
If that’s the way it must be, okay
I guess I’ll go on home, it’s late
There’ll be tomorrow night, but wait
What do I see?
Is she walking back to me?
Confirmed & walking back to me!
Oh, oh, Elena Kagan!

when news breaks, we fix it!


College Tour: Georgetown – We Put the Ho! Ho! in Hoyas!

Over 100 Georgetown alumni and students gathered for a hilarious night of stand-up comedy at the legendary Improv Comedy Club. Sponsored by The Georgetown Media & Arts Alliance, GEMA LAUGHS featured a variety of styles and humor were on display during the University’s annual John Carroll alumni weekend with such comics as Paul Mecurio (GU Law Alumnus), Ken Rynne (C’78 L’83) David Benedetto (F ’13), Jeff Maurer (C ’02), and emcee George Peacock (C ’84).

Planet Washington’s offered a sampler of some wicked funny musical takes on life in DC and America (and never the twain shall meet) including “It’s Planet Washington, show biz for ugly people!” (Parody of “Hooray for Hollywood”), an homage to the nearby Mayflower Hotel and an infamous guest Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D-Libido), “Love Client #9,”  and a tribute to everybody’s favorite lil latte shop and prospective employer,”then I saw Starbucks, now I’m a Barista” (“I’m a Believer.”)

College Tour Healing with Humor Videos

The Cambridge Forum “Bringing people together to talk again.” JK Rowling, Ralph Nader, and Planet Washington!

Laughs with Planet Washington

September 23, 2009

Ken Rynne Planet Washington

Frank Plumer pianist, Planet Washington

The comedy duo Planet Washington opens Cambridge Forum’s 2009 fall season with a benefit performance. Ken Rynne, an alum of the renowned Capitol Steps troupe, and his faithful piano accompanist, Frank Plumer, are Planet Washington. Together they provide an evening of music, song, and comedy improv that cuts through the rhetoric and gets to the laughter. If you sometimes think that “Inside the Beltway” seems like another planet, this show is for you!

Presented by WGBH & The Cambridge Forum – where people can come together to talk – as part of its Keep It Civil Series.