Today is not the day Of course There’s another coming And even if it were the day So much would be true
It isn’t for all Of course Because some are at their ends Today and every day But there are yet others Who will And must Go on
Retrospection is in season Of course Little endings prompting looking back And thoughts of how to do better moving forward But most of us will simply Go on as we have been Regretting doing so a little Until we forget that we were doing that Again
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Sitting with cups of coffee ready to hand While the birds have barely begun their chorus And other creatures stalk near-silent Through the lifting darkness I read I write Neither as much as I might like Both as much smiling as remains in me
I am a thief And prodigal Taking more such moments for me than is likely my due Spending them frivolously and to no good end But I have asked no inheritance Even if I might have to herd swine And I am the elder brother, anyway
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I imagine they thought they were being helpful Those programmers Putting in the new features that Suggest ideas from which to write Because writer’s block is a thing And it does beset all of us who Fix words in order Sometimes
But And there is always a but And there is almost always a butt And sometimes it is what voices the Things you hear I wonder who they think Those programmers Their target audience is Who they think will use this platform And to what end Who will be different from them Because we all know We All Know That the only worthwhile knowledges are How to code And How to get their money And Anyone who does anything else Really can’t be that smart
All this is to say Having a spur is useful But sometimes You’re not riding a horse
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As this post emerges into the world, it is the moment of the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, or close enough as matters to very few. Concomitantly, today is the shortest daylight of the year here; it’s uphill for a while, until the summer solstice comes, and then the downhill slide resumes. It is Sisyphean, really, although I am not aware of the myth-makers connecting things in such a way. Perhaps they did. Perhaps I do because I have far more time to think about such things–about things, generally–than is good for me to have.
Living when I do and where I do, the seasonal cycle matters less to me than might be thought. Central Texas does not have the “typical” progression. Our plants put on their prettiest in the spring rather than in the fall; the colors that come out for autumn are of football teams and marching bands, and brilliant though they may be, they are as nothing against the wildflower fields that stretch to the sky. No, for the most part, the colors of the fall now gone are brown from where the summer drought remains and green from the touches of rain that have fallen. And the colors of the winter now begun are not as often white as, well, brown and green. We freeze sometimes–the Hill Country, I am told, is in for a sharp snap of it this week, Jack cracking a bullwhip to announce his coming and assert his dominion where Aestas more commonly holds sway–and sometimes see the snow, but more often, it is a chilly rain that marks out winter weather than a soft snowfall.
Perhaps that is why so many decry “snowflakes” here, that they have such limited experience of them as they do. But as someone who has had more of snow than many in the Hill Country, I think I like it less. Shoveling it tends to remove the romance.
Still, the night will roll back, little by little, now, and the light increase its hold. I am sure there is some symbolic statement I could make about it, but I am also sure it would be badly clichéd. I get to deal with that kind of thing enough without having to add to it, and there is still more than enough work for me to do, whatever the season, however the weather may be.
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I still have samples of assessment work I developed for a tutorial client entering public schooling from private some years back, following those I noted here, here, and here. Even though many students are on their winter break and thoughts of school may be far from their minds, such concerns still loom. After all, the spring is when the major standardized tests are administered in my part of the world, and there are college entrance exams at intervals throughout the year.
The example below comes out to 85 words at a ninth-grade reading level. The usual adaptations to suit the medium apply.
Read the following passage and use the information in it to identify the most accurate answer to each of the questions below.
1Illegitimate origin factors heavily into Arthurian legend. 2There are a lot of characters whose parents are not married when they are conceived. 3Arthur himself is of illegitimate origin; his parents, Uther and Igrayne, marry after Igrayne’s first husband is killed in war against Uther. 4Arthur begets two illegitimate children, Mordred and Borre. 5The latter is of little consequence, but the former ends up overthrowing Camelot. 6And the knight who does best of all, Galahad, is the bastard son produced when Elaine drugs and violates Lancelot.
1. In sentence 1, the word “illegitimate” is what part of speech? A. Adjective. B. Adverb. C. Noun. D. Pronoun.
2. In sentence 1, the word “illegitimate” means which of the following? A. Understudied. B. Uninspired. C. Unsuccessful. D. None of the above.
3. Sentence 2 provides what kind of context clue for the meaning of “illegitimate?” A. Antonym. B. Example. C. Synonym. D. None of the above.
4. The relationship of sentence 2 to sentence 1 is one of which of the following? A. Addition. B. Comparison / contrast. C. Illustration / exemplification. D. None of the above.
5. The relationship of sentence 3 to sentence 2 is one of which of the following? A. Addition. B. Comparison / contrast. C. Illustration / exemplification. D. None of the above.
6. The relationship of sentence 4 to sentence 3 is one of which of the following? A. Addition. B. Comparison / contrast. C. Illustration / exemplification. D. None of the above.
7. The relationship of sentence 5 to sentence 4 is one of which of the following? A. Addition. B. Comparison / contrast. C. Illustration / exemplification. D. None of the above.
8. The relationship of sentence 6 to sentence 5 is one of which of the following? A. Addition. B. Comparison / contrast. C. Illustration / exemplification. D. None of the above.
9. The main idea of the passage appears in which sentence? A. 2. B. 4. C. 6. D. None of these.
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Tell us one thing you hope people never say about you They said As if there are not many things As if they have not already been said Many times by Many mouths in Many places And my own mouth is among them
No ioperamide stems that tide That flows regardless of the moon From me And surges out Drowning rather than uplifting Swelling too often ungently
But if one piece of flotsam Buoys up unwanted It does not do to call it out It is rude to point out the flaws of others Where yet others can see No, you tell your friend in private that They’ve got something in their teeth Just there– It’s not like a badge or anything
No I don’t think I’ll say anything to answer Besides It’s not like there’s any lack of ideas
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The old adage holds One bad apple Spoils the bunch And we are told again and again That we ought to listen to the wisdom of those who came before Who know more Who didn’t grow up with social media And so they know the score
But when we apply the lessons We continue to be held to blame Told that they’re not all the same That it’s a falsely made lack of fame And if they had done what they were told to start with There would never have been a problem
What was that man doing So Very Wrong That the cop Should Have carried around A shit sandwich– Diarrhea on rye, maybe Or mashed corn-studded turds on whole wheat Because getting roughage matters And fiber is important to a healthy diet– And fed it to him when His trembling outstretched hands pleaded for mercy?
It had to be something Right? Because he had to know what he was doing He had to know there was something done that deserved Punishment Without charge or trial
But it was just a joke Right? It was just A boy being a boy Or some such thing No harm done Not really It’s not like he did it to Anyone who matters
Clearly. Because he’s still wearing a badge Even if it has Something smeared on it Just a little, there
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