Darren Poley is the Scholarly Outreach and Theology librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. “If” was first published in 1920 in Kipling’s collection Rewards and Fairies, series of historical fiction short stories with linking contemporary narratives.
In his posthumously published autobiography Something of Myself, Kipling claimed that his poetic inspiration for the poem was based the military service of Leander Starr Jameson, who lead the failed Jameson Raid (December 1895 – January 1896) against South Africa to overthrow the Boer Government.
You can also listen to Gregg speak briefly about her approach to writing and read one of her other poems here.
“Arriving Again and Again Without Noticing”
By Linda Gregg
I remember all the different kinds of years.
Angry, or brokenhearted, or afraid.
I remember feeling like that
walking up a mountain along the dirt path to my broken house on the island.
And long years of waiting in Massachusetts.
The winter walking and hot summer walking.
I finally fell in love with all of it:
dirt, night, rock and far views.
It’s strange that my heart is as full
now as my desire was then.
I’m Michelle Callaghan, a first-year graduate student at Villanova University. This is our new column, “‘Cat in the Stacks.” I’m the ‘cat. Falvey Memorial Library is the stacks. I’ll be posting about living that scholarly life, from research to study habits to embracing your inner-geek, and how the library community might aid you in all of it.
Shortly before Thanksgiving break, I took out two books from Falvey—the first books I’ve taken out from our library all semester. I guess that’s not super scandalous; I’ve been busy reading the books I actually bought for the semester, and I’ve mostly used online databases for journal articles for all my supplementary research. Now that it’s paper-writing time, I went for a swim in the stacks.
But this is kind of scandalous: as an undergraduate English major, I never took a book out of the library.
If you’re cringing, I’m sorry. But if you’re embarrassed for me, don’t be. I did very well.
Still, even though I didn’t use the library in the traditional sense, every single resource I used was provided to me through the library—library subscriptions, interlibrary loans.
But I don’t advocate a life without the stacks! My stacks aversion meant I did five times more work than I actually had to by draining databases dry instead of checking out dozens of relevant books. And I missed out on so many incredible research avenues because I was too, what, lazy? Afraid of asking a librarian for help?
Why didn’t I browse the stacks? I had all sorts of excuses.
Wah, it’s outdated, wah! It’s not. I just took a book out about digital culture in World of Warcraft. This isn’t grandma’s local library.
Wah, it’s hard! It’s not. Falvey’s online catalog even has maps. The circulation desk has signs to point you where you go about checking out and returning materials and your Wildcard does the rest. I’m partially allergic to approaching Front Desks, and I survived.
Wah, I don’t want to leave my room! Well, I still don’t wanna leave my room.
But I did! just took out three awesome books on video games (and if you want them, too bad. You’ll have to wait until the end of January because I’m doing super important research. But then I promise I will stop monopolizing the video game holdings. Maybe.)
Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost Introduced by Garrison Keillor
Read by Robert Frost
Submitted by Laura Bang
Laura Bang is Falvey Memorial Library’s Digital and Special Collections curatorial assistant, and she submitted “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” perhaps one of Frost’s most well known and beloved poems. It was included in Frost’s collection New Hampshire, published in 1923, for which he won the first of his four Pulitzer Prizes.
The speaker of “Stopping by Woods” is caught in a moment of choosing between the tranquility of nature and the responsibilities of life and society. One well-known interpretation suggests that the poem is a meditation on death and draws the distinction between eternal peace, rather than natural tranquility, and the hustle and bustle of daily life.
With the holiday season upon us it is easy to imagine oneself in the speaker’s shoes and the desire for moments of peacefulness at odds with all of the responsibilities that this time of year brings. If you find yourself feeling as though you have far too many miles to go before you sleep, try to find a few moments throughout the day to stop by your own metaphorical wood and take a few deep breaths to get you through all that lies ahead.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
By Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Falvey Memorial Library will once again participate with dozens of other campus organizations in the Office of Health Promotion’s basket fund raiser at the annual Holiday Bazaar, which will take place tomorrow and Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm in Villanova Room in the Connelly Center. Each year, bazaar attendees line up to buy raffle tickets to win their choice of a wide array of creative, specialty gifts, each custom themed and donated by generous Villanovans, ranging from Villanova Wildcat goodies, to gourmet foods and gifts, to tickets for fun family events. This year, proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald Housein Philadelphia, which provides families of seriously ill children needing medical treatment in Philadelphia with housing, hospitality and hope.
Falvey’s basket theme this year will be For Music Lovers Only. The winner of the library’s basket (crafted from a recycled vinyl record from the Falvey collection!) will find four tickets to World Café Live’sPeanut Butter and Jams Children’s Concert series, five WXPN World Café Live CDs, an iTunes gift card, Sony ear-buds, and artisan-made musical tchotkes from Ten Thousand Villages and more! Don’t miss your chance to win!
The American Red Cross was officially incorporated in 1905 with the President of the United States as its head. In his book The American Red Cross in the Great War, Henry P. Davison describes how the organization struggled to obtain enough public funding for supplies to ship to allied countries in the first years of the war. In 1917, however, President Woodrow Wilson appealed for greater participation from the American people: “It is for you to decide whether the most prosperous nation in the world will allow its national relief organization to keep up with its work or withdraw from a field where there exists the greatest need ever recorded in history.” He organized a war council for the American National Red Cross and appointed Davidson, a Wall Street banker, as chair. The council launched a public campaign that raised over $115 million in its first year.
In response to General Pershing’s plea to “buck up the French,” $1.5 million was donated to the French Red Cross by the ANRC, who also established hospitals and dispensaries. The organization placed 10,000 Belgian orphans with families in Holland and gave assistance to 300,000 Italian families. Russian children were kept from starvation thanks to shipments of 450,000 cans of condensed milk, and 1,200 stranded children were rescued by the ANRC in the Urals.
More than 8 million American women volunteers packed and shipped surgical dressings and other hospital supplies, as well as socks, sweaters and other items for soldiers and sailors. Of the women who volunteered overseas, 12,000 participated in the motor services, transporting the wounded to hospitals, nurses and doctors to work, and supplies to sites where they were needed. Other women staffed mobile canteens to provide coffee, doughnuts and a bit of cheer to the servicemen.
Image courtesy of Bryn Mawr College Special Collections
Not satisfied with the prospect of life as a Main Line socialite, Alma A. Clarke* set off alone for France just before the outbreak of the Great War.
Clarke, by unknown artist, courtesy of Bryn Mawr College Special Collections
After training with the Red Cross, she served as an auxiliary nurse at the American military hospital at Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris. Clarke compiled two scrapbooks filled with mementos of her time in France. In one scrapbook she invited wounded servicemen to record their name and regimental information, the nature of their injury and the battle zone where it was acquired. Some of the men added expressions of gratitude for the care received, brief remembrances of fallen comrades and even sketches. Clarke eventually adopted three orphans and raised them in the U.S.
Your hand in mine, we walk out
To watch the Christmas Eve crowds
On Fillmore Street, the Negro
District. The night is thick with
Frost. The people hurry, wreathed
In their smoky breaths. Before
The shop windows the children
Jump up and down with spangled
Eyes. Santa Clauses ring bells.
Cars stall and honk. Street cars clang.
Loud speakers on the lampposts
Sing carols, on juke boxes
In the bars Louis Armstrong
Plays White Christmas. In the joints
The girls strip and grind and bump
To Jingle Bells. Overhead
The neon signs scribble and
Erase and scribble again
Messages of avarice,
Joy, fear, hygiene, and the proud
Names of the middle classes.
The moon beams like a pudding.
We stop at the main corner
And look up, diagonally
Across, at the rising moon,
And the solemn, orderly
Vast winter constellations.
You say, “There’s Orion!”
The most beautiful object
Either of us will ever
Know in the world or in life
Stands in the moonlit empty
Heavens, over the swarming
Men, women, and children, black
And white, joyous and greedy,
Evil and good, buyer and
Seller, master and victim,
Like some immense theorem,
Which, if once solved would forever
Solve the mystery and pain
Under the bells and spangles.
There he is, the man of the
Night Before Christmas, spread out
On the sky like a true god
In whom it would only be
Necessary to believe
A little. I am fifty
And you are five. It would do
No good to say this and it
May do no good to write it.
Believe in Orion. Believe
In the night, the moon, the crowded
Earth. Believe in Christmas and
Birthdays and Easter rabbits.
Believe in all those fugitive
Compounds of nature, all doomed
To waste away and go out.
Always be true to these things.
They are all there is. Never
Give up this savage religion
For the blood-drenched civilized
Abstractions of the rascals
Who live by killing you and me.
*The Poetry Center Digital Archive is a Project of The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University.