The Muses Companion

The Muses Companion – May 29, 2024

Good day, readers. Today is May 29th, the 150th day of the year 2024, with 216 days remaining.

Action is the foundational key to all success.

Pablo Picasso

Today in Literary History:

On this day in 1917, John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author for his book Profiles in Courage, was born. His writings and speeches, notably his inaugural address invoking citizens to “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country,” have left a lasting impact on American rhetoric and civic responsibility.

Notable Birthdays:

G.K. Chesterton, born on May 29, 1874, was an English writer, philosopher, lay theologian, and literary and art critic. Known for his wit and his ability to debate a wide range of topics, his works, such as The Man Who Was Thursday and Orthodoxy, continue to provoke thought and offer profound insights into human nature and the paradoxes of life.

Today’s Readings:

From Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy: “A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.”

Literary Fact of the Day:

On May 29th, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. Their historic ascent has inspired numerous books, films, and articles, celebrating their remarkable physical and mental endurance.

Poem of the Day:

“Are You Digging On My Grave?” by Thomas Hardy:

“Are you digging on my grave,
My loved one? — planting rue?”
— “No: yesterday he went to wed
One of the brightest wealth has bred.
‘It cannot hurt her now,’ he said,
‘That I should not be true.'”

“Then who is digging on my grave?
My nearest dearest kin?”
— “Ah, no: they sit and think, ‘What use!
What good will planting flowers produce?
No tendance of her mound can loose
Her spirit from Death’s gin.'”

“But someone digs upon my grave?
My enemy? — prodding sly?”
— “Nay: when she heard you had passed the Gate
That shuts on all flesh soon or late,
She thought you no more worth her hate,
And cares not where you lie.”

“Then, who is digging on my grave?
Say — since I have not guessed!”
— “O it is I, my mistress dear,
Your little dog, who still lives near,
And much I hope my movements here
Have not disturbed your rest?”

“Ah yes! You dig upon my grave…
Why flashed it not to me
That one true heart was left behind!
What feeling do we ever find
To equal among human kind
A dog’s fidelity!”

“Mistress, I dug upon your grave
To bury a bone, in case
I should be hungry near this spot
When passing on my daily trot.
I am sorry, but I quite forgot
It was your resting place.”

This poem by Thomas Hardy explores themes of loyalty, indifference, and the solitary nature of death through a darkly humorous dialogue between a deceased woman and various figures she proposes might care for her grave.

Advice for Writers:

Inspired by Pablo Picasso’s emphasis on action, consider how your characters’ actions define them more profoundly than their words or thoughts. In your narratives, focus on showing what your characters do in critical moments, which can reveal their true character and drive the story forward.

Have a productive and action-oriented day, dear readers. Until tomorrow, may your writing and actions combine to create memorable and impactful stories.

One Comment

  • D. Wallace Peach

    Thanks for sharing a bit of history for May 29th. I’m just old enough to remember Kennedy’s funeral. And Thomas Hardy is one of my favorite authors, although I didn’t know he also wrote poems.

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