Journal

2020

Based on archeological evidence, rice was believed to have first been domesticated in the region of the Yangtze River valley in China. Morphological studies of rice phytoliths from the Diaotonghuan archaeological site clearly show the transition from the collection of wild rice to the cultivation of domesticated rice.

Rice is the most important human food crop in the world, directly feeding more people than any other crop. … Rice is unique because it can grow in wet environments that other crops cannot survive in. Such wet environments are abundant across Asia

Mother of the Hive

The term queen bee is typically used to refer to an adult, mated female that lives in a honey bee colony or hive; she is usually the mother of most, if not all, of the bees in the beehive. Queens are developed from larvae selected by worker bees and specially fed in order to become sexually mature. 

How to identify a queen bee - Quora
100+ Honeycomb Pictures | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Here in the UK, and globally, bees are facing many threats. These include habitat loss, climate change, toxic pesticides and disease. The interaction between these makes an unpredictable future for bees and many other pollinators. These threats have led to nearly 1 in 10 of Europe’s wild bee species facing extinction

The Raven

Edgar Allen Poe

The Raven

BY EDGAR ALLAN POE

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—

            Only this and nothing more.”

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;

And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow

    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—

            Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;

    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

    “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—

Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—

            This it is and nothing more.”

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,

“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;

    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,

    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,

That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—

            Darkness there and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;

    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,

    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—

            Merely this and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,

Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.

    “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;

      Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—

Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—

            ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,

In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;

    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;

    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—

Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—

            Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,

“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,

Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,

Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;

    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being

    Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,

            With such name as “Nevermore.”

    But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only

That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.

    Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—

    Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—

On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”

            Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,

“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store

    Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster

    Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—

Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore

            Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”

    But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,

Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;

    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking

    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—

What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore

            Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing

To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;

    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining

    On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,

But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,

            She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer

Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.

    “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee

    Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;

Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—

Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,

    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—

    On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—

Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!

By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—

    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,

    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—

“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!

    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!

    Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”

            Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

    And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,

    And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Excerpts from Mothers as Makers of Death

By Claudia Dey

 August 14, 2018

ARTS & CULTURE

STAGES IN PREGNANCY AS ILLUSTRATED IN THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY MEDICAL TEXT NOUVELLES DÉMONSTRATIONS D’ACCOUCHEMENS.

I had not been alone in a decade. I had not been alone because I am a mother, and a mother is never alone. When she is washing, sleeping, raging, she is not alone. For a mother, this is the state of things. Children hang from your clothing. They pummel you with questions. Like a gunfight, like the most consuming love, like an apocalypse: they take up all of the available space

When a woman becomes a mother, a set of changes is set off within her; the most altering is that she, as if under a spell, loses her autonomy of mind. In A Life’s Work, Rachel Cusk posits that the mother is divided the moment she watches another human being exit her body. This is the instant the mother is no longer alone and can no longer achieve aloneness within. Cusk writes: “Birth is not merely that which divides women from themselves, so that a woman’s understanding of what it is to exist is profoundly changed. Another person has existed in her, and after their birth they live within the jurisdiction of her consciousness. When she is with them she is not herself; when she is without them she is not herself.”

In her recent and essential novel Motherhood, Sheila Heti debates whether she should become a mother. She hurls nearly every possible question at the question. In the last third of the book, she asks: “Could I ever hope to be a good enough writer—to capture on the page what being human felt like—if I had not experienced motherhood? If I had no experience of what I increasingly took to be the central experience of life?” For me, the answer is bent to the shape of my life, and so the answer is no. Children bring with them dark gifts, new information. With my sons came all of my most settled and unsettled feelings. I gave birth naturally because I wanted to know what birth was—so that I could write about it having survived it. Like Heti but from the opposite shore, I, too, was operating within the service of my profession

I wrote Heartbreaker because a decade ago, when I became pregnant for the first time, death entered the pregnancy. This was a shock, a sick shock, and it lodged itself hard and cold inside me. I had to turn it over and over in my hands. I had to stare into it and see what it gleaned. The shock was novel size

No one had warned me that with a child comes death. Death slinks into your mind. It circles your growing body, and once your child has left it, death circles him too. It would be dangerous to turn your attentions away from your child—this is how the death presence makes you feel”

This is why mothers don’t sleep, I thought to myself. This is why mothers don’t look away from their children. This is why, even with a broken heart, a mother will bring herself back to life

“Slimani cited the case of Louise Woodward, the nineteen-year-old British nanny accused of killing the baby in her care. Throughout her trial, the public’s hatred was not directed at Woodward, the murderer, but at the child’s working mother, whose absence was perceived as the real murder weapon. Slimani quoted Woodward’s lawyer: “If you didn’t want something to happen to your kids, you should have taken care of them yourself.” To this accusation, Slimani responded: “I find that terribly cruel. I think that to put the idea in people’s heads that to entrust your children to someone other than yourself is something bad—it’s a tool to alienate women, because it always ends with ‘O.K., then, it’s the woman who stays at home.’ ”

When I became a mom, no one ever said, ‘Hey, you made a death. You made your children’s deaths.’ Meanwhile, I could think of little else. It’s scary to think of mothers as makers of death, but it sure gives them more power and complexity than one usually finds.”

“The most popular books about pregnancy have pastel covers, as if to emphasize the mother’s pastel thoughts—women, lightly drawn in Madonna-like repose, on rocking chairs inside a force field of washed pinks, yellows, and blues. The mother’s body, after birth, is to be returned as quickly as possible to its former contours. This is true for her mind as well. No mention of the sudden, crushing morbidity filling the new mother’s soul. No mention of the novel she is dying to write. No mention of death”