Thursday, December 11, 2008

London VII: Hamlet

Well guys, this is it: the very last England post. As I'm writing now, tucked safely away from a frigid blizzard on New Year's Eve almost 3 weeks after coming home, I realize what an amazing opportunity this study abroad provided me with. If I doubted my ability to organize, execute, and cope with international travel before going to England for three months, that doubt is gone now. I am a travel maven (see My Stupid Summer -- details to follow)!

And, perhaps more importantly, I saw Patrick Stewart playing King Claudius (and Old King Hamlet, as it were)! I'll spare you the plot synopsis this time because - let's face it - you either know the plot already, don't care about it, or weren't going to bother reading the details in the first place. (Lazy-author syndrome? Never.) They set the stage in a modern, elegant fashion, and abridged it terribly, but none of that mattered because - as you may recall - I saw PATRICK STEWART in HAMLET.

Let me run that by you again: Jean Luc Piccard with hair, Professor X in battle armor, King Henry II in a tux (if you haven't seen the 2003 remake of The Lion in Winter, go watch it; see the Peter O'Toole original while you're at it). Do you see that gloriously shiny, bald head in the middle of my blurry photo? Yes. That.

Unfortunately David Tennant threw his back out the day before, so Edward Bennet will be playing the lead for the show's entire London run. He did a pretty good job for his first night, but I really missed Tennant's LLL antics on the stage. The mischievous side of Hamlet felt forced and unnatural when Bennet performed it, and he opted for a classical interpretation of the character. I have no doubt Tennant would have played up the whimsical and toned down the melancholy, but then -- I suppose -- we would have to discuss Shakespearean performance theories, and I just don't have the energy for it right now.

London VI: A Girl's Wanderings

OK, to be fair I have put this off a lot longer than I should have. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy my return to London -- if you've been paying attention you know why -- but it does mean that I'm lazy. Being at home again, any urge I had to become a remotely productive member of society has completely disintegrated into a desire to sleep for 10 hours a night. My jet-lag isn't a problem any more, thanks for asking! Anyways, this time I went to London on my own to see the RSC's production of Hamlet. I spent two days and one night wandering the streets, getting a feel for the places I would have liked to go last time but couldn't quite squeeze in.

I started off at Piccadilly Circus to do some last minute Christmas shopping, and then I moved up into the financial district. I finally got to St. Paul's, but there weren't any open positions on the tour so -- yet again! -- I didn't get to go in. We're going to rectify that problem some day, but in the mean time I'm going to gripe and show off my photos from the outside.

After seeing St. Paul's and watching the cutest gay couple I've ever seen feed a morbidly obese squirrel, I crossed the street towards the Thames and walked across the Wobbly Bridge (Millennium Bridge if you want to get all specific about it). It's a fun place. For a bridge, I mean. It's pedestrians only, and it goes right through the heart of the city, connecting either side of the trails along the Thames. As you might expect, it's covered in tourists looking for a good shot of The Globe (we'll get there in a moment) and the outside of the Tate Modern (we'll get there too), as well as an assortment of London joggers and marathon runners on any given day. If someone doesn't run you over and knock you about, you're simply not crossing the bridge with enough gusto. Get back in the game and play some human bumper-car.

Once I got to the other side, I decided to tour The Globe. I wanted to do this the first time I came to London with my Dad, and I wanted to do it earlier this semester with Chad and Gager. Needless to say, none of those ever panned out for me, so I took it upon myself to see it. Admission is a bit pricey -- £8.50 for a student, and they really only walk you around for 45 minutes and then turn you loose in the gift shop -- but I think it was worth it. Besides, they aren't publicly funded and they really need the money. (Their pillars are a bit dingy and they pay an astronomical sum each year for the privilege of keeping a thatched roof in London. London and thatching don't get along so well, if you remember...)

In fact, The Globe and thatching have a quite torrid past as well. In 1613 the players decided they really needed a live cannon for the audience to fully appreciated Henry VIII. Well, they fired it -- from the top of the platform right into the thatched roof opposite it. No one was hurt, but one guy did have to put out a fire on his buddy's pants by dumping beer on it. It just goes to show you that you should never piss off your stage hands; we (am I part of this group any more? Meh, once a techie always a techie) are kind of crazy and don't have "good sense." I hope I can return to London and see a performance at The Globe some day (that's probably one of the few things the city offers -- besides international airports -- with enough allure to draw me back; I don't really care for London).

I then tried to tour the Tate Modern. I say tried, in that I really didn't give it a fair break. Aside from a select few pieces, I really don't like modern art, which -- in all fairness -- I didn't know before my trip to the Tate. So you see, I learned something! And yes, I know that all modern art isn't dead seagulls and broken glass; I'd like to spare myself the "what is and is not art" lecture, if that's OK with you. I do have to wonder about Michael's thoughts on modern art conservation, though. How does one preserve two arrows, two seagulls, and two walls? It's not like the display can ever be moved, isn't the placement and positioning part of the art when it's got that graffiti-esque aspect to it? Well, I'm not too worried about it. I can't imagine anyone in 300 years will be overly-worried if that wall has to go down for the new Nuclear Waste Tic Tacs display.

I did see one piece I liked, though. Joseph Beuys' The Pack was eye-catching and provocative. I imagined a scenario in which the people suddenly vanished, and the sleds -- finding themselves with higher thought -- decide to carry on the invasion anyways. They look like cockroaches scurrying after their dark, secure hiding place is broken open and exposed to the light.

After I had my fill of dead birds and broken glass, I decided to take a walk down the Thames. I started at the Tate and wandered all the way back to Victoria (where my hostel was) throughout the day. My favourite place was Gabriel's Wharf. I met a homeless man under one of the bridges, bought him a hot tea, gave him my change, and chatted with him for a few minutes. Nothing too groundbreaking happened, but I'm still glad that I got the chance to talk to him. I'm a big fan of the UrbEx Anthropology movement (in fact, you're reading the blog of one of its founding members).

I went a bit further down the Wharf and met a nice Irish man who was doing "sand sculpture" in a blue silk vest. He probably should have taken his supplies down to the Tate, they would have appreciated it more. Anyways, we chatted for a while and he was more than happy to answer my questions (namely, why are you wearing a silk vest in the mud?). Turns out that's just his hobby, and he enjoys doing it. I understand the draw -- my Dad and I used to build gigantic sand alligators and fortresses when we went to the beach, and other tourists would stop to take pictures of them -- just not the draw in December! Brr.

I felt a little too embarrassed to photograph this next bit, but I still stood and stared at it for a few minutes. There was an Asian couple who had positioned their son against the guard rail with the Thames in the background, and the father was snapping pictures runway-style. The mother, on the other hand, was throwing bread crumbs at her child's head so that the gigantic, ravenous sea gulls would flock around him and create an Alfred Hitchcock effect. The worst thing is, they stood there doing that for at least 5 minutes. What kind of stupid kid stands there and lets his mom turn him into a suet stick in public? Something's wrong with today's youth, I'm telling you.

Stonehenge, Winchester, and Jane Austen's House

The BCA took us on our last day-trip last Saturday, and it was a really good one! We got up at around 8:30 to catch our bus into the country, and nearly two hours later we were there... in the middle of a bunch of sheep pastures on a plain in Salisbury. For an archaeology nut, you'd think I'd be more excited by something like this. Not that it wasn't fun, because I've been learning about Stonehenge and keeping tabs on our evolving theories about it since I was little, but we were there for an hour. A whole hour. It takes ten minutes to walk around and photograph the thing, another twenty to listen to Tim Copeland (my archaeology professor) complain about the historical inaccuracies of the Visitors' Centre mural, and a further five minutes to look through the gift shop. Anyways, it's something I always wanted to see - ever since my first 'Wonders of the Ancient World' special on Nova - and I did it. I'm so cool.

Then we drove another 45 minutes to the city of Winchester in Hampshire. It's a really cool town; I never would have thought to go there on my own, but I'm really glad we did. It has a good mix of buildings from all eras, a lot of fun tourist-type attractions, and a really long High Street / shopping district. We were there right at the peak of the Christmas shopping season, so they had a lot of little karts and stalls in the courtyard around the Cathedral. Elizabeth found a stall belonging to the Bath Aqua Glass company, (the people who made the necklace I bought on my trip to Bath) and she bought herself one similar to the one I got earlier this year. She must have pulled it out and showed me three or four times - I guess she really wanted one. I think it's the first gift she's bought for herself since we got here, so I'm glad she found it. How lucky do you have to be to find the one thing you've wanted since coming here on your last trip to a new city?

Winchester Cathedral looked very interesting from the outside, but - unfortunately - we only had a limited amount of time in Winchester, and the Cathedral cost £4. So we satisfied ourselves by walking around it, taking some photos, and doing a bit more shopping. Winchester is one of the largest Cathedrals in England, and it's built over the site of the Old Minster Cathedral (a pre-Norman structure). As a result, there are a lot of artifacts in the "new" (build circa 1080) Winchester Cathedral associated with the Saxons and their patron saints. St. Swithun - an English saint associated with the weather - was supposed to be buried somewhere around there. Well, they say he was buried there, but you know how things go with saints: his hair gets sent to Rome, his head is moved to no-one-knows-where, an arm's in a country parish down the road to protect against drought... They've got his official 'tomb' behind the altar in the "new" Cathedral.

After the Cathedral, we walked up to the Great Hall - all that's left of Winchester Castle - and saw King Arthur's Round Table. OK, so it's obviously not the real round table (don't get into an Arthurian debate with me; right now 'real' means 'real,' and you non-believers can just skip this paragraph). This one was made in the 13th Century and with its current colours in the 16th. It's got the names of Arthur's more popular knights written around the edges, and a great big Tudor rose in the middle.

In fact, there are dozens of Tudor roses all around Winchester, now that I think about it. They must have really been amazingly pro-Tudor to repaint what was then thought to be the original Arthurian table with the current King's logo. Not that the people of Winchester would have had much choice in the matter - I'm sure if the King commissions a new coat of paint for a national treasure, you acquiesce with or without the propaganda. After all, he's the King, he's causing religious riots, and you have a Cathedral that will very likely be demolished in the coming years if he decides to get serious about that whole 'Anglican' thing.

After our time in Winchester, we got back on the bus and went into the outskirts of the city to see Jane Austen's house. This is the home her brother Edward gave her - the Chawton House, I think they call it - after he inherited his uncle's wealth, and this is where she did most of her famous writing. Well, she didn't start it here, but she did all of her editing on the novels by 'a Lady' here, and was living here for the entirety of her published career up until the time of her death. As far as 'The Jane Austen Houses' go, this is the main one to see. I'm sure it wasn't as important to her literary career as her time in Bath - after all, those were the formative years and gave her lots of material to work with in her later novels - but having the freedom to write when she pleased, a quiet space to work, and the lessened social constraints of the country must have helped quite a bit.

Speaking of "a quiet space to work," this is the desk where she sat after breakfast and completed all of her manuscripts. It's very small - I was surprised. Personally, I need about two square yards of space to spread out all of my things if I'm going to have a productive writing session. You should see my desk -- it's a mess. If I had to churn out stories (nevermind assignments!) without a laptop and with no room for my copious notes and books, I'd explode. Nothing would ever get done. (Not that anything has got done; I've edited the first two chapters of my manuscript more times than I can count, taken three different sets of notes for chapter 5, and assigned myself a reading list a mile long before starting chapter 3... at this rate, I'll be done in another two years. This seems like way too much work for what started out as a self-imposed stylistic training exercise.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Potent Potables: The Goodbye Dinner

I'd like to say we spent all day working on this meal, but in reality it was more like a day and a half. Chad, Elizabeth, and I are getting really good at hosting dinner parties in our small kitchen, but even with all of our newly-acquired expertise we still had to start preparing ingredients and baking desserts the night before. We served a garden salad, bread and butter, celery and ranch, boneless chicken wings, American style beans (our British friends can't get enough of them), stuffed potato skins, vegetarian pizza, trifle, and Elizabeth's famous snickerdoodles. I think we did pretty well for ourselves, considering the space we have to work with isn't much bigger than the kitchens in Messiah's apartment dormitories. We even managed to find eight mis-matched coffee mugs to put our Coke in! Snazzy.

Elizabeth was good enough to give me her snickerdoodle recipe, so have at it!

½ cup each butter at room temperature (or even slightly liquidy but not fully)

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

Topping Mixture (put in a small cereal bowl or something similar & mix together)

3 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 190 degrees CELSIUS (i converted for you)

Beat butter, sugar and eggs together until creamy. Add cream of
tartar, baking soda and salt, then blend. Add flour and mix well.

TIP: if the dough mixture seems too dry, just add a small spoonful (or
two) of water, but hopefully you wont need to do that.

The dough
should by slightly sticky in that it might stick a bit to your hands when rolling them into balls. Combine topping ingredients in small, shallow bowl. Shape dough into balls about an 1 inch in diameter. Drop dough balls into topping mixture and coat entire surface well. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in oven for 8 minutes (check after 5 minutes just in case). Let
stand one minute and remove to cooling racks. It is very important to not overcook them if you want them to stay soft.

The cookies were a resounding success, but I'm 50/50 on the trifle; one of them set up perfectly and was delicious, and the other one turned soupy and looked like a sewage treatment facility. Well, no worries! There was still plenty of food to go around, and we ate leftovers for a day or two afterward. Please note the flowers on the table. For the past 3 months, I have been passing the stalls on the streets saying "Oh, I want flowers..." Well, it was our 'goodbye dinner,' so I got them!

We had our English friends - Joe, Diane, Max, and Matt - over for this delicious spread, and Diane got us all a wonderful going away present: customized calendars for 2009! They've got photos of all of us - our group on karaoke night, some of our photos from Prague, and even a few photos from other people's albums on Facebook - for each month. She put so much work into tracking all of those down, and we all really love them, so thanks! After dinner we all crammed into Chad's room for an evening of digestion, Saved, and YouTube.

On a side note, we would have hosted our dinner party this Friday - a bit closer to our actual 'last night' - but it's Chad's birthday, and he wanted to go out to Nando's for dinner. And really, it's probably a good thing we're not trying to cook on one of our last nights. This way we can sit back, relax, and blow through the last of our food stipend in style.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner

On November 27th (when else?) our lovely BCA mommies, Sandy and Denise, took us out to Toby's Carvery for a roast dinner. It wasn't quite like home, but still - a good meal with good conversation, and it was free. We took the bus out to the restaurant, and most of us got drenched for the trouble. Rain was just coming down in buckets, I seriously don't know where it all comes from. Anyways, we walked up the pictured street with our pants rolled up, our scarves doubled up, and our umbrellas hopelessly inverted, stood around in ankle-deep, freezing water for 20 minutes, and summarily forgot everything as soon as they showed us the turkey (er, ham, in my case; I don't like turkey very much).

1) Look, Mom, it's me! I did a quick MySpace shot before we left our flat just for you. Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

2) Dinner. That big thing with my mashed potatoes in it is called Yorkshire pudding; you're supposed to eat it plain or with gravy (like all English food), but I think they're gross so I just filled it with potatoes and corn instead. Also, stuffing comes in balls here. Tastes good, though.

Ireland III: The Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are, without a doubt, the crowning moment of my journey into the Emerald Isle. I'll let the images speak for themselves, I think:

It's a clear day: you can see the Aran Isles, the Twelve Pins, and most of the coast around Galway Bay.

Ireland II: The Great Irish Road Trip

Wow, I just re-read my Limerick post, and I think the sleep deprivation was starting to get to me. I got a good two-hour power nap in between 8 and 10, though, so (unfortunately) I'm wide awake now. Personally, I'd rather have a solid 12 hours, but I guess I should use my energy while I have it. Anyways, the two people in this photo are Amalise (AH-mah-leez) and Joust (YOWST), and I really hope I haven't completely butchered their names. They're from the Netherlands. Amalise was studying abroad at the University of Limerick this semester, and Joust - her boyfriend - had just arrived to visit her the day before our little adventure. We met them at the bus station; the company listed the wrong departure time for the area we wanted, and the second we realized our frustrations were, in fact, mutual frustrations, we began to hatch a plan.

After talking the cabbie down to €5 each, we crammed six people (including the driver) into an economy-sized car and headed for Shannon International. There, we (well, it was in our Dutch friend's name) rented a car, found a road map, divvied up the fare, and struck out towards County Clare for the day. We didn't even get lost. On the contrary, we had a great time and Chad got to tick one of his 'to-dos' of The Life List (To Do: Go on an impromptu road trip with Europeans I don't know.)

County Clare is a patchwork of green hemmed in with grey stone walls, briers, and dotted with sheep. Even in December there were more shades of green in those pastures than I can recall seeing since coming to Europe, and that includes Cornwall and the Cotswolds. About every half mile, we passed a dilapidated tower, house, or other unidentifiable stone ruin, and about every 5 miles we came upon a roofless, abandoned church crumbling in upon itself with tall, jagged tombstones jutting out at odd angles. I really want nothing more than to go exploring in those pastures - I think I'm putting it on my newly updated Life List (going to see Hamlet with Patrick Stewart next weekend means there's going to be a free space, and I'm much too young for free spaces).

I'm just going to post the rest of the pictures in no particular order - they were all taken out the window of a moving vehicle, so expect some severe fuzziness.

Joust, Amalise - if you're out there, and if you ever happen upon this page, you really saved our Ireland experience for us! Nothing we could have concocted at the last minute would have worked out nearly this well, as it appears 5 people is the magic number for both reduced cab fare AND a €10 rental car. And - you know - it didn't hurt that you both had E.U. licenses and insurance policies.

Ireland I: Limerick

We got into Shannon International Airport right on time last Friday, as our Ryanair hosts let us know by sounding a victory bugle upon touchdown. It was a good flight, mostly free of complications - I say mostly, of course, because I have now got two ear infections, possibly a ruptured ear drum, a sinus infection, clogged tear ducts, swollen tonsils, and a sore throat. I have been uncharacteristically healthy since coming to England, so it was [probably] just my time to get sick; I'm blaming Ryanair all the same. If the pilot hadn't cruised at the altitude precisely between my ears popping like normal and my ears weeping tears of blood for 20 minutes, I probably could have spared myself the ear problems. Oh well, I'm going to go see a doctor tomorrow or Thursday, and I'm pushing vitamins, Kleenex, aspirin, and nasal spray in the mean time. (And no, mom, my snot's not green. Although that would be a good way to remember the Emerald Isle, come to think of it...)

We spent Friday and Saturday in Limerick proper, walking around the city, doing some shopping, and getting a taste for the local culture. Oh, here's a fun bit of trivia we learned from our first cabbie: Limerick has over 365 pubs and a population of just under 10,000. Speaking of cabbies, if you go to Limerick you're going to meet quite a few. Things aren't prohibitively far apart on a nice day, but you would not want to walk around that town in December. Trust me. Actually, don't go to Limerick in December period. Everything was either closed for renovations, gone home for the holidays (the University's classes finished early last week), or not open until midnight. It's still a fun town, but it would be THE BEST town in the summer; I have faith in it.

Plus, the bus company runs all over the country, and Limerick is one of their major hubs. You can literally get anywhere from there - and most of the routes were direct. I think my only regret is not getting off the beaten path a little more. We 'discovered' a path a long the river that goes by some old castle ruins in the city, and the Uni students like to climb them, smoke a fag, and canoodle in the summers. Either that, or another day-trip into the country side. I guess I should also add that Ireland is kind of expensive. It's not impossible to live without cooking and without going bankrupt, but 9 times out of 10 we struck out on the first page of every menu we examined. All told, it was a great weekend. I just wish I wasn't so sick and that the English postal system wasn't hoarding my mail. How do they just lose letters? It's not like they have an over-abundance of them to process in our digital era.

We did not see all the interesting churches in Limerick, not even close. I think we saw four, two from a cab, and I think I only got photographs from the two we were walking by. 'Churches of Limerick' is another one of those additions to my 'Things to do in Ireland' list, but not any time soon. As much as I hate to say it, the only thing that looked remarkable about these things was the cemetery. Oh, and I did see St. John's Cathedral from a distance, but Chad and Gager weren't willing to walk over to it, so no pictures. Sorry. (That isn't it; it's something else on the other side of the river that we never fully investigated.)

St. Mary's Cathedral had the best cemetery, by far, but its tower and mystique were ruined by that oh-so-bothersome blight that plagues my history: scaffolding. It looked like they were just doing some routine cleaning and mortar work, so hopefully this won't turn into a St. Paul's fiasco where they 'clean' for 5 years straight and then start again. Anyways, we didn't get to go in even thought it's supposed to be open six days a week. Great, now I've got The Beatles' song stuck in my head; can you imagine a Hasidic Jew singing that? "Six days a week, I lo-o-o-o-ove you. On Sabbath, it ain't true. But six days a week - six days a week, I lo-o-o-o-ove you." OK, back to business:

These are the 'famous' West Doors. Limerick, aka 'the city of broken treaties,' has a motto. I'll let the nice people at St. Mary's tell you the rest: "In keeping with the City Motto translated as 'an ancient city well versed in the art of war,' legend has it that in the past the doorway had a more military [as opposed to ceremonial] purpose. During the many sieges of Limerick the defenders of the city used the stones around the door to sharpen their swords. They say the marks they made in the stonework can still be seen there to this day." Sounds like an excellent use of church funds to me! Oh, these doors are only opened ceremonially if you didn't get that before. But if you ever visit, don't let that put you off. Tug on all the little black doors just to make sure no one's home - that's what we did.

This one's called St. Munchin's Church. We found it along the River Shannon while wandering around near King John's Castle (which, by the way, is also closed on the weekends unless you book ahead as a group). Personally, I find the building more aesthetically pleasing and interesting than the Cathedral, but to each their own, I guess. Oh, and the one next to it is the view of the River Shannon from the opposite side of this church's courtyard. We momentarily considered following the River's edge into the countryside and just seeing where we ended up on those distant hills, but "too cold" and "too far" trumped "too cool!" once again. I'm kind of glad we didn't go out there, in retrospect. We did end up having a pretty good time in town that afternoon.

King John's Castle is built on what used to be a Viking settlement. It's one of those places that still has visible scars from the many sieges Limerick's been through, so definitely go see that if you're in town. And yes, they do mean the English King John. But no worries, the people of Limerick have several good ideas about what to do with the Brits and their sympathizers. (Hint: it's not nice). We talked to one of our cabbies about why Ireland doesn't have a tunnel system linking it to England like France does, and we kept coming up with one of three things: no Englishman wants to come to Ireland that badly, no Irishman ever wants to go to England, and "Feck, would ye give us giant drill an' expect nethin' bad t' happ'n?" Oh, and we got one instance of "Ah'd leeve th' damn Eenglish een th' tunnul, Ah wood." It was a fun conversation.

Limerick Museum is... well, it's tiny. It's OK. Right next to the castle and close enough to the big churches / Hunt's Museum to be worth the visit. They have an old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea-style diving suit! And lots and lots of tea sets, plus their sign hangs crooked. It made me giggle. A lot.

1) Here's Jules! And if you got that joke, well... good for you. I'm legitimately impressed.

As far as down-town Limerick is concerned, it's definitely more expensive than we were hoping. Again, not prohibitively expensive, but when given a choice between spending €20 on a meal or €8-10, and then blowing the rest at a time and place TBA... well, it's a pretty easy choice. Mom was nice and treated us to dinner here, so thanks! They had the high street all lit up for Christmas, and everywhere we went looked like they were halfway through updating their decorations for the holidays. I'm starting to get a little excited about Christmas, but since it's still a long way away in terms of paper-writing...

There, that's the sum of my holiday cheer and snot-muddled mind. And before anyone says anything about snow and Christmas being completely separate issues, they're not. Why? Because I want both, that's why. Besides, all it ever does in England (and Ireland, for that matter) is rain and form ice on the sidewalks. Oh, this stuff is from the inside of our hotel. I thought it looked pretty. We stayed at the Maldran, or what used to be the Quality Hotel. They really did a wonderful job, and we payed less for our accommodations in Ireland than we did in Prague (and that's saying something, because Praha is cheap.)

I'm in a chilly kind of mood. Who cares if it's sporadic and has nothing to do with Ireland, here's a bit of 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's 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.