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Poems on the UndergroundToday, there’s much to celebrate as the world’s oldest underground transportation network, the London Underground, celebrates 150 years today on the same day that the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton turns 31.

When I studied abroad in the U.K., one of my flatmates had an anthology of poetry that had been posted on the London Underground (where the advertisements usually ran). The book, Poems on the Underground (Fifth Edition), became one of my favorites to just dip into now and again, and ranged from Percy Shelley to Maya Angelou, Brits and non-Brits as well as some anonymous authors.

I eventually bought my own copy  that year and have been revisiting those old poems this week. I found one which might be appropriate for today’s celebrations. Let’s raise a glass and have a read! Cheers.

A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

– Christina Rossetti (1830-94)

The year of Kate

Photo credit: Reuters/Kieran Doherty

Have you heard?

Experts (who exactly are these “experts” I do wonder…) have already predicted that “Kate” (as in Middleton) will be a big buzzword in 2012.

I guess that’s not too surprising considering she is the Duchess of Cambridge and that the future king of England will be theoretically springing from her loins and all … not to mention the fact that she has the greatest hair ever (it’s gotta be extensions, right?!) and a razor-sharp eye for purchasing clothing on a budget that still looks like a million pounds (That’s a talent, y’all … and yes, I did just use y’all for added emphasis.)

* Breathe *

Here’s the predicted buzzword list for 2012, as reported by the Daily Mail. You’re welcome, America.

1. Kate: There are seven billion humans on the planet but sometimes it seems that it’s all about Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge
2. Olympiad: The Greeks measured time by the four-year interval between the Games, held in London next year
3. Middle Kingdom: There is little indication that China’s continuing economic surge will fade from the global media spotlight – or abate
4. Bak’tun: A cycle of 144,000 days in the Maya ‘Long Count’ Calendar This bak’tun ends on December 21, 2012, also being called the Mayan Apocalypse
5. Solar max: The peak 11-year sunspot cycle
6. The Election: No Obama-mania this time around, more of an Obama-ennui for the November 6 elections
7. Deficit: Looks like deficit-spending will plague Western democracies for at least the next decade
8. Rogue nukes: Iran and North Korea will be the focus of attention here
9. CERN: Neutrons travelling faster than light? The ‘God Particle’? The world ending in a mini-black hole? All these somehow revolve around CERN (The European Center for Nuclear Research)
10. Global Warming: The earth has been warming since New York was covered under a mountain of ice; what makes 2012 any different?
11. Near-Earth Asteroid: Yet another year, another asteroid, another near-miss.
12. Europe: United, breaking apart, saving the Euro, abandoning the Euro, with the UK again as an ‘interested onlooker’
Source: Global Language Monitor