Two Summer Poems

From Poetry:

In the Mountains on a Summer Day
Li Po, translated by Arthur Waley

Gently I stir a white feather fan,
With open shirt sitting in a green wood.
I take off my cap and hang it on a jutting stone;
A wind from the pine-trees trickles on my bare head.


Poem 1386
Emily Dickinson

Summer — we all have seen —
A few of us — believed —
A few — the more aspiring
Unquestionably loved —

But Summer does not care —
She goes her spacious way
As eligible as the moon
To our Temerity —

The Doom to be adored —
The Affluence conferred —
Unknown as to an Ecstasy
The Embryo endowed —



There will be a free workshop tomorrow night at Cooper Union in Manhattan on the topic of Citizen Preparedness: getting ready for another hurricane, handling emergencies etc. The event is free, but you must register at


And if you attend, you get a free emergency kit/bag like the one below!:


Here’s the location on Google Maps:



New York City has (arguably) the best parks of any city in the United States. Every weekend, there are tons of free events and activities happening at them. This Saturday and Sunday, you can do the following things for free at various parks around town:

Go running, go bird watching, do yoga, go for a walk along the beach, study English, do gardening, go to an art exhibit, go on a tour, watch a basketball tournament, crochet, go kayaking, go canoeing, do arts and crafts, play ping pong, play board games, play kubb, play golf, practice juggling, watch a magic show, work out, take a citizenship class, learn how to draw, watch a Shakespeare play, go to a concert, go dancing, go camping, watch a movie, do tai chi, go surfing, go hiking, make a sand castle, learn about dragonflies, watch stand-up comedy, do zumba – and more!


Click here to see a complete listing of this weekend’s free events at NYC Parks.



What Street Compares with Mott Street in July?

Here’s another classic song about summertime in New York. Click on the place names in the lyrics to learn more:

Written by Rodgers and Hart
Performed by Ella Fitzgerald

Summer journeys to Niagara
And to other places aggra-
Vate all our cares.
We’ll save our fares.
I’ve a cozy little flat in
What is known as old Manhattan.
We’ll settle down
Right here in town.

We’ll have Manhattan,
The Bronx and Staten
Island too.
It’s lovely going through
The zoo.

It’s very fancy
On old Delancey
Street, you know.
The subway charms us so
When balmy breezes blow
To and fro.

And tell me what street
Compares with Mott Street
In July?
Sweet pushcarts gently gli-
Ding by.

The great big city’s a wondrous toy
Just made for a girl and boy.
We’ll turn Manhattan
Into an isle of joy.

We’ll go to Yonkers
Where true love conquers
In the whiles
And starve together, dear,
In Chiles.

We’ll go to Coney
And eat baloney
On a roll.
In Central Park we’ll stroll,
Where our first kiss we stole,
Soul to soul.

And My Fair Lady is a terrific show, they say.
We both may see it close

The city’s glamour can never spoil
The dreams of a boy and goil.
We’ll turn Manhattan
Into an isle of joy.

It’s a Cruel, Cruel Summer

Here’s a song that pretty much summarizes our feelings about summer. Execpt where it says “dry” – because it’s really humid here!

Cruel Summer
by Bananarama

Hot summer streets and the pavements are burning
I sit around
Trying to smile but the air is so heavy and dry
Strange voices are saying (What did they say?)
Things I can’t understand
It’s too close for comfort
This heat has got right out of hand

It’s a cruel, (cruel), cruel summer
Leaving me here on my own
It’s a cruel, (it’s a cruel), cruel summer
Now you’re gone

The city is crowded, my friends are away and I’m on my own
It’s too hot to handle, so I got to get up and go

It’s a cruel, (cruel), cruel summer
Leaving me here on my own
It’s a cruel, (it’s a cruel), cruel summer
Now you’re gone

Au Revoir, Elsie


Another teacher will also not be returning this September: Elsie Choi. Elsie has been with the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program for 11 years – she started when she was 19 years old, according to her. Elsie is a veteran teacher who has decided to take some time off – right now, she’s on a cruise ship somewhere in the Northern Atlantic. Always camera shy, we don’t have any good videos of Elsie, but below you can read something she wrote about her classes a couple years ago. We’ll miss you, Elsie!

My Year with 1A & 1B

By Elsie Choi

August 29, 2012 was Orientation Day already after a long summer of relaxation.  It was time to meet a whole new group of students and get the show ready for the road. I was a little nervous. First impressions are very important. What should I wear for the day? I am sure that my students feel the same way. They were there to check me out, and at the same time, wondering what is in store for them for the coming year.

A few students come in way before class time but the majority can barely make it. There is a tendency that people come in later and later as the year goes on. Of course they have tons of excuses… my children, my dog, my watch….”See, my watch says 9…”

Students gradually become friends and chat. Think that they do not know enough English to do so? No problem. Their native language kicks in naturally. Or, a mixture of languages will do. “I did my homework la. (Chinese)”, “Is this good ma? (Chinese)”,“Michael is outside ah! (Chinese)”.  ALL ENGLISH! …..ALL ENGLISH!

Oh! No! Test again?! Eyes are wandering around. Some just want to get that 100 percent in the test. Believe it or not, a few people know they are right but still glance at their neighbor’s paper to see if the other person is doing it correctly. What a busybody!

Homework is usually done by most students but it is like pulling teeth for some. To enforce this requirement, it causes more work for the teacher to follow up and make sure that make-up homework is done the next day. A threat using Michael’s name is useful, sometimes.

Well, the year is going by swiftly despite the heartache and headache we have had. We have shared tears and laughter with personal happenings and have grown together. Let’s celebrate. Food is the number one choice. Students feed the teacher, me, all year long. I thank you all by showing you my forever growing “muffin top.”