"Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its ... mission: To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before."
-- introduction to each episode of the science fiction television series "Star Trek"
"Give me one moment in time/
When I'm more than I thought I could be/
When all of my dreams/
Are a heart beat away/
And the answers are all up to me/
Give me one moment in time/
When I'm racing with destiny/
Then in that one moment of time/
I will be, I will be, I will be free, I will be,/
I will be free"
-- Give Me One Moment In Time, by Whitney Houston
After a long content update hiatus due to the publisher's illness, A Country Rag has been re-established at this new website address, acountryrag.org (bookmark it!). Through its content, ACR actively supports and promotes maintenance and use of public parks and forests, creeks, rivers and lakes -- free and inexpensive access to cultural events like concerts, festivals and shows -- small privately owned craft shops and restaurants -- participatory politics and community/civic engagement by responsible professionals and dedicated volunteers -- tolerance and understanding of humane diversity of all kinds -- artistic exploration and endeavor.
She stares into water as sure as her eyes,
sparkling a pure aquamarine,
transparent to the broken shells
and pitted rocks
where crawfish swarm
and line the depths of Vivien.
Dark with helgrammites
lying in wait
from under each stone disturbed,
Vivien, the enchantress,
mistress of Merlin.
Indian spirits step to her banks
offering polished beads and shining seeds,
baskets braid with the vines of wild grapes.
Ancestral ghosts from the land,
from the house,
dance on the rugged sands of her soul.
Where she looks, flowers grow.
Energy streams from her mind. (1996)
he glowers against the question,
begs for her to ask,
but she is not a priest
to profer charms of sweet reprieve,
chants against his agony,
nor solace from his fear.
He pleads to be set free;
she did not enslave him.
He moans to be forgiven;
she is not God.
With inchoate lies he begs
for lifting of her spell.
It's cast a pall
on all he's touched.
Now he prays on sullen knees
for fond release
from having wooed the witch
within her spidered house.
But she elects instead
dresses of nude silk,
and the tapered prism
of foreign wines. (1997)
"...We are the champions - my friends/
And we'll keep on fighting - till the end -/
We are the champions -/
We are the champions/
No time for losers/
'Cause we are the champions - of the world...."
-- We Are The Champions, by Queen
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...."
-- Tale of Two Cities, concerning "...the years leading up to the French Revolution and [culminating] in the Jacobin Reign of Terror," by Charles Dickens
"It's like you're riding a bicycle on a high wire and all of a sudden it falls off and crushes you."
-- John Charles on life's occasional setbacks
"I sing the body electric,/ The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,/ They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,/
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul./ Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?/
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?/
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul? And if the body/
were not the soul, what is the soul?"
-- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Graphic below: Wise Woman, multi-media sculpture by Margaret Gregg, Abingdon VA
ACR was created during the nascence of the Internet Revolution in 1996 as the advertising-supported O Shenandoah! Country Rag -- the original Valley's Home Page (see "Word Preserve," Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4) -- as part of a larger Chamber of Commerce affiliated web design business situated in Page County, Virginia. Beloved by readers (see their comments at the bottom of page 4) and copiously linked from websites public and private, regional and countrywide, OSCR -- developed by its publisher as a "love poem" to her area of residence for two decades and her home in cyberspace -- accepted many national awards for excellence in design and content.
Through conversational e-mail interactions between the publisher and "techies" worldwide, it garnered far-flung complimentary links, most of them reciprocal, from prominent site locations like NYC, Boston MA, Washington DC, Seattle WA, British Columbia and Montreal CAN, Australia, Germany, England, SE Florida, Chicago, Hawaii, California, St. Louis MO and many spots in between, as well as content material.
In 1997, OSCR received international recognition, upon acceptance of the publisher's application, with designation by Encyclopedia Britannica as a "Best of the Web" internationally and inclusion in their elitely exclusive global search engine under numerous criteria related to culture and arts, and the Shenandoah Valley, conferring global internet fame, honor and prestige on its artists worldwide and that region of Appalachia, specifically.
"Content is everything when it comes to hosting a popular web site.... The Country Rag has wonderful content. Published and edited by Jeannette Harris, it would be enough if it only contained her stories (which have been featured in this, and previous issues of our magazine) and her poems. Comprised primarily of prose and poetry, there is also a calendar, which gives you the flavor of the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. This is not a site to rush through. It is a place to read and think and dream. The content will bring you back again and again. As to form, both frame and non-frame versions are available. Graphics are not overpowering, and help set the mood. The site is liberally sprinkled with music. All in all, this is a jewel on the web." -- Fresh Tuna's Messages From The 40's, 1997
Record what we say and do
in your book
and penned against the word
on her brow.
She does not belong to you. (1998)
spell the word
terse, meaning tense
hearse, meaning hence
fourth, meaning native
rhyme, meaning mine
gnaw, meaning trogan tragos, which is french
wench, meaning satyr
goat sin sylvan aeidein,
to sing, choros, Greikos ring
dance non potest legi
to deny. (1998)
"It's boring here, and we like it that way." -- Professor at Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg VA
"Life is a tale told by an idiot -- full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." -- William Shakespeare
"Give me one reason to stay here and I'll turn right back around/
Because I don't want leave you lonely/
But you got to make me change my mind/
Baby I got your number and I know that you got mine/
But you know that I called you I called too many times/
You can call me baby you can call me anytime...." -- Give Me One Reason To Stay Here by Tracy Chapman
".... I hold it true, whate'er befall;/
I feel it, when I sorrow most;/
'Tis better to have loved and lost/
Than never to have loved at all." -- Alfred Lord Tennyson's elegaic poem In Memoriam
"... many feminist theorists seek an end to oppositional conceptions of gender and instead call for a move toward androgyny, genderlessness, or 'gender independence'. They may see both masculinity and femininity as results of male dominance, which diminishes the range of personal characteristics culturally available to each sex and awards men power and prestige over women. Hegemonic masculinity gives men a sense of superiority and of entitlement to advantages over women, and it valorizes in men characteristics such as aggression that harm women as well as other men." -- Theorizing Age With Gender by Judith Kegan Gardiner
"...the female body is masculinized when healthy, invigorated, and active.... When a serious model of female masculinity does emerge...the threat deployed by the butch will inevitably be reduced to another form of femininity or else violently eradicated (she will be impregnated or killed or sexually humiliated)...."-- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Judith Halberstam
"There is no private life which is not determined by a wider public life." -- Adrienne Rich in Diving Into The Wreck
"... the contradictory and complementary features of this rampaging male hero [serve] 'to eroticize submission and victimization while trying to retain a certain aggressively virile edge'...." -- Getting Up There With Tom by Fred Pfeil
"The 1990s masculinist men's movements, which sought to restore male dominance over women and reverse feminist advances, rose and fell.... many people see the presumed 'crisis of masculinity' in the Western world as 'a,' if not the burning issue of our time.... Susan Faludi (in Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Male] ... reports a serious 'masculinity crisis' in the increase of such 'male distress signals' as anxiety, suicide, and criminality.... as men struggle to free themselves from their crisis, their task is not, in the end, to figure out how to be masculine -- rather, their masculinity lies in figuring out how to be human.... the old rules about manhood no longer apply, men are floundering, and the terrain is fragile.... artists, poet-scholars, caring fathers, and men inspired by spirituality ... can be an effective antidote to the pervasive association of masculine power with economic success or physical prowess." -- Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory, edited by Judith Kegan Gardiner
"... the male phoenix sings by itself, as it dances alone." -- Phoenix Eyes by Russel Leong