Requiem for Stumbleupon…

I am still staring in disbelief at the news of what they’ve planned for changes of SU.  For those who are not familiar with Stumbleupon. com, this short rant is neither here nor there and the following sonnet is rendered “obscure,”  but for those who are familiar with it, another major change has been announced for the end of October and it’s “out with the blogs and themes” and in with whatever it is that will be “in” .  In short, they are gutting SU! This particular sonnet is dedicated to “them” one and all, and as usual, I express something of my feelings in yet another fourteen lines:

“A Scintilla

of the Day”

A scintilla of the day is gleaned while Polyphemus
Dreams, so blind to what he does and what he’s just about to do;
The hours’ weights roll like barrels set loose within the wagon. Through
This abyss, time’s indecision tractors in the slipstream
Posing questions now:

In whose bailiwick does this homily reside when the season
To apply the blossoms of incremental decide for whom this bell must toll?
…To push the envelope
That inch or two the other side of honesty and just beyond all present hopes,
Who falls further to the left or right from blind faith now

to what amounts to treason
Plastered on the whitewashed billboard signs that stretch

for miles along the highway
Leading from all former warmer smiles

to far beyond a full-blown nemesis. Clowns
Direct the traffic back and forth so many times

that no one sticks around
To point the way back home; The Zephyr’s bridled breezes softly say,
“No one’s home; drive on!…” but leave distinctions blank,

…and yes, of course the rinds
Behind that rhyme with nothing but a waste of time?

4 responses to “Requiem for Stumbleupon…

  1. I’ve stumbled upon so many blog sites, joined and then forgotten the requisite passwords and suchlike that I may have joined this one without realising it. John, but it’s always a mystery why they can’t leave well alone. So called required improvements seem to make life harder (case in point WordPress, I’m trying to come to terms with all the extra clicks I need to do to find updates and stuff., If the point was to make us use our braincells more, well all to the good, but I’m finding myself going in circles and turning the air quite a violent shade of blue… ) …. enjoyed the requiem… now….which way’s OUT? 😉 xPenx

    • Yes, well, after all, only ten years ago, there was no internet in my cosmos and I only reluctantly agreed to learn how to use a computer when the board for whom I was working at the time declared that all teachers should become cognizant of the computer and its uses within two years or less (or something like that…) and so I commandeered a student I found wandering in the halls and said, “How would you like to skip the next two class periods today?” to which he of course replied, “Let’s rock!” and the two of us went to the Computer Room right across from my own classroom, and luckily, there were only two of us in that room for the two periods I had free. I forbid him to touch the computer we chose and simply said, “I will ask the questions; you will answer them. I will do as you command and you will allow me to learn this machine based on your instructions.” He agreed and within those two class periods, I learned everything I know about computers, enough to keep my marks and attendance, create entire lesson plans for whole novels, the this and the that that by now are almost second nature to me. It was the ring you mentioned in “Nothing…” in your yesterday’s posting, and “right” or “wrong” I discovered what I did not know at the time, that I could write sonnets which I had been teaching for years in my classroom but I had never really experienced from the point of view of writing them myself. I discovered that I could in fact write what I wanted when I wanted and never mind for whom my bells were tolling; it was a simple pleasure that’s been with me since March of 2005. It was for me as you say:

      “No money will buy this,
      it has chosen you now.
      Charmed to your finger,
      soon it will show you how
      to travel between Worlds
      thought long ago dead”
      His voice now filled me
      with excitement-tinged dread.
      “You are destined to search
      on quests travelling far,
      Milady, nothing
      you need?
      How so

      My deep and quite human concern here is that there must be thousands (out of the some 15,000,000 subscribers to SU that exist today) whose “little joys” have been utterly flattened by this latest move to “improve” the quality of what was already a goldmine for so many quietly creative, wonderfully loving souls who, among the by now millions, if not, thousands who like me, have found a little something each day that gave them a break from their weighted lives.

      For me, writing that sonnet each day was like taking a shower or a nap; I always feel as if a new day has begun each and every time I do either and for years, after the hours in the classroom, the rigours of getting to and from school in winter, fall, and spring, no matter what the weather, I had this little moment to sit down, write, and make that little “break” from these cares so that I could mark papers the rest of the evening and/or create lesson plans up the yang yang for five levels of English, grades 11 (our senior year), 10, 9, 8, and 7, a class load that included 38 students per class (if you can imagine!) a classload that isn’t even legal because it was hitherto considered impossible to prepare five preparations for class per day, but which is now par for the course in almost all schools in English, and somehow survive two by-pass surgeries, eight hernias, a failing thyroid glan, and now the loss vision in one eye, hearing for about three weeks there for a while, and ultimately come out the other end, no worse for the wear!

      I will not expire now that SU is finished; I began transferring revised versions of my poems about a year ago, and for me, of course, since it was all I did with SU, it remains for me to continue doing this for my site on WordPress; I do have a copy of all the poetry I have ever written. But what of the others? Already, the “Inbox” messages are flying back and forth and postings that suggest other sites that may do for a good place to relocate such as Categorian, a site that has been created by a formerly discontented subscriber to SU who created what essentially keeps the simplicity of what was once SU without the bells and whistles. At present, however, what about the thousands whose disappointment I can feel even now as I write and now read on every site I visit there? It’s true! Every site I go to now on SU has the same sentiment: “O my God! What have they done?” and “Good-bye, my friends; you can find me now on….” with a kind of message that includes, apparently, a switch to another .com address like WordPress or Tublir, or any one of the dozens of sites that feature blogging and the freedom to post whatever one feels like posting. In each message, there is an obvious sadness and quiet disappointment. As one of my “Friends” on SU put it:

      To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.

      ~ Pema Chodron ~

      I’ve only just heard the news about the changes to SU.

      It left me with a sinking heart. Sadness. Loss.

      All those hours of loving caring and sharing.

      All those wonderful, mysterious long distance friendships across the cyberspace.

      All that discovery, and fun, and thought, and learning, and insight.

      Thank you all.

      But, as you say so eloquently in your poem,

      I said to the Stall Man,
      stood drinking his coffee beside a White Van.
      His eyebrows raised, his eyes twinkled with glee,
      he thought for a while before he answered me.
      “Nothing at all… Not in need of anything?
      Well, how about this?” he brought forth a small ring,
      saying “This is so special, why not try it for size?”

      Of course, there is always today, tomorrow, and forever more, and anyone who suggests otherwise is trying to sell something. I notice that the Stall Man charged nothing at all for the ring, which is, as it should be.

      Many thanks for your poem and the thoughts you expressed so well there.


  2. I’m totally speechless. John, not the first time, and probably not the last… I don’t know what to say… (mind you, never lasts long) … I composed the ‘Nothing’ poem in the bath, I have a Digital Voice recorder, and I record anything which comes to my soap filled mind. White van man, was an idea which I just recorded almost word for word… a few changes here and there but the whole thing just appeared out of the bubble filled blue…
    The crisis with SU sounds just like the traumatic time I and countless others have lived through with Windows Live Spaces. (WLS for short) … Just as with Stumbleupon, they just couldn’t leave well alone, a whole community had been built up and then knocked down without thought …they then closed down and gave us the option of WordPress or … nothing. so here I am, striving to release the words held within, the best way I can… An adventure I suppose, and it’s fun…but sometimes, I wonder if the well will run dry… and will the bath bubbles ‘pop’ … xPenx

    • Insofar as from where I sit, it appears that you are both alive and living each day, that your beverage has always and will continue to be life, itself, I am neither surprised nor could I be more impressed with the message that your poetry appears to be something that, “just appeared out of the bubble filled blue….” The incident of the van man and the subsequent bubble bath do not differ an iota from whatever it is that has become the process of some nine hundred sonnets by now for me. I wouldn’t worry, Miss Pen, that, “the well will run dry…,” any more than will your “bath bubbles pop,” for the simple reason that, as I say, I suspect that you are very much alive; that you experience life as it is; that you drink deeply of whatever any given moment grants you; and that as a result of all the above you will continue to blow bubbles so long as you are able to draw a bath. Even beyond that, you will no doubt continue to find yourself as amazed at the results in your own writing and get a bang out of it as much as I seem to. There are times when I reread what I have written, at times months or even years after I wrote whatever it is an found myself as delighted with the results as much as I was when I first wrote these things. My own poetry at times amazes me can reduce me to the floor, laughing, or, conversely, a puddle of tears. It is truly a wondrous thing you do when you write and, as I have mentioned before, the number and quality of comments from the many each time you write attest the same.


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