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The Greatest Battle that Ever was Fought

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164 words 16 min 10.25 wpm


Joaquin Miller


The greatest battle that ever was fought—

Shall I tell you where and when?

On the maps of the world you will find it not:

It was fought by the mothers of men.


Not with cannon or battle shot,

With sword or nobler pen;

Not with eloquent word or thought

From the wonderful minds of men;


But deep in a walled up women’s heart;

A woman that would not yield:

But bravely and patiently bore her part;

Lo! There is that battlefield.


No marshaling troops, no bivouac song,

No banner to gleam and wave;

But Oh these battles they last so long—

From babyhood to the grave!


But faithful still as a bridge of stars

She fights in her walled up town;

Fights on, and on, in the endless wars;

Then silent, unseen goes down!


Ho! Ye with banners and battle shot,

With soldiers to shout and praise,

I tell you the kingliest victories fought

Are fought in these silent ways.


Written by michaelonsystems

March 12, 2011 at 5:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Ozymandias and Macbeth

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203 words, 17 minutes, 11.9 wpm

Ozymandias of Egypt

Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveler from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreak, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Macbeth Learns of his Wife’s Death

William Shakespeare

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

To the last syllable of recorded time,

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more; it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

Written by michaelonsystems

March 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Ecclesiastes 12

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372 words, 29 minutes,  8.9 wpm


Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened.

And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.

The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.

Written by michaelonsystems

February 28, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Minstrel Boy

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112 words, 12 min, 9.33 wpm


The minstrel boy to the war is gone,

In the ranks of death you’ll find him,

His father’s sword he has girded on,

And his wild harp slung behind him.

“Land of song!” said the warrior bard,

“Though all the world betrays thee,

One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,

One faithful harp shall praise thee!”


The minstrel fell—but the foeman’s chain

Could not bring his proud soul under;

The harp he loved ne’er spoke again,

For he tore its chords asunder,

And said, “No chains shall sully thee,

Thou soul of love and bravery!

Thy songs were made for the pure and free,

They shall never sound in slavery!”


Written by michaelonsystems

February 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Boy who Cried Wolf

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82 words, 9 minutes, 9.11 WPM

A certain Shepherd’s Boy kept his sheep upon  common, and in sport and wantonness would often cry out, The wolf! the wolf! By this he several times drew the husbandmen in an adjoining field from their work; who, finding themselves deluded, resolved for the future to take no notice of his alarm. Soon after the wolf came indeed. The Boy cried out in earnest; but no heed being given to his cries, the sheep are devoured by the wolf.

(From Aesop’s Fables)

Written by michaelonsystems

February 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

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Hiawatha’s Childhood

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435 Words

61 minutes

7.13 Words Per Minute

By the shores of Gitchee Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cone upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
There the wrinkled old Nokomis
Nursed the little Hiawatha,
Rocked him in his linden cradle,
Bedded soft in moss and rushes,
Safely bound with reindeer sinews;
Stilled his fretful wail by saying,
“Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!”
Lulled him into slumber, singing,
“Ewa-yea! my little owlet!
Who is this, that lights the wigwam?
With his great eyes lights the wigwam?
Ewa-yea! my little owlet!” 5.58
Many things Nokomis taught him
Of the stars that shine in heaven;
Showed him Iskoodah, the comet,
Iskoodah, with fiery tresses;
Showed the Death-Dance of the spirits,
Warriors with their plumes and war-clubs,
Flaring far away to northward
In the frosty nights of Winter;
Showed the broad white road in heaven,
Pathway of the ghosts, the shadows,
Running straight across the heavens,
Crowded with the ghosts, the shadows.
At the door on summer evenings
Sat the little Hiawatha;
Heard the whispering of the pine trees,
Heard the lapping of the waters,
Sounds of music, words of wonder;
“Minne-wawa!” said the pine-trees,
“Mudway-aushka!” said the water.
Saw the fire-fly, Wah-wah-taysee,
Flitting through the dusk of evening,
With the twinkle of its candle
Lighting up the brakes and bushes,
And he sang the song of children,
Sang the song Nokomis taught him:
“Wah-wah-taysee, little fire-fly,
Little, dancing, white-fire creature,
Light me with your little candle,
Ere upon my bed I lay m-e,
Ere in sleep I close my eye-lids!”
Saw the moon rise from the water,
Rippling, rounding from the water,
Saw the flecks and shadows on it,
Whispered, “What is that, Nokomis?”
And the good Nokomis answered:
“Once a warrior, very angry,
Seized his grandmother, and threw her
Up into the sky at midnight;
Right against the moon he threw her;
‘Tis her body that you see there.” . .
Then the little Hiawatha
Learned of every bird its language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How they built their nests in Summer,
Where they hid themselves in Winter,
Talked with them whene’er he met them,
Called them “Hiawatha’s Chickens.”
Of all beasts he learned the language,
Learned their names and all their secrets,
How the beavers built their lodges,
Where the squirrels hid their acorns,
How the reindeer ran so swiftly,
Why the rabbit was so timid,
Talked with them whene’er he met them,
Called them “Hiawatha’s Brothers.”

Written by michaelonsystems

February 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


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I decided to learn Dvorak (again). Here’s how it’s going.

Written by michaelonsystems

February 14, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized