Friday, June 3, 2016

Happy Birthday Cathleen!

A GOOD DAY FOR ICE CREAM CONES!

In fact,
a good three months for ice cream cones!
Summer Sabbatical has begun!
Quotidian Posts will resume
after Labor Day!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

His Own Man

On the occasion of Ben's 26th birthday, two favorite photos ~
one of Ben and one of his younger brother Sam,
each on their Spring Break Trips ~ March 2014:

Ben in Istanbul ~ photo by Katie O'Connor

And yet another poem that, in most timely fashion, I encountered for the first time when flying home from North Carolina last week, where we celebrated Gerry's 60th birthday (on May 18th), my 59th (on May 24th), and Ben's 26th (in advance):
Ah, this is the thing that comes to each of us.
The child grows up.
And, according to our own ideas, is practically asunder.

I understand it.
I struggle to celebrate.
I say, with a stiff upper lip familiar to many:

Just look at that curlyhaired child now,
he’s his own man.


from the poem "Percy (Seven)"
by Mary Oliver
in her book Thirst
Sam in Taiwan at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial

Summer 1994 ~ Our Own Boys
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ELDER SON BENEDICT!

Friday, May 27, 2016

What To Do?

On the Road Again

At the conclusion of our recent family reunion, my twin brother Bruce was within moments of jumping into his car and heading home. Everything was packed for his drive halfway across the country. Only his computer remained on the countertop, ready for checking the weather, looking at maps, and sending a few last - minute messages. No sooner had he completed these tasks than the computer started updating itself. Surprise!

"What do you think?" my brother asked me. "Do you really think any harm will come to my computer if I shut it down and hit the road? Or should I wait?"


Luckily, I knew precisely how to answer his questions. I picked up the latest book of poetry by my friend Len and read aloud the following:
Desperate Times

I can do something unexpected, even
a little wild and risky; I could leave my
back - up travel alarm clock home next time
I go on a trip. I could get rid of my emergency
hairbrush that I keep in my office desk
in case violent winds, the hot simoom,
come roaring down the river as I cross
the parking lot, I might just get rid of it.
When someone asks for a volunteer
from the audience, why, I might go onstage,
just to picture your wide-eyed expression
when they lock me in one of those boxes
they run through with four - foot swords.
I might try the calamari, the kim chi,
order that Thai dish with five peppers
printed next to it in the menu. I could
leave my car in a loading zone when
I am not actually loading, and I could
enter the crosswalk after the red hand
has started blinking. When the screen says
Please wait until the computer shuts down,
I might not wait. Anything's possible.

by Leonard Orr
from A Floating Woman

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Such Patience!

Waiting for Sunset ~ North Carolina
This was the view last night;
and this is the poem I read on the airplane today:

The Fist

There are days
when the sun goes down
like a fist,
though of course

if you see anything
in the heavens
in this way
you had better get

your eyes checked
or, better still,
your diminished spirit.
The heavens

have no fist,
or wouldn't they have been
shaking it
for a thousand years now,

and even
longer than that,
at the dull, brutish
ways of mankind -

heaven's own
creation?
Instead: such patience!
Such willingness

to let us continue!
To hear,
little by little,
the voices -

only, so far, in
pockets of the world -
suggesting the possibilities
of peace?

Keep looking.
Behold, how the fist opens
with invitation.


Mary Oliver ~ from her book Thirst
Contemporary American Poet (b. 1935)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 1984

San Francisco ~ Last Month
[See also "The Messenger"]

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Carolina Pine Moon

The woman wanderer goes forth to seek the Land of Freedom.

“How am I to get there?”

Reason answers: "There is one way, and one way only. Down the banks of Labour, through the waters of suffering. There is no other.”

The woman, having discarded all to which she had formerly clung, cries out:

“For what do I go to this far land which no one has ever reached? I am alone! I am utterly alone!”

But soon she hears the sounds of feet, ‘a thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands, and they beat this way!’

“They are the feet of those who shall follow you. Lead on.”


from Three Dreams in a Desert [See more]
by Olive Schreiner (1855–1920)
recited in the movie Suffragette

The Full Moon of May

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Crannied Wall


Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower—but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.
(1863)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809 - 92
Lincoln, England


At Pontefract Castle:
Another "flower in the crannied wall" and To Go Cup

Sunday, May 15, 2016

With a Lily of the Valley for a Bell

When I heard the church bells ring,
I thought I heard the voice of God.

Albert Schweitzer, 1875 - 1965

Lilies of the Valley
photographed by Mark Bass

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church -
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I, just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton – sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along.


~ Emily Dickinson

Gerry . . .

sorting out a batch of Lily of the Valley bulbs . . .

to plant alongside the driveway.

Previous Success on the Other Side of the HouseMay 2013


P.S.
Another picture to go with Emily Dickinson's poem:
Some keep the Sabbath by going for a walk in the woods!
Mark says:
"Walking through the woods is what we call True Religion."

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Stay!

At Dusk From My Hotel Window in San Francisco

“Stay is a charming word
in a friend's vocabulary.”


from Concord Days (p 73)
by Amos Bronson Alcott, 1799 - 1888
American transcendentalist, philosopher, and reformer

(occasionally misattributed to his daughter Louisa May Alcott)



"Then you'll stay, right? Please stay."
Stay, such a seductive word.


from Only Begotten Daughter (p 193)
by James Morrow, b 1947
American novelist of philosophical and theological satire,
science fiction and fantasy

STAY ~ SF Mural Arts

Monday, May 9, 2016

Viking Band

As always on this day . . .
Rest in Peace Mr. McCune

For all my BBFFs (Best Band Friends Forever)

Viking Band ~ 1972

Not sure how I ended up in possession of this poster, which served as the place - marker for our line-up position in the 1972 Veiled Prophet aka VP Parade.

As you can see, I took it to college with me and saved it all these years. Here it is on my dorm room wall in 1977 (sorry so fuzzy):

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Now the Month of May

HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!

Cold December's winds were stilled
In the month of snowing.
As the world fell dark one night,
Springtime's Hope was growing;
Then one rose-tree blossomed new,
One sweet Flower on it grew.
On the tree once bare,
Grew the Rose so fair,
Ah, the Rose, ah, the Rose,
Ah the Rose tree blooming,
Sweet the air perfuming.

When the darkness fell that night,
Bringing sweet reposing,
All the land was hid from sight,
Sleep our eyes was closing.
Suddenly, there came a gleam
From the sky, the wondrous beam
Of a heav'nly star,
Giving light afar;
Ah, the star, ah, the star,
Ah, the star-beam glowing,
Brightness ever growing.

Now the month of May was here,
Filled with God's own radiance;
Now the purest Lily bloomed,
Flow'r of sweeted fragrance.
To the people far and near
Came a breath of heav'nly cheer;
O, the incense rare
Of the Lily there!
Ah, the scent, ah, the scent
Of the Lily blooming,
All the air perfuming!


Alternate version
from The United Methodist Hymnal #233:

Cold December flies away
At the rose-red splendor.
April's crowning glory breaks
While the whole world wonders
At the holy unseen pow'r
Of the tree which bears the flow'r.
On the blessed tree
Blooms the reddest flow'r.
On the tree blooms the rose
Here in love's own garden,
Full and strong in glory.

In the hopeless time of sin
Shadows deep had fallen.
All the world lay under death.
Eyes were closed in sleeping.
But, when all seemed lost in night,
Came the sun whose golden light
Brings unending joy,
Brings the endless joy
Of our hope, highest hope,
Of our hope's bright dawning,
Son beloved of heaven.

Now the bud has come to bloom,
And the world awakens.
In the lily's purest flow'r
Dwells a wondrous fragrance.
And it spreads to all the earth
From the moment of its birth;
And its beauty lives.
In the flow'r it lives,
In the flow'r, and it spreads
In its heav'nly brightness,
Sweet perfume delightful.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Standing Still . . . Astonished . . .
On Your Tiptoes


"My work is loving the world. . . .
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished. . . ."

from "Messenger"
by American poet, Mary Oliver
in her collection Thirst

" . . . maybe the moral is simple . . .
You should come into this world on your tiptoes,
and stop at the entrance? Into this miraculous world . . . "


from "Monologue About Answers"
by Russian historian, Aleksander Revalskiy
in Voices from Chernobyl ~ Svetlana Alexievich

More from Mary Oliver, Lorenzo Quinn, August Rodin, Camille Claudel, and Gustave Caillebotte, on my current Fortnightly Post:
~ Face of Nature ~
@ The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker

More from Chernobyl
on my current Book Blogs:
~ "Until We Seek Until We Find Ammonia Avenue
" ~
&
~ "Preponderance of War" ~
@ Kitti's List

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day Parade


My friend Nataliya Semchynska shared this interesting document:
" ~ a permit for the May 1 demonstration in 1986 ~
just several days after Chernobyl. What is interesting, one needed a permit with ID to participate (which proves that these demonstrations were controlled by kgb) , on one hand, and on the other - we were forced to participate by authorities to play a pretend show to the West that nothing serious has happened in the USSR. this specific permit was for a secondary school pupil (children were also forced to go out in radiation)."

**************

The following passages are taken from
Voices from Chernobyl ~ Svetlana Alexievich

"And still we had a great time on May 1 [1986].
We came home late at night, and my window had been
blown open by the wind. I would remember that later on."


from "Monologue About How the Frightening Things in Life
Happen Quietly and Naturally"
Zoya Bruk, environmental inspector (164)

" . . . maybe the moral is simple . . .
You should come into this world on your tiptoes,
and stop at the entrance? Into this miraculous world . . . "


from "Monologue About Answers"
Aleksander Revalskiy, historian (173)
"And the May Day parade? No one forced us to go-- no one forced me to go there. We all had a choice and we failed to make it. I don't remember a more crowded, cheerful May Day parade. Everyone was worried, they wanted to become part of the herd -- to be with others. People wanted to curse someone, the authorities, the government, the Communists. Now I think back, looking for the break. Where was it? But it was before that. We didn't even want to know the truth. We just wanted to know if we should eat the radishes."
from "Monologue About Why We Love Chernobyl"
Natalya Roslova, head of the Mogilev Women's
Committee for the Children of Chernobyl (214)

More from Chernobyl on my latest book blogs:
"Until We Seek Until We Find Ammonia Avenue"
& "Preponderance of War"
@ Kitti's List"


Previous May Day Posts
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Guggenheim

Some of Sam's Favorites at the Guggenheim,
plus the staircase, of course!


The Palazzo Ducale, Seen from San Giorgio Maggiore
Claude Monet

Woman Ironing
Pablo Picasso

Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit
Pablo Picasso

*************************

Museum Guard

My condolences to the man dressed
for a funeral, sitting bored
on a gray folding chair, the zero

of his mouth widening in a yawn.
No doubt he’s pictured himself inside
a painting or two around his station,

stealing a plump green grape
from the cluster hanging above
the corkscrew locks of Dionysus,

or shooting arrows at rosy-cheeked cherubs
hiding behind a woolly cloud.
With time limping along

like a Bruegel beggar, no doubt
he’s even seen himself taking the place
of the one crucified: the black spike

of the minute hand piercing his left palm,
the hour hand penetrating the right,
nailed forever to one spot.


David Hernandez, b. 1971
American poet and novelist

After reading so many poems describing the experience of museum visiting, I chose "Museum Guard" because it reminded me of one Ben and Sam's favorite childhood movies, Don't Eat the Pictures:

featuring Paul Dooley as the Museum Security Guard