Friday, December 31, 2010

Tennyson for New Year's Eve

Venerable Old Fence Post On Our Property Line

Here's a poem to help chase away the heating bill blues -- not that we need it today, since it just so happens to be a balmy, 60 degrees F, in Indiana (actually, somewhat eerie -- but don't worry -- back to freezing temps tomorrow)!

Lately, I have felt like the backs of my hands will never be warm again, even though the heat is cranking away and there's a fire in the fireplace! Sometimes I sit here at the computer wearing fingerless gloves while I type -- like Bob Cratchitt, except he was using a quill & ink, not typing. I wonder if my knitting friend Cate ever makes fingerless gloves? Ben's English teacher at St. Peter's was a knitter and that was her specialty. She gave him a few pairs when we moved away, one of which still happens to be tucked away in the pocket of his ski jacket.

I came across this poem recently in a little gift book about the seasons. Don't you agree that it seems rather modern-sounding for Tennyson? Not that I don't like the 19th C Tennyson, but this one makes an unexpected change.

Happy New Year! Keep a warm heart!

Winter
The frost is here,
And fuel is dear,
And woods are sear,
And fires burn clear,
And frost is here
And has bitten the heel of the going year.

Bite, frost, bite!
You roll up away from the light
The blue wood-louse, and the plump dormouse,
And the bees are still'd and the flies are kill'd,
And you bite far into the heart of the house,
But not into mine.

Bite, frost, bite!
The woods are all the searer,
The fuel is all the dearer,
The fires are all the clearer,
My spring is all the nearer,
You have bitten into the heart of the earth,
But not into mine.


Section #4 from
"The Window; or, The Songs / Loves of the Wrens"

music by Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan, 1842 - 1900
Ever popular British Composer

lyrics by by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809 - 1892
Poet Laureate of Victorian England, 1850 - 1892;
still one of the most popular poets in the English language.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another Faraway Auld Lang Syne

The Ghost of Christmas Past

PLEASE VISIT MY NEW POST ON
THE FORTNIGHTLY KITTI CARRIKER:
LITERARY BLOG OF CONNECTION & COINCIDENCE

"ANOTHER FARAWAY AULD LANG SYNE"

A sad beautiful story for New Year's Eve:

"The Faraway Night"
by William Saroyan
Armenian - American Author, 1908 - 1981
Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 1949
Academy Award for Best Original Story, 1943

and a great song:

"Same Auld Lang Syne"
by Dan Folgeberg
American singer-songwriter, 1951 - 2007

Monday, December 27, 2010

Boy Doll

Christmas with the Cousins
At Grandma & Grandpa Carriker's, 1966

When my sister Peg posted this old picture on facebook a few months ago, we were all so thrilled! I knew there was a paper copy in the family photo album at my mother's house, but I didn't have one myself. I had been thinking and thinking about this picture and wondering if I would ever see it again! Peg tagged not only all the cousins but also the silver Christmas tree there on the right! I'm nearly certain that to go along with it, my grandparents had one of those revolving color wheels underneath the tree. It was a short-lived phase, but we had to be proud of them for experimenting with a new trend! Our oldest brother Dave was in Vietnam at the time, and we sent him a miniature reel - to - reel tape of Peg and us little kids singing Christmas songs.

My youngest brother Aaron (cowboy jacket, right in front) wrote: "My favorite outfit!!!! . . . And I love the way Marguerite (front right) is making the cat face the camera!" Her little sister Alicia is holding up something very tiny: a little mouse? a baby bird? Their brother Nick (next to Aaron) and my sister Diane share the same birthday, so they were always known as the twin cousins.

My twin brother Bruce (behind Nick) observed that Brent, our tallest cousin (right behind Bruce), is the living embodiment of "Merry Christmas." Haha! Well, that's what happens when you make a teen-aged boy pose with all the "little kids." Brent's sisters, Kim and Marla, were my generous, stylish cousins who always shared with me the best hand - me - downs ever, some store - bought, some hand - made, all lovely! Thanks Kim & Marla!

My sister Di and I (behind Aaron) were so proud of our new dolls! If any of you ever come to visit and stay overnight, you will find Boy Doll, in pristine condition, sitting on the guest bed. I wanted this doll like crazy, but I never played with him very much and never gave him a name other than "Boy Doll." Little did I know that one day a couple of decades later I would have two little blond baby boys who looked just like that doll!

Or . . . wait! . . . perhaps I did know but just didn't know that I knew! Maybe Boy Doll was sent to me as an innocent little Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come!

Thanks Santa! Thanks Peg (standing closest to silver tree) -- I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present than this old photograph of us kids!

~ and look what else I found ~
My Boy Doll, on p 619 of the Sears Christmas Catalog, 1966

Check out this great site for a glimpse of
(or this one)
Vintage Wish Books from decades gone by
See also my post "Wish Book"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas

Christmastime Is Here!

The Firm Resolve of Ebenezer Scrooge:

"I will honour Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year.
I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.
The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.
I will not shut out the lessons that they teach."


from A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tennyson for Christmas Eve

St. Peter's Churchyard, Philadelphia
Photograph taken by Ben McCartney on December 5, 2002

The Time Draws Near

The time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:

Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.

This year I slept and woke with pain,
I almost wish'd no more to wake,
And that my hold on life would break
Before I heard those bells again:

But they my troubled spirit rule,
For they controll'd me when a boy;
They bring me sorrow touch'd with joy,
The merry merry bells of Yule.


Section #28 from the long poetic requiem
"In Memoriam A. H. H."
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809 - 1892
Poet Laureate of Victorian England, 1850 - 1892;
still one of the most popular poets in the English language.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Light A Light

Leg Lamp
So many people made so many kind and funny comments
when I posted this picture of facebook last month,
especially my friend Rebecca who said,
"I want to be in that room,"
and Charlotte, who asked, "Was it a Major Award?" Haha!

Writing about "The Old Lamp-Lighter" yesterday (scroll down) reminded me of another old favorite from my dorm - room days in the 1970s (click on title to hear Janis Ian sing):

"Light a Light"
I hear your voice in ev'ry corridor
See your face in ev'ry picture frame
I feel your eyes in ev'ry starry sky
Lover, am I coming home again?

Now am I humble, who once was proud
Now am I silent, who once was loud
Now am I waiting for the sound of your saying:
Lover, am I coming home again?

When you're gone the sun don't shine
Light a light, light a light for me
Bring me back home again

And how we loved 'til the years were days
How we laughed all our tears away
And now the time begins to fade
Lover, am I coming home again?

There's a wisdom in the teachings
of the old familiar songs
And a sorrow in repeating
all the old familiar wrongs
And a lesson to be learned,
though I've know all along
Lover, am I coming home again?

Light a light, light a light for me
Light a light, light a light for me
Light a light, light a light for me
Bring me back home again
Bring me back home again


by Janis Ian (b. 1951)
American songwriter, singer, musician

Light a LightOther Janis Ian favs:
"In the Winter"
"At Seventeen"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Old Lamp-Lighter

As a child, how I loved to open the piano bench and look through all the old sheet music. I liked seeing the old price marks (sometimes as little as 15 or 25 cents!), the romantic artwork, the long ago photographs of the musicians, and my mother's signature on the songs she had collected. One of my favorites was "The Old Lamp-Lighter," which I often begged her to play:

The Old Lamp-Lighter
He made the night a little brighter
Wherever he would go
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago.

His snowy hair was so much whiter
Beneath the candle glow
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago

You'd hear the patter of his feet
As he came toddling down the street
His smile would hide a lonely heart you see
If there were sweethearts in the park
He'd pass a lamp and leave it dark
Remembering the days that used to be.

For he recalls when dreams were new
he loves someone who loves him too
Who walks with him alone in memory

He made the night a little brighter
wherever he would go
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago.

Now if you look up at the sky
You'll understand the reason why
The little stars at night are all aglow
He turns them on when night is here
He turns them off when dawn is near
The little man we loved of long ago.

He made the night a little brighter
wherever he would go
The old lamplighter
Of long, long ago


by Charles Tobias (lyrics)
and Nat Simon (music)
in 1946

A few Christmases ago, in a used book store in Frederick, Maryland, my sister Peg and I discovered a forgotten treasure on the floor -- boxes and boxes of sheet music, much of it marked down nearly to its original price -- maybe a dollar or so per song, a steal in the 1990s! Talk about kids in a candy shop!

We looked through every page, finding many that we remembered from the recesses of our grandparents' piano benches. We took away as much as we could carry! Some pieces have since been framed for display, some given away as nostalgic gifts, and others once again stored in the piano bench for someone else to find one day. Here is the picture, exactly as I remember, from my mother's copy of "The Old Lamp-Lighter":


Listen to the Browns sing their popular 1960 rendition,
found on the album Nipper's Greatest Hits: The 60's Vol. 2

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eclipse, Moon, Snow, Solstice

Porch Lanterns During Evening Snowfall

Due to the overcast sky and the aura of orange light reflected from the five inches of snow that fell in five hours yesterday, we were unable to behold the lunar eclipse here in Indiana. Still, it was worth waiting up until 3am, just to know that somewhere out beyond my sight, the Eclipse, the Full Moon, and the Winter Solstice were coinciding, a rare cosmic occurrence in any millennium.

One of my sweet friends paid me the compliment of saying, "I think you are about the only person I know who would take notice that the Solstice and Full Moon coincided! That is great!" What a gratifying observation, since I am proud to be known for precisely such an awareness of the universe in all of its orderly, harmonious wholeness.

So many beautiful poems ring true on the Winter Solstice, but this has to be one of the best:

The Shortest Day
And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!


by Susan Cooper (b. 1935)
Award - winning British author of fiction and fantasy

Porch Lanterns at Dusk

Porch Lanterns Filled With Snow

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT
THE COSMIC TRANSITION FROM FALL TO WINTER


AND HERE FOR AMAZING ECLIPSE / MOON
PHOTOS FROM FRIENDS OF FRIENDS
ALSO A VIMEO

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Fourth Week of Advent: The Joy of Shepherds

Week Four, the Candle of Joy
Waiting Almost Over:


"A joy shared is a joy doubled."
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ~

"There are two ways of spreading light:
to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
~ Edith Wharton ~

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lou Holtz On My Christmas Tree


Way back when I lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Lou Holtz coached the Razorbacks, I saw plenty of Lou dolls in the store windows every day but, stupidly, never thought to buy one for myself. After I moved to Notre Dame (as did Lou!), I regretted my oversight. Not until the miracle of e-bay did I realize that it was not too late. I have since taken the opportunity to buy several, one of which -- as you can see above -- has pride of place on the Christmas tree, right alongside of Hello Kitty.

According to one ebay seller, Lou is the first and only coach in the world to ever have a doll made in his image ~ making this doll an historical first. Now why didn't I mention that in my dissertation?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Philosophy of Fall

NEW POST TODAY ON
THE FORTNIGHTLY KITTI CARRIKER:
LITERARY BLOG OF CONNECTION & COINCIDENCE

"A FALL REASON, A WINTER REASON"

Fingers of the autumn sun
fiddle with yellow foliage
outside. . . .
this year we are
immersed in history
like a web of light.


Miroslav Holub (1923 - 98)
Czech poet and immunologist
from his poem, "Philosophy of Fall"


Autumn
And it is all over.

No more sweetpeas,
no more wide-eyed bunnies
dropping from the sky.

Only
a reddish boniness
under the sun of hoarfrost,
a thievish fog,
an insipid solution of love,
hate
and crowing.

But next year
larches will try
to make the land full of larches again
and larks will try
to make the land full of larks.

And thrushes will try
to make all the trees sing,
and goldfinches will try
to make all the grass golden,

and burying beetles
with their creaky love will try
to make all the corpses
rise from the dead,

Amen.


Both poems translated by Stuart Friebert and Dana Habova;
in Holub's collection,
Intensive Care: Selected and New Poems, 1996

CLICK TO READ MORE ABOUT FALL AND WINTER
BY MIROSLAV HOLUB & EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY

Monday, December 13, 2010

Third Sunday of Advent

Third Week of Advent: The Love of Angels

My Uncle Gene (one of my dad's younger brothers) has a lot of good Christmas stories that read just like the oft - anthologized Christmas chapters from Little House on the Prairie. For example, I like the one about the family friend by the name of George Rogers who dressed up as Santa and delivered a dishpan full of candy and toys using a wooden sled to imitate Santa’s sleigh. A couple of Christmases ago, Uncle Gene told my siblings and me a story we had never heard before about our dad Willard:

Dear Kids,

I’ll wax nostalgically with you for a bit. It would seem to be the season for such things. Old memories, taken out and polished up, become as jewels and this one is such. It concerns your dad, and took place many, many decades ago in the long ago days of the 1930’s.

As you know, we attended the small white frame church building located about half-way between Oilton and Drumright, Oklahoma. It was home to a fairly large number of “Saints” who came from oil lease communities and small towns within at least a 20 - mile radius. The leader of the little flock was a severe appearing gentleman named Benjamin Franklin Pollard, or as some called him, BF, shortened by the older smart alec kids like Robert [i.e., our eldest and much - admired uncle] to “Beef.”

At Christmas time there was always a program along with a tree, and Santa would come in at the end with a bag of small treats for the kids, there being a very large number of us. With the Bunch family (7,) the Carriker tribe (6), and the Rogers family (6,) it accounted for 19 young - uns. There were also some singles and smaller family groups, so all told there was a passel of kids.

On this particular Christmas the kids were putting on the program, as usual. Strangely, I have no recollection of what anyone else did for entertainment; but I well remember little old Willard’s contribution to the festivities:

"What shall I give Him.
As poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would give him a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part—
Yet, what I can I give Him,
I’ll give him my heart."

~~ With love from Uncle Gene

How touched we all were to imagine our dad as a little tyke memorizing his part for the pageant!

My sister's response summed it up for all of us:

It certainly makes Daddy
seem a little closer this season.
Love to all, Peg


***********

Week Three, the Candle of Love
Quickening the Pace:


"Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.
~ Washington Irving ~

Love is time and space measured by the heart.
~ Marcel Proust ~

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good Bones





The Tree on the Corner
I've seen
the tree on the corner
in spring bud
and summer green.
Yesterday
it was yellow gold.

Then a cold
wind began to blow.
Now I know--
you really do not see
a tree
until you see its bones.


Lillian Moore, 1909 - 2004
American educator, editor, author of children's books
Presented the National Council of Teachers of English Award
for Excellence in Children's Poetry, 1985

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Making Gingerbread For Christmas

Lily's Gingerbread People, Christmas 2008
". . . the baker with his white cap and big spoon . . . the Princess in a pink dress and golden crown, the old woman and her apples, gingerbread men, gingerbread ladies, and gingerbread cats all danced through their dreams!"

from Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and The Gingerbread (Sweden, 1932)
by Maj Lindman (1886 - 1972)

"Mama and I are gathering fir twigs for the advent wreath. Behind a ridge of cloud the setting sun flames blood red. It is the red-hot glow of the heavenly baking oven. The angels are very busy just now, mixing and rolling and baking the spiced honey Lebkuchen for Christmas. Anxiously I gaze at the fiery glow. They might get their lovely wings singed. As the glow fades, I breathe a sigh of relief, the danger is past for today."

Christmas, early 1930s
as described by Gerda Erika Baker
in Shadow of War

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gingerbread: A Short, Happy Photo History

~
DELECTABLE SUMMER PALACE
CREATED BY BEN, KAREN & ZOE
AS HALLOWEEN APPROACHES,
GLORY DAYS GIVE WAY TO RUIN

A THANKSGIVING TREAT
FOR THE YARD DWELLERS
IF YOU BUILD IT,
THEY WILL COME, THEY WILL DEVOUR ( ~ DEC 3rd ~ )
A SNOWY TREAT
FOR A COLD LITTLE FRIEND ( ~ DEC 4th ~ )
From the squirrel's perspective,
this story has a very happy ending!
~

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Second Sunday of Advent

Second Week of Advent: the Peace of Bethlehem

Each year, I hope for the peace and presence of mind to celebrate a true Advent, always searching for that calm at the center of the holiday storm. Yet, despite my best intentions, my guest room is currently a disaster area of half-begun Christmas projects! When will they ever be finished? Help! Well, at least Christmas music is playing in the background as I write these frantic words!

As my friend Cate, a charming gardener of the soul, wrote in this morning's e-mail: "Second Sunday already? Eeek! Must do, must do . . . Hope to finish the tree today (or close to it)."

We all know in our hearts that these should not be the watch words of the day; yet it seems so: Must do, must do . . .

Instead, how about: Let us find peace . . .

Week Two, the Candle of Peace
Leading the Way:


"We shall find peace. We shall hear the angels,
we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds."
~Anton Chekhov~

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
~Marcel Proust~

Friday, December 3, 2010

Light One Candle

"Light one candle
for the wisdom to know when the peacemaker's time is at hand."

~~ as sung by Peter, Paul & Mary ~~

As you can see from Ben's cut and paste Menorah project (1994), Hanukkah was a very popular holiday in the Philadelphia Public School System. Another year we carved a menorah onto the face of a nice wide pumpkin; I wish I had taken a picture of that!

Here is my beautiful Dancer's Menorah
antique brass by David Klass
. . . and a picture of last week's Turkey - o - Lantern

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The First of Many Things

First Day of December, First Day of Hanukkah, First Snowfall
All in one beautiful winter's day!

The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder
I have long been curious about all of Gaarder's titles (e.g., Sophie's World) but this is the only one I've read so far. Gerry's mom placed it beside my bed when we went to England for Christmas 2002, so I read it to myself that year, and then the next year to Ben and Sam as a read-aloud for Advent 2003. The cover is brightly illustrated to resemble an Advent Calender, with miniature pictures of angels, castles, ships, sheep. Each chapter begins with a similar illustration, opening the door to another place and time. We followed along on a world map to track the fascinating progress of the characters, as each day they crossed another threshold, disappearing into world history. We learned so much on this intriguing journey and could hardly wait to see how the mystery would resolve itself on Christmas Eve.
See my book blog for more Holiday Favorites.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prayers for Custom and Ceremony

Autumn Leaves
by Jessie Willcox Smith, 1863 - 1935
American illustrator of magazines and children's books

NEW POST TODAY ON
THE FORTNIGHTLY KITTI CARRIKER:
LITERARY BLOG OF CONNECTION & COINCIDENCE

"A HOUSE WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS"

As you may have heard me say before, the inspiration for designing my Fortnightly blog came from two writers: Goethe, who hopes that each day might include a song, a poem, some fine art, a few wise words; and Yeats who describes "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." This poem, particularly the closing, has been a favorite of mine for many years, decades:

Prayer For My Daughter
Considering that, all hatred driven hence,
The soul recovers radical innocence
And learns at last that it is self-delighting,
Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,
And that its own sweet will is Heaven's will;
She can, though every face should scowl
And every windy quarter howl
Or every bellows burst, be happy still.

And may her bridegroom bring her to a house
Where all's accustomed, ceremonious
;
For arrogance and hatred are the wares
Peddled in the thoroughfares.
How but in custom and in ceremony
Are innocence and beauty born?
Ceremony's a name for the rich horn,
And custom for the spreading laurel tree.


[emphasis added above]

William Butler Yeats, 1865 - 1939
Irish poet and dramatist
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1923

CLICK TO READ MORE FAMILY PRAYERS
& SEE MORE PRINTS BY JESSIE WILLCOX SMITH
"A HOUSE WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Sunday of Advent

First Week of Advent: The Hope of Prophecy

For the last fifteen years or so, I have had a little tradition of making a set of cards for my mother, one for each of the four Sundays in Advent. Each year the design is different, with a new theme of some kind.

As my transitional ritual from Thanksgiving into Christmas, I always devote a few hours of the long weekend to getting the Advent cards ready and (hopefully) getting the first one in the mail in time for Sunday. Some years I fall a bit behind on that optimistic deadline; but as long as the first one arrives somewhere within the first week of the season, it's not hard to keep mailing the others out in a timely, weekly fashion.

This year, I had the idea to design them as Valentines, using red lace doilies, ribbons, and a handful of fancy little gift tags that I found on amazon, featuring sentiments that lend themselves nicely to the symbolism behind each candle on the Advent Wreath.

Week One, the Candle of Hope
Dispelling the Darkness:


We must never be afraid to go too far, for truth lies beyond."

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

~ both passages by Marcel Proust ~

This is the first year I ever thought of scanning the finished results of my little Advent Card Project into the computer -- perfect for saving and sharing. I hope you like!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Post - Thanksgiving

Our Family: Paper Placemat, ca.1972
Embellished by "us four little kids": Aaron, Bruce, Di, Kit
(after Dave & Peg had graduated and gotten married)

Family is just accident. . . .
They don't mean to get on your nerves.
They don't even mean to be your family, they just are.


Marsha Norman
(b. 1947)
American playwright, screenwriter, novelist
Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 1983

"Our lives are filled with people who provoke us,
especially people we love.
They help us figure out our own shit
and why we are here.
And why are we here again? . . .
We don't know. . . .
We only sort of know. . . .
To live, love, help -- to decorate.
To sweep our huts and find some food."


from Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith, 135
by Anne Lamott (b. 1954)
American writer and progressive political activist

And, of course, there's always Brian Andreas to capture the essence of the occasion. He is clearly in agreement with Lamott about the food:

REAL REASON
"There are things you do because they feel right
& they may make no sense
& they may make no money
& it may be the real reason we are here:
to love each other
& to eat each other's cooking
& say it was good."


And full of humorous advice for the long weekend:

PRETEND VISITOR
"We stood out on the porch before we went inside
& she told me her secret.
Pretend you're just visiting, she said.
That way you'll forget that they're family."

SUCCESSFUL HOLIDAY
Rules for a successful holiday:
1. Get together with the family
2. Relive old times
3. Get out before it blows


Brian Andreas (b. 1956)
American writer, painter, sculptor
Designer of StoryPeople

P.S. Just for the record, I actually wish I saw more of my family, not less! By the way, Aaron and I were wondering about his lips & Di's teeth in the family portrait above! How did we come up with those features? All I can think of is that maybe it was around Halloween & they were wearing those wax lips & fangs that we used to buy! Ha!

P.P.S. It's true that some of the above passages appeared on this blog last year (June 2009 and November 2009), but I think they are solid enough for a repeat -- and just so appropriate for Thanksgiving that I couldn't resist posting them again this weekend.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pilgrims in the Snow, 1867
by George Henry Boughton, 1833 - 1905
Anglo-American Painter

Minnesota Thanksgiving

For that free Grace bringing us past great risks
& thro' great griefs surviving to this feast
sober & still, with the children unborn and born,
among brave friends, Lord, we stand again in debt
and find ourselves in the glad position: Gratitude.

We praise our ancestors who delivered us here
within warm walls all safe, aware of music,
likely toward ample & attractive meat
with whatever accompaniment
Kate in her kind ingenuity has seen fit to devise,

and we hope - across the most strange year to come -
continually to do them and You not sufficient honour
but such as we become able to devise
out of decent or joyful conscience & thanksgiving.
Yippee!
Bless then, as Thou wilt, this wilderness board.


by John Berryman, 1914 - 1972
American Poet

Wilderness Table
by Frontier Ironworks

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saying Grace

Some of my favorites, gentle but with a touch of cynicism:

May we cherish the bread before there is none,
discover each other before we leave,
and enjoy each other for what we are
while we have time.

~Richard Wong~

The Feast at Dave and Marion's

You say grace before meals. All right.
But I say grace before the concert and the opera,
and grace before the play and pantomime,

and grace before I open a book,
and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing,
boxing, walking, playing, dancing
and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

~G. K. Chesterton~

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

"Heavenly Father," I say, when it is my turn,
"deliver us all from evil, the living, the dead,
and everyone in between."

~Julia Scheeres~
(from her memoir, Jesus Land, 219)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Full Frost Moon


Night, the beloved.
Night, when words fade and things come alive.
When the destructive analysis of day is done,
and all that is truly important
becomes whole and sound again.
When you reassemble your fragmentary self
and grow with the calm of a tree.


~Antoine de Saint-Exupery~
Flight to Arras

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kiddos

Fall Break Photograph by Karen Jordan:
"Taken on a covered bridge the length of a football field!
Not that far from West Lafayette."

KIDS
They dance before they learn
there is anything that isnt' music.

short poem by American poet
William Stafford
, 1914 - 1993

O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
"
W. B. Yeats, 1864 - 1939
from his poem "Among School Children"