Sunday, March 31, 2013

Let Them All In

Detail from the "Parable of the Ten Virgins"

Depicted in the Mansfield Traquair Centre Mural, Edinburgh
By Irish artist, Phoebe Anna Traquair, 1852 - 1936
Prominent in the Arts & Crafts Movement of Scotland


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

I love the way Kazantzakis retells this parable:

Jesus raised his hand. “Virgins, my sisters, what do you suppose the kingdom of heaven is like? It is like a wedding. God is the bridegroom, and the soul of man is the bride. A wedding takes place in heaven, and the whole of mankind is invited. Forgive me, my brothers, but God speaks to me thus, in parables, and it is in parables that I shall speak now.

“There was to be a wedding in a certain village. Ten virgins took their lamps and went out to receive the bridegroom. Five were wise and took along flasks filled with oil. The other five were foolish and carried no extra oil with them. They stood outside the house of the bride and waited and waited, but the bridegroom was late and they grew tired and slept. At midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming! Run out to receive him!’ The ten virgins jumped up to fill their lamps, which were about to go out. But the five foolish virgins had no more oil. ‘Give us a little oil, sisters,’ they said to the wise virgins, ‘for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘We haven’t any left for you. Go and get some.’ And while the foolish virgins ran to find oil, the bridegroom arrived, the wise virgins went in, and the door was shut.

“A little while later the foolish virgins returned, their lamps lighted, and began to pound on the door. ‘Open the door for us!’ they cried and pleaded. But inside, the wise virgins laughed. ‘It serves you right,’ they answered them. ‘Now the door is closed. Go away!’ But the others wept and begged, ‘Open the door! Open the door! Open the door!’ And then…”

Jesus stopped. Once more he surveyed the old chief, the guests, the honest housewives, the virgins with the lighted lamps. He smiled.

“And then?” said Nathanael, who was listening with gaping mouth. His simple, sluggish mind had begun to stir. “And then, Rabbi, what was the outcome?”

“What would you have done, Nathanael,” Jesus asked, pinning his large, bewitching eyes on him, “what would you have done if you had been the bridegroom?”

Nathanael was silent. He still was not entirely clear in his mind what he would have done. One moment he thought to send them away. The door had definitely been closed, and that was what the Law required. But the next moment he pitied them and thought to let them in.

“What would you have done, Nathanael, if you had been the bridegroom?” Jesus asked again, and slowly, persistently, his beseeching eyes caressed the cobbler’s simple, guileless face.

“I would have opened the door,” the other answered in a low voice so that the old chief would not hear. He had been unable to oppose the eyes of the son of Mary any longer.

“Congratulations, friend Nathanael,” said Jesus happily, and he stretched forth his hand as though blessing him. “This moment, though you are still alive, you enter Paradise. The bridegroom did exactly as you said: he called to the servants to open the door. ‘This is a wedding,’ he cried. ‘Let everyone eat, drink and be merry. Open the door for the foolish virgins and wash and refresh their feet, for they have run much.’ ”

Tears welled up between Magdalene’s long eyelashes. Ah, if she could only kiss the mouth that uttered such words! Simple Nathanael glowed from head to toe as though he were actually in Paradise already. But old poison nose, the village chief, lifted his staff.

“You’re going contrary to the Law, son of Mary,” he screeched.
“The Law goes contrary to my heart,” Jesus calmly replied.


by Nikos Kazantsakis
from The Last Temptation of Christ, Chapter 15 (pp 216 - 17)

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

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

In Just Sweet Spontaneous Spring

I couldn't resist these springtime
pairings of Marc Chagall's paintings
with the poetry of E. E. Cummings:

Peasant Life

in Just-
spring
when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it's
spring
and

the

goat-footed

balloonMan whistles
far
and
wee
Ida at the Window

o sweet spontaneous

earth how often have
the
doting

fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched
and
poked

thee
, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
thy

beauty, how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
gods
(but
true

to the incomparable
couch of death thy
rhythmic
lover

thou answerest

them only with

spring)
Here's another picture of Ida at the window,
when she was a tiny baby:

Bella and Ida by the Window

For a more springtime poetry from Cummings & paintings by Chagall
see my new post:
"Arranging a Window"
on the
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sit A Spell

The Small Drawing Room


"I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude,
two for friendship, three for society."


Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862
American author and naturalist
(from Walden)

It's true, I posted this quotation only a couple of months ago, but while reviewing all my favorite Chagalls, in preparation for today's new Fortnightly, I spent some time looking closely at the chairs in Chagall's "Small Drawing Room" and just had to pair it with Thoreau's observation on seating arrangements.

Our dining room wall covered with favorites,
including "The Small Drawing Room," near top left

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Welcome Oestara!

First Full Moon After the Vernal Equinox


Taken with my Kodak EasyShare,
using the zoom lens, standing indoors,
looking through the glass ceiling of our sun porch.

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

Ode to the Passover Moon

Oh moon so full
I see your shadow in my head tonight
Your color is a mauve color of yellow
And I suspect that you have seen
In your light gone by
The death of the first newborn
As well as
The blood of
Sheep

Craig Brenner

Passover

Nisan moon shatters picture, window
Bright operating theater, moon’s surgical lamp
Magnetizes white hot center. Inside, below
Agitated shards of memory forced to dance.
Howl at the moon for what was lost
In the sea of rough truths
Howl at the moon for the child tossed
Stripped of lifeboat, safety, youth.
It’s Passover: Eat quickly, pray hard. Smear blood on doorframe
For freedom, for escape. Keep running. God knows your name.


Joan Gelfand

P.S.
Taken from the front porch ~ April 2, 2015
with my Canon PowerShot

Time for "the Ball of a Hundred Kings"
from The Master and Margarita

Monday, March 25, 2013

Unexpected Snow Day

Back of the House
~ Photographed by our Backdoor Neighbor ~

Thanks Suzan!
Velvet Shoes
Let us walk in the white snow
In a soundless space;
With footsteps quiet and slow,
At a tranquil pace,
Under veils of white lace.

I shall go shod in silk,
And you in wool,
White as white cow’s milk,
More beautiful
Than the breast of a gull.

We shall walk through the still town
In a windless peace;
We shall step upon white down,
Upon silver fleece,
Upon softer than these.

We shall walk in velvet shoes:
Wherever we go
Silence will fall like dews
On white silence below.
We shall walk in the snow.


Elinor Wylie, 1885 – 1928
American poet and novelist popular in the 1920s and 1930s

Front Door ~ Ready for Easter

P.S. Big Chill, Big Thaw
Though not as drastic, I was reminded of Valentine's Day 2007 -- the snowfall of the decade! No more wondering if Winter was really ever going to come or if the season was going to come and go without a nice big snow to mark the occasion. 2007 was not to be one of those winters of merely a few flakes; it was the real thing! The schools closed, the university closed, the county closed. The whole family curled up in front of the television and watched Casablanca a few times. We shoveled and sledded as a community. We celebrated and commiserated together. All of those neighbors who had been cocooned throughout December and January were suddenly out on the sidewalks to greet you and say "hello" -- like summer, except snowy!

First there were the beautiful days, then the worrisome days and the exhilarating days, and finally the mushy, messy days, when the snow began to thaw -- right through the roof and onto the ceiling!

Not only did we wait a long time that year, but no sooner were we mesmerized by the first warm days of Spring than -- whoosh -- they were gone again. Luckily we had a taste of things to come when March went out like a lamb and the neighborhood was filled with the unmistakable signs of Spring Cleaning! Once again the Clean Sweep seemed to bring out the best in everyone as Purdue students volunteered to work side by side with New Chauncey homeowners, planting, raking, and tidying up a winter's worth of debris [same as this past Saturday].

As for this year, once again, we're still waiting! Hopefully March will go out like a lamb, and we can pick up where we left off, with the windows open wide to welcome the warm west wind!
2013


2007

Friday, March 22, 2013

Our Town Too

"to find a value above all price
for the smallest events in our daily life"

Thornton Wilder
writing of Our Town (see more below)*

This post is for all my friends from Francis Howell High School who can never forget the impact that this play had on us in our formative years.


~Click to enlarge for reading essay by Donna Muzzey Postel~

Yesterday (on her birthday!) Cyndee wrote: "Funny how the things we did so long ago have stuck with us. I can still picture where we were sitting on the bleachers pouring over the program while we waited for Our Town to start. I think it was the first production they ever did in that gym because they could do it without a stage."

Yvonne wrote:
" 'Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it -- every, every minute?' It's a wonderful line that's stayed with me over the years. Yes, it works in so many ways. I always thought Emily had the most poignant lines. I remember really crying while performing as Emily. I wish I had a tape of those performances to show my kids. So many good characters in the FHHS production. Ed Stockwell was such an inspiration.

Bruce wrote:
"Those years we were at FHHS...with Ed Stockwell and Chuck Bright and Al McCune and Fran Darrah -- we just kind of captured lightning in a bottle, as far as the fine arts were concerned. So many talented kids and such great teachers, who understood how to get it out of us. It's funny you mentioned crying, because I almost said something last night and didn't: The graveyard scene near the end, when George goes to Emily's grave? I cried. I even surprised myself. I remember I had to walk from the back, up the aisle between the audience, and about halfway down the first night I realized I was actually crying. No one was more surprised than me. Do you remember the night in the graveyard scene, when the spirits of the dead are talking? Terry Veazey was speaking, and someone missed their cue (don't even remember who it was). Terry just picked it up and went into a monologue -- seemed like forever, probably only 30 seconds or a minute, tops -- and then closed with, 'Sorry. I didn't mean to dominate the conversation,' by which time whoever was supposed to have the next line had figured it out. It was a great ad lib, and it was one of those things where the only ones who knew it was wrong were the folks who knew the script."

Yvonne added: "We did some great work together. Sounds cliched, but the outsized stage setting should have diminished the intensity; instead, all the roughness fell away, the audience in their chairs were like witnesses, another choir, some distant relatives of the cast in the Grover's Corner cemetery."


* “Our Town is not offered as a picture of life in a New Hampshire village; or as a speculation about the conditions of life after death (that element I merely took from Dante’s Purgatory). It is an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events in our daily life. I have made the claim as preposterous as possible, for I have set the village against the largest dimensions of time and place. The recurrent words in this play (few have noticed it) are “hundreds,” “thousands,” and “millions.” Emily’s joys and grief’s, her algebra lessons and her birthday presents—what are they when we consider all the billions of girls who have lived, who are living, and who can live? Each individual’s assertion to an absolute reality can only be inner, very inner. And here the method of staging finds its justification—in the first two acts there are at least a few chairs and tables; but when Emily revisits the earth and the kitchen to which she descended on her twelfth birthday, the very chairs and table are gone. Our claim, our hope, our despair are in the mind—not in things, not in “scenery.” Molière said that for the theatre all he needed was a platform and a passion or two. The climax of this play needs only five square feet of boarding and the passion to know what life means to us.”
Thornton Wilder
In his 1957 preface to Three Plays

My previous posts on Our Town:

My brother Bruce was also kind enough to point out that our favorite line from Our Town serves as the permanent header on my Quotidian blog page (see above). It's true! When Emily asks, "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? -- every, every minute?" I want the answer to be "Yes, Kitti Carriker does!"
Click to read:
What's the Big Idea

Quinton Duval

Pretty Enough For All Normal Purposes

Our Town

The Mind of God

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bursting Into Light

Show me a garden that's bursting into light!

Painting by Leonard Orr

When I mishear a lyric, it's quite often the case that, upon learning the correct wording, I come to conclusion that my mistaken version is actually an improvement upon the original.

For example, when I heard Miley Cyrus sing, "I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan," I could have sworn she was saying, "with a dream in my heart again." I admit, "a dream in my heart," is somewhat of a cliche, but there's a time for cliches, and this is one of those times! Yes, it's a good thing to have a cardigan on the airplane, and I love Mr. Rogers as much as the next person, but who needs a cardigan in a frothy little upbeat put - your - hands - up feel-good song?

A dream and my cardigan? That's just dumb.

The first few times I heard the song "Chasing Cars," I was sure Snow Patrol was singing, "Show me a garden that's bursting into light." Plenty of gardens burst into life but into light sounds way more exciting!

Like flames . . . but not a fire; like an explosion but not dangerous . . . well, maybe a little bit dangerous: light! I like it better that way!

Chasing Cars
(click title to hear song)


We'll do it all
Everything
On our own

We don't need
Anything
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

Let's waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?


by Snow Patrol

A Very Cold Vernal Equinox

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Some New Love


For many years I've known and loved this little mantra from English art critic and writer John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900):

"I wish for you
some new love
at lovely things,
some new forgetfulness
at teasing things,
some higher pride
in the praising things,
some sweeter peace
from the hurrying things,
and some closer fence
from the worrying things."


(see my "Antidotes for Fretfulness," sidebar at right -> -> ->)


Now that I realize it was part of a birthday greeting to children's book illustrator Kate Greenaway (17 March 1846 – 6 November 1901) -- born in England, on this day 167 years ago -- I love it even more! On Greenaway's 39th birthday, Ruskin wrote:

To Miss Kate Greenaway
Brantwood, 17th March [1885]

And it is your birthday! -- and my letter was no good, and I don't know how to give you any wish that you would care to come true, -- but I will wish you -- every birthday -- some new love of lovely things, and some new forgetfulness of the teazing things, and some higher pride in the praising things, and some sweeter peace from the hurrying things, and some closer fence from the worrying things. And longer stay of time when you are happy, and lighter flight of days that are unkind.


From The Works of John Ruskin, Vol. 37

Over the years these two artistic minds shared a literary
correspondence consisting of hundreds of letters.

Artwork here and above by Kate Greenaway
Cowslips

P.S.
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sigh No More


The Pained Heart or Sigh No More Ladies, 1868
by Engish Artist Arthur Hughes, 1832 – 1915
[To view more from Arthur Hughes]

Sigh No More
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more.
Men were deceivers ever,
One foot in sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into hey nonny, nonny.

Sigh no more ditties, sing no more
Of dumps so dull and heavy.
The fraud of men was ever so
Since summer first was leafy.
Then sigh not so, but let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into hey, nonny, nonny.


William Shakespeare, English (1564 - 1616)
from Much Ado About Nothing

For a few more poems and songs on the significance of a sigh
see my new post:
"Sighs A Plenty"
on the
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Monday, March 11, 2013

Global Forever

Love the New International Postage Stamp!

"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

"It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known."


Carl Sagan, 1934-1996
American stronomer and writer

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A New Perspective

I've photographed our huge oak tree in many weathers, but usually from the same angle. Today, looking out of an upstairs window, I saw this tree's "Good Bones" from a totally new perspective:


The Old Oak Tree Sees Its Shadow!

I appreciated these humorous responses
from my clever facebook friends:


Bill McInerney: "Great. Six more weeks of winter."

Leonard Orr
: "It recalls carefree acornhood."

My first ever Fortnightly blog post -- four years ago -- was about this venerable tree; so I owe it a debt of gratitude for the many ways it which it inspires!
Snow Day ~ Last Week ~ 6 March 2013
(See "The Tree Wins" & "L'anniversaire" & "Good Bones")

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What You Might Call Beautiful

She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways
~ by William Wordsworth ~

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
--Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!


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


My friend Marilyn as a Gypsy
Halloween 1973


Letter from Marilyn to Me
Halloween 1975

Right now it’s Halloween night, and I'm in my room writing letters. Remember last year, and the year before? We had good times. I kind of miss seeing all the little kids dressed up, too. We did have a visit from three girls from one of the sororities in costumes with a bucket of candy. But it wasn’t too exciting.

Sunday I went for a long walk. I was depressed and needed to think. Walking always helps me. I walked in a different direction than usual and came to the City Park. I wish you could have been here. It’s hard to explain the feelings going through my heart and the thoughts going through my mind. The park is what you might call beautiful.

There is a covered picnic gazebo, in the middle of which is a four-sided fireplace, all made of stone. There is a pond, a playground, a swimming pool (closed for winter), and a sunken stone structure like a monument. I went down the steps and walked all around but saw no writing until I spied the plaque that had come off or been torn off. It said: “This playground was donated to the children of the city.” I cried because it wasn’t where it should be and because there was trash in the park and because people have to ruin things that are beautiful, and because no one was there, laughing and pushing their little kids on the swings.

I thought, oh, Kit, you and I should be raising our kids in this town, caring about places like this and making other people care. Will that ever happen? Then I picked up a lot of trash and beer cans and Dairy Queen cups and threw them away and felt better and walked on.

While I was walking, I met a girl with long, blond hair feeding apples to a horse. I stopped to pet her dog, and she told me her name was Lucy. Isn’t that cool? I never met anyone named Lucy before. I wonder if she knows a famous poet wrote about a girl with her name? “Bright as a star when only one is shining in the sky . . . .” I bet her mother does.


~ Marilyn Edgerton Primm ~
7 March 1957 ~ 27 November 1993

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ice & Water


Duck Pond
down the big steps at the back entrance of the
New City Hall / Neues Rathaus, Hanover, Germany
March 2006

Under a spring mist,
ice and water forgetting
their old difference.


Haiku by
~ Matsunaga Teitoku ~

Friday, March 1, 2013

Beyond Ideas

My favorite Rumi of all:


Wheat Fields at Auvres, 1890
~ Vincent Van Gogh ~

Out beyond ideas of rightness and wrongness,
there is a field. I will meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about
language, ideas, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.


~ Rumi ~

P.S.


Note & pictures from my friend George Sfedu:

"March 1st is MARTISOR DAY in Romania, a hugely popular day, when boys and men buy martisor miniatures tied with the traditional red and white string, which girls and women wear pinned to their outfits for, at least, one day. Often, Snowdrops are also given to the girls. The photograph you see here is of a Snowdrop flower from my terrace. Happy Martisor to all the women friends reading this post!"



Thanks George!