Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring ~ Time

Early Spring in Hanover, Germany, on the river Leine

The Doppler Effect
One face of the clock is saying
there's not much time. Finish
what you think you were born to do.

The other rounds and spheres
like sleep, it questions
over and over, what is time.

Did we pass through winter
or did winter pass through us?
You creak your windows open

to this familiar green clutter
called the spring. But nothing happens.
You only change places with yourself.


Surreal and Real
Although you were barely prompt enough,
you did glimpse time blending into space
in Einstein's brain. But luckily you
didn't throw your watch away;
because it's Newton who has remained your closest friend
and neighbor.

Ernest Sandeen, 1908 - 1997
Notre Dame Professor and Poet

A fascinating little book about time, that goes hand in hand with Sandeen's poems, is Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. I mentioned it briefly on my book blog a few years ago in connection with The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which is now an award - winning movie in addition to being an endlessly intriguing book.

[I wrote earlier that Brian Selznick's Hugo was an absolutely amazing novel / picture book for kids and grown-ups, about time, space, secrets, automata, and movies. Some history, some fiction, some magic. You will be living inside this book for a little while!
. . . and that Einstein's Dreams was another book of another dimension. Also some history, some fiction, some science, some poetry. Prepare for time travel. Days of future passed, back to the future, forward to the past, and so forth.]

Lightman writes, "For while the movements of people are unpredictable, the movement of time is predictable. While people can be doubted, time cannot be doubted. While people brood, time skips ahead without looking back" (37).

Who could forget the chapter describing the world of no memory? And even more memorable are the people who stand in line to worship the Great Clock in the Temple of Time: "They stand quietly, but secretly they seethe with their anger. For they must watch measured that which should not be measured. They must watch the precise passage of minutes and decades. They have been trapped by their own inventiveness and audacity. And they must pay with their lives" (p 152).

Equally contradictory is the world where the people live up on the hill because they think the high altitudes will make their lives longer, when in fact the thin air makes their lives shorter. It's sort of like my own personal theory about staying up 'til all hours when I can't (or don't want to) sleep. Sleeping as little as possible is my strategy for cheating Death. The more hours I'm awake, the longer my life is, right? Though secretly I realize that this plan could backfire!

A couple of timely songs that I love to put on "replay"
and listen to time and time again:

Enya: "Only Time"
Who can say if your love grows
As your heart chose
Only time
And who can say where the road goes
Where the day flows
only time


Alan Parsons: "Time"
Who knows when we shall meet again
If ever
But time
Keeps flowing like a river
To the sea
Thousand Hills State Park, Kirksville, Missouri
~ Photo by Jay Beets ~

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Syntax of Love

who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you . . .

~ e. e. cummings ~

Still Life #30 (Museum of Modern Art)
by Tom Wesselmann, 1931 - 2004
American collage artist, painter, sculptor

Something about this picture reminds me of one my favorite poems. I think it must be the window and the green grass, where perhaps the Sentences and Nouns are lying silently. And I suspect that the pot of flowers on the window sill might be on the verge of changing color due to some kind of factory or other, not far off there in the distance.


One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.
An adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.
The next day a Verb drove up, and created the Sentence.

Each Sentence says one thing -- for example,

"Although it was a dark rainy day when the Adjective walked by,
I shall remember the pure and sweet expression on her face
until the day I perish from the green, effective earth."

Or, "Will you please close the window, Andrew?"

Or, for example, "Thank you, the pink pot of flowers on
the window sill has changed color recently to a light
yellow, due to the heat from the boiler factory which
exists nearby."

In the springtime the Sentences and the Nouns lay silently on the grass.
A lonely Conjunction here and there would call, "And! But!"
But the Adjective did not emerge.

As the adjective is lost in the sentence,
So I am lost in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat --
You have enchanted me with a single kiss
Which can never be undone
Until the destruction of language.

by Kenneth Koch, 1925 - 2002 [pronounced "coke"]
American poet, playwright, professor

These poems and more can be found on my
~ The Syntax of Love ~

The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Jewel Rainbow Splendor

Spring Rainbow in West Lafayette, Indiana
23 March 2012, 7:30 pm

"Only you and I can help
the sun rise each coming morning.
If we don't, it may drench itself out in sorrow.

You are amazing grace.
You are a precious jewel.

You ~
special, miraculous,
unrepeatable fragile,
fearful, tender, lost,
sparkling ruby emerald
jewel rainbow splendor person."

~ Joan Baez ~

See the Little Ruby Emerald Sun Dog (lower left)?Sunset in our side yard, just hours before the Autumnal Equinox
22 September 2010

As my friend Carmen says,
"Remember who you truly are,
a spiritual being a shining star."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pine Forest Update 2012

How to find the Lucky Tree? Look for the ice cream truck! Of course! And stroll down the nearest path. Ben's expression here is kind of funny because, as I was taking the photograph, he was laughing at me for choosing an ice cream truck as a permanent landmark. Haha. Well, I happen to have great faith in the regularity of ice cream trucks.

Ye Olde Ice Creame Trucke
Isn't that truck parked in the same spot every year? In earlier times, we relied upon a very tall neighboring tree to show the way, only to find that in our absence it had been chopped down. So what can you trust? Your sense of direction? With only a few missteps, we've taken our annual walk in the woods for sixteen years now. Tradition!

Christmas 1996

Christmas 1997

Christmas 1998

Spring Break 2000

Summer 2005

Summer 2006

Spring Break 2008

Spring Break 2009

Spring Break 2010

Spring Break 2011

Pine Forest Update 2017
Pine Forest Update 2013
Pine Forest Update 2012
Pine Forest Update 2011
Tree of Life
Watching the Boys Grow

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring

* Photo for the Day *

Interior Design by Tina McFadyen

* Quotation for the Day *

"Poor, dear, silly Spring,
preparing her annual surprise!"

~ Wallace Stevens, 1879-1955 ~
found in Souvenirs and Prophecies, 1977

Thanks Tee!
Thanks Cate!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Blue Willow Breakfast

Illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith, 1863 - 1935

Blue Willow
My fate might not have been the dreamer's,
No time for prose and all for froth,
If the ware had not been old blue willow
From which I supped my daily broth!

A child, I lived the quaint tradition,
I was the Chinese maid, Kong Shee,
Flitting the bridge with Chang, the lover,
From the convent house by the willow tree.

I drained my mug at every serving
To rid it of its milky sea
And bring to light a gull still sailing
Above the swaying willow tree!

A whimsy thought but one for toying,
For who has power to estimate
The end of a young poetic fancy
When nurtured from a willow plate?

poem by Mildred D. Shacklett

New Fortnightly Post
~ That Old Blue Willow Has Me In Its Spell ~

On The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Week of Spring Break

~ Commencing with Day Light Savings Time ~

" . . . it shall come to pass,
that at evening time it shall be light."
Zechariah 14:7

~ Concluding with St. Patrick's Day ~

A Reflective Moment on the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral:
Glancing to the right, I saw this impressive reflection
of the steeple that in actuality was directly behind me.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pro - Your Ability to Do What You Need to Do

L: Alice Paul (1885 – 1977), American suffragist, activist, and leader in the successful campaign for women's suffrage that resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.
R:Contemporary American actress Hilary Swank (b 1974), portraying Alice Paul in Iron Jawed Angels, the excellent 2004 movie about the women's suffrage movement.

Favorite Quote
"You ask me to explain myself. I'm just wondering, what needs to be explained? It should be very clear. Look into your own heart — I swear to you, mine is no different. You want a place in the trades and professions where you can earn your bread; so do I. You want the means of self-expression, some way to satisfy your own personal ambitions; so do I. You want a voice in the government under which you live; so do I. What is there to explain?"

~ Alice Paul (as portrayed by Hilary Swank) ~
More recent uplifting quote from
American performance artist
Miranda July (b 1974)
"What's confusing about [being a feminist]?
It's just being pro-your ability to do what you need to do. It doesn't mean you don't love your boyfriend or whatever . . . When I say 'feminist,' I mean that in the most complex, interesting, exciting way."

To read more about Miranda July
To learn more about July's work
To see a beautiful original music video
in celebration of
International Women's Day ~ 8 March 2012
My personal mantra for the occasion:
Take Back the Night is a noble sentiment . . .
but first things first! Let's begin by making
it safe to walk around in broad daylight!

Thank you President Jimmy Carter!
Jimmy Carter: "At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities. . . .
The truth is that male religious leaders have had -- and still have -- an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Always Far Away

The Last Full Moon of Winter
"Looks so pretty and at the same time so sad."
Intriguing facebook comment from my friend Nancy Allen

Nancy's comment reminded me of something I read recently about the mystery of sadness and distance:

"We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire, though often it is the distance between us and the object of desire that fills the space in between with the blue of longing. . . the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed . . . Somewhere in this is the mystery of why tragedies are more beautiful than comedies and why we take a huge pleasure in the sadness of certain songs and stories. Something is always far away" (30).

from A Field Guide to Getting Lost
by Rebecca Solnit

Could it be that looking at the moon fills us with such sadness because it is so far away and because that vast distance is filled with longing?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fast Away the New Year Passes!

Fast away the year is passing! Hard to believe that the first two months sped past so quickly and we have already moved on to page three of our new calendars. Like the old song:

"Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'
Into the future"

~ Steve Miller Band ~

I got ready for the 2012 by creating a few calendars of my own: a Football Calendar featuring my son Sam; a Fashion Calendar, which you may have seen already on my book blog; and the following Calendar of Everyday Custom & Ceremony, which appears also as a photo album on facebook. For each month of the year, I chose favorite pictures from previous blog posts (click on the name of each month to make the connection).

And for 2013 . . .

Contemplating a Full Moon Calendar!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Love However Brief

Cupid & Psycheby Antonio Canova, 1757 - 1822

"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind;
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind."

~A Midsummer Night's Dream~
Act I, scene i

As I've said before, if I had to choose my favorite of all sonnet sequences, I would surely pick those by Edna St. Vincent Millay. In her sonnets, she typically blends romance and cynicism. She knows what love is and what it isn't. "It is not meat nor drink," but it is enough to hold death at arm's length. It is the memory of sharing with another, a memory worth more to the poet than food or peace:

Love is not all: It is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain,
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
and rise and sink and rise and sink again.
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
even as I speak, for lack of love alone.

It well may be that in a difficult hour,
pinned down by need and moaning for release
or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It may well be. I do not think I would.

~ from Fatal Interview

Detail from Primavera by Sandro Botticelli, 1445 - 1510

As in Botticelli's allegory of spring, Love is often painted blind. In the following sonnet, however, it is the lover deprived of love who travels blindly. Rather than a plump little blind - folded cupid, Love is described by Millay as "the eyes of day," "charity," "a lamp," a candle with a wick. The narrator testifies that she would never be the one to put out the eyes of Love or abandon him along the roadside. She is too well aware that human endeavor is dependent upon the light of love, that even "the torn ray / Of the least kind" is better than no love at all.

The poet is the champion of love, "however brief," however distressed, ill - timed, or "ill - trimmed." Without the light of love, it is the Poet, not Love, who is rendered blind, scuffling "in utter dark" tapping the way before her . . .

When did I ever deny, though this was fleeting,
That this was love? When did I ever, I say,
With iron thumb put out the eyes of day
In this cold world where charity lies bleating
Under a thorn, and none to give him greeting,
And all that lights endeavor on its way
Is the teased lamp of loving, the torn ray
Of the least kind, the most clandestine meeting?

As God's my judge, I do cry holy, holy,
Upon the name of love however brief,
For want of whose ill-trimmed, aspiring wick
More days than one I have gone forward slowly
In utter dark, scuffling the drifted leaf,
Tapping the road before me with a stick.

~ from Huntsman, What Quarry?

These sonnets & more appear
on my recent post ~ Love Is Not All

On The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker:
A Fortnightly [every 14th & 28th] Literary Blog of
Connection & Coincidence; Custom & Ceremony