Monday, July 29, 2013

Love Calls Us

“Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven."

Sun and Wind on the Roof, 1915
John French Sloan, 1871 - 1951

Love Calls Us to the Things of This World
The eyes open to a cry of pulleys,
And spirited from sleep, the astounded soul
Hangs for a moment bodiless and simple
As false dawn.

Outside the open window
The morning air is all awash with angels.

Some are in bed-sheets, some are in blouses,
Some are in smocks: but truly there they are.
Now they are rising together in calm swells
Of halcyon feeling, filling whatever they wear
With the deep joy of their impersonal breathing;

Now they are flying in place, conveying
The terrible speed of their omnipresence, moving
And staying like white water; and now of a sudden
They swoon down into so rapt a quiet
That nobody seems to be there.

The soul shrinks

From all that is about to remember,
From the punctual rape of every blessed day,
And cries,

“Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry,
Nothing but rosy hands in the rising steam
And clear dances done in the sight of heaven."

Yet, as the sun acknowledges
With a warm look the world's hunks and colors,
The soul descends once more in bitter love
To accept the waking body, saying now
In a changed voice as the man yawns and rises,

"Bring them down from their ruddy gallows;
Let there be clean linen for the backs of thieves;
Let lovers go fresh and sweet to be undone,
And the heaviest nuns walk in a pure floating
Of dark habits,
keeping their difficult balance."

by Richard Wilbur

To learn more about his poem and related readings
see my new post
"Winnow the Dreams"
on the
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Friday, July 26, 2013

Victoria Day

"Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you"

lyrics from
"Bookends" by Simon & Garfunkel

Kitti, Vickie, Diane ~ Kirksville, Summer 1980

Dr. Victoria Amador

I was lucky enough to see Vickie just last week . . .
and we discussed the meaning of life:

"It's like a universal radio.
Sometimes I get the message,
but usually it's just snow."

Additional words of wisdom from Victoria:
"Avoid the nettles!"

Preserve Your Memories!
Valentine Collage ~ Old Favorites from Vickie & Diane

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Take Me to the Fair!

"True Americana Evening"
~ by Jay Beets ~

"Take Me to the Fair"
Humorous, punful, playful lyrics
from the musical / movie Camelot
~ click to see / hear Vanessa Regrave's rendition ~

Sir Lionel!
Do you recall the other night that I distinctly said you might
Serve as my escort at the next town fair?
Well, I'm afraid there's someone who I must invite in place of you
Someone who plainly is beyond compare
That Frenchman's power is more tremendous than I have e'er seen anywhere
And when a man is that tremendous
He, by right, should take me to the fair

Your majesty, let me tilt with him and smite him!
Don't refuse me so abruptly, I implore!
Oh, give me the opportunity to fight him
And Gaul will be divided once more!

You'll bash and thrash him?

I'll smash and mash him.

You'll give him trouble?

He will be rubble.

A mighty whack?

His skull will crack.

Then you may take me to the fair
If you do all the things you promise
In fact, my heart would break should you not take me to the fair
Sir Sagramore!
I have some rather painful news relative to the subject who's
To be beside me at the next court ball
You were the chosen one, I know, but as tradition it should go
To the unquestioned champion in the hall
And I'm convinced that splendid Frenchman can easily conquer one and all
And besting all our local henchmen
He should sit beside me at the ball

I beg of you, ma'am, withhold your invitation.
I swear to you this challenge will be met.
And when I have finished up the operation,
I'll serve him to your highness en brochette!

You'll pierce right through him?

I'll barbecue him!

A wicked thrust?

'Twill be dust to dust!

From fore to aft?

He'll feel a draft!

Well then...
You may sit by me at the ball
If you demolish him in battle
In fact, I know I'd cry were you not by me at the ball
Sir Dinadan!
Didn't I promise that you may guide me to London on the day
That I go up to judge the cattle show?
As it is quite a nasty ride there must be someone at my side
Who'll be defending me from beast and foe
So when I choose whom I prefer go, I take the strongest knight I know
And young du Lac seems strongest, ergo
He should take me to the cattle show

Your Majesty can't believe this blustering prattle-
Let him prove it with a sword or lance instead!
I promise you, when I've done this Gaul in battle
His shoulders will be lonesome for his head!

You'll disconnect him?

I'll vivisect him.

You'll open-wide him?

I'll subdivide him.

Oh, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear.
Then you may guide me to the show
If you can carry out your program
In fact, I'd grieve inside should you not guide me to the show

Milady, we shall put an end to that Galic bag of noise and nerve
When we do all that we intend to
He'll be a plate of French hors d'ouvres!

I do applaud your noble goals
Now let us see if you achieve them
And if you do, then you will be the three who go to the ball, to the show
And take me to the fair

These brilliant summer photographs remind me
of how much we all used to love the carnival and
wait for it to come every year!
I always thought that the swings
-- sometimes called The Merry Mix - Up --
were the best ride ever!
~ taken by my friend, Missouri photographer Jay Beets ~

P.S. 20 September 2013
Magical picture taken by Rita Konertz-Lee
at the Celeberate St. Peter's Fair (Missouri)

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Man in the Wind
and the West Moon

"Sometimes called the Full Thunder Moon,
because thunderstorms are so frequent during July"
(Farmer's Almanac).

It's true! This was picture was taken early this morning, around 1 a.m.
At 3 a.m. came the thunder & lightning, very intense for a full hour!


Also called
the Moon of the Middle Summer,
the Hungry Ghost Moon
and the Moon of Claiming

I love the moon imagery in the following two poems
by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914 - 53):

In My Craft or Sullen Art
In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labour by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

And Death Shall Have No Dominion
And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

So Much Water Moving

The Mississippi River ~ Minneapolis, Minnesota

Wasted on the Way
Words & music by Graham Nash
Sung by Crosby, Stills & Nash

Look around me
I can see my life before me
Running rings around the way
It used to be

I am older now
I have more than what I wanted
But I wish that I had started
Long before I did

And there's so much time to make up
Everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way

So much water moving
Underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away

Oh when you were young
Did you question all the answers
Did you envy all the dancers
Who had all the nerve

Look round you now
You must go for what you wanted
Look at all my friends who did
and got what they deserved

And there's so much time to make up
Everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way

So much water moving
Underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away

And there's so much love to make up
Everywhere you turn
Love we have wasted on the way

So much water moving
Underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away

Let the water come and carry us away

click to hear CSN & see a nice slideshow

The Wabash River ~ Lafayette, Indiana

P.S. ~ September 2016
Another good one: "Wasted Time" by the Eagles

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Old Friendship

Kitti, Vickie, Steven: Minneapolis, 2013

Old Friendship
Beautiful and rich is an old friendship,
Grateful to the touch as ancient ivory,
Smooth as aged wine, or sheen of tapestry
Where light has lingered, intimate and long.
Full of tears and warm is an old friendship
That asks no longer deeds of gallantry,
Or any deed at all - save that the friend shall be
Alive and breathing somewhere, like a song.

Eunice Tietjens, July 29, 1884 - September 6, 1944
American poet, novelist, journalist, children's author, lecturer, and editor
from the book of poems, Leaves in Windy Weather

Songs shared by

Bruce Carriker: "Old Friends" ~ Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Ray Price

Old friends, pitching pennies in the park
Playing croquet till it's dark, old friends
Old friends, swapping lies of lives and loves
Pitching popcorn to the doves, old friends

Old friends, looking up to watch a bird
Holding arms to climb a curb, old friends, old friends
Old friends, Lord when all my work is done
Bless my life and grant me one, old friend
At least one, old friend


Bonnie Gushard: "Old Friends" ~ Simon and Garfunkel

Old friends, old friends sat on their park bench like bookends
A newspaper blowin´ through the grass
Falls on the round toes of the high shoes of the old friends

Old friends, winter companions, the old men
Lost in their overcoats, waiting for the sun
The sounds of the city sifting through trees
Settles like dust on the shoulders of the old friends

Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a parkbench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy

Old friends, memory brushes the same years, silently sharing the same fears

Steven, Kitti, Vickie: Chicago, 2014

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy Bat - stille Day!

Pere Lachaise Cemetery Bat*
Private rites of magic . . .
An imaginary friend . . .
the Ancient Disciplines . . .

Unendowed with wealth or pity,
Little birds [and bats?] with scarlet legs . . .

~ W. H. Auden ~
from "The Fall of Rome"


Montmartre Grave Diggers*
"The woman named Tomorrow . . . takes her time . . .
and drawls: Well, what of it?
My grandmother, Yesterday, is gone.
What of it? Let the dead be dead."

~ Carl Sandburg ~
from "Four Preludes On Playthings of the Wind"


You can read the complete text of these
"Two Poems for Bastille Day"
on the
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

*Thanks to my friend Steven La Vigne
for sharing his Paris photography
~ Summer 2012 ~

"Altogether elsewhere . . . "

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Present is Now *

Zinnias & Hollyhocks, just as I remember
from my grandmothers' back gardens.

No Rush
this is the center of the universe at this moment
unless you're looking in another direction or are
thinking about something from a long time ago, in
which case it will wait quietly right here until you

Storypeople / Brian Andreas

"So, what is the point of waiting?
What exactly are you waiting for?
Is somebody going to give you what you always wanted?
Will a train come from Heaven bringing you goodies?
But nothing that could ever happen could be as good,
as precious, as who you are.
What stops you from being, from being present,
is nothing but your hope for the future.
Hoping for something different . . . is a mirage [that]
stops you from seeing the obvious, the preciousness of Being.
It is a great distortion,
a great misunderstanding of what will fulfill you
When you follow the mirage, you are rejecting yourself."

A. H. Almaas (aka A. Hameed Ali)

a mediation included in
The Tao of Now:
Daily Wisdom from Mystics, Sages, Poets, and Saints

by Josh Baran

* "But while we often like to comfort or flatter ourselves with the thought that the future is now, the brute truth is, the future is not now. The present is now. The future is later -- in some cases much later."
~ Ellis Weiner ~
(31, emphasis added)
Santa Lives!
Five Conclusive Arguments for the Existence of Santa Claus

and also my previous post:
"The Time Being"

Monday, July 8, 2013

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall . . . "

I think it was TIME that didn't love this fence,
along with relentless WEATHER,
invasive Japanese HONEYSUCKLE,
and 21st Century LANDSCAPING imperatives.

Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.

I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.”
I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

[emphasis added]

Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963
Four-time Pulitzer Prize winning well - loved American poet

These three fence posts came to light last month when some contractors got busy clearing an overgrown lot just a couple of blocks up the street. Every day as I drove or biked past, I would remind myself to bring the camera next time, and every day I would forget. I had noticed a couple of nearby trees marked with an orange "X" for demolition and was concerned that the fence posts might be slated for a similar fate.

Finally, on the 4th of July, I wrote at the top of my "to do" list: "Photograph Fence Posts." Capturing this little bit of fading Americana seemed like a fitting observation for our all - American holiday. So, I stopped by around noon with my camera and got a few good shots, while across the yard someone was plowing up the ground with a Bobcat. I briefly wondered why he wasn't taking the day off and whether or not the fence posts were long for this world.

However, when I walked by at five o'clock, the Bobcat was at rest under a tree, no workers were in sight, and the posts were still standing. I admired them from across the street, on my way to the evening swim, and congratulated myself for having gotten the photographs earlier in the day.

As I returned home from the pool an hour later, I was dumbfounded to see no fenceposts! What? Was I hallucinating? No, I knew for sure that they had been there at noon, and again as recently as 5pm. But now they were gone! All gone! I guess the plowing job had indeed included the elimination of these remnants of an earlier time in Indiana. What a pity! Can you imagine how mad at myself I would have been if I had not remembered to take those photographs at noon? What timing!

My friends at the pool were saying: "Those posts are amazing! I am so glad you got the picture! Thanks for sharing." And the following day when they heard about the disappearance: "I am going to imagine that an artist or craftsperson took them and we will see them again! I'll bet someone who is artistic could do something really interesting with those." My husband Gerry made an additional instructive observation; he assured me that no one, artistic or otherwise, had yet taken the posts because he could see them in the dumpster that was parked at the construction site.

I was thinking of imploring him or my sons to drive by in our truck and help me on a rescue mission. But, in the end, inspired by my friends, I realized that all by myself I could retrieve the posts from the dumpster (they are not too heavy) and balance them home on my bike basket. Yes, they would be salvaged by an artistic craftsperson -- me! Lets hear it for American trash picking!

Now that the three fence posts are in my possession, I guess my next project will be thinking of what to do with my shabby chic (okay, shabby shabby) souvenirs!

You may recall from previous blog posts that Gerry and I
have two such posts remaining on our property line.
I decorate them every Christmas and would never dream
of removing them! Not so much because I love a wall,
but because I love these artifacts of local history.

2011 ~ Plaid Flannel

2012 ~ Candy Stripes

Click to see a few more Indiana fence posts . . .

Thursday, July 4, 2013

American Tune

Photo from
Ben's 3rd grade Field Trip, Spring 1999

" . . . And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying.

Oh, we come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon . . . "

~ Paul Simon ~

"Going to America then was almost like going to the moon."
~ Golda Meir ~

~ Veronica Lawlor ~

"When I was about 10 years old, I said, 'I have to go to America.' Because my uncles were here already, and it kind of got me that I want to go to America, too. . . . I was dreaming about it. I was writing to my uncles, I said I wish one day I'll be in America. I was dreaming to come to America. . . . and I was dreaming, and my dream came true. When I cam here, I was in a different world. It was so peaceful. It was quiet. You were not afraid to go out in the middle of the night. . . . I'm free. I'm just like a bird. You can fly and land on any tree and you're free." [emphasis added]

Helen Cohen
Arrived in 1920 ~ Age 20

~ Lawlor's illustration and Cohen's reminiscence ~
found on pages 14 - 15
of this beautiful book:

Also included in Lawlor's collection are these remarkable words from Golda Meir, who would one day be the 4th Prime Minister of Israel:

"My father, who had by not moved from New York to Milwaukee, was barely making a living. He wrote back that he hoped to get a job working on the railway and soon he would have enough money for our tickets. . . . I can remember only the hustle and bustle of those last weeks in Pinsk, the farewells from the family, the embraces and the tears. Going to America then was almost like going to the moon. . . . We were all bound for places about which we knew nothing at all and for a country that was totally strange to us." [p 10, emphasis added]

Golda Meir
Arrived in 1906 ~ Age 8


Click to read
what my friend Beata wrote about Coming to America:
"I was now INSIDE of independency! . . . I was free!"


Click to hear
Paul Simon sing a song for the day . . .

American Tune
Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I’m all right, I’m all right
Just weary to my bone
Still, you don’t expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
Or driven to its knees
Oh, but it’s all right, it’s all right
For we've lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
We’re traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was flying

Oh, we come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon

We come in the age’s most uncertain hour
And sing an American tune
Oh, it’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all I’m trying to get some rest
[emphasis added]

© 1973 Words and Music by Paul Simon

This year's American Flag Pie!
Also 2009 & 2010

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Practice Pysanky, Practice Resurrection, Practice Revolution

~ Pysanky Eggs Designed by Susan Blubaugh ~
It has been an exciting week on Susan's page, Pysanky Spirit!

June 29: "In anticipation of July 4,
I'm digging out my red, white, and blue eggs!"

July 1: "A batik egg featuring red, white, and blue.
But I must say, "Happy Canada Day" to the Loyalists in the northland.
Wish I had a maple leaf egg to help celebrate, but I don't -- yet.
It sure doesn't seem to me that Canadians have suffered much
from their loyalty to England and King George III.
As a matter of fact, a peaceful separation from the motherland,
a parliamentary form of government, and a national health care system
are legacies that I find myself envying at times."

July 2: "Another in the line of the red, white, and blue countdown!"

Sue's Pysanky "countdown" to Independence Day and Bastille Day brought to mind the following inspiring poem by activist Wendell Berry. Sue says, "Wendell Berry is one of my favorite poets, a gentle prophet for our day."

Berry's "Manifesto" reminds us to "practice resurrection," an admonishment which somehow in my mind got turned around into "practice revolution." Well, maybe they're sort of the same thing after all. When my friend Nancy first sent me this poem a couple of years ago, I told her that I loved it so much it made me cry. I was striving to practice resurrection . . . the rebirth of my identity.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

by Wendell Berry
in New Collected Poems

Stars & Stripes Forever!

P.S. Further thoughts from Wendell Berry:

The going assumption seems to be that freedom can be granted only by an institution, that it is the gift of the government to its people. I think it is the other way around. Free men are not set free by their government; they have set their government free of themselves; they have made it unnecessary. Freedom is not accomplished by a declaration. A declaration of freedom is either a futile and empty gesture, or it is the statement of a finished fact. Freedom is a personal matter; though we may be enslaved as a group, we can be free only as persons. We can set each other free only as persons. It is a matter of discipline. A person can free himself of bondage that has been imposed on him only by accepting another bondage that he has chosen. A man who would not be the slave of other men must be the master of himself--that is the real meaning of self government. If we all behaved as honorably and honestly and industriously as we expect our representatives to behave, we would soon put the government out of work.

A person dependent on somebody else for everything from potatoes to opinions may declare that he is a free man, and his government may issue a certificate granting him his freedom, but he will not be free. He is that variety of specialist known as a consumer, which means that he is the abject dependent of producers. How can he be free if he can do nothing for himself? What is the First Amendment to him whose mouth is stuck to the tit of the “affluent society”? Men are free precisely to the extent that they are equal to their own needs. The most able are the most free.

Wendell Berry
From "Discipline and Hope" (1972)

P.P.S. A kinder, gentler revolution . . .
" . . . if I could change the world . . . "