Thursday, October 31, 2013

This is the Night!

Halloween Accessories From Lizone's Jewelry With an Attitude
~ More About Lizone's ~

This is the night when witches fly
On their whizzing broomsticks through the wintry sky;
Steering up the pathway where the stars are strewn,
They stretch skinny fingers to the walking moon.

This is the night when old wives tell
Strange and creepy stories, tales of charm and spell;
Peering at the pictures flaming in the fire
They wait for whispers from a ghostly choir.

This is the night when angels go
In and out the houses, winging o’er the snow;
Clearing out the demons from the countryside
They make it new and ready for Christmastide.

Leonard Clark, 1905-1981
English poet and anthologist
[I wonder of there's a way to get a copy of
Clark's Christmas book for less than $36!]

Christmas Witches?
I love their red dresses!
Vintage Halloween Witch Stickers
by Violette

P.S. For celebrating the birthday of poet John Keats -- which just so happens to fall on 31 October -- check out this great blog:
Baroque in Hackney
"Halloween is the night the dead come back.
That’s how serious it is.
So happy birthday, John Keats."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Time's Most Favored Season

Laguna Beach Nursery and Garden Center, California
Don't let anyone tell you that autumn doesn't come to Southern California!
These are without a doubt the most amazing pumpkins and
the most beautiful harvest displays that I've seen all season!


"Ada had tried to love all the year equally . . .
Nevertheless, she could not get over loving autumn best . . . "
~ Cold Mountain
~ Charles Frazier ~


Almost Halloween, that mystical half - way point between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice! Like Frazier's Ada, I too have a heart that favors fall. In fact, one of my favorite poets, Lee Perron, claims that even Time loves autumn best:

Fall Arrives
Fall arrives, time’s most favored season—
at last the heart, the mind loosens its fist
so that I no longer need to know who I am

I return to the hills and the great presences—
light, heat, clouds, the bull pines—
to recover for myself the purity of the falling world
to enfold it like a pearl in the mind’s silence

I read the calligraphy of the oaks against
the fading skies, the grass bending in the meadow,
the last robins— I’m a circle reaching
the first place for the first time

for in youth among fall leaves I refused
to acknowledge the ancient writing—
that the basket of summer empties, that
the hours of men are as wind-driven clouds—
and yet among fall leaves
I was overjoyed with the beauty of loss

now I stand on autumn’s wooded knoll
that my life too may vanish,
that night may fall into the earth’s arms

time is calling her trout
from their playgrounds in the sea
to river mouth, and redemption, and fury

it is by means of the long delay
that we come to the righteousness of passion.

by Lee Perron
Contemporary American Poet & Antiquarian Bookseller

For this poem and more, by
Janis Ian, Stephen Stills, Michael Lipsey, the Little Prince,
the prophet Jeremiah, Green Day, and Optimism Revolution

see my latest post
about autumn, time, and contentment

"My Times"

The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Club - Burbs

A vain hope for safety is The Club!

Writing about the time our house was burgled (recently on The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker: "Be As Brave As Sharon Olds"), brought to mind the day a few years later, in November 2002, when Ben had a day off from school and we spent the afternoon driving out to the suburbs in search of the new neighborhood to which one of his friends had recently moved.

We timed ourselves and used the odometer: it took us exactly one hour to drive exactly fifteen miles! That's how it can be, leaving the city limits and driving around in the suburbs if (like me!) you eschew the expressway. Anyway, it was a beautiful autumn day (exactly like today!), we had a pleasant drive, we didn't get lost, and, as parents know, you can often have some good quality time driving your child around; so I felt that it was an excellent use of our free day.

This schoolmate's parents had got it into their heads that they couldn't live in the city a moment longer and up and moved to the suburbs right at the beginning of the school year. The dad worked in the city and drove himself and the kids into town every day for work and school. Meanwhile, the mom was stranded in her big subdivision house, way out in the middle of nowhere. Go figure.

On the way out that day, twelve - year - old Ben and I spent the time in the car discussing the various trade - offs of city versus suburbs. We talked about population density, issues of safety, illusions of security, living on the defensive; the times when our house and car had been broken into. Upon arrival, we had a good joke as we pulled up into the driveway. First of all, Ben checked our time and mileage and said, "Mom, that is pathetic!" As we burst out laughing, I said, "Should we put The Club on?" And then we really had a good ol' guffaw! That's the kind of jaded urban joke that Gerry and I used to hear when we first moved to Philadelphia, and we would just stand there in dismay, listening to people make a laughing matter out of car theft, burglary, graffiti, vandalism. But after awhile we developed the same cynical sense of humor and eventually passed it on to our kids.

Ben and I visited our friends for a couple of hours that day, then turned around and came back by the same route, making the same bad time! We weren't exactly City Mice, but we were happy to be back home. Autumn in Philadelphia -- we miss it still!

". . . oh those first fall days, with the sad sharpness in the air
and the leaves bright so that our road is a line of color,
and the feeling of storing - in against the winter, and the pumpkins
. . . the indefinable sense of harvest entered the house,
of apples to be stored away,
of Christmas in the perceptible future . . . "

~ Shirley Jackson ~

Check out my current Fortnightly Post
about dealing with urban crime:

"Be As Brave As Sharon Olds"
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny*

Pumpkins Grown by Gerry in our Garden!

" . . . every pumpkin in the field,
goes through every point of pumpkin history."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
from the essay
"Nominalist and Realist"

I like the way that this one has re-situated itself amongst the oregano!

*Theory of Recapitulation

Monday, October 21, 2013

Now For Our October Moons!

“Listen! The wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for our October eves!”

~ Humbert Wolfe
~ Fun comments from my friends ~
Susan Gajderowicz:
The leaves have an eerie appearance - almost bat-like!
Ann de Forest: They do like bats!
Victoria Amador: Werewolves of London!

Facebook says "We could not find any faces to tag."
What? Don't they recognize the Man in the Moon?

"I see the moon
and the moon sees me!"

Friday, October 18, 2013

St. Luke's Summer Sadness

Today is the Full Hunters Moon & the Feast of St. Luke.
David E. Ross Memorial Garden,
just west of Slayter Hill ~ Purdue

"This is St. Luke's summer, or the 'Indian summer' as it is called in America. The air is soft and warm and still. The yellow leaves fall from the Beeches in countless numbers, but slowly and noiselessly, and as if reluctant to let go their hold. The rooks come back to us again across the fields, and clamour among the empty nests, which were their homes in spring. The 'remontant' Roses are putting out their latest blooms, and the Antirrhinums, Mulleins, and some few other flowers, show themselves 'remontant' also. There is an aromatic fragrance everywhere from the withering leaves and from the lingering flowers.

But there is sadness with it all. We cannot deceive ourselves, but we know that all is now over, and that at any moment the frost may come, and leave us nothing but decay and death."

~ 15 October 1874, emphasis added ~
from A Year in a Lancashire Garden
by Henry A. Bright

"The sadness of autumn is in the air, the smell of woodsmoke and earth and things long-forgotten. Over our heads the first skein of geese (the souls of the dead) scissor through the air, heading for their winter home, north of Boscrambe Woods, the creaking noise they make engenders a fit of melancholy in both of us. The Dog lifts its head, watching them make their black wingprints across the sky and gives a sad little whine. 'Here comes winter,' Audrey says."

~ p 131, emphasis added ~
from the novel Human Croquet
by Kate Atkinson
(see more on my book blog)

The Hunters Moon

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Be As Brave As Sharon Olds

Late Summer, 1995

The Fear of Oneself
As we get near the house, taking off our gloves,
the air forming a fine casing of
ice around each hand,
you say you believe I would hold up under torture
for the sake of our children. You say you think I have
courage. I lean against the door and weep,
the tears freezing on my cheeks with brittle
clicking sounds.
I think of the women standing naked
on the frozen river, the guards pouring
buckets of water over their bodies till they
glisten like trees in an ice storm.

I have never thought I could take it, not even
for the children. It is all I have wanted to do,
to stand between them and pain. But I come from a
long line
of women
who put themselves
first. I lean against the huge dark
cold door, my face glittering with
glare ice like a dangerous road,
and think about hot pokers, and goads,
and the skin of my children, the delicate, tight,
thin top layer of it,
covering their whole bodies, softly

by American Poet, Sharon Olds (b 1942)
Recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, 2013
[interview, 2009]

While I cannot claim to have endured the unspeakable tortures of fire and ice described here by Sharon Olds, I can say that an unexpected experience once taught me that, whether I knew it or not, I would take a hatchet in the back without hesitation for the sake of my children.

Read more
about the day, eighteen years ago, when I learned that
"I could take it"
on my new Fortnightly Post
"Be As Brave As Sharon Olds"
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Woodlands Cemetery

Thanks to Deirdre Woods for these beautiful photographs of
The Woodlands Cemetery ~ Philadelphia
Deirdre said, "I think I shall never see a poem as lovely as a (ginkgo) tree!" And we both agreed that if we could only have one tree on a desert island, it would be the ginkgo!

Also incredibly lovely at The Woodlands this time of year:
"Autumn light and a magnificient ash tree."

When Ben and Sam were small, we'd drop Gerry off at The Wharton School and on the way home drive through The Woodlands Cemetery. The boys, however, did not yet know the word "cemetery" and thought I was saying "country." For years afterward, we always referred to The Woodlands as "the country." A drive through the cemetery was a drive through the country!

When they asked, "Can we go to the country?" they didn't mean Valley Forge or the Pine Barrens, they just meant The Woodlands -- or perhaps their other favorite oasis, the Biopond! Both the Biopond and The Woodlands are such beautiful green spaces right in the middle of the city that, for urban kids, they are The Countryside!

Fall Fun At The Woodlands - 1997
Playing Statue

Chinese Epitaph

There's Center City ~ Within Walking Distance!

A Good Castle Wall . . .

. . . For Two Little Knights
(Halloween ~ 1998)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dreamful Autumn

Grim and Gram's Garden in October

[click to hear musical rendition by Frederick Delius]

Pale amber sunlight falls across
The reddening October trees,
That hardly sway before a breeze
As soft as summer: summer’s loss
Seems little, dear! on days like these.

Let misty autumn be our part!
The twilight of the year is sweet:
Where shadow and the darkness meet
Our love, a twilight of the heart
Eludes a little time’s deceit.

Are we not better and at home
In dreamful Autumn, we who deem
No harvest joy is worth a dream?
A little while and night shall come,
A little while, then, let us dream.

Beyond the pearled horizons lie
Winter and night: awaiting these
We garner this poor hour of ease,
Until love turn from us and die
Beneath the drear November trees.

Ernest Dowson, 1867 - 1900
Very sad and short - lived British poet
~ remembered for his heart - rending phrases,
such as "days of wine and roses"
and "gone with the wind" ~

Compare to Spring & Summer

Click to see facebook photo album

Monday, October 7, 2013

Misty Morning Pumpkin Bales

Pumpkin Bales
Photographer Jay Beets says,
"Tilt screen up . . . lean back . . . color gets better!
I liked the color the hay cast this morning . . . that pumpkin hue!"


I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;—
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.

Where are the songs of Summer?—With the sun,
Oping the dusky eyelids of the south,
Till shade and silence waken up as one,
And Morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
Where are the merry birds?—Away, away,
On panting wings through the inclement skies,
Lest owls should prey
Undazzled at noonday,
And tear with horny beak their lustrous eyes.

Where are the blooms of Summer?—In the west,
Blushing their last to the last sunny hours,
When the mild Eve by sudden Night is prest
Like tearful Proserpine, snatch'd from her flow'rs
To a most gloomy breast.
Where is the pride of Summer,—the green prime,—
The many, many leaves all twinkling?—Three
On the moss'd elm; three on the naked lime
Trembling,—and one upon the old oak-tree!
Where is the Dryad's immortality?—
Gone into mournful cypress and dark yew,
Or wearing the long gloomy Winter through
In the smooth holly's green eternity.

The squirrel gloats on his accomplish'd hoard,
The ants have brimm'd their garners with ripe grain,
And honey bees have stored
The sweets of Summer in their luscious cells;
The swallows all have wing'd across the main;
But here the Autumn melancholy dwells,
And sighs her tearful spells
Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.

Alone, alone,
Upon a mossy stone,
She sits and reckons up the dead and gone
With the last leaves for a love-rosary,
Whilst all the wither'd world looks drearily,
Like a dim picture of the drown├Ęd past
In the hush'd mind's mysterious far away,
Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
Into that distance, gray upon the gray.

O go and sit with her, and be o'ershaded
Under the languid downfall of her hair:
She wears a coronal of flowers faded
Upon her forehead, and a face of care;—
There is enough of wither'd everywhere
To make her bower,—and enough of gloom;
There is enough of sadness to invite,
If only for the rose that died, whose doom
Is Beauty's,—she that with the living bloom
Of conscious cheeks most beautifies the light:
There is enough of sorrowing, and quite
Enough of bitter fruits the earth doth bear,—
Enough of chilly droppings for her bowl;
Enough of fear and shadowy despair,
To frame her cloudy prison for the soul!

Thomas Hood, 1798–1845

on my current Fortnightly post
"September Travels Slow"
The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A fortnightly [every 14th & 28th]
literary blog of connection & coincidence; custom & ceremony

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Still So Green

First sign of fall: the rogue / rouge tree!
In the Bois du Boulogne, 1933
by Camille Bombois, 1883 - 1970

The funny thing about this time of year -- over a week beyond the Autumnal Equinox -- is that everything is still so green! Except for the occasional changing treetop or a stray red leaf here and there on the sidewalk, all the trees still look like summer! Even though October has arrived and my latest Fortnightly post features the bright orange leaves of autumn, when I look out my window, that's not what I see.

The ginkgos at Purdue will be green for another month yet.

My neighbor's driveway.

My Secret Garden Path

The Trees at Sugar Creek, Missouri
photographed by Jay Beets, 28 September 2013

24 October 2013

Same View
31 October 2013