Friday, March 31, 2017

Out Like a Peach Blossom

So March insists on going out
(as it came in) like a lion;
yet we have peach blossoms!
Beata said that in honor of "Dawn or Doom,"
she is naming this photo "Gloom or Bloom!"

Out for a walk through Happy Hollow . . .

See, our park has it's own tiny waterfall!
Photographs by Beata Ribeiro


Same Peach Tree ~ 4 months later!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Always Have the Blues a Little

Haiku by Basho
Gravestone at Cedar Grove Cemetery
University of Notre Dame

It seems that no matter the century or decade, whether you're young or old, whether it's a "Melancholy Moon" or a "Melancholy Baby," from cradle to grave, in order to be a properly tormented human being . . .

"You've got to win a little, lose a little,
always have the blues a little. . . . "


A Chain of MELANCHOLY Connections
the following quotations & more on my current post

~~ Melancholy and / or Properly Tormented ~~

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


What, after all, is a writer's life without a dose of despair?
from Dear Committee Members (p 68)
by Julie Schumacher

“The world is a hellish place, and bad writing
is destroying the quality of our suffering.”

Tom Waits

“I drank to drown my sorrows,
but the damned things learned how to swim.”

Frida Kahlo

Put on your red shoes and dance the blues
David Bowie

Holly Golightly: You know those days
when you get the mean reds?
Paul: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?
Holly: No. The blues are because you're getting fat, and maybe it's been raining too long. You're just sad, that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid, and you don't know what you're afraid of.
Do you ever get that feeling?

from the screenplay ~ Breakfast at Tiffany's
based on the novel by Truman Capote

After thirty, a man wakes up sad every morning,
excepting perhaps five or six, until the day of his death

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I never wake without finding life a more
insignificant thing than it was the day before.

Jonathan Swift

"Life is only on Earth. And not for long."
from the psycho - science - fiction movie Melancholia

Sunday, March 26, 2017

I'm With Her

Happy British Mother's Day!
Or, as they say across the pond,
Happy Mothering Sunday!

In honor of the occasion, I want to thank my sons
for some recent kind gestures that touched my heart:

1. On the Day of the Worldwide Women's March
~ Saturday, January 21 ~

Sam took these amazing pictures from his NYC office window
and tagged them # I'm With Her.
Thanks Sam.

2. On International Women's Day
~ Wednesday, March 8 ~

Ben shared a few of my consciousness - raising posts,
including "I Always Did Hate That Crap,"
with the caption "More by my inspiring mother here."
Thanks Ben.

Thinking back to January 21st and March 8th, I'm grateful to my grown sons for acknowledging my involvement in these world events and for participating in their own ways on behalf of their mother. Thanks guys!

Postcards from Sarah Tiederman

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Stubborn Sheri Reda

Stubborn by Sheri Reda
~ writer, performer, story celebrant ~
Beautiful cover by Chicago artist Nancy VanKanegan!
Produced by locofo chaps / moriapoetry

If you're feeling gloomy about the current political climate; if all the political commentary is giving you a heavy heart, clogging your brain space, and weighing down your spirit, try reading this inspiring collection from my friend Sheri Reda. Her voice will lift you up, and you will feel better. Indeed the poems are disruptive, yet they offer a sense of balance, confirming bleakly that it's "not so bad," that "It’ll never be better than this," even though it's entirely possible that "there will be no nightingales."

To deal with the bleakness of this rancid landscape, Reda offers a "pre–apocalyptic shopping" list to feed our "hungry century,"* leaving the reader with a stubborn, contaminated hope for the future:
"The outward sign of something much, much worse...
Cut—burn—away the fact of him. You will
nurse the wound, protect the scab, oil the scar, and never
again be smooth and clean. Never once free of the fact of him
while you wait, phone in hand, ringer on high,
for the call that says what’s next."
*Other poems quoted above:
"Not so Bad in Lincoln Square"
"11pm we"
"Fat and Somewhat Happy with Vilsak and Perdue"
"Go Ahead"

Equinox Poster by Spiritualitea

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

Light Spectrum

Stained Glass Representation of the Electromagnetic Spectrum
at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
KEY (left to right):
Green: Radio waves; Yellow teardrops: Meteors;
Orange teardrops: Aurora;
Red: Infrared light; Rainbow colors: Visible light; Violet: Ultraviolet light;
Dark violet triangles: X-rays; Light violet triangles: Gamma rays;
Pink: Cosmic rays.

Happy Vernal Equinox
Some haiku for the
Day and Night of Equal Light:

Trying but failing
to be the voice of reason.
The spirit prevails.

Here's to equanimity
and all shall be well!


The season of increasing light seems a befitting time for a coincidence concerning the Lumineers. Not long ago, my friend Cate sent me the link to their hit "Cleopatra."

The night before receiving Cate's email, Gerry and I had been to the movie theater where one of the previews was a larger - than - life trailer of a "LUMINEERS TOUR." Now, to back-track a little bit, before going to the movie, Gerry and I had been talking about cruises, like the European Viking Tours, and trying to decide if we would ever try something like that someday.

So when I saw the words "LUMINEERS TOUR," I immediately thought, "Oh that sounds like a great cruise! What kind of cruise is that?" Gerry tried to set me straight, "I think that's a concert tour -- not a cruise tour." Oh, okay.

Then, I got home, and there was Cate's email and the beautiful song by none other than the Lumineers! Suddenly it all made sense! Isn't it strange how that happens?

Anyway, it is a lovely, meaningful, and timely song. And I can always count on my Quotable Cate for timely words of wisdom!

The Banquet, 1958 ~ Rene Magritte, 1898 - 1967

Saturday, March 18, 2017

That Lost Time & Place

" . . . but it still seemed that some other time,
from some other place,
had invaded the town and was
silently establishing itself"
~ from Badenheim 1939 ~

Out My Window (1930)
by Hanns Kralik (1900 - 1971)
I know the sky looks dark and the city a bit lifeless,
but still the bright yellow trolley and the sense of order
(sometimes a good thing) brought to mind:
Yiddish for Travellers

I bought the book optimistically,
thinking to go there one day, to that lost land
where the border guards only know Yiddish . . .

In the capitol of the Yiddish country, there are
shiny green, blue, and yellow trolleys, broad plazas
with delis and patisseries where the small tables
are filled with people reading and arguing and joking
over their strudel and rugelach, sipping tea in glasses.
They place sugar cubes in their mouths; they lovr herring.
They squeeze plump cheeks of nephews ad grandchildren.
The people there are all oddly reminiscent of my relatives,
my aunts and uncles and great - aunts and great uncles,
and all of their relatives who I never met, who never
somehow crossed over, who were isolated perhaps
int this landlocked Yiddish land, where the police
speak Yiddish, where everyone is in terrific health,
vigorous and sometimes portly from all the pastries,
from the lack of stress, from having escaped
everything so thoroughly.
[emphasis added]
~ Leonard Orr ~
from his poem "Yiddish for Travellers"
in Why We Have Evening


Recalling a recent passport renewal, Orr writes:
"This process reminded me of my older relatives and their worries. Some of them always carried their passports ("just in case," they said). Some of them had gotten into the habit of having many savings accounts so that cash and documents would be available if needed (the winners in this category, as far as I know, were my ancient aunts Gertie and Rose, who lived in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn and had over one hundred savings accounts spread across all of the boroughs). My parents were baffled by anyone choosing to travel to Europe. When I returned from my first summer in Europe (two months in Paris and London) my father said he it was incredibly brave of me to travel by myself there. He associated Europe with the notion of fleeing."

Similar to Kralik's painting is this cover art:
the sky, while not dark, remains high and distant;
the windows, detailed but impassive, retain their secrets.
All of the Badenheim covers are hauntingly quaint,
but I think this artwork by Nancy Lawton is my favorite.

Badenheim 1939 ~ Aharon Appelfeld

It may be true, as a few linguists have observed, that something has been lost in the translation of Badenheim 1939 from the original Hebrew, but enough has been retained to make it one of the saddest most beautiful books that you might ever care to read. This novel is on my special list of books that I recommend to everyone.

The lyrical gaiety of the charming resort town is gradually displaced by fear and anxiety. The delicious afternoons of pink ice cream and strawberry tarts are disrupted by the extended "jurisdiction of the Sanitation Department . . . it had been authorized to conduct independent investigations. . . . In the middle of May a modest announcement appeared on the notice board saying that all citizens who were Jews had to register with the Sanitation Department" (11, 20).

Despite this sobering turn of events, the merry - makers strain for a positive outlook:
"The inspectors . . . took measurements, put up fences, and planted flags. Porters unloaded rolls of barabed wire, cement pillars, and all kinds of appliances suggestive of preparations for a pubic celebration.

'There'll be fun and games this year.'

"How do you know?'

'The Festival's probably going to be a big affair this year; otherwise why would the Sanitation Department be going to all this trouble?'

'You're right, I didn't realize.' " (15)
Even as the summer season draws to a melancholy close and the beautiful vacationers are required to board the ominous freight cars, their delusional innocence allows them to voice a false hope, heartbreaking to the reader who knows the horrible reality: " 'If the coaches are so dirty, it must mean that we have not far to go' "(148).

Looking ahead to the "transition" the residents of enchanted Badenheim reassure each other: "'By the way, what language will he sing in?' 'What a question! In Yiddish, of course, in Yiddish!' . . . There was no country as beautiful as Poland, no air as pure as Polish air. 'And Yiddish? . . . There's nothing easier than learning Yiddish. It's a simple, beautiful language, and Polish too is a beautiful language.' . . . The headwaiter was learning Yiddish. Samitzky wrote long lists of words down in his notebook and sat and studied them. . . . in Poland it would be easy to learn. Everyone spoke Yiddish there. . . . 'This is only a transition. Soon we'll arrive in Poland. . . . It's only a transition, only a transition' " (36, 95, 106 - 07, 143).

Their optimism mirrors that of the bookstore patron in Orr's poem above, who "optimistically" picks up a copy of Yiddish for Travellers, recalling to himself "that lost land," that lost time and place.

Not to trivialize, but reading Badenheim
always brings to mind the song "Desert Moon"
-- yet another lost place.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017


Beata ~ Katie ~ Kitti

Precisely a year ago, as Daylight Saving Time began, I took the opportunity to thank my friend Beata for her consistent inspiration and contributions to my blogs. So it seems only fitting that this year, I pay tribute to our mutual friend Katie who never fails to send me just the right poem, cartoon, or article at just the right time, and to keep us all abreast of local literary and cultural events that we might otherwise overlook.

September Birthday Girls: Beata & Katie

Thanks to Katie
for this inspiring collection of connections:

Summer Books: The Beach

Döstädning: Long Live the Swedish Death Cleanse!

Evening ~ Timing ~ Floating: Poetry by Leonard Orr

"Sometimes a girl just needs to read a good book!"


Don't Dishearten


Celine & Florine

Cyber Monday

Books and Coffee and Nalewki

Always June

Dark Days

A Good Day to Be a Cat

Mere PhD

Fairy Tale

Waiting for the Full Moon

Godspeed October

What Makes Life So Sweet

Alas, Poor Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern! We Knew Them!

Macabre Matryoshka

January 2017 ~ Surviving the Midwinter Blues
". . . If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. . . . "

~ from "A Brief for the Defense" by Jack Gilbert

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Romantics & Street Mimes

Acutely accurate cartoon given to me by friends
at my first real job in the real world.

early 1980s ~ by Richard Stine

Birthday card to me from Gerry; we had entered
the world but still felt fairly confident!

early 1990s ~ by Kim Warp

Next thing you know, we moved to Philadelphia
and learned right away what it was like to be
fooled by street mimes on a daily basis.

We were just innocent little blacksmiths after all!

from Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

Friday, March 3, 2017

Star - Spangled But Unsingable

National Anthem Day
This Day in History: March 3, 1931
" . . . I am thinking how odd it is that national anthems
("Star - Spangled Banner," "O Canada,"
let alone the more stirring
"Chee - lai! Boo yuan tzo noo lee dee run men"
or the more rhythmic "Ragupat ragava rajah Rum"
can only be handled by massive choral groups,
by opera divas and gospel singers, and can't be played
by amateurs on guitar, and isn't that counter to
national purposes? . . . "
~ Leonard Orr ~
from his poem "The Loop"
in Why We Have Evening

Sheet Music From Library of Congress Archives

Further Reading:

September 13, 1814

September 17, 1787 ~ Constitution Day

The Story Behind the Star - Spangled Banner

Things You Might Not Know

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Piano Bar

Piano Bar & Poem
"We must admit there will be music despite everything."

So pleasant to sit here,
listening to the pianist at the big white piano . . .

and taking afternoon tea!

"Love perfected and whole, you arrive."
~ Rumi ~

"Those who bind to themselves a joy
Do the wingèd life destroy;
But those who kiss the joy as it flies
Live in eternity's sunrise. ~
~ William Blake ~


Previous March First Posts

2010: Kiss Me & Kiss Today

2011: My Vegetable Love

2012: Love However Brief

2013: Beyond Ideas

2014: The First [Mild] Day of March

2015: Wind from a Leaf

2016: Reading the Obituaries