Sunday, March 28, 2021

Hugs & Bios

New Fortnightly: Running to Meet You

New Book Blog: Biobooks From Friends

Friday, March 26, 2021

How A Body Sways

Seated Woman with Bent Knee
A Portrait of Edith Schiele, the Artist's Wife, 1917

By Austrian painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918)
National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic

Sadly, both Egon (at age 28) and Edith, and
their unborn child, perished in the pandemic of 1918.

I Knew a Woman

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).

How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing we did make).

Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved).

Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I’m martyr to a motion not my own;
What’s freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways).

Theodore Roethke (1908 – 1963)

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Solitude & Venus

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great ones are they who in the midst of the crowd keep with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

". . . in my solitude I have woven for myself a silken web or chrysalis, and, nymph-like, shall ere long burst forth a more perfect creature, fitted for a higher society."
~Henry David Thoreau
More from the Haan Museum Sculpture Garden

Saturday, March 20, 2021

The Pause Between Seasons

Young Hall ~ Purdue University

The Spring Equinox

Now is the pause between asleep and awake:
Two seasons take
A colour and quality each from each as yet.
The new stage-set
Spandril, column and fan of spring is raised against the
winter backdrop.
Murrey and soft;
Now aloft
The sun swings on the equinoctial line.
Few flowers yet shine:
The hellebore hangs a clear green bell and opulent leaves
above dark mould;
The light is cold
In arum leaves, and a primrose flickers
Here and there; the first cool bird-song flickers in the thicket.
Clouds arc pale as the pollen from sallows;
March fallows are white with lime like frost.

This is the pause between asleep and awake:
The pause of contemplation and of piece,
Before the earth must teem and the heart ache.
This is the child's pause, before it sees
That the choice of one way has denied the other ;
Must choose the either, or both, of to care and not to care;
Before the light or darkness shall discover
Irreparable loss; before it must take
Blame for the creature caught in the necessary snare:
Receiving a profit, before it holds a share.

Anne Barbara Ridler (1912 - 2001)
Garden Art by Kathleen Kitch
Haan Museum Sculpture Garden ~ Lafayette, Indiana
~ Additional Sculptures ~

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

"These sanctified and holy days . . .

. . . when clear skies ring with notes of praise . . . "
from "The Rose in my Side Yard"
by Tony Brown

A stargazer by any other name . . .
~ Photo by Jay Beets ~

See More
Poetry by Tony Brown
& Photography by Jay Beets

@The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A literary blog of connection & coincidence;
custom & ceremony


Click to read: Tony Brown's Last Lines #11 ~ #17


"Morning Glow"
Click to read: Tony Brown's Last Lines #18 ~ #23

Saturday, March 13, 2021


How well I remember a year ago today, having dinner at Town & Gown on Friday the 13th. Everyone knew trouble was brewing, but little did we know how bad it was going to get and how long it was going to last. We assumed that our favorite restaurant would be open through the weekend and that we would be able to meet up the follwing week to celebrate St. Patrick's Day (on Tuesday, March 17, 2020).

But it was not to be. We woke up on Saturday morning to the announcement that the shut - downs had begun and our beloved Town & Gown would be closed for the next two months. When it reopened on Wednesday, May 13th, Gerry and I were there first thing for breakfast -- and the next morning for breakfast again, and the day after that for dinner! Thankfully, with all pre-cautions and protocols in place, everything has gone well since then.

One year later, I like to think of the Town & Gown OPEN sign as a metaphor for renewal, symbolizing a new season, heralding a new, confident era of post - virus socializing!

Previous ~ OPEN ~ Signs

And Previous Posts
spiced coffee
scenic views
autumnal ~ flora

Plus a surprise throwback:
this clipping saved from seven years ago
found neglected in kitchen drawer

It turns out that back in 2013, nearly two years before Matt and Regen brought Town & Gown to West Lafayette, I came across this list of notable places to visit in Bloomington, and have been saving it ever since.

The clipping comes from the Fall 2013 Campus Visitors Guide that I was perusing during my first ever visit to Indiana University - Bloomington. I've been back a few times since then, but never remembered to bring along the clipping. However, even without the aid of the Visitors Guide, I did manage a visit to the Runcible Spoon.

Why? Because in the meantime, Matt and Regen made their way to West Lafayette, quickly becoming our favorite restaurateurs! So, naturally, we were keen to check out their other trendy locale.

Matt, on the left, kicking back at The Spoon

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Early March

Monet ~ Melting Snow ~ 1870

In Early March

Those first Impressionists,
tracking light as if
it were an animal to catch
in nets of color,
or a tide that could be measured
on canvas instead of sand,
they knew what happens
in early March,
how the frozen page of earth
means nothing.
It is the light
that tell us

by Linda Pastan, b. 1932

Monet ~ Melting Road ~ 1869

Monet ~ Melting Ice ~ 1880

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Belated Valentine

As I was saying just the other day:
"Look for a lovely thing
and you will find it,
It is not far --
It never will be far."

Sara Teasdale

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Can't You Read the Sign?

Thanks to my sweet sister - in - law - in - law Nancy
for the following nostalgic throw - back:
Peace, Love and Smiles

My siblings and I joined in, quoting our favorite lines to this long - ago protest song that we all remembered from our youthful radio days.

Just when I was congratulating myself on our generation's ability to rise above any number of nonsensical, judgmental rules, we heard the disheartening story that some of our favorite servers had their fashion choices criticized by an ill - meaning, judgy customer. What?

I wish I had been there at the time, in order to hand him a copy of John Updike's oft - anthologized 1962 story "A & P" about the girls in the grocery store. Apparently, he never had to read this story in high school or college, let alone sing along for fun and consciousness - raising with the Five Man Electrical Band:
And the sign said
"Long-haired freaky people
Need not apply"
So I tucked my hair up under my hat
And I went in to ask him why
He said, "You look like a fine upstandin' young man
I think you'll do"
So I took off my hat and said, "Imagine that
Huh, me workin' for you"

Sign, sign
Everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery
Breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that
Can't you read the sign?

And the sign said
"Anybody caught trespassin'
Will be shot on sight"
So I jumped on the fence and I yelled at the house
"Hey! What gives you the right
To put up a fence to keep me out
But to keep Mother Nature in?
If God was here, he'd tell you to your face
'Man, you're some kind of sinner'"

Sign, sign
Everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery
Breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that
Can't you read the sign?

Now, hey you, mister, can't you read?
You got to have a shirt and tie to get a seat
You can't even watch, no, you can't eat
You ain't supposed to be here

The sign said, "You've got to have a membership card
To get inside"

And the sign said
"Everybody welcome
Come in, kneel down and pray"
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all
I didn't have a penny to pay So I got me a pen and a paper
And I made up my own little sign
I said, "Thank you, Lord, for thinkin' 'bout me
I'm alive and doin' fine"

Sign, sign
Everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery
Breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that
Can't you read the sign?
Sign, sign
Everywhere a sign

Lyrics by Les Emmerson ~ 1971

"Hey Kids: what you look like to the cigarette industry!"

Billboard seen in New Jersey

A couple more cool sign songs. . .

1. A Sign of the Times ~ Petula Clark ~ 1966
"It's a sign of the times
That your love for me
is getting so much stronger . . . "

2. Superstitious ~ Stevie Wonder ~ 1972
"Very superstitious,
Writing's on the wall,
Very superstitious . . . "
When you believe in things
That you don't understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain't the way,
No, no, no . . .

Monday, March 1, 2021

Felix Anno Novo

A nostalgic button, featuring a time
of quaint villages and church steeples,
when you could walk your dog briskly
with an air of confidence and a lyrical gale
blowing your scarf over your shoulder.

~ Given to me years ago by Gerry's mother ~

As I have mentioned a few times before, "Back in the days of the earliest Roman calendar, March was the first month, the beginning of the New Year, making it the perfect annual marker for nature's rebirth, new life and new love, a fresh cycle of growth."

Ranging from quaintness to absurdity, from near nonsense to life and death, this poem by Billy Collins is also perfect for the occasion of another Happy New Year.


Remember the 1340s? We were doing a dance called the Catapult.
You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
and at night we would play a game called “Find the Cow.”
Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

Where has the summer of 1572 gone? Brocade and sonnet
marathons were the rage. We used to dress up in the flags
of rival baronies and conquer one another in cold rooms of stone.
Out on the dance floor we were all doing the Struggle
while your sister practiced the Daphne all alone in her room.
We borrowed the jargon of farriers for our slang.
These days language seems transparent, a badly broken code.

The 1790s will never come again. Childhood was big.
People would take walks to the very tops of hills
and write down what they saw in their journals without speaking.
Our collars were high and our hats were extremely soft.
We would surprise each other with alphabets made of twigs.
It was a wonderful time to be alive, or even dead.

I am very fond of the period between 1815 and 1821.
Europe trembled while we sat still for our portraits.
And I would love to return to 1901 if only for a moment,
time enough to wind up a music box and do a few dance steps,
or shoot me back to 1922 or 1941, or at least let me
recapture the serenity of last month when we picked
berries and glided through afternoons in a canoe.

Even this morning would be an improvement over the present.
I was in the garden then, surrounded by the hum of bees
and the Latin names of flowers, watching the early light
flash off the slanted windows of the greenhouse
and silver the limbs on the rows of dark hemlocks.

As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
letting my memory rush over them like water
rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
a dance whose name we can only guess

Billy Collins (b. 1941)
Poet Laureate of the United States, 2001 - 2003
New York State Poet, 2004-2006

Featuring the Nostalgic Button
in my Lenten Wilderness Garden

Dreaming of the Full Storm Moon
Goodbye February . . . Hello March!
"The full moon makes sense. When a cloud crosses it
it becomes as eloquent as a bicycle leaning
outside a drugstore or a dog who sleeps all afternoon
in a corner of the couch. . . ." ~ Billy Collins


2022 Lenten Sand Tray