Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
by William Stafford
Ants, when they meet each other,
usually pass on the right.
Sometimes you can open a sticky
door with your elbow.
A man in Boston has dedicated himself
to telling about injustice.
For three thousand dollars he will
come to your town to tell you about it.
Schopenhauer was a pessimist but
he played the flute.
Yeats, Pound, and Eliot saw art as
growing from other art. They studied that.
If I ever die, I'd like it to be
in the evening. That way, I'll have
all the dark to go with me, and no one
will see how I hobble along.
In the Pentagon one person's job is to
take pins out of towns, hills, and fields,
and then save the pins for later.
Things I Learned This Week: Part 1
The Northern Mockingbird,
proud operatic maestro,
does not sing after bathing.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Over the last month of shooting, I have been frustrated that I couldn't make the camera see what I wanted it to see.
Now I know how.
Two buttons, some further adjustment of the focus rectangle, and the single small part of the frame sharpens.
Today, a green bead and a pink ribbon.
Soon, an iris throat or bee's antenna, dew on Dutchman's breeches or pollen in a butterfly beard.
Between now and then, much learning and pleasure in experimentation remain.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Why doesn't the boat leave the fly behind?
That's all I thought about -- not the Civil War, the view, the water -- just that fly and my puzzlement at the ease of its flying within the moving ferry.
This morning, that fly, long gone, buzzed back into my consciousness, thanks to this clever video: A Tale of Two Twins.
Gotta love relativity!
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I add word-painter and spirit-lifter extraordinaire.
I spent late afternoon, eyes closed, listening to him read miraculous persona poems voiced by York (William Clark's slave who journeyed with him and Meriwether Lewis across the continent), his Nez Perce and slave wives, his knife and hatchet, the water that fuels us all. His is a gift of language and humanity.
I give you the gift of Frank X Walker, spellbinding poet/magician.
Creative Solutions to Life's Challenges
Poems from Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York
Coal Black Voices
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
Like Simon's cat, Lucy follows a routine every day: 1/ climb on the human's shoulder; 2/ meow many times toward the sleeper's hear; 3/ lick the human's forehead and bangs enthusiastically; 4/ tap the sleeper's shoulder firmly; 5/ repeat till the human wakes up; 5/ let her pet me; 6/ slide under the covers and go back to sleep.
By this time, of course, I am wide awake and rise, leaving her to my bed.
What's wrong with this picture? Sleep deprivation and my utter lack of creativity. Why didn't I think of "Robley's Cat"? Argh.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.
I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring --
afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy
in the raw wind of the new world.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
The view of the cove below hides behind branches and trunks. Wind, water, moss cushions, dry leaf-crunch, one woodpecker, and one small plane my only company, I wandered thoughtless, filled with writing about reading and longing to read the flow of water, clump of fungus, animal scat.
By the time I re-entered the fire lane, I felt my mind race toward revision, a tunnel of green opening toward home and writing about reading.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Poems have been on my mind a lot this week. Thursday, I attended a reading given by the wonderful Marilyn Nelson, a visiting professor at Sewanee this semester. With honey light of late afternoon pouring through Convocation Hall's stained glass windows, she read softly and spoke thoughtfully about her poetry. By the end of her reading, I wished I could have taken her class, if for no other reason than to be in her calming presence.
This poem, especially, reminds me of my Daily Snap, in which I capture the glimpse of each day's tiny miracle and hold it, if only for a moment:
Bali Hai Calls Mama by Marilyn Nelson
As I was putting away the groceries
I'd spent the morning buying
for the week's meals I'd planned
around things the baby could eat,
things my husband would eat,
and things I should eat
because they aren't too fattening,
late on a Saturday afternoon
after flinging my coat on a chair
and wiping the baby's nose
while asking my husband
what he'd fed it for lunch
the medicine I'd brought for him
had made his cough improve,
wiping the baby's nose again,
checking its diaper,
stepping over the baby
who was reeling to and from
the bottom kitchen drawer
with pots, pans, and plastic cups,
occasionally clutching the hem of my skirt
and whining to be held,
I was half listening for the phone
which never rings for me
to ring for me
and someone's voice to say that
I could forget about handing back
my students' exams which I'd had for a week,
that I was right about The Waste Land,
that I'd been given a raise,
all the time wondering
how my sister was doing,
whatever happened to my old lover(s),
and why my husband wanted
a certain brand of toilet paper;
and wished I hadn't, but I'd bought
another fashion magazine that promised
to make me beautiful by Christmas,
and there wasn't room for the creamed corn
and every time I opened the refrigerator door
the baby rushed to grab whatever was on the bottom shelf
which meant I constantly had to wrestle
jars of its mushy food out of its sticky hands
and I stepped on the baby's hand and the baby was screaming
and I dropped the bag of cake flour I'd bought to make cookies with
and my husband rushed in to find out what was wrong because the baby
was drowning out the sound of the touchdown although I had scooped
it up and was holding it in my arms so its crying was inside
my head like an echo in a barrel and I was running cold water
on its hand while somewhere in the back of my mind wondering what
to say about The Waste Land and whether I could get away with putting
broccoli in a meatloaf when
suddenly through the window
came the wild cry of geese.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
At the camp reunion, she was the surprise: a woman of great intellect, grace, gentleness, humor. She embraced the gift of her life, her family, her students, her friends. We sat on that hill leading down to campfire for a long time, talking. I don't remember that conversation; I remember the absorption and joy.
Not long after, cancer settled in her brain. She didn't surrender to self-pity: she published records of her journey in a newspaper. She didn't stop: she golfed and vacationed. She returned to the Louisiana fields and bayou of her childhood. She delivered notes of thank you and left others for her family.
For some time, Ann had slipped deep into my memory, so when she surfaced last night on Facebook, I was uncommonly moved, not just by thinking about her and by seeing the photographs documenting her youth, family, and illness, but by the thoughtful impulse of her oldest child, a son, who posted that trove. Had a shared friend not tagged me, I would not have seen his album.
Caffery wrote, "My mother, known among family and friends by many nicknames, passed away on February 5th, 2003, of brain cancer. She was originally told she had maybe nine months to live, but she held on for almost two years. She was 53. On that date, every year, a small handful of people usually reach out and lend kind words or stories to me, my sister, my brother, and my father. This year, I found myself pouring through old pictures at the same time. I thought posting some of my favorites would be a great way to share some of her with all of those who still love her, as well as those who never could."
We reunited friends had such ease with each other after so many years. The love we shared of the place that brought us together and of each other shines in our faces. Now, joined to Sister's memory, I join her son's courage and generosity. In him, there is much of his mother.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three,
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six forever and ever.
A. A. Milne
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Which had he sent me? I wasn't sure.
My Facebook friend (an artist friend of an artist friend) had complimented my work, offered advice, even encouraged me to try selling photographs.
He asked about my Christmas book, so I sent him one. His package was his return gift.
My original photograph above; his variation below.
Monday, February 7, 2011
the old barn -- a relic
of the days when milk and meat,
bread and eggs had to be supplied
fresh from the mountaintop
to college boys -- stands,
thicketed by vine and birdsong,
lingering like the sweet
stench of some musky animal --
raccoon or skunk -- that sneaked
under my deck before morning:
still here, still strong.