Friday, December 31, 2010

One final note


Conrad, thank you. The feeling goes both ways.



“Canvas 136”
December 31, 2010
9:15 p.m.

[click to enlarge]


Let it snow


Back in January, I wrote about the death of a friend. With a new year about to begin, I offer this image from his life: Imagine, if you will, a jolly overweight elf and his teen-aged son stripped naked, racing each other around their house through several inches of new snow. Hear their laughter, their curses, and their shouts. The lesson? If we are not happy now, it is our own damn fault.



“Canvas 135”
December 30, 2010

[click to enlarge]



Update:
In the Forum: ditto blitto savory fare.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Something to Sing About


A special thanks to Annie for sharing another of my offerings from Winter Poems in her fine blog entry commemorating the end of the year. Indeed, “all’s well,” and that is something to sing about:



Canvas 134
December 29, 2010

[click to enlarge]


Update:

In the Forum: so simple it’s complicated.


12.30.2010 #2
12.30.2010 #1 (excerpt from Winter Poems)

Left Behind


The year
is an old coat,
wearing
thin.

I search
the pockets
one last
time.

There’s
something
strange
within.

An unborn day,
hanging by a thread.

From Winter Poems, written four years ago today.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peter Pauper Press: Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam



[click to enlarge]



The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Rendered into English Verse by Edward Fitzgerald. Illustrated by Jeff Hill. Peter Pauper Press, Mount Vernon, New York. Undated. No page numbers. $.50.

Note: I’ve seen references online indicating this book was published in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Something tells me they can’t all be right.

Canvas 133



“Canvas 133”
December 29, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.29.2010 #2
12.29.2010 #1

Philosophers


Recently Acquired: The History of Philosophy, by Will Durant. “The Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers.” Simon and Schuster, New York (1953). Twelfth printing, first published 1926. 412 pages. $1.50.


Philosophers

Those old carved pumpkins
on the neighbor’s step
are more human
than they
think.

From Songs and Letters, originally published November 5, 2008.


Update:
In the Forum: “I ate a hearty breakfast at 9 this morning. On the hotel car at 1 p.m., I took a sirloin steak & mushrooms, sweet potatoes, Irish ditto, plate of trout, bowl of tomato soup, 3 cups of coffee, 4 pieces of apple pie (or one complete pie), 2 plates of ice cream & 1 orange. But I stopped then, on account of the expense, although still hungry.”

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

deep river


As if I’d awakened just in time to see this from the window of a train, only to wonder if, years later, it had been a dream.

Thank you, Robert.

12.28.2010 #3
12.28.2010 #2 (drawing, recently linked)
12.28.2010 #1 (drawing)

Canvas 132



“Canvas 132”
December 28, 2010

[click to enlarge]



Recently Linked: it is a wonderful life, with thanks to Erin.

12.28.2010 #2
12.28.2010 #1 (drawing)

Canvas 131



“Canvas 131”
December 24, 2010

[click to enlarge]


Monday, December 27, 2010

Books for Christmas 2010


Those kids of mine. How on earth did they know?



[click to enlarge]

The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Translated by Constance Garnett
Illustrated by Boardman Robinson
Halcyon House, New York (1940)
822 pages





[click to enlarge]

The Dolliver Romance, Fanshawe, and Septimus Felton
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Houghton, Mifflin and Company
The Riverside Press, Cambridge (1888)
521 pages





[click to enlarge]

The Babyons, by Clemence Dane
Three of four volumes:
Midsummer Men; Creeping Jenny; Lady Babyon
 Doubleday, Doran and Company (1928)
161 pages; 261 pages; 378 pages


Sunday, December 26, 2010

It’s a Wonderful Life


How many times have I contemplated suicide? How many times have I committed the act in my mind, while never taking it seriously on the surface? They must be countless, just as, for each, I have been saved by my fellow man. That’s why I cried, again.


It’s a Wonderful Life



12.26.2010 #2
12.26.2010 #1 (Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son)

Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son



[click to enlarge]






[click to enlarge]



Letters from a Self-made Merchant to His Son
Small, Maynard & Company, Boston (1905)

312 pages. $4.95.

Copyright, 1901-1902, by The Curtis Publishing Co. Copyright, 1901-1902, by George Horace Lorimer. Copyright, 1902, by Small, Maynard & Company (Incorporated). Entered at Stationers’ Hall. Published October, 1902. Regular American Edition, 150,000 copies. Foreign Editions and Translations, 105,000 copies. Limited Popular Edition (February, 1905), 50,000 copies. Press of Geo. H. Ellis Co., Boston, U.S.A.


A beautiful little book, this volume was signed by one “Thos Cobb” on March 20, 1907, and was later part of the private library of a Mr. Elbert H. Hicks, where it was assigned the number 270. Included at the end is a fascinating fifteen-page “selected list” of publications offered by Small, Maynard & Company.


Update:
In the Forum: a nightmare comedy, riddled with philosophical questions.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Thimbleful of Ash


From my book Winter Poems, written five years ago on Christmas Eve:

A Thimbleful of Ash

If you don’t eat your supper,
Santa won’t visit us tonight.
All the cookies will go to waste,
the cards, the toys, the bows.

A fire in the fireplace.
The front door left unlocked.
Somehow, Santa knows.

On the porch, a stack of wood.
Long lives, a thimbleful of ash.

With groggy eyes,
Santa’s looking at his map.
It’s foggy in the San Joaquin.
We’re getting nowhere fast.
On, Donner! On, Blitzen!
On, Stella and Maureen!

I don’t like macaroni.
Why not? You used to.
It squeaks. It squishes.
It isn’t green.

Can I have a cookie now?
No, those are for Santa.
Is Santa fat? Yes. He’s roly-poly.
Can I be roly-poly too?
Not without your macaroni.
Catch-22!

The vineyards are asleep.
The neighbors have gone to bed.
In the far distance, a baby cries.
I still remember what he said:
Long lives, a thimbleful of ash.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

At their own expense


From One Hand Clapping, December 23, 2003:

Last night I read the first few pages of Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House. It seemed only right, as I had read earlier on the Internet that the play was first performed on December 22 in 1879. And then this morning, I read that on December 23, 1888, Vincent Van Gogh cut off part of his ear, and that when he wrote to his brother about it later, he ascribed it to “an artist’s fit.” Henrik Ibsen had curly hair and enormous sideburns. I mention this because, if he were seen now on a street somewhere, people would think he was dressed up for a play, or that he was making a public appearance to promote a PBS production of Masterpiece Theater. And speaking of PBS, I am pretty sure I remember seeing a production of A Doll’s House around ten or twelve years ago. But the details are sketchy. It was Christmas in Denmark and very cold outside, but it was even colder inside, despite a warm setting that included the prominent presence of a stove. The main characters were a husband who didn’t understand his wife, and a wife who was just learning to understand herself. And of course the husband didn’t understand himself, either. If he had, he might have realized that his wife was a real person, and not a “twittering lark” or “little squirrel” incapable of adult reason and behavior. While this might sound dull to a modern audience trained to slobber in front of exploding movie screens, it should be mentioned that A Doll’s House caused quite an uproar back in 1879. How could a woman act independently of a man, or do without altogether? Poor Mr. Ibsen was publicly roasted for being an agent of evil — and also heralded as a perceptive genius. Meanwhile, Vincent Van Gogh was listening to the voices in his head, and no one was arguing about him at all. And yet now, we cannot imagine our world without him. Such is the power of art, and the power of those who create it, so often, if not always, at their own expense.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Canvas 130



“Canvas 130”
December 22, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.22.2010 #3
12.22.2010 #2 (drawing)
12.22.2010 #1 (dream)

Canvas 129



“Canvas 129”
December 22, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.22.2010 #2
12.22.2010 #1 (dream)

Half grief, half shadow


My grandfather, alive again and in need of a shave. I could smell him when we hugged — that sweaty, vineyard scent of his. But his hug lacked his usual affection. Somehow, without a word, he let me know that I should have been to see him sooner. Practical, as always. And I, feeling guilty and not wanting to break his heart, unable to explain the difficulty of his request. My father, now, to the left, a step or two behind him, half grief, half shadow, looking at his hands. Was he wondering how long he’d been away? Did he know it’s more than fifteen years? Time is nothing when there’s light in someone’s eyes. Even when he’s dead, and gone, and here.

Note: My thanks to Lynn Behrendt for sharing this dream in the Annandale Dream Gazette.




Tuesday, December 21, 2010

According to our desire


We believe that according to our desire we are able to change the things around about us, we believe this because otherwise we can see no favourable solution. We forget the solution that generally comes to pass and is also favourable: we do not succeed in changing things according to our desire, but gradually our desire changes. The situation we hoped to change because it was intolerable becomes unimportant. We have not managed to surmount the obstacle, as we were absolutely determined to do, but life has taken us round it, led us past it, and then if we turn around to gaze at the remote past, we can barely catch sight of it, so imperceptible has it become.

Marcel Proust
Remembrance of Things Past
Vol. 2, Page 699


Update:
In the Forum: smoking elves.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Nevermore



Nevermore
December 20, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.20.2010 #2
12.20.2010 #1 (Canvas 128)

Canvas 128



“Canvas 128”
December 18, 2010

[click to enlarge]


Update:
In the Forum: stampedes and the clattering of swords.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Larger than the moment


It seems that events are larger than the moment in which they occur and cannot confine themselves in it. Certainly they overflow into the future through the memory that we retain of them, but they demand a place also in the time that precedes them. One may say that we do not then see them as they are to be, but in memory are they not modified also?

Marcel Proust
Remembrance of Things Past
Vol. 2, Pages 659-660


12.19.2010 #2
12.19.2010 #1 (Coronado’s Children)

Coronado’s Children



Coronado’s Children
[click to enlarge]





Coronado’s Children
[click to enlarge]



Coronado’s Children
Illustrated by Ben Carlton Mead
The Southwest Press, Dallas, Texas
(1930)

367 pages. $4.00.


From the preface, “In the Beginning”:

These tales are not creations of mine. They belong to the soil and to the people of the soil. Like all things that belong, they have their roots deep in the place of their being, deep too in the past. They are an outgrowth; they embody the geniuses of divergent races and peoples who even while fiercely opposing each other blended their traditions. However all this may be, the tales are just tales. As tales I have listened to them in camps under stars and on ranch galleries out in the brush. As tales, without any ethnological palaver, I have tried to set them down.


Update:
In the Forum: a reminder that some things are fragile and sacred.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Snowflake


For Donna Fleischer

snowflake       and such       is the art       of falling


12.18.2010 #2
12.18.2010 #1 (text and two drawings)


Updates:
In the Forum: through thick and thin.
“Snowflake” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

As If: Two Drawings



“Canvas 126”
December 16, 2010

[click to enlarge]


Often when I draw, my own facial expressions mimic those in the image as it develops. The image, too, responds in kind — as if, in our mutual sympathy, we find a measure of comfort and delight — as if, in imagining each other, we are creating the immortality we need to carry on — as if we have been friends for a long time, without our knowing, like you and I.



“Canvas 127”
December 17, 2010

[click to enlarge]


Friday, December 17, 2010

John L. Stoddard: Poems



 [click to enlarge]



Poems, by John L. Stoddard. Author of “The Stoddard Lectures,” “The Stoddard Library,” “Poems,” etc., etc. Geo. L. Shuman & Co., Chicago and Boston (1917). 386 pages. $5.00.

On the page immediately preceding the table of contents:

Proem

They called him mad, — the poor, old man,
Whose white hair, worn and thin,
Fell o’er his shoulders, as he played
His cherished violin,
Forever drawing to and fro
O’er silent strings a loosened bow.

At times on his pathetic face
A look of perfect rapture shone,
Intent on some celestial chords,
Discerned by him alone;
And sometimes he would smile and pause,
As if receiving loud applause.

So, many a humble poet dreams
His songs will touch the human heart,
And full of hope his offering lays
Before the shrine of Art;
Poor dreamer, may he never know
That he too draws a silent bow!


Update:
In the Forum: a Peter Pauper Press edition.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Someday


Someday, a little grandchild will run and find me working in the dim light of a beautiful, cavernous barn. The barn might be a real one, beside a house in the country down a narrow road, or it might be in a little room up a creaky flight of stairs and made entirely from imagination, memory, and dreams. Either way, the child will know it is a barn, even if he or she has never seen one — even, in fact, if I have imagined the child, as I have now, with clear eyes and perfect limbs, and a voice like a shepherd’s song.

There will be sweet-smelling hay in the barn,
an old lantern, table, and door, outlandish plans
for an ark, worn leather, maps, and dust.

“Grandpa? It’s time for supper.”

“Oh, really? And whom do we have here?”

“Me.”

“Me? Let me see, now. . . . No, I don’t know anyone by that name.”

Grandpa. . . .”

“But your voice is familiar. Are you a lion?”

“No.”

“A bear?”

“No.”

“A bird?”

“No.”

“Oh — I know. You’re a window-washer, and you’ve come to wash my windows.”

“Grandpa, you don’t have any windows.”

“But I do. Look up here. See where the shingles are missing?”

“That’s your head.”

“Well, aren’t you going to wash it?”

“No. It’s too dusty. Tell Grandma to wash it.”

“I can’t. Grandma is busy sewing carrots.”

“She is not. You can’t sew carrots. They’re too hard.”

“She’s sewing potatoes, then.”

“No.”

“Mush?”

“No . . . cranberries.”

Dear Grandma. I can see her now, holding the finest silk, spun from her oldest, most cherished dreams. The family has come to visit. Happily, she weaves a cloud for every bed.


From Songs and Letters, originally published December 5, 2006.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Canvas 125



“Canvas 125”
December 15, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.15.2010 #2
12.15.2010 #1 (recently received)

Poem, Moon, Child



[click to enlarge]

Annie wrote a poem, I drew the moon,
Jasmin placed a child where she could see it all.


Update:
In the Forum: Fear is the mind-killer.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Canvas 124



“Canvas 124”
December 14, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.14.2010 #2
12.14.2010 #1 (Vazambam)

Vazambam


The beauty of his verse

is that the universe
must grow

to hold it all.


Update:
In the Forum: more power than we know.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Haiku Moon



Haiku Moon
for Annie

December 13, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.13.2010 #2
12.13.2010 #1 (Learning to fly)

Learning to fly


In a breath, we greet each other from far-flung corners of the world. As if these primitive computers were the only means at our disposal.


Update:
In the Forum: that guy in the cloud castle with really long hair.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Not one universe


“Yes, I have been forced to whittle down the facts, and to be a liar, but it
is not one universe, there are millions, almost as many as the number of human eyes and brains in existence, that awake every morning.”

Marcel Proust
Remembrance of Things Past
Vol. 2, Page 512


Update:
In the Forum: a god with thick round spectacles.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Canvas 123



“Canvas 123”
December 11, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.11.10 #4
12.11.10 #3 (drawing)
12.11.10 #2 (drawing)
12.11.10 #1 (drawing)

Quixote



Quixote
December 11, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.11.10 #3
12.11.10 #2 (drawing)
12.11.10 #1 (drawing)

Canvas 122



“Canvas 122”
December 11, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.11.2010 #2
12.11.2010 #1 (drawing)

Canvas 121



“Canvas 121”
December 8, 2010

[click to enlarge]


Update:
In the Forum: now you see it, now you don’t.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Un Viaje a Sud América



Un Viaje a Sud América
[click to enlarge]


Un Viaje a Sud América
A Book of Spanish Conversation
by C. F. McHale

Contains map and photographs

D. C. Heath and Company
Boston, New York, Chicago, London (1924)

284 glossy pages. $1.00.


For its size, this book is remarkably heavy. According to a stamp inside the front cover, it was housed for a time at the Fresno Technical School — which is the main reason I brought it home. As the story goes, William Saroyan enrolled there in order to learn how to type.


Update:
In the Forum: the writing on the wall.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In this alone


I had the peaceful thought yesterday of turning this house into a public library and retreat for readers, writers, and artists. A stove, a sink, and on the way to it stacks and shelves of books, little tables with books on them and drawings, commonplace curious sculptures of function and form, a cup, a spoon, a pen, a rug — no way in or out except to be lost. And I had to ask myself if that is not indeed what I am in the process of doing, if I am not simultaneously building and opening my door with each word I write and picture I draw, with the books I bring home into shadows that move and groan as one glad ghost to another.

To love the room one is in so well that it becomes both vessel and voyage — to drift freely from one dream to another, through conversation that outlives its speakers, through storms of language forged in flame and hammered into use against bright anvils — that is how I feel when I am sitting here, and how I feel when I have been away for any length of time, even if only to fetch the mail from our box across the street.

Either nothing is real or everything is. I do not, will not, and cannot set dreams here and reality there as if they were so much firewood. I have neither the power nor the inclination to draw sure lines between fact and fiction, reason and make-believe. This hand of mine that reaches out to you might well pass through your bones into another realm. I accept this not as truth, but as possibility. In this alone there is cause for joy.

There is wisdom in these rooms — not because it is in me or because I have put it here, but because a bit of it is in everything we fashion and everything we know, and because wisdom is so willing to give us a second chance.

When the house is alone, it dreams. I know, because it has told me so.


Update:
“In this alone” is my newest Notebook entry. Old notes are archived here.


12.9.2010 #2
12.9.2010 #1 (first publication)

A poet laureate whose college days


A poet laureate whose college days were spent in drunken pursuit of girls. A hollow moon, the leaves are down, with tips of fingers that heal. At the podium, he’s wearing the tie his daughter gave him before she died. Opening remarks: she waves from the audience, cannot suppress a squeal. This time she’s six years old. Ceremony. Smoke. Applause. A burning match held to his diploma. The men in white rush in. They remove his pen. The blood, the blood, is real. A reception follows: all is right with the world.


Updates:
“A poet laureate whose college days” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

In the Forum: queer little mummies of thought.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Canvas 120



“Canvas 120”
December 8, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.8.2010 #3
12.8.2010 #2 (drawing)
12.8.2010 #1 (recently acquired)

Canvas 119



“Canvas 119”
December 8, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.8.2010 #2
12.8.2010 #1 (recently acquired)

Out of Peony and Blade


Out of Peony and Blade
by Antoinette Scudder
Henry Harrison, New York (1931)

It’s a lovely little volume, a tall, slender, hardcover in black with tan lettering. Sixty-two pages, in laid stock which, to my eye, is a pinkish-orange color. Online references are brief and not too informative; I gather the poet was from New Jersey. The book is in nice condition. I paid a dollar-fifty for it. Here’s the first poem:


Japanese Flowers

Bring me water in a shallow bowl,
Rock crystal or chalcedony
Like the milky curve of the Moon of Frost;
Bring water from a lonely spring
Where the pliant turf is never marked
By any rougher tread
Than the slender hooves of the hornless deer.
Then watch while I unfold
The frail silk paper, while I drop
One by one in the water
These brown and shrunken things—
Queer little mummies of thought.
See them unfold to flower shapes.
They have odd stories to tell
Of things that are old and strange and sad
But still they hold a haunting charm
That may fill a drowsy house
Like the smoky fragrance of leaves
That burn in the autumn dusk.


Update:
In the Forum: letters, advertisements, playbills.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Canvas 118



“Canvas 118”
December 7, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.7.2010 #2
12.7.2010 #1 (recently acquired)

Lalla Rookh



Lalla Rookh
[click to enlarge]



Lalla Rookh
by Thomas Moore

The Henneberry Co., Chicago.
New Century Edition

Undated, signed by an owner in Lima, Ohio, April 10, 1929.
320 pages. $6.50.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Parlor and Workspace, 4



Parlor and Workspace, 4
[click to enlarge]



The room continues to change. It’s also a ship at sea. Photos taken in August 2009 can be found here, here, and here.


12.6.2010 #3
12.6.2010 #2 (drawing)
12.6.2010 #1 (drawing)

Canvas 117



“Canvas 117”
December 6, 2010

[click to enlarge]



12.6.2010 #2
12.6.2010 #1 (drawing)

Canvas 116



“Canvas 116”
December 4, 2010

[click to enlarge]


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Perspective


Read not between the lines,
but from behind them —
winter light, hermit’s cell.


Note: Vol. 2, Page 456: my enjoyment of Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past continues.

Another Note: While the passage above is essentially a comment on my own experience reading, it also makes an interesting caption for the photo at the upper right side of the page. Hmm.


Update:
In the Forum: primitive pleasure.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám



The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
[click to enlarge]




The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Rendered into English Verse
by Edward Fitzgerald

“The text of the fourth edition followed by that of the first, with notes showing the extent of his indebtedness to the Persian original.”

Contains a biographical preface; Fitzgerald’s sketch of the life of Omar, and a foreword by Talcott Williams.

From the publishing house of the John C. Winston Company, Philadelphia. Copyright 1898 by Henry T. Coates & Co.


A few of my favorite verses from the first edition:

1.
Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

11.
Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness —
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

26.
Oh, come with old Khayyám, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.

34.
Then to this earthen Bowl did I adjourn
My Lip the secret Well of Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur’d — “While you live Drink! —
for once dead you never shall return.”

47.
And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
End in the Nothing all Things end in — Yes —
Then fancy while Thou art, Thou art but what
Thou shalt be — Nothing — Thou shalt not be less.



12.4.2010 #2
12.4.2010 #1 (drawing)

Canvas 115



“Canvas 115”
December 2, 2010

[click to enlarge]


Update:
In the Forum: “Please give me something to hold onto if we’re going for a walk in the dark.”

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hart Crane and Frederick Jackson Turner


A trip to Goodwill yesterday to look for a coffeemaker yielded these unexpected treasures: two fully leather bound books from The Franklin Library, published in 1977 and 1979 as part of a limited edition, complete with 22k gold accents, silk moiré end papers, and silk page markers. The volumes are from the series 100 Great Masterpieces of American Literature, and were published under the auspices of The American Revolution Bicentennial Administration.








The Complete Poems of Hart Crane
Illustrated with paintings by Joseph Stella
Introduction by Waldo Frank

The Franklin Library
Franklin Center, Pennsylvania
1979

191 pages. $4.99.




The Frontier in American History
by Frederick Jackson Turner
Illustrated by Phero Thomas

The Franklin Library
Franklin Center, Pennsylvania
1977

364 pages. $4.99.


Update:
In the Forum: the October Yawp.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Steel Rails: A Note to a Friend


Dear Paul,

Your post this morning reminded me of a short poem I shared here a little over a year ago. It’s called “Regret,” and it goes like this:

Heavy clouds
on a locomotive’s back

a cry at every
crossing.


You are that locomotive. We both are. So are Robert and Erin, whose words of friendship and wisdom show just how powerful this blog medium can be.

Consider, Paul, a locomotive’s strength.

And, until we meet,

What if we think of words as bells,
each with a sound that’s just arrived
from a great distance — across fields,
down mountains, over graveyards,
swept along alleys and streets,
and of we who ring them
as angels without
names?


When one of us hurts, we both do. We all do. That’s why we must be angels for one another — not to take away the pain, the anguish, the regret, but to absorb it, feel it, and understand it. Our humanity demands that we do no less; our worth depends on it.

A mistake today is a triumph tomorrow.

Some of the greatest minds this world has known have struggled, questioned, and seen themselves as failures. I say you are in good company. I say you are blessed, because life is challenging you. I also say, as my dear father so often did, that life can be the “royal shits.”

Look me in the eye, Paul. That’s a smile you see. Not many are able to discern it. Don’t be afraid to return it.

Aucassin and Nicolette



Aucassin and Nicolette
[click to enlarge]






Aucassin and Nicolette
[click to enlarge]




Aucassin and Nicolette
An old French Song-Tale
(1947)

“This edition is limited to one thousand, two hundred and fifty copies printed on Barcham Green Hand-made paper.”

43 pages. $1.50.


Update:
In the Forum: a view to Elf Land.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dusting


I see objects much as I see words. They demand a harmony of arrangement, a certain space around them, and this in turn relates to the larger space in which they’re contained. A room is a page. A word is a hat, vase, or ashtray. My success in meeting this demand varies. I have good days, I have bad. And then I remember how a forest is related to the sky, the ocean to a vast life underground, wisdom to the heart, silence to chaos. I pick up an object. I set it down. It’s part of a song, a poem.


Update:
In the Forum: spinach and a well organized mess.