Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Maquiavelo: El Príncipe

El Príncipe
Nicolás Maquiavelo

Traducción de Joaquín Gallardo


207 pages. Fifty cents.

[click to enlarge]

Earlier today: Pain (drawing)



“Canvas 249”
May 29, 2011

[click to enlarge]

Monday, May 30, 2011

A faraway town

Between the rows

               beside the mounds

       above the tombs he knows so well,

                              the tombs so dark, the tombs so cool,

               that pull him down

                       and bend him ’round

one frayed shoelace at a time, one copper-colored eyelet,

               a faraway town (without any news)

                              where no two flowers are the same, even by name,

                       no two dreams,

               no creaking boards (in a floor is his muse)

       he runs aground —

                                     Brother! Brother! Brother!

       (those without names, the most human of sounds)


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nazia Mallick: Meshes of Smoke

“The beginning of an end comes surreptitiously....”

What an honor it is to be among those heralding the arrival of another lovely new
book — this one a novel by a dear friend, Nazia Mallick. Meshes of Smoke is already available in a number of New Delhi bookshops, with other outlets to be added soon.
I wish the author and her book a bright and beautiful voyage.

Meshes of Smoke
by Nazia Mallick

Dronequill Publishers


Cover photo and design by Vidyuth Dorji

ISBN: 978-8189276-15

319 pages. Paper.

[click to enlarge]

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Little Things

Little things, deep inside a jar.

               “I see Grandpa.”

(not where he is, but where you are)

                      “I will live a thousand years.”

       (if there is no war)

And in the rust, beyond all fuss,

       a bright bird makes her home.

               She does everything a flower does,

and does it well, before she’s flown.

Earlier this morning: Less is more (five new drawings)

Less is more

Canvases 244-248, May 27, 2011.

[please click on images for a larger view]

Friday, May 27, 2011

Brian Sylvester: Mini-Mandala

Upon these scrolls are written:
“The more I look, the more I see.”


(at home between old hat and birch scrolls)

Earlier today: Why a book?

Why a book? (6)

Because their doors never close.

Gray at Stoke-Pogis


Homes and Haunts
of the Most Eminent British Poets

And because I have seen, in the terror of these times,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Canvas 243

“Canvas 243”
May 26, 2011

[click to enlarge]

Earlier today: “Mission



As wise as light, the crow flies
when darkness comes
to call.


she cries,

                               “is heaven without you.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I was young when I left home

May 24, 2011

[click to enlarge]

Earlier today: Gabriella Mirollo’s Shadow of a Child

Gabriella Mirollo: Shadow of a Child

The title page of Shadow of a Child, a collection of poems by the multi-talented,
ever gracious Gabriella Mirollo:

[click to enlarge]

The chapbook was published in a beautiful limited edition of 150 copies in 1997 by Aralia Press. It contains fourteen timeless poems whose only request, it seems, is that they be given.

The last four lines of the book’s closing poem, “Lo comprendo ma non lo parlo”:

This is about me and why my name
pronounced correctly sounds equally wrong.
The hyphen in my side cries like a thorn.
And no book teaches that frayed dialect.

A few copies of this treasure still remain, for those wise enough and lucky enough to find them.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I see you on a swing in a doorway
between two failing timbers,

caught by an echo
in the black night beyond.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Canvas 241

“Canvas 241”
May 22, 2011

[click to enlarge]

Earlier today: Another Word

Another Word

You look for love, when love is all there is.

You can be numb to love, but you can’t exist outside it.

You say, “What about hate? Hate is not love.”

But love wants you well. Hate is love’s bitter pill.

You don’t know, or perhaps you’ve only forgotten:

Life is another word for love. It means “I will.”

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Scribner’s Monthly 1877

Vol. XIV, May 1877 to October 1877. 868 pages.

A birthday present from our eldest son, who seems to be under the impression that I like books, heaven knows why:

[Please click on images for a larger view]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Darrel of the Blessed Isles

A birthday present, from me to me, one day early:

Darrel of the Blessed Isles

Lothrop Publishing Company
April 1903

410 pages. $10.00.

[Please click on images for a larger view]

Canvas 240

“Canvas 240”
May 17, 2011

[click to enlarge]

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Letter to My Grandmother

You were all comedy, you know — a five-foot, 170-pound woman heading our way on stumpy legs, eating figs. You were glorious and proud, tragic, dramatic, and overblown, assertive as they come. You were going somewhere. Your holy mission was to arrive, and to make your presence known.

“Letter to My Grandmother,” a prose piece and favorite of mine from Songs and Letters, is now the featured excerpt on my Archive page.

My grandmother, from the first page of one of my uncle’s photo albums.
He took the picture. That’s his writing underneath.

My uncle at the old home place with one of his many hot rods



[Please click on photos for a larger view]

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


And so it was revealed

                             by a flower in a field


        I am defined by what I want


Monday, May 16, 2011

Journey to Virginland: Epistle 1

“Dog vs. God. In an iconoclastic story,
Dog demolishes the foundations of Western Civilization.”

Publishers Weekly

As part of a fortuitous book exchange with its author, Armen Melikian, a lovely hardcover edition of the novel Journey to Virginland: Epistle 1 is now part of my collection:

Journey to Virginland: Epistle 1
by Armen Melikian

Two Harbors Press


ISBN 10: 1-935097-51-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-935097-51-8

272 Pages. Hardcover. $23.95.

Did I say fortuitous? Is there any other kind?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Finding your place







only one way to become a butterfly


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Missing Comments

Although the posts from May 12 were restored by Blogger, all of the comments from May 11 and May 12 were not. I see, too, that the May 12 tags were corrupted and combined as one. Rather than re-post those entries, I will, for the record, fix those tags and provide the missing comments in this post. Unattributed, unlinked comments are mine.

Summer of Dreams

Thanks, Jim, I appreciate it. Indeed, coloring outside the lines is perceived as a threat by those who, in their quiet desperation, would control everything in their lives.


i smile. let's undo them!

a few days ago i said to my children, let's get two chickens. my daughter, can we in town? me, why the heck not? she, then goats! i want goats! my son, why not a cow?

we rode the back roads the dirt kicking up, reminding us of more real things. yes, two chickens. why the heck not?

(and so the other side of this is such a sadness for if they can not see the joy - where are their eyes?)

plow on, dear friend. keep on plowing.



Priceless, Erin, and maybe not so sad, joy and joy again. I could scratch through a pile of fresh lawn clippings right now, by gum. I feel it myself.

The Legend Continues

years away and yet the delicate threads of the radish cultivate the soil of us, draw us all together. gardening. such an innocence, william, don't you think?



One of the best reminders there is, I think. An ancient calling. I chanced on a wonderful quote yesterday by Masanobu Fukuoka:

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”


Now, imagine parting the air with your fingers in the same way you ply the soil or a loved one’s hair.


Back to the Garden

what a beautiful way for robert and i to go into this day. thank you, william.

it is just on the verge of rain here. you know how the air gets like that - as though it rising upon itself? air. soil. hair. feelings. lightness.

much love, william


And to you both, Erin.

Yesterday when we were busy planting, another rain was approaching, and it was just as you describe. And then it arrived, and now the plants are healed in. Magic is what it is.


it is raining here now. i just got in from a buddies place. he a load of last years wood cutttings and winter build up of stuff to take to the woods and dump.
the rain, that spring rain that makes you want to be in it was grand. i stopped for a minute in the woods and took in the rain, the air and i remembered the photographs of your garden and the rain came down there yesterday and here today and how we are healed as well.

thank you for this beautiful poem



You’re welcome, Robert, and I thank you. It’s amazing how easy everything is when our guard is down. The spirit flies past the useless, creaking gate.


Oh my...William...


Friday, May 13, 2011


Since Blogger says our missing entries and comments from yesterday will eventually be restored, I’ll refrain from re-posting them for now. I’m amused, meanwhile, by the commotion this interruption in service has caused, the upset, the turmoil, and in some quarters glee by industry “experts” and users of other platforms. It’s free, for heaven’s sake. And at some point our very lives will be unplugged. Better to live them now, while we can.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Back to the garden

For Erin and Robert

Now, imagine parting the air
with your fingers

in the same way
you ply the soil

or a loved one’s hair.

Why a book? (5)

As fragile as the breath
in which it’s given,
before it becomes a symbol.

[click on images for a larger view]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Legend Continues

Four hands, two trowels. Peppers hot and mild.
Tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber.

At the bottom of the slope, room for zucchini
and our grandson’s sunflower project

(little does he know)


The parsley?
Soon in a barrel, behind the house.

Half-buried in ivy, an old French plow,
once walked with a horse clear across town by my father
for fifty cents an hour, after the war,





[click to enlarge]

Earlier today: Summer of Dreams

Summer of Dreams

The neighbors hate me
because I plowed up our lawn
with an old mule —
an out-of-work friend of mine
dropped in to visit from a former life,
too tired and set in his ways
to retrain for a career in high-tech.

The lawn went under
in the warm, sacred afternoon.
We cut our paces in an easy rhythm,
to a quiet beat of tranquility
and forgetfulness,
while the atmosphere rumbled
with aromatic earth-song,
calling the birds,
calling the insects,
making the dogs bark —
the poor hobbled creatures
tied to pegs with dung-encrusted rope,
wide-eyed and desperate
for companionship.

We sank rejoicing to our knees
in the mellow-brown soil,
to the sound of slamming doors
and neighbors clearing their throats.
Hands on hips, not one of them
could fathom our joy,
confident there was a law against
plowing up one’s front lawn
and that a word with City Hall
would net them satisfaction.

I was visited once by a man
in a pickup with a logo on its side.
We chatted amiably.
Later that week I planted corn.
Now the tall stalks rustle in the breeze,
the mule sleeps in the shade,
and clouds of hostility brood
over driveways, garbage cans, fences.

From Collected Poems. First appeared many years ago in Barbaric Yawp.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New World. Oh, Sister.

“Canvas 238”
Listening to the New World Symphony

May 9, 2011

[click to enlarge]

“Canvas 239”
Listening to Oh, Sister

May 9, 2011

[click to enlarge]

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday’s Child

To be my mother’s lilac,
and for her to somehow know it

like its scent, a thought that
cannot last for long

From Poems, Slightly Used. Also shared here two years ago.

Saturday, May 7, 2011







Anything will do, if you are true yourself.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Between Storms

This is where the garden’s going in. Heavy clay. Turned over three times by hand at a shovel’s depth between storms, fat worms, clods to break your neck. Raked deep today to robin and sparrow song, and geese overhead. Plants waiting on the back step. On the back of my hand, another drop of rain.

Up Slope

[click to enlarge]

Down Slope

[click to enlarge]

Earlier today: Why a book?

Why a book? (4)

Because anywhere it waits becomes a sacred space,
and life is a page at random.

[click on photos to enlarge]

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Oranges and grapes

my father lives on
in his old friend’s voice

beyond green hills
a high school baseball game

by fate or choice
Odysseus heads for home

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Steven Joyce: The Winds of Ilion

Here is another beautiful offering from EyeCorner Press, graciously sent by Bent Sørensen and part of an ongoing book exchange. Dr. Sørensen, as some of you know or perhaps may otherwise remember, is also the author of two delightful blogs linked in the sidebar, Ordinary Finds and Lumpy Pudding.

The Winds of Ilion

Introduction by Bent Sørensen
Cover design and layout by Camelia Elias

EyeCorner Press
ISBN: 978-87-92633-02-6

First Edition: March 2011

[click to enlarge]


When Novalis declared that “the world must be romanticized,” that it must be restored to its plenary “meaning, magic, and mystery,” he, like Friedrich Schlegel touts the fragment as the vehicle of this restorative art. The Winds of Ilion is an eclectic work that brings together poetry, academic essay, personal memoir, short-short story, and creative fragments in a manner redolent both of the early German romantics and of the Greek concept of moira. The many different creative threads composing this work weave a fabric of variegated meanings whose scope extends to the disparate events and marginal circumstances both of literary and everyday life.

“Steven Joyce’s book offers a fascinating combination of various literary forms. Readers will find it both enjoyable and instructive. The author maintains that we can recapture, through reading, the uplifting romantic spirit of an earlier age. I am happy to report that this volume does indeed rekindle that spirit. It did for me.”

Susanna Piontek
Member, PEN Club and of Die Kogge,
European Writers’ Association

Monday, May 2, 2011

Canvas 236

“Canvas 236”
May 2, 2011

[click to enlarge]

Pock-mark to zymurgy

What incredible luck. During an impromptu trip to Goodwill a couple of days ago,
my wife and I not only found a beautiful six-inch cast iron frying pan we don’t need, but these four rugged volumes from the early 1930s:

[click to enlarge]

Volume One — A to pocket veto

Volume Two — pock-mark to zymurgy & supplements

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Ballad of Reading Gaol, by C. 3. 3. [Oscar Wilde]

Not long ago, I received a CD collection of Robert Burns readings from Tony Knight. In exchange, I offered to send him one of my books. The author of a journal himself, he chose One Hand Clapping. Upon its arrival, seeing how heavy it was and how much it had cost to mail, he surprised me by saying he’d hurried off an early edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol. Here it is, wearing a simple dust jacket based on the title page:

The Ballad of Reading Gaol
by C. 3. 3. [Oscar Wilde]

Leonard Smithers


[click to enlarge]

And here is the title page itself, followed by the first page of the poem:

[click to enlarge]

[click to enlarge]

And so, once again, I’m the lucky recipient of an enticingly aromatic volume with a mild case of the measles. I know this: Tony’s a better man than I, for I doubt I could have parted with it.