Sunday, February 26, 2006


Inside the Eagle : faraway it looks like an eagle. A closer look shows a bright open nursery where a whole cluster of baby stars are forming.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Broken Dyke

See what you did--I am storming out to play through the broken dyke ...

Old Man, Get Your Hand Off My Knee

Old Man, Get Your Hand Off My Knee

Old Man,
your time is up.
Get your greedy hand
off my knee.

I'm not yours

Woo me
with heroic tales
of your victories,
show me your etchings,
tell me how delicate
are my ankles,
how delicious
my lips and fingertips.

Tell me again
what a friend you are,
and how desperately
you want me.

I believe you. I do.

you will make our bed
amd I will lie in it.
when other embraces
have all grown cold,
I will even welcome
your impassioned touch.

Someday, Old Man.

Not yet.


A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region to all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

-- William Stafford

(William Stafford (1914-1993) taught English at Lewis & Clark for three decades, and was, in 1975, appointed Oregon Poet Laureate.)

One More for the Road ...


"Will I dream?"
--HAL 9000

Sing me to sleep
A Father-song of make believe
Before I'm repossessed.
The lullaby:

When my thick cells forget
The signature of sex
And foursquare time, and blood
Forgets to color in the lines,

And my thin breath cannot remember
What a fat weight life is,
And my face becomes a public place,
And revolutions bore me,

Then death's a clever art
That can be practiced, like the harp,
Or flute, or backstroke,
Wherein the players are overturned

And all the naked swimmers drowned.

--Me (as Me)

Me, Myself, & Emily

When Death Comes By My Door

When Death comes by my Door
And smiles at me Within --
I'll gather up my dancing Shoes
And Waltz away with Him --

My feet, tho' never touching Earth
Will Waltz up Wind and down --
And I will wear my Wrapping Shroud
As a Wedding Gown.

When Death comes by my Door
And brings me to His Bed --
I'll ask of God no Other dark
Lover in His stead --

But hold Him close and seal his lips
With bold Kisses forever --
Nor Moon nor Stars shall shake us
While we abide Together.

My feet, tho' never touching Earth
Will Waltz up Wind and down --
And I will wear my Wrapping Shroud
As a Wedding Gown.

--Me (as Emily)

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Second Visit

A poem by a friend of mine, Ken Brewer, dying of cancer.

The Second Visit

This night he wears a red dress,that sleek Flapper style for dancing,
and a Flapper hat low on his face
though I can see black-curled eyelashes.
Red heels and red gloves, small red
Purse hanging from one shoulder. "Sharp," I say.

Death turns as if to blush. Imagine that,
I think, Death blushing at a compliment.
Then he crosses his legs, smiles,
asks, "About time, don't you think?"
And I do, but I say nothing yet.
Bedridden, bloated with Ascites, no tux, no bow tie.

"What did you wear for my mother?" I ask.
"Beige tent dress with a light brown collar,
beige sandals, a white orchid in my hair,"
he said. "Nice touch," I said. I wasn't
bargaining this time and would dance if I must.
But Death smiled and left. I'll guess bib-overalls next.


Today is the Birthday of Wilhelm Karl Grimm, born in Hanau, Germany in 1786. Along with his older brother Jacob, he published the collection of Grimm's Fairy Tales in 1812, the first collection of folklore in modern publishing history.

Of the two brothers, Wilhelm was more romantic and literary. Jacob did most of the theorizing about folklore. At first, the story collecting did not go well. The idea was to find ordinary peasants to tell their stories, but the peasants were too intimidated to talk. In a letter to Jacob, Wilhelm wrote, " The fairy tale collection is going along wretchedly."

Wretchedly? How Grimm!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today is the birthday of two of my favorite people. It's the birthday of columnist and humorist Erma Bombeck. She wrote, "My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?" My thoughts exactly.

It's also the birthday of W. H. Auden, who grew up in an industrial area of northern England. He lov ed the huge mining machines designed for breaking up huge rocks. He originally wanted to become a mining engineer but, one afternoon when he was 15, a friend asked him if he ever wrote poetry. He never had, but being asked the question made him want to start. So he did. From As I Walked Out One Evening:

Nonsense Song

My love is like a red red rose
Or concerts for the blind,
She's like a mutton-chop before
And a rifle-range behind.

Her hair is like a looking glass,
Her brow is like a bog.
Her eyes are like a flock of sheep
Seen through a London fog.

Her nose is like an Irish jig,
Her mouth is like a bus,
Her chin is like a bowl of soup
Shared between all of us.

Her form divine is like a map
Of the United States,
Her food is like a motor-car
Without its number-plates.

No steeple-jack shall part us now
Nor fireman in a frock;
True love could sink a Channel boat
Or knit a baby's sock.

The Eschatological View

The Horsehead Nebula in Orion, up close.

"The eschatological viewpoint is that which sees and judges everything in terms of a great eternal plan. Whether we like it or not, we belong to the eternities; we cannot escape the universe."

--Hugh Nibley

Monday, February 20, 2006

Just wondering ....

So, why has the U.S. put a firm from the United Arab Republic in charge of 6 U.S. seaports???

Suitsat 1

A spacesuit floats away from the International Space Station. It will orbit the Earth once every 90 minutes until it burns up in the atmosphere in a couple of weeks. It must get pretty boring sometimes for those folks working in the Station, the ones who filled the suit with old clothes and a radio transmitter, and pushed it out the door ....

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Long Distance Warriors

I find something about this very disturbing, although my significant other justifies it by saying the goal of the warrior is to simply kill without being killed. Still.

An article in TIME MAGAZINE, written in December 2005 by Sally B. Donnelly, describes how a modern warrior named Shannon Rogers "kisses his wife and two young kids goodbye and wheels his battered 1989 Chevy Cavalier out of the driveway of his suburban Nevada home ... But Rogers will end up in a place far different from that of his fellow commuters:when he arrives at work, he will be at war in Iraq." Rogers is part of an "elite" group. He sits at his computer in Nevada and controls a Predator drone that flies over Iraq, tracks down insurgents, and kills them as they flee. "For us, it's combat," says Rogers. "Physically we may be in Vegas, but mentally, we're flying over Iraq. It feels real."

At the end of the day, he rushes home to jump in the pool with his kids, eats dinner, and sleeps in his own bed. The article describes the "stresses" and "demands" of this job, including problems in the personal lives of these warriors. I don't wish him any misfortune, I think he is probably a nice guy doing a job. But something in me keeps thinking: What's wrong with this picture?

War, the killing of one's fellow man, ought to be a passionate occupation, one driven by the heart as well as the intellect. The insurgents, despicable as they and their car bombs and rigged vests that blow so many innocent people to pieces might be, at least were passionate about their cause, however foul and monstrous and atrocious it may be. They gave their lives for it. They didn't go home and "jump in the pool" with their children.

What does this mean? I really don't know. I'm just thinking that there is something here that doesn't feel right.

Another Good One...

THE WHIRLPOOL GALAXY. A Classic spiral galaxy, visable with a good pair of binoculars, but it won't look like this!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Death of a Superstar

"Puppis A," used to be a massive star (not unlike John Wayne, or Mae West). Now its life ends as a supernova, blasting its outer layers in a huge shockwave into space. Light from this super-explosion first reached Earth just a few thousand years ago, a mere second as measured in space/time. Now they're all gone, John, Mae, Red Ryder, Little Beaver, and Puppis A.

Photo by Chandra and ROSAT.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Should we just let the Dick Cheney story die a dignified death? Why/Why not?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Monday, February 13, 2006



Trudi haloed
the ones she loved
like God lit the angels on judgement day.
It was not that they had done no wrong.
It was that she loved them,
loved them without condition,
loved them beyond thought,
so she learned to lighten the area
around them, to brighten their darkness,
lighting their background so they glowed
ethereal with a shimmer of their own
that lit their steps,
smoothed the wilderness paths
before them.

--Mikal Lofgren

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to all my haloed ones! May the shimmer of your halos light your steps and smooth the wilderness paths before you all!

Monday, February 06, 2006


The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has poured
Millions of Bubbles like us, and will pour.

--The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

What made this gigantic bubble? One possible answer is that the expanding shells of old supernovas have sculpted this unusual space cavern. Photo taken by the huge Gemini South telescope on Cerro Pachon in Chile.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Earth, Moon, and Milky Way


Within this black hive to-night
There swarm a million bees;
Bees passing in and out the moon,
Bees escaping out the moon,
Bees returning through the moon,
Silver bees intently buzzing,
Silver honey dripping from the swarm of bees
Earth is a waxen cell of the world comb,
and I, a drone,
Lying on my back,
Lipping honey
Getting drunk with silver honey,
Wish that I might fly out past the moon
And curl forever in some far-off farmyard flower.

--Jean Toomer

Night Milky Way

Banks of a Stream Where Creatures Bathe


I know the hoof
Imprinted on my clay,
His bulk and poise
Who drinks you, enters you;

And hold you close,
Too close to make the best
Of that recurrently
Real beast in you.

At dawn asleep
In fairness take these colors.
Do not sweep me
Downstream with the stars.

--James Merrill

Friday, February 03, 2006

An Enigma Wrapped in a Mystery

A COSMIC TORNADO. The cause of this spiraling space tornado, light years in length, is still a mystery.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

What, Me Worry?

Just an interesting note: Andromeda, one of the galaxies in our own group of galaxies, and the largest of them, and the closest, is tearing toward the Milky Way at the speed of 300,000 MPH. At this velocity, it will collide with us in only 2-2 1/2 billion years!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"...convulsed with laughter."

Today is the birthday of S.J. (Sidney Joseph) Perelman, born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1904. He worked first as a cartoonist, but switched to writing humorous essays for various magazines, including the New Yorker. When his first collection, Dawn Ginsbergh's Revenge came out in 1929, Groucho Marx wrote him a letter saying, "From the moment I picked up your book until I put it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it."

Laughter must be good for you. Today he is 102. Happy Birthday, Mr. P.!

Sucking Chest Wound?