Sunday, October 29, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
You've probably already seen these fantastic photos, but just in case you haven't, look for the comet Swan toward the northwestern horizon in the early evening. They say you can see it without a telescope.
From NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope we get to see the shock wave from an exploded star in Cassiopeia!
(Comet Swan copyright and credit: Paolo Candy)
Friday, October 27, 2006
Meet Starfish and Bookworm. They are my two oldest grandchildren. My handsome Starfish is "five hurrahs" old. He says that his next birthday he will be "six hurrahs!" Starfish is a rough translation of his name, Japanese to English. He loves Superman, and this Halloweeen he will magically transform into the Man of Steel. He began kindergarten this fall, and he loves ham sandwitches--without the crust!
Bookworm, my most beautiful granddaughter, is ten-years-old, in the fifth grade, and she is a voracious reader! Books have become her favorite thing. The two of us used to have fabulous tea parties, and play imaginary games with mermaid dolls. Once we made our own puppet theater. Now she likes music CD'S and High School Musical. Isn't she growing into a lovely young lady? By the way, she also loves Blogging!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
No Passion Greater Than the Mind
No Passion Greater than the Mind
Devours the Body or the Soul --
And all I know of Base Desire
By Mind was Body told.
My Soul kept White as Ivory
B'ignoring where the Body's sent --
May drop a Tear and shed a Sigh
Before this Passion's spent.
* * * *
Mind Is A Tiger In A Cage
Mind is a Tiger in a Cage --
Soul is a Desert Flower
That withers for Little Space
And dies a Little Hour.
Mind is a Tiger in a Cage --
But Flesh is Recompense
When Soul so Curiously Fades
For Want of sustenance.
(Two a la Emily Dickinson, who also Lived in Her Head!)
picture credit: troelsmyrup
Sunday, October 22, 2006
(...an excerpt from my book, CHRYSALIS)
We have a cat. Remy found a skinny kitten shivering and soaked from the storm. He fixed her a bowl of warm milk, but she wouldn't drink. She is yellow and white -- not more than eight or ten weeks old.
I think the kitten is sick. I wrap her warmly in a small towel, but she continues to shiver. I try to feed her with an eyedropper. Not much luck. She is limp, and I can feel her heart racing under her skinny ribs. She opens her mouth to 'meow,' but rattles instead.
She is dying. Her heart still beats, rapid and feeble, and she lies quietly as I stroke her head.
Three days later the kitten is dead. Remy and Chris weep. We bury her in the back yard, wrapped in the little towel, onto which I have pinned a note:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
The boys are not comforted. I put my arms around them and we all three weep.
Vonnegut's Tralformadorians, seeing into the fourth dimension, perceive the universe in a different way. "All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralformadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It's just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.
"When a Tralformadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition at that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralformadorians say about dead people, which is "So it goes!"
So it goes. I am three years old and they have taken me to say "goodbye" to my grandpa, who is sleeping is flowers, but he doesn't wake no matter what is said to him. Then I am six years old, having another encounter with vulture Death. I hold a brown leather dog collar. Sparky was a good dog, now he is dead, run over by a truck. The truck meant no harm. The driver was sorry, and he said so. I can't help wondering what it's like to feel yourself dying. And whether there really is an afterlife, or if all the hymns and prayers and baptisms are meaningless. I think of the earnest tears I shed over uncountable cats and dogs and birds that died somewhere back in my childhood.
"I am sorry the kitty died," I say, tucking the boys into bed.
"I am sorry, too," Remy whispers. "I prayed she would get better. I thought she might."
"It hurts her to be dead?" asks Chris.
"No, it doesn't hurt her," I say. (What the hell do I know about being dead?) "The poor kitty is better off."
"Oh," he says, gazing at me with his trusting light-colored eyes.
"I wish she was still alive," says Remy.
"I wish she was, too." I hug them all goodnight. In some matters of great importance there are no right words. So it goes.
Quote from Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The internet offers (free) customized poems for every occasion, "a special way to send your love." There are poems for birthdays, weddings, divorces, illness, funerals, wakes, poems for jilted lovers, policemen, global warming. There is one called "Raping Me Was Fun for Him," and another called "You Did Not Merely Die, but You Were Murdered." Whatever. They will say it for you! Here's my favorite, an acrostic, no less:
Thank You For the Favor of Your Seed
Thank you for the favor of your seed,
Half my child, who will be mine alone,
A part of you dispassionately sown,
Nor have I of you any other need.
Kindness is your only motivation,
Yet in this act you're being more than kind,
Opening a window to the wind,
Unloosing to my heart half your creation.
(I thought sperm donors were supposed to be anonymous!? --unless you're Melissa Ethridge and David Crosby. Or some weird doctor...but those are material for other poems, I guess. Maybe: Your Kidney Ailment Made You Find Your Father. Not to make light of serious situations, murder, rape, etc. Just that maybe these are poems you might want to avoid....)
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
A Letter To Cecil B. DeMille
from the Forties
who might've played
and George Raft,
pillars of ivory
now gone to dentures,
whose especially talented
agility of hips
and imaginative tongue
taught men a new language,
whose willing flesh
became a garbage dump
for every twobit producer
west of Bakersfield?
To look at me now
who'd ever guess
this chaste rhythm
of breath under breasts
that used to rise
like helium balloons
but sag tonight
like used condoms
once fired little crimson
cherry-sucker syllables of sugar?
I am become a history book
of refrigerated kisses
preserved on celluloid
between the pages.
The Cassini robot orbiting Saturn, drifting in the planet's shadow, looked back and photographed this awesome sight. Far in the distance to the left, just above the bright main rings you can see the "almost ignorable pale blue dot of Earth."
A spectacular photograph, people of SSI, JPL, ESA, and NASA, who get the credit for this one!
*CLICK it twice to find Earth*
Friday, October 13, 2006
I am from light, yes, a spark from the great Intelligent Light that set the universe afire, from Love, both spirit and matter, yes, and from the green living body of the earth, ocean and saltgrass, rain and roots. I am from amoeba, invertebrate to vertebrate, from Lucy. I am from Ephriam, from ancient Celts breathing in haze rising from peat bogs. I am from tassled cornfields in Cornwall, from the fires and peppered spices of Spain, from El Cid. I am of salt miners and salt barges of Cheshire, I am from their empty bellies and of the potatoes and buttermilk that filled them. I am from sailing ships, and steamboats. I am from children walking behind handcarts crossing the vast American prarie, I am from their frozen feet, wrapped in gunnysacks or dancing polkas or Fylde waltzes or Virginia reels. I am from fiddles and string bands and French horns. I am from sego lilies and lumpy dick and bread n'with it, from white salamanders and the three Nephites and funeral potatoes. I am from gold miners and lumberjacks, and red-haired women. I am from pony tails. I am from books. I am Plantagenet, and DeBohun. I am Shearer and Barkdull and Wolfe. I am Hatton, and Mau, the English, the German, the Scot. I am from Eva Pearl and Glen "A", the second of two, the female model. I am white beans and banana peppers, pot roast, macaroni and tomatoes. I am from both pain and pleasure. I do not ask perfection. I only ask for NOW. I am from poetry and a perfect brightness of hope. I am from wings.
(Inspired from January, at Poet Mom's list. Thanks!)
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Mes Chers: It begins, "Admittedly I err by undertaking/ This in its present form. The baldest prose/ Reportage was called for, that would reach/ The widest public in the shortest time."
Not exactly from a newspaper, but definitely news, this is from a Ouija board. Poet James Merrill spent more than 20 years transcribing this 560 page epic, which he said came via the spirits of several...um, dead guys, among them W.H. Auden, a bat named Mirabell, the angel Gabriel, Michael the Archangel, Gautama Buddha, Plato, Jesus, Mohammed, Gertrude Stein, Richard Strauss, Nefertiti, Maria Callas. It touches on past lives, sperm and egg, Mozart, Hitler, Adam & Eve, nuclear explosions, and a thousand other things. Whether or not this came from supernatural sources, it is truly Merrill's Magnum Opus. From THE CHANGING LIGHT AT SANDOVER, Mirabell: Book 9
THIS IS GOD'S NAME
GOD IS THE ACCUMULATED INTELLIGENCE IN CELLS SINCE THE DEATH
OF THE FIRST DISTANT CELL.
WE RESIDE IN THAT INTELLIGENCE.
WE HAVE IN THIS MEETING FOUND YOU INTELLIGENT & YOUR
SERIOUS NATURES AT ONE WITH US.
TWO FULL HOURS BEFORE THE SETTING SUN, IN THE FULL DAYCYCLE
BEFORE THE FULL OF THE MOON, WE WILL MEET AGAIN.
I AM MICHAEL
I HAVE ESTABLISHED YOUR ACQUAINTANCE & ACCEPT YOU. COME
NEXT TIME IN YOUR OWN MANNER. SERVANTS WE ARE NOT.
I LEAVE NOW AS LIGHT LEAVES AND WIND MY PATH OVER ITS
TRACK ON EARTH I AM A GUARDIAN OF THE LIGHT
LEAVE THIS FIRST OF THE FIRST TWO MEETINGS IN A CYCLE OF
TWINNED MEETINGS IN A CYCLE OF TWELVE MOONS
LOOK! LOOK INTO THE RED EYE OF YOUR GOD!
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
We took a little trip up into the canyon to see the leaves. The mountains are beautiful, there is only a little snow, and the air is clean and smells like pine. We took the boys on a hike around Silver Lake, and they were so tired they slept all the way back home (about ten miles). Wish you could all have come along!
*click once or twice to see them better!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
"I will eat you slowly with kisses
even though the killer in you
has gotten out."--Anne Sexton
The pinkchalk dye
marks only wagging strings,
fringed needlepoint tracings
and balloons, pulsing and collapsing
in unseen hurricanes.
It does not reveal
the soft underground place
where pain drums at the bowel's door
like an oiled machine.
It shows how ribs
imprison the black heart
kicking at its bars
like a drunk
raving of the blade,
God, the blade.
She knows the body
is a damn hard thing
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I was listening to NPR this morning while I drove Simon and Jacob to pre-school. They were talking about Voltaire's Candide.
"Il fait que cultiver notre jardin," he said. It may be naive and overly optimistic, in viewing the world's growing litany of nasty perils, to believe that if we'd all tend to our own gardens and pull our own weeds, and let others tend their own gardens, we'd all be better off. There's no way we can fix the whole world.
Voltaire was essentially a pessimist, with a negative world view. Candide almost convinces us that if we'd each focus on our own plot of ground in our own backyard, and do it well, then the larger issues of "Kings and Queens" would simply dissolve.