Wednesday, July 25, 2007
THE ONE WHO WOULD NOT GO
Grandfather William, Grandmother Thea, James, John Allen,
Lucy Elizabeth and Margaret Ann, everyone gone
with no goodbye from me, I come to you now out of this
pale self where your blood runs, from this slippery dark
where human vanities are wasted, where love and loss
justice, tears and joy are all that matter. Lifted
out of your ghostly twilight, know me your messenger:
I am the little one who waits, the little one
who sits behind locked closets,
in dusty corners where the fence has fallen
into weeds, where the door is shut,
where locks are strong and the keys are lost.
I wait for comets to break in to the place where I am,
for stars to fall, crackling like bonfires,
for the voices that say, finally, "Come out!
Come on out!"
I have never understood courage, never understood
brave men who crowded the crossed cemeteries
in Flanders, in Arlington, in Dresden, in Belfast,
in the Me Kong Delta, the heroes who dared
at Appomattox, at Verdun, at Da Nang and Hue,
the doughboys, yanks, leathernecks, the flyboys and tars
who said, "Kilroy was here," or "Damn the torpedoes,"
or "I shall return." But I have looked down
death's throat, and felt the vomit of fear rise
in my own. It is foul...I know...
I know the real heroes are also the ones
who would not go.
We are from different planets, the brave and I.
Love me now before I die. I am afraid of the dark.
Fill me, fill me with light, fill me with delight,
give me sons, let me feel a full womb, full breasts.
I am afraid to be alone. I am afraid of the dark.
Grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, brother,
lover, husband, friend, touch me now before I go.
Listen to the music of the heart that pumps my blood,
feel the red pulse of my life under the flesh
of my throat. Keep a clock ticking on the kitchen shelf,
keep a light burning in the hall...
I am afraid of the dark... I am afraid...
I do not ask perfection. I do not expect the impossible.
I celebrate breath, I celebrate lovemaking,
the tongue against the skin, I celebrate the sun's coming
and going, the turning of seasons, summer solstice,
autumn equinox, the penetration of comets across
the cosmos, the thrust of meteors.
I do not ask perfection-- no parables of virgins,
no apples without bruise, no unblemished lambs,
no ram in the thicket. I only ask
the possible. I only ask for Now...
(From my book In Willy's House. The little girl with her arms filled with catalogs for making paper dolls is my mother. Colorado, 1918.)
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Come, Come Ye Saints
Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear; But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell-- All is well! All is well!
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? 'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell-- All is well! All is well!
We'll find the place that God for us prepared, Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid; There the Saints will be blest.
We'll make the air with music ring, Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell-- All is well! All is well!
And should we die before our journey's through, Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too; with the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell-- All is well! All is well!
* So this is what they sang, words written by William Clayton. Please see my July 24, 2006 post for the rest of the story!
Monday, July 23, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
So. How do you coax the Muse? This is how I do it. Rob Kistner, at Image and Verse, has invited anyone who'd like to share to explain how they view the writing process, how they coax the Muse. I wrote a wonderful piece on his blog, which was trully insightful and lucid, but which for some reason would not post. Anyhow, a picture is worth a thousand words.
It's not difficult.
Anyway, it's necessary/
Wait till morning, and you'll forget.
And who knows if morning will come.
Fumble for the light, and you'll be
stark awake, but the vision
will be fading, slipping
out of reach.
You must have paper at hand,
a felt-tip pen--ballpoints don't always flow,
pencil points tend to break. There's nothing
shameful in that much prudence: those are your tools.
Never mind about crossing your t's, dotting your i's--
but take care not to cover
one word with the next. Practice will reveal
how one hand instinctively comes to the aid of the other
to keep each line
clear of the next.
Keep writing in the dark:
a record of the night, or
words that pulled you from the depth of unknowing,
words that flew through your mind, strange birds
crying their urgency with human voices,
as flowers of a tree that blooms
only once in a lifetime:
words that may have the power
to make the sun rise again.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
a. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
b. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
c. A billion hours ago we were living in the Stone Age.
d. A billion days ago no one walked the earth on two feet.
e. A billion dollars ago was only eight hours and 20 minutes ago, at the rate our
government is spending it.
(I stole the above from my friend Kenny at Coffee in the Morning, who also stole it from somebody else.)
And, I just read that the boost in troop levels in Iraq has increased the cost of war there and in Afghanistan to 12 billion a month. And, the total for Iraq alone is nearing a half-TRILLION dollars. It makes my head spin, this "burn rate" of billions.
"Think of what $10 billion a month would mean to protecting Americans from terrorism, improving security at our ports and airports, and increasing border security," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The US Government's "debt ceiling" is $5.95 TRILLION. (A trillion being a 1 followed by 12 zeros). How much is that, you ask?
5.95 trillion seconds is 188,544 years.
5.95 trillion hours ago the first fossils were being formed.
5.95 trillion meters is the mean radius of the Solar System.
5.95 trillion miles is 1.013 light years--the speed of light being 186,000 miles every second!
I don't know exactly what that 5.95 trillion "debt ceiling" really means, but listen to this: The US National Debt (2001) was $7 trillion + (actually, $7,937,463,000,000). If you had gone into business on the day Jesus was born, and your business lost a million dollars a day, day in and day out, 365 days a year, it would take you until October 2737 to lose a trillion dollars! So, I imagine it would likewise take that long to MAKE a TRILLION dollars....
And yet, the world's 10 biggest oil companies(here read Bush and Cheney among them) were expected to exceed one TRILLION dollars in sales in 2004. In ONE YEAR! You do the math. I can't. No wonder it costs $50 (at least) to fill up our cars.
Is your head spinning?