Saturday, March 31, 2007

Green is good, too!

Bookworm has written another poem! This one is called:

Dark Blue

Dark blue smells like the light
mist on a spring morning.

Dark blue looks like the dark
midnight sky.

Dark blue feels like a home-made
sweater with love in every stitch.

Dark blue sounds like dolphins
splashing in the deep blue sea.

Dark blue tastes like juicy blueberries
growing in the soft spring meadow.

(Good work, BW!)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

PT: My Last Duchess



That's my last duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now; Fra Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will't please you sit and look at her? I said
"Fra Pandolf" by design, for never read
STrangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its eatnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
Her husband's presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess' cheek; perhaps
Fra Pandolf chanced to say, "Her mantle laps
Over my lady's wrist too much," or, "Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-blush that dies along her throat." Such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart -- how shall I say?-- too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked what'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, 'twas all one! My favor at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace -- all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men -- good! but thanked
Somehoe -- I know not how -- as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech -- which I have not -- to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark"-- and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse --
E'een then would some be stopping; and I chose
Never to stoop. Oh, sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretense
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though this fair daughter's self, as I avowed
As starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

--Robert Browning (1812-1889)

(O.J. Who? -- A masterpiece indeed. Rhymed and in iambic pentameter, too! Did you read it all the way through? What happened to the Duchess? Should we have been told, or is enough said in the white spaces between the words?)

Painting of Lucrezia deMedici, the real Duchess to Alphonse II of Ferrara.



Thursday, March 22, 2007

PT: A Picture, A Picture


In this book
There was a picture
Of fair, mad Ophelia
Floating face up, trailing daisies:
On another page: The Rape
Of Lucretia, startled hand to throat,
Round breasts fallen over her bodice
Like white May pears.
Somewhere dark Othello
And that poor Jew Shylock
Protested in blacker
Pentametered despair.

The pictures drew me.
The words were partly understood,
Underscored by my
Splayed young fingers across the paper.

Now I trail ink-stained daisies
Of my own, sing mad songs,
Demand my pound of flesh,
Stare blindly

Across remoter spaces between years
And wait for whirling obsidian waters
To have me,
To carry this
Ash-white body
And cut it into stars.

Picture: Ernest Hebert, Ophelia, c. 1910. (Actually this poem came from illustrations in a book of Shakespeare that my parents owned. The book itself is long gone, but as a child I was fascinated by the pictures and looked at them often.)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Where Do Pets Come From?

A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to "Where do pets come from?"

Adam and Eve said, "Lord, when we were in he garden, you walked with us every day. Now we do not see you any more. We are lonesome here, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us." And God said, I will create a companion for you that will be with you and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves." And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.

And it was a good animal. And God was pleased. And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal." And God said, "I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you. His name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."

And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them. And they were comforted. And God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well."

And God said, "I will create for them a companion who will be with them and who will see them as they are. This companion will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration." And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.

And Cat would not obey them.

And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat's eyes, they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings. And Adam and Eve learned humility. And they were greatly improved.

And God was pleased.

And Dog was happy.

And Cat didn't give a shit one way or the other.

(Thanks to my good friend Bob Johnston! --and this is a photo of my Dog, Lucky.)


Saturday, March 17, 2007

ERIN GO BRAGH (Ireland Forever)

Finnegan, who's had a drop too much, is driving home from the pub at midnight, and a cop pulls him over. Says the cop to Finnegan, "Where've you been?"

"Why, I've been to the pub, of course," says the drunk.

"Well," says the cop, "Your car's been weaving all over the road! IT looks as though you've had quite a few this evening!"

"I did all right," says Finnegan with a smile.

"Did you know," says the cop, folding his arms acrost his chest, "that a few intersections back, your wife fell out of your car?"

"Oh, thank heaven," sighs Finnegan. "For a minute there, I thought I'd gone deaf!"
. . . . . .

"Finnegan," says the cop. "Do you understand plain English?"

"I do if it's spoken in Irish," says Finnegan.

. . . . . .

Finnegan's wife had been killed in the accident and the police were questioning him. "Did she say anything before she died?" asked the cop.

"Oh, she spoke without interruption for about forty years," said Finnegan.
. . . . . .

"When I die," says J.P. Dunleavy, an Irish writer of some repute, "I want to decompose in a barrel of porter and have it served in all the pubs in Ireland!"

. . . . . .

And that's why God invented whisky--so the Irish would never rule the world!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

PT: Opprobrious Words

I was going to sit this one out, but, what the helk...(my 4-yr-old grandson says "we always say 'what the heck.' Because 'what the helk is BAD.'") I guess I was born to be a rebel.

Opprobrious words
Once said, as courtesies like please
Or thank you, or even
I love you

Will float
Like plastic goldfish
Doing tricks
In a cheap bowl

The first rule of nature: everything
According to its kind;
Opprobrious words can not
Be taken back

Blooming everywhere
Over bare ground, through insects
Gravel, dust, marking intricate trails
One molecule at a time

(LOL! I just looked at the definition: it said "Contumelious reproach." Contumelious! Indeed. It also means "shameful, as 'this dark, opprobrious den of shame'." I found some other neat words nearby: opsimath, opsonic, opsonin, opunyia, oquassa....)


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Goose-Girl

There were robins in my front yard this morning! Robins! Spring is my favorite time of the year. And it arrives next Wednesday at 12:o7 AM (GMT). For my Welsh kindred--the Spring Equinox, Gwyl Canol Gwen Wynol, or Eostre (pronounced E-ostra) is the time of equal day and equal night. But you already knew that, didn't you? Night and day are in perfect balance, with the powers of light on the ascendancy. But I'll bet you didn't know that in the Welsh Mabinogion, the first day of spring was when Llew (the god of light) takes his vengeance on Goronwy (his evil twin, the god of darkness) and pierces him with a spear of sunlight!

This is the season of the year when we celebrate life over death. The crocus, the daffodils, and the tulips are showing up. The robins and other birds will be building their nests. Maybe they'll line them with the long soft hair cuttings I put out for them yesterday, after I shaved my son's head. I used to do that when I cut my grandsons hair--we put their hair-cuttings in a box up in the tree. Woven into the nest, it would be a warm, soft place for the babies to grow up.

Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote one of my favorite poems about spring, The Goose-Girl:

Spring rides no horses down the hill,
But comes on foot, a goose-girl still.
And all the loveliest things there be
Come simply, so, it seems to me.
If ever I said, in grief or pride,
I tired of honest things, I lied;
And should be cursed forevermore
With Love in laces, like a whore,
And neighbors cold, and friends unsteady,
And Spring on horseback, like a lady!


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Slick's Place

For the Bunyans, in far away frozen Minnesota: Spring is well on its way. Alleluia! Keep your eyes open! Here is a bud pushing through toward spring, photographed a few weeks ago at Slick's place. Annie Dillard says spring is seeping north at 14 miles a day. Today it was 54 degrees here. At 14 miles a day, how long do you have to wait? Annie Dillard says, "I don't want to miss spring this year. I want to be there on the spot the moment the grass turns green...I see it from a window, the yard so suddenly green...I could envy Nebuchadnezzar down on all fours eating grass."

The glaciers in your front yard will soon crack to water in the sun. Until then, throw another log on the fire and settle in. And think of me, down on all fours, eating grass!