Friday, May 30, 2008

The Charmer

The Charmer

You found the story
telling how the Indians
put a fish
under the planted corn
the adventure illustrated
in your third-grade reader

It happens now somewhere
everywhere that this boy
plants rice
while they watch
he bends over
the bewitched rice or corn
the red or white beans
the potatoes and melons
the squash
like the angel
who whispers grow

Maybe he simply charms
the fish to leap out
of the water
into his hands
in the red dawn

Tatay's white umbrella red
under the fairweather red sky
washing them all
with morning light

Nanay and Nanay Gurang
the Very Old hesitate
studying how he bends over
the grains
how the earth and water
closes over them
like a blessing

The fish is for dinner

(painting:Rick Mobbs, Water)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Nila Wallin Barratt

My dear friend Nila passed away in her sleep. Most every Saturday for years the two of us went to lunch and a movie. She was one-of-a-kind, and I loved her. Now Henry the Hawk, in the form of an angel, has finally taken her flying away with him. But I shall surely miss her! She was a young 83.

She was, as her obituary said, "a salty old gal" who loved life and did everything she wanted to do, and more. One of those things was to write a novel called The Hawk and the Heart, a semi-autobiographical story of a woman's grief at the sudden death of her husband (personified by a hawk, who appears one day at her window to watch over her until she recovers). At one point, in a dream, he takes her on a night flight over the countryside, over the rooftops of her neighbor's farmhouses, off toward the moon and stars.

Sweet dreams, m'dear. Enjoy the journey.


i thank You God for most this morning
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

now the ears of my ears awake and
the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings

photo by tinyfishy

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What They Said To Him

You can see him there, a boy among the banyan roots, with light falling like coins through the leaves, his book stirring with dragons and spotted leopards. They are taking him where he'll never again, with shoes and suitcases and boarding passes, travel. Turning a page, he finds yellow-eyed wolves and their pups, the bones of rabbits. See how his bare toes curl when the animals talk, turn up when they lift their large, rough paws, their lacquered claws, their roars, off the paper and up into his body, as wild as theirs, and his fingernails and toenails grow long and tough and curved. He roars. He feels the ground shake as they pass out of his body into the jungle, past the snake that winds through the highest branches of the banyan tree, past the fixed white-eyed stare of parrots looking at the moon. Someday, when he is old, and the book is dust, and the black owl of night overtakes him in his heavy shoes, he will remember what they said to him: Follow our tracks: we are your people. He will remember all their names, and what they said to him.

Painting: Rick Mobbs, 5-9-08 image prompt

(OK, Rick, I am a little behind, but I'll catch up!)

A Primary Allegiance

"Molecules don't have passports. All the creatures on Earth are in this together. We need a primary allegiance to the species and to the planet Earth."

A quote from Carl Sagan--The Compassionate Universe, borrowed this morning from Alyssa at My Examined Life.

Have you examined your life lately? How's that workin' for ya?

My Dr. Phil profile on Facebook says: "Others see you as someone they should 'handle with care.' You're seen as vain, self-centered, and extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you. However, they don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you."

You don't trust me? You think I'm vain and self-centered? I LOVE polar bears! I'm sorry global warming is destroying their habitat! I hate that the rain forests and the coral reefs are disappearing! If I had a million dollars (I don't) I would split it between China and Myanmar! I'm nice. You can trust me.

...maybe I'll go now and examine my life....

"An unexamined life is not worth living."--Socrates

Monday, May 19, 2008

I and K in Legoland!

My two little Swedes at the Mall of America in Minneapolis! They love to build things with Legos, so this was a real treat. We are looking forward to our visit with them in a few weeks. Aren't they handsome dudes? I is five years old, and K is three. They are both clever and polite and very very smart!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


to Me...
Do you see why I need help with the candles? You are all invited to help blow (and you can each make a wish of your choice) at 6:00 PM Mountain Standard Time. Then we'll all sit down together and put on our birthday hats and have cake and sing...I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The God Particle

It's interesting to note that sometime today, the Large Hadron supercollider (LHC) and particle accelerator 300 feet below ground in Switzerland was supposed to start things colliding inside a huge cavern stuffed with 8-story gold wheels and as much metal as has the Eiffel Tower. All this has to do with particle physics--gluons, neutrinos, charmed quarks, antimatter, etc, and most interestingly, with the Higgs Boson particle (the God particle), whose existence is central to modern physics. It's supposed to tell us (if it does exist) more about the origins of the universe, string theory, alternate dimensions.... It has been suggested that this expensive and grand experiment might, upon ignition, create a mini-black-hole that will devour the planet upon which we stand in a matter of seconds. I think I remember that before they split the first atom, in the first experimental bomb detonated at the Trinity Site on July 16, 1945, some scientists believed there was a possibility that the fission process would expand, and keep expanding in one colossal uncontrollable explosion that would kill us all. And they did it anyway.

In light of a slow demise caused by global warming, fires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods, wars, and rumors of wars, that doesn't sound too bad. But you will probably be relieved to hear (if you have not already been told) that the experiment has been postponed until later in the year. So it looks like we won't be dying today.


I find this all very interesting because the thing was first supposed to have been built right here in Utah! But, alas! wasn't.

(UPDATE: 50 days 12 hours 15 minutes until the next try....which would make it, like, um, the Fourth of July! Perfect!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Many people think that Mother's Day is a modern innovation created by greeting card conglomerates. But the history of this holiday is much deeper, with roots going all the back to Egypt, where there was an annual festival to honor the goddess Isis, the mythical Mother of the pharaohs and the goddess of gift shops. The ancient Egyptians depicted her carrying a bouquet of flowers in one hand (though sometimes a single rose or lotus blossom is shown), the keys to her gift shop in the other hand (the "ankh" symbol, the symbol of endless economic life and business vitality), and a pop-up greeting card on her head. So yes, the core values of this holiday are ancient indeed.

Mother's Day in the US also has roots in Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870. The woman who wrote the The Battle Hymn of the Republic in 1858 had become disgusted with the carnage of war and wanted mothers to join together in preventing the unnecessary slaughter of their sons. In her proclamation of 1870, she wrote:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:

"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience.

"We women of one country
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

Not the sort of thing we see on Mother's Day cards today, but I can respect her feelings on the matter.

Me, too. I have borrowed this quote. from Jeff Lindsay at Mormanity

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Wull, helk!

Remember, how we always say 'helk' at our house because 'hell' is a bad word? Naw, this time I'm going for the real thing....Hell! I've just been diagnosed with scoliosis and a little arthritis in my lower back. NO WONDER my back hurts like hell! My backbone is shaped like a capitol S. Oh, Mama. I have had to sleep in my Lazyboy for the last 5 nights. And I have discovered that there is nothing good on TV between 2 and 5 AM. The hydrocodone doesn't do much, either. I walk like Quasimodo. So, there it is!

This is something I have apparently had for forty years...hence, (don't you love that word?) hence, I am sharing a poem I wrote a long time ago--some of you might remember it from a Poetry Thursday post:

flattens me

gin in the veins
might help

tonight I fly on brittle bones
out of this skin

this old pain

my top and bottom

sleep waivers like mirages
in a white fossil sea of aspirin

that dulls the saw
between deeper jacknifed vertebrae

this great grey sleep of bone
sucks me dry

Friday, May 09, 2008

Boy Meets Flowers

Here's a picture to brighten your May morning: the Rhiesling in Tulips!

(Click it for the full 3-D effect!)

And one of my favorite spring poems,
The Goose Girl, by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

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 forever more
With Love in laces, like a whore,
And neighbors cold, and friends unsteady,
And Spring on horseback, like a lady!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

My Family

In My Life

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

--JOHN LENNON lyrics - "In My Life"

This is the only photo of my father and mother, my brother and myself together at the same time, in the same place. My family, together for an instant of time stopped, caught at some fancy dinner a long time ago, maybe a wedding, or--? God bless the camera, and whoever looked at us there, at that table, through the viewfinder. Mama wears a polkadot dress, daddy wears a flower in his lapel, flowers bloom in vases, and oh! there are CANDLES! The plates wait for whatever food will soon fill them. Someone says: Say cheese! And we all turn our faces toward the camera. On this night, for this one moment, we are all together. It is all good. My family. I often stop and think about my life I love them more.

Friday, May 02, 2008


My son slick, of KnownUnknowns, is my Blogfather. He is the one who set me up, showed me how, sat beside me while I asked stupid questions, and ultimately led me to you, my cyberfriends. For this I am grateful. Thanks, slick. Because of you, I can spend many fun hours at the computer when I might otherwise be trapped into the neverending cycle of drugery and insipid TV (housework, cooking, CNN, Days of Our Lives, The Price is Right, Dr Phil etc).

Much obliged!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day

I feel as if I am living inside a snow globe--here it is May and it's snowing hard all over the tulips in the yard. The trees have new leaves, the ants are thriving, the grass is greening, and snow is swirling around like it's been shaken out of some gigantic snow machine. When I open the back door to let the dogs out, they take one quick look, see the snow falling AGAIN and hurry back under the table. Their eyes say No way! Simon had his Spring Is In The Air program at school this morning, sang and danced with the the other kindergarteners, wore a big blue necktie over his white shirt. Every afternoon when he comes home he changes into his Batman clothes, cape with bat-ears and all, and is Batman for the rest of the day. Seems impossible to look out the window today and know that school will be out for the summer in a few weeks. Napowrimo is finally over, so now I can go clean my house without feeling I really should be doing something else!

My new book from Amazon came: the left-handed story, Writing and the Writer's Life, by Nancy Willard. An eclectic collection of essays. I have become an Amazon addict. It gives me something to look forward to. Besides blogging, I mean.

"Our memories, too, make journeys. What is lost comes back to find us when we need to be found." --Nancy Willard