Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cautionary Tales

I watched the season premier of V last night--I liked it. But I kinda thought I was being hit on from the Right side, because the script could have dripped directly from the pens of Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, and Rush Limbaugh. What with the Visitors from space sending out messages of Peace and Hope, and *gasp* Free Medical Care for everybody. "You mean, like, Universal Health Care?" shouts one of the actors.

And, yes, Virginia, the attractive, tall Visitors outwardly beautiful appearance belies the slimy lizards beneath their skins. It all kinda left me wondering if I had just been assaulted by a rather thinly-veiled Cautionary Tale directed at the Obama Administration.

Or am I just being paranoid in the aftermath of Republican victories in yesterday's elections? But I liked it. I'll watch it again.

AND. I am reading COSMIC CONVERSATIONS--Dialogues on the Nature of the Universe and the Search for Reality, by Stephan Martin,
featuring interviews with Brian Swimme, Fred Alan Wolf, and several others. The book begins, "On a clear night, step outside beneath the star-flecked sky and listen,"...and continues, "If you let the immensity of the silence speak to you, questions may spontaneously appear."

Well, yeah. Stephan Martin suggests:"What is the universe?" And I add "Where is the universe?" And, "Why?" To Where I would answer Everywhere and Nowhere. The Why seems easier, although there are so many answers offered by various philosophies and religions...the Hindu version probably comes closest to my Mormon Christianity, with its Tantric view of the universe as "thread, flow, and continuity," in that scripture tells me "worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose...The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come, and there is no end...."

Stephan Martin asks questions concerning our relationship to the universe, and concludes, "We are Universe!" He quotes Clifford Matthews, professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois, saying that we can sum up everything we've learned through science about the universe in, just four words: "We are recycled stardust," that every atom of us, and of everything we know and see around us was created in the exploding bodies of stars. "WE are deeply interconnected with everything." We are them. They are us.

Maybe when it come right down to it, we really all do see things basically the same--whether our culture tells us the universe rides on the back of a giant turtle or is a thing created of Mind. As to what happened before, or outside the event point we've all heard about--that mysterious spark that began space, time, life--it's speculation. I'm with Bernard Haisch, who says that "Aristotle was basically on the right track when he said we need a prime cause...we might call it God." Why not?

WHatever you call it, when it comes to contemplating life, space/time, and the universe, I like what Albert Einstein said: we have to believe that everything is a miracle, or that nothing is. "We are process, not reality," says anthropologist/archeologist/poet Loren Eiseley (whose books I adore).

"Like a wave continually cresting from its origin," says Barbara Marx Hubbard, in Cosmic Conversations, "the universe has been engaged in an uninterrupted process of change that has surged from its beginning through atoms, molecules, stars, planets, cells, and now lately, humans. Of course, evolution does not end with humans, starfish, pine trees, or any of the life that surrounds us,...accelerating...with changes taking place all around us every day. After all, we ourselves change many time throughout the course of a lifetime, if not each day. WHere is it all going? you may ask."

Then why, I ask, is it so blasphemous to believe the old Mormon proverb, "As man now is, God once was. And as God now is, man may become." (?)

Anyway, whatever your philosophic persuasions may be, Cosmic Conversations is as its back cover describes it, "an eloquent but tough-minded" journey through "searching and heartfelt questions put to many of the world's leading scientists and spiritual wisdom keepers." A good read!

Up next: John Muir's Nature Writings.

Photo: The Crab Nebula from Hubble. Click it!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Pickles, Brian Crane

Happy Halloween!


Here, see how
the pumpkins are fat
and ready for the knife,
the apples ready for the teeth,
their white flesh,
their golden flesh sweet
and ready for the pans.

See how our grins
and our toothy smiles are
their mirror,
their candled, fire-lit eyes
alive for a night
then dark, like ours,
pans-empty, bellies-full
of sweets, wishes, hopes,
and lies.

Jacob is going to dress up as a mummy for Halloween. Simon will be the Incredible Hulk (again). Nelson, in the comic strip Pickles is going as God. I LOVE Pickles! This Halloween, maybe I will be Ms. God. What d'you think?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Try to Remember....

Just saw a delightful version of The Fantasticks last night at the Ampitheater in Layton--a perfect night, cool and starry, with a huge orange half-moon. We tried to see this charming play years ago when we were in NYC, at its original home in the little off-broadway Sullivan Street theater, but it had closed. The show ran there for 42 years. Jerry Orbach (of Law & Order) played the first El Gallo. Now both he and the theater are gone. They have since torn the old building down, and put in a new GAP store (which closed 6 months later). I don't know what is there now.

Michael Ballam, whose classes at BYU Education Week I am devoted to, and attended all eight faithfully, two weeks ago, said when he last saw the old Sullivan Street Playhouse they were in the process of tearing it down. There were huge garbage dumpsters out in front and they were tossing stuff in. He asked if he could rummage through them, and found a tambourine, which he donated to the Utah Festival Opera. Apparently the Smithsonian has the magic trunk, and some other institution has the girl Luisa's little blue dress.... Things change. We live in a time where we are entertained most often by big-budget films with lots of loud special effects. A quiet little musical like Fantasticks is overwhelmed, is something of a dinosaur, I guess, with no special effects but a little colored confetti, a magic trunk, and a cardboard moon....

Anyway, I went home humming Try to remember a kind of September when grass was green, and grain was yellow....

I also spent a week in blooming California with my son Chris and his family. They flew to Salt Lake, and rented a van. It's a l-o-n-g drive through lots of desert. When we finally reached a WalMart in St. George, my six-year-old grandson Isaac said, "Oh, thank goodness, there are people here!"

Let me tell ya, there were people at Disneyland! -- Hindus, Bikers, Goths, white-bearded Sihks in turbans, Muslims, Lesbians, Jesus-people, people wearing ball caps and Mouse ears, saris, T-shirts that said Out of Order, Lucky, Dead Men Tell No Tales, USA, FBI, Dodgers, STeelers, Michael Jackson Forever, Beatles Forever, Grumpy, Ezekiel, Chocolate Rain, Kids for King Jesus, I Piss Excellence, Sugar Water Purple, Marge in Charge, and Murder the Government. I thought I saw Wanda Sykes coming back on the ferry from Tom Sawyer's Island, and Alec Baldwin in the Toy Story gift shop, Carrot Top in the parking lot, and Sonja Sotomayor, and Santa Claus...but maybe not. Isaac defeated Darth Vadar handily with his light saber at the Jedi School, and Keenan mistook me for the witch who gave Sleeping Beauty a poison apple....

Let me tell ya, I saw more cornrows, and dreds, and beads, and frozen lemonades, and baby strollers, and wheelchairs, and more Jazzi and Rascal electric mobility chairs than I could count. I lost my red hat in the Haunted Mansion, my son lost his sunglasses at the Pirates of the Carribean...people, people everywhere, looking for water, looking for shade, for ice cream, for a place to sit down for a while. We threw pennies and made wishes, watched absolutely fearless sparrows gobble up spilled popcorn, and generally had A GREAT TIME! Fantastick!

Wish you had been there! (Photos in my FaceBook)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Book

Here's my newest little book of sf stories (3), available for friends and family at, if you're interested!

Morning Dove, The Stars as Sheep the Void as Grass, and Too loose Toulouse--written a while ago for Orson Scott Card's Science Fiction class!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Go ahead, CLICK on it! This will make your day!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Having Pi Forever!

Kim Peek is one of us, almost, but not quite. Born in Utah 57 years ago, Kim was something of a celebrity in 1988, when the hit movie "Rainman" came out, starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Kim is what scientists call a mega-savant, remembering every word of the thousands and thousands of books he has read in the areas of literature, mathematics, history, geography, sports, and classical music.

Kim has not learned to button his coat, nor tie his shoes. He relies on his father to do these everyday things for him. Today,Kim is one of as few as 50 known savants in the whole world. According to the article written by Lois M. Collins in today's Deseret News, Kim and his father have a "symbotic" relationship. Kim says simply that he and his father "share the same shadow."

I've been reading "My Stroke of Insight," by Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, who is a neuroanatomist affiliated with the Indiana School of Medicine. She studies brains, and how they work. The book's jacket describes it as "a fascinating journey into the mechanics of the human mind," of right-brain, left-brain functions, anatomical structure and cellular networks, the two hemispheres communicating with one another through "the highway for information transfer," the corpos callosum. When she suffered a massive stroke that bled profusely into her left-brain (the side that allows us to know where "we" end and "other" begins, the analytical side that controls language, and organization of things like numbers and letters, and speech, etc) she was left essentially with only her right-brain--that fluid, spiritual, euphoric, artistic, intuitive right-brain.

Apparently Kim Peeks brain lacks this "highway." the connective tissue that links the right and left hemispheres in your brain, and mine. It is entirely absent. When he readsa book, he reads the left page with his left eye, and the right page with his right eye, simultaneously. And he reads fast, and with total recall. He is a mathematical genius. He is a huge baseball fan. He loves music.

He is very literal, and, until recently, hasn't displayed much of a sense of humor. Now, reports the morning News, "A math genius asks him how far out he can calculate pi. He answers, "3.14159265, then dad takes me to Marie Callenders's and we have pi forever!"

Thursday, July 16, 2009


"...we have the whole tribe behind us and inside us, wherever we go."

A nice article by Orson Scott Card, about our tribal homeland, not our family home, but the homeland of our people. "These days," he says, "It isn't politically correct to talk about 'tribes.'--We're supposed to say 'ethnic groups.' But those are not exact synonyms. A tribe is considerably more than mere shared ethnicity....A tribe commands your loyalty. You look to the tribal homeland as the center."

On the 24th of July our tribe celebrates Pioneer Day with fireworks and parades and reunions and picnics. No matter where in the world your home is, if the tribal homeland is inside you, CELEBRATE!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

ouroboros review

The third issue of ouroboros review is out today. It's available in both hard copy and online editions. It's full of great and wonderful stuff, not to mention that I have two poems in this issue. Have a look! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Glen A Hatton 1907-1982

I love you, Daddy!

Special Souls

Each night I seek out the brightest of stars
and pridefully know that's my father.

by Wiley (AKA Johnny Hart, B.C.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Leaves of Grass

I've been reading a lot of Walt Whitman the last few days. Some of it used to hang as a framed calligraphy on my daughter-in-law Amy's bathroom wall:

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body... . The poet shall not spend his time in unneeded work. He shall know that the ground is always ready ploughed and manured ... others may not know it but he shall. He shall go directly to the creation. His trust shall master the trust of everything he touches ... and shall master all attachment.

(From the Preface to "Leaves of Grass")

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Purple Belt!

Starfish has had his orange karate belt upgraded to PURPLE! Bruce Lee once looked just like this!!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Book of Fours!

...finally finished at 2 am this morning, thanks to my son Pix! Beautiful cover art is by my friend Montana Raven, Maureen Shaughnessy. Thanks to you as well! To see it bigger, go to

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bending It Like Beckham

Simon and Jacob show off their soccer trophies! Congratulations, and good work, guys!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


My best granddaughter, Ashley Natsuki, is receiving a special award tonight for staying all four quarters of the seventh grade on the Honor Roll! No small feat for someone who is also an awesome dancer, who plays both piano and cello, and is a beautiful girl, inside and out! I am so very proud to claim her as mine!

Don't be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily. And ~ you should always own at least one table you can dance on! xo

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mother & Me

She was an artist and a musician. She played a mean piano during the depression for feed-the-kitty dances. She painted landscapes and flowers, and did commercial art work. She designed the label for Joe Apple's Whiskey, and she was the model for the promotional ads for Joe Apple's EZ Tire Changer (so easy even a woman could do it!). She had red hair, freckles on her face, and green eyes. She loved life, and she had a great reverence and respect for all living things. I love her still!

(Eva Pearl Wolfe, October 15, 1909 - March 12, 1992)


Because I did not know
'til now the depths of me,
and heights I never saw, until
the traces of my childhood past
bore witness how my mother gave to me
the world: in infant hands...
a star, a ship, a tree.

Now I lift my hand
and call upon her name.
"Mother, it is I! Your gift,
so dearly held was not given in vain!"
Because I know this now
I give you back the world you gave to me:
the sky, and seas, unbound and limitless,

and never small again.

(My big brother Gaylen wrote music for this, a lovely, rocking melody in a minor key. Made it beautiful! As a boy, he thought she was the most beautiful person in the world, more beautiful than movie stars! So she was.)

Happy Mother's Day to all of you, and to all your mother's, wherever they are!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

All I Want For Christmas...

Starfish has lost both front teeth (and one bottom tooth) in the last few days. He left the tooth fairy a note saying, "I don't need any money. Please bring me a Bakugan toy instead."

The next morning the tooth was gone, and there was a note that said: "I am not Santa Claus. Ha Ha Ha."

She left a folded dollar bill. Ha Ha Ha!

Blessed Be

The universe resounds with the joyful cry I am!
--Alexandr Scriabin

...and thanks to Helen and Hugh for their great camerawork!

Friday, May 01, 2009


I really, really LOVE "Pickles!" Thank you, Brian Crane, from the bottom of my heart!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Remember these beautiful little girls? On August 7, 2006, four-year-old conjoined twins Maliyah and Kendra Herrin made history. Want to put your blog on the give-away list for a free copy of this book? Just visit Not Entirely British before Wednesday, May 6th to learn how!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ding Dong...

...the bells are gonna chime ~ Pull out the stopper!
Let's have a whopper!...

Another great piece of news: two of my poems have been accepted for the 3rd issue of Ouroboros, coming out in July!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Jake and I were working in the back yard yesterday morning, and as the day warmed, the ants began to stir and climb out to let a little sun shine on their winter-stiffened legs and backs. I work a little, and rest my own winter-stiffened legs and back a little, and then work a little more. I was resting when Jacob ran to me with the news, "The ants are having a party!" He kneeled down for a closer look. "I wonder whose birthday it is?" He pointed to various ants in turn. "Is it yours? Is it yours? Is it yours? Look!" he said. "The ants are dancing!" And, in fact, they were.

We do not step on these remarkable little beings at our house. We figure that the earth is wide enough and room enough for all of us to live together peacefully. The Farmers' Almanac (where I found the picture) says if you want the ants to stay out of your house you can use a natural ant repellant, like catnip, mint, cucumber peel, or tansy. I have no idea what tansy is, but I intend to rub a little cucumber peel on my door frame if they decide to party in my house.

Happy Earthday to us all! Party on! And, may I have this dance?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Winnowing the True

Spell for a Poet Getting On

May your hipbones never die.
May you hear the ruckus of mountains
in the Kansas of your age, and when
you go deaf, may you go wildly deaf.

May the neighbors arrive, bringing entire aviaries.
When the last of your hair is gone, may families
lovelier than you can guess colonize
the balds of your head.

May your thumbstick grow leaves.
May the nipples of your breasts drip wine.
And when, leaning into the grass, you watch
the inky sun vanish into the flat page

of the sea, may you join your lawn chair,
each of you content
that nothing is wise forever.

--Lola Haskins

I just spent a fun week-end with poet Lola Haskins, listening to readings, workshops, giving and receiving awards for local poets. Stayed for a night in the white, king-sized bed at the Airport Hilton, ate dinner and lunch, embraced a lot of old friends and made some new ones. I learned that not every line in every poem you write is from heaven, and that most poems start too soon and finish too late. Thanks, Lola, and the Utah State Poetry Society for a grand time! When I go deaf, may I go wildly deaf, content that nothing is wise forever.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Vertu Engendered...

Whan that April with his showeres soote
The drought of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every vein in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendered is the flower;
Whan Zephyrus, eek, with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tender croppes, and the yonge sunne
Hath in the Ram his halve course y-runne,
And smalle fowles maken melodye
That sleepen all the night with open ye
(So pricketh hem Nature in his corages),
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages. . .

--Geoffrey Chaucer

Saturday, April 11, 2009

If You Could Hie to Kolob

My favorite Mormon hymn, all jazzed up! Text by W.W. Phelps (1792-1872), music by Ralph Vaughan, sung by Kirby Heyborne. Enjoy!

(Kolob, a word of Egyptian origin, is supposed, in Mormon theology, to be "the place where God dwells," mentioned in the Book of Abraham, possibly at the core of the Milky Way galaxy--a place of enormous energy, a high density concentration we now call a Black Hole. Sir Fred Hoyle and his associate Jayout Vishna Norlikar, have proposed... "the sheer amount of positrons [electrons with a positive charge, which occur in antimatter] observed toward the galactic center...[suggest] the existence there of some sort of exotic object." Kolob?

For you Battlestar Galactica fans, Kolob is also the inspiration for the planet Kobol, the distant motherworld of the human race, and the planet where life began. In Hebrew, Kokob = Star. W.W. Phelps grave marker is inscribed There is no end to matter/ There is no end to space/ ...etc.)

Who You Are

For all my family and friends: GOOD WISHES FOR A HAPPY EASTER! (Please click! Then choose Words and Music)

Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and feet. (Luke 24:39-40)

Nelson Mandella, in his second inaugural address.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are more powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous. Actually who are you not to be? You are a Child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the Glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it's in everyone. As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Thanks to Patty Butts at Healing Body and Spirit.

Friday, April 10, 2009

He's Here!

Meet Evan, my new grandson, looking sharp in his new hat! 7 lbs 15 ozs, 21 inches. (BTW, Evan, I don't like hats, either!).

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Never Talk to Strangers!

My son Marc tells me that Jacob informed him, "Anyway, Dad, I just thought I would tell you that the Easter Bunny is made up." Marc said, "I asked him how the candies and eggs got hidden?" Jake said, "Some stranger in a bunny suit."

Some stranger in a bunny suit! Now that is really SCARY! :0

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Things That Matter Most

Taking the long view
This poorly titled but really worthwhile story at NPR discusses how the religiosity of Darwin's wife and the death of his youngest child may each have affected his great work.

Death Of Child May Have Influenced Darwin's Work

EXCERPT: In November 1859, Darwin finally published his revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species. Biographer Lyanda Haupt says you can see the influence of Annie's death in his shaping of that book. "He knew so deeply and so personally and viscerally what death was now after Annie's loss," Haupt says. And, yet, in his writing "you see him affirming over and over this circle, the endless unfolding of life."

In the last pages of On the Origin of Species, some say Darwin confronts the meaning of Annie's demise. Darwin takes his readers to a beautiful forest, rich with trees and birds singing everywhere, and reminds us of the beauty we see every day, in things like butterflies and flowers. And he demonstrates, especially, that humans, who can contemplate and love these things, are all products of millions of years of competition, struggle, famine and death — and that this struggle will continue. So, life will keep evolving new forms and new shapes.

Darwin is stating what "we now call the existential dilemma," says Gopnik in his biography. He is saying there are two things that are true: One is that everything dies, and things die for no reason and to no apparent end. And their death is painful. And, that process of living and dying produces something amazing and beautiful and astonishing.

And, Darwin himself writes, "There is grandeur in this view of life … from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

# # # #

From Sterling M. McMurrin's book The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion: "Religion is a matter of faith and hope, or perhaps of mystical experience. It is, to again borrow the words of one of my teachers, Professor Montague, the faith that 'what is highest in spirit is also deepest in nature,' the faith that the things that matter most are not ultimately at the mercy of the things that matter least. And he has said, it may be that there is no God, that 'the existence of all that is beautiful and in any sense good is but the accidental and ineffective by-product of blindly swirling atoms,' that we are alone in a world that cares nothing for us or for the values that we create and sustain -- that we and they are here for a moment only, and are gone, and that eventually there will be no trace of us in the universe. 'A man may well believe that this dreadful thing is true. But only a fool will say in his heart that he is glad that it is true.'"

I, myself, choose to believe that there is meaning and purpose in all this grandeur, that there is an ultimate order behind a system that includes both the incredibly large and the unimaginably small. I choose to blow upon the spark that keeps "a perfect brightness of hope" burning in me. I choose to believe that 'the things that matter most' are forever.

(Thanks to my son Slick for posting the original review of Krulwich's thoughts on Haupt's book on his blog, KnownUnknowns.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My husband says that mathematics is the language of the gods. My grandson Jake, always a little off center, is learning math in kindergarten, and has the concepts of addition and subtraction well under control. He told me yesterday: Hair minus hair equals bald!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Rules of Grammar

Abraham Kaplan, an exponent of Hassidic Judaism, in his analytic paper called "The Meaning of Ritual: Comparisons," published in Reflections on Mormonism, Judaeo-Christian Parallels quotes Edmund R. Leach, writing "In seeking to understand ritual we are, in effect, trying to discover the rules of grammar and syntax of an unknown language." Kaplan says that "Ritual can be regarded as a language, and I am using the word in its broadest sense as a symbol in action." (Italics mine) He continues, "But language is not constituted by a grammar and syntax alone; it must also have a semantics and be a carrier of meaning."

Interpretation of this symbolic language then becomes prime force behind understanding the actions performed. So, who is the interpreter of the Mormon Temple ritual as it is being performed tomorrow night in HBO's Big Love? We, as viewers? The writers? The producers? Can symbols that hold specific meaning as part of a foreign language, to be understood only in terms of the whole system, be communicated and understood in the short and fictitious context of an hour of TV?
Even if it is relevant to the story line? Will it lead too easily to distorted conceptions of Mormonism?

For us Mormons, temple symbolism is something which, in some way, really is what it signifies. No mystery here. No "secret." Just the symbol, rich in meaning, with levels of nuance, making something concrete that is abstract. If we then, privately choose to wear "magic" underwear that reminds us to eat healthily, to pray, to be honest--why should this become a public matter? Whose business should it be but ours, privately? Who gives HBO invasion of privacy rights concerning private temple rituals and sacraments (or their interpretations thereof)? Does your neighbor have the right to come into your house and then broadcast things he has found on your bookshelf, or in your fridge and cupboards to the whole neighborhood, because it is "relevant" to a funny story he is writing about you?

Just wondering. Next question: Does it matter? No. Should I care? Probably.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

What I Learned in Church Today...

...and I should frame it and hang it on my wall: "Don't worry. Everything will be okay in the end. If it isn't okay, then it isn't the end."


Tuesday, March 03, 2009



If you are lucky
you will carry one night with you.
~ Michelle McGrane

Tomorrow is a very long time away.
Above you Cassiopeia boasts of her arrogant beauty.
Below you the dust of some night-blooming
flower clings to your feet as you walk among pedestrians
and bicycles across the Pont des Iles toward Ville-Marie.
This is how you come to the end.

If you are lucky
you will carry one night with you.

You may forever after lie awake
in the dark, hour after hour
as if you had died, and time
no longer matters, precise in its disbelief
that tomorrow will be better. Think of it
this way: pretend that you are walking
toward someone who waits for you
in fog, just across the bridge.

If you are lucky
you will carry one night with you.

When you come to the other side, and the fog lifts,
you find a tavern that sells Maranges,
and an old woman sells flowers that smell of some
night-blooming thing you can almost recall;
for that moment, standing on the edge
of memory: something that might really have happened.

If you are lucky
you will carry one night with you.

Monday, March 02, 2009

ReadWritePoem (Words)

Counting-Out Rhyme

Silver bark of beech, and sallow
Bark of yellow birch and yellow
Twig of willow.

Stripe of green in moosewood maple,
Colour seen in leaf of apple,
Bark of popple.

Wood of popple pale as moonbeam,
Wood of oak for yoke and barn-beam,
Wood of hornbeam.

Silver bark of beech, and hollow
Stem of elder, tall and yellow
Twig of willow.

~Edna St. Vincent Millay

(Read it out loud!)

Saturday, February 21, 2009


For a few weeks I have been at a loss for words. Taking myself too seriously, or something like that. Maybe it was viewing BodyWorlds. Or burying the sparrow with my grandson. Or my creaky back. Or whatever. But I've been feeling, um, unsettled. Doubting the status quo. A weathervane.

Yesterday Larry H Miller died in Salt Lake City, a man I didn't know, (and you've probably never heard of). But he was famous around here. He died of diabetes and kidney failure. There was a picture of him in today's newspaper, Larry as a teenager, looking young and fresh--even handsome--something I would never have imagined. He was a multi-millionaire and lived in a huge house not too far away...the sight of it would make you gasp, it was that big. He graduated from high school with a 1.77 GPA, and dropped out after six weeks at the University of Utah. He started out selling cars, and at the time of his death he owned 74 business enterprises--car dealerships, movie theaters, a shopping mall, a movie production company, restaurants, TV and radio stations, a professional baseball team, an NBA franchise (the Utah Jazz).... He was a creative genius.

Now he has gone "over the hill, as we all must," according to writer Jim Harrison, in his book Returning to Earth. Today I went alone to see The Reader. Since my movie-buddy Nila died last year, (and my husband chooses not to go to R-rated films) I have begun taking myself once in a while. Not often, but I decided that it's NOW or NEVER. I think The Reader was beautifully done, exceptionally performed. I loved it! But it didn't help this fluctuating, mutable, weathervane of stuff I have been experiencing lately. Maybe it's because this May I turn seventy. Seventy. Elizabeth Kubler Ross said it: If there are things you want to do, do them NOW. I can't say it any better than that.

Now I am going to finish my Pepsi, visit some blog-friends, listen to Garrison Keillor, and watch some TV. I'll feel better tomorrow.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert ~ Worth Saving

*Thank you Poet Mom, January O'Neil

Monday, January 26, 2009

Broken Tea Bowls

"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."

--Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell to Arms

I learned something valuable yesterday. I learned about broken Japanese tea bowls, and about the Japanese Wabi aesthetic. According to Zen-cha Roku, Wabi means lacking something, having things run contrary to our desires, being frustrated in our wishes. Things imperfect, things irregular or damaged. Like me, and probably like you, too.

These irreplaceable antique porcelain Japanese tea bowls used in tea ceremonies sometimes become cracked or broken. They are not throwaways. The broken bowls are painstakingly repaired with a mixture of lacquer and gold, whereby they become more valuable, the repaired bowl worth more than the original. They say that the repairs lend character and beauty to the bowl, the repaired imperfections enhancing the design, and they are prized all the more.

Crystal, my teacher, said that once she and her mother were driving in the canyon, and they had just passed one of those signs that warn: WATCH FOR FALLING ROCKS, when a landslide of boulders came crashing down on their car. One of her tires was ripped off its bent rim, the windows were broken out. Her injured mother stayed in the car, sitting in a sea of broken glass. Crystal got out, and began to pound on the dented hood. "Why ME?" she asked the mountain. "WHY ME?" I mean, how many times have you read that sign--and NEVER had any rocks fall on you? DO you know of ANYONE who ever had rocks fall on them? Why me, indeed. Crystal said when she was a child, and was faced with disappointments and hurts, her dad always told her to "Cowboy up!"

But, you know what? When I first learned about my melanoma, my first reaction was Why me? Then I thought, Because. Just because. A hundred 'why's'. A hundred 'becauses.' Why not me? Joseph Wirthlin, an LDS Apostle said last October, "The dial on the wheel of sorrow eventually points to each of us. No one is exempt." But you know what else? Nobody ever promised it was going to be roses all the way. The poet Theodore Roethke said it: "I learn by going where I have to go." Sometimes we just have to "Cowboy up."

A note I discovered once among some old papers: Adversity helps men to rise above themselves.

My husband said once, a long time ago, "When you think of the vastness and enormity of the universe, and of the billions and billions of planets and stars, doesn't it make you feel small and insignificant?" Then he added, "Me, neither!"

We are all like the precious flower vase made by Rikyo called Onjoji, and a beautiful tea bowl named Seppo, made by Koatsu--prized all the more because they were cracked, and have been fixed. We may be imperfect, but that's okay.

My favorite songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen wrote: Ring the bells that still can ring/ Forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack in everything/ That's how the light gets in.

Is that true? I think so. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Everything is Possible... Tout est Possible...

Share this image by photographer Karine Doche with your friends. Make it circulate!

NOTE, 1-27-09: A few nights ago on the news, they featured a Muslim Children's Choir here in SLC, singing with a Jewish Children's Choir. After singing songs from each culture, one of the many songs they sang was "We Are Family." Afterward, the people in the audience (mostly parents) cried and embraced one another. I was very touched. The children are performing again next week in the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle on Temple Square.

Monday and Me

This is an old snapshot of me and a house sparrow named Monday. I was 13 or so. Monday was blown out of her nest in our Chinese Elm tree when she was a baby, and she never really understood that she was a bird, and not a person. Neither did we. She was a loved member of the family, until the day she died.

We buried a sparrow the other day (my grandson Jacob and I) who somehow laid himself down to die on my doorstep--none the worse, for being dead. Jacob noticed the eyes, still dark and shiny, were open. Did he crash into the window? Was he attacked by bigger birds in an argument over seeds I threw out the night before? Or was he sick, or old? Jake helped me dig a hole where flowers will grow in spring. We covered him with a napkin, Jake said it would "be easy for him to fly out someday, when he comes alive again." I agreed. I said a few words about how Heavenly Father notices the fall of sparrows. I shed a few tears, (sentimental me!), and I thought about a book I am reading called Returning to Earth, by Jim Harrison, which the back cover says is a "moving meditation on life and afterlife," with a "fierce gentle beauty." And I thought about this bird, and all of us. Harrison writes of a mine disaster where, over a period of 20 years, nearly 2,000 men had died: In the dream I finally understood that death and numbers don't cohere. Everyone is "one." An accident report might say that nine men died, four of them in their teens, but each death was "one." Each of six million Jews was "one." With death it is a series of "ones."

Last week we went to see Dr. Gunther von Hagens' BODYWORLDS at The Leonardo Museum downtown featuring "a unique collection of over 200 authentic human specimens, real people, "plastinated." Men, women, babies, a camel, a camel baby.... I am not going to discuss the ethics of the exhibition. It was awesome. It was even inspiring, as they promised it would be. People doing things in death I'm sure they never dreamed they would do, in life--skiing, ballet dancing, ice-skating, balancing beautifully and perfectly in aesthetic displays that invited all of us to contemplate and reflect on the unimaginable complexity and elegance of the human body. Each of the collection of "over 200" in the series was "one." As was the sparrow Jacob and I buried. As we all are.