Monday, March 29, 2010

Monopoly

by Connie Wanek


We used to play, long before we bought real houses.
A roll of the dice could send a girl to jail.
The money was pink, blue, gold as well as green,
and we could own a whole railroad
or speculate in hotels where others dreaded staying:
the cost was extortionary.

At last one person would own everything,
every teaspoon in the dining car, every spike
driven into the planks by immigrants,
every crooked mayor.
But then, with only the clothes on our backs,
we ran outside, laughing.

Friday, March 26, 2010

TGIF the Mozart Way



Your Family’s Farm, Empty

by Nick Lantz


"Buildings can't want."—Donald Rumsfeld


Neither does the ax regret each tree it has bitten,
though it leans against the shed
like a drunk locked out of his own house.



The tractor doesn't moon
over the physique of its youth.
The dry birdbath makes no plans
for the future.

What can the barn recall of the day
you climbed the ladder into its loft and found

a pair of buzzard chicks
skulking among the hay bales?
Your grandfather shot them with a pistol

and kicked them out of the haymow for you
to carry to the ditch beyond the field.

Does the barn remember those shots
exploding inside it like a burst neuron?
The weight of those bodies thudding to earth?

Can the field remember your feet crossing it, the air
heavy with crickets?
Does the ditch remember the bones the coyotes
gnawed and scattered?

You stand here, where the walnut tree was felled,
one foot on the smooth disc of the stump.

The grass makes no demands on your soul.
The cow paths are as forgetful as the rain.

If it is possible,
the kennel
grown over with morning glories
is less than indifferent to silence.



Tonight, Hubs and I are going to the Ballet--Mozart's Requiem. The girls and I usually have a standing date for the Sunday afternoon performances, but since HoneyHaired has ditched us for the sunny beaches of Greece(without a word yet!!!!), CollegeGrrrl has a work ethic and I'm expected to save brains this weekend, Hubby and I will go tonight. I hope he doesn't snore. Loudly. :>)




please note: art by Barrie Van Osdell, set design by Marion Williams, choreography by Adam Hougland, music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Name of a Fish

by Faith Shearin

If winter is a house then summer is a window
in the bedroom of that house. Sorrow is a river
behind the house and happiness is the name

of a fish who swims downstream. The unborn child
who plays in the fragrant garden is named Mavis:
her red hair is made of future and her sleek feet

are wet with dreams. The cat who naps
in the bedroom has his paws in the sun of summer
and his tail in the moonlight of change. You and I

spend years walking up and down the dusty stairs
of the house. Sometimes we stand in the bedroom
and the cat walks towards us like a message.

Sometimes we pick dandelions from the garden
and watch the white heads blow open
in our hands. We are learning to fish in the river

of sorrow; we are undressing for a swim.


please note: photo art by Keith Woodmancy

Trust

(HoneyHaired has left for Greece.)



by Thomas R. Smith

It's like so many other things in life
to which you must say no or yes.
So you take your car to the new mechanic.
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.



The package left with the disreputable-looking
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—
all show up at their intended destinations.

The theft that could have happened doesn't.
Wind finally gets where it was going
through the snowy trees, and the river, even
when frozen, arrives at the right place.

And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life
is delivered, even though you can't read the address.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Week of the Irish. Let the Great World Spin, excerpt.

by Colum McCann

"What Corrigan wanted was a fully believable God, one you could find in the grime of the everyday. The comfort he got from the hard, cold truth--the filth, the war, the poverty--was that life could be capable of small beauties. He wasn't interested in the glorious tales of the afterlife or the notions of a honey-soaked heaven. To him that was a dressing room for hell.


Rather he consoled himself with the fact that, in the real world, when he looked closely into the darkness he might find the presence of a light, damaged and bruised, but a little light all the same. He wanted, quite simply, for the world to be a better place, and he was in the habit of hoping for it. Out of that came some sort of triumph that went beyond theological proof, a cause for optimism against all the evidence.
"Someday the meek might actually want it," he said.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Week of the Irish. Postscript.

by Seamus Heaney


And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightening of flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully-grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you'll park or capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Week of the Irish. The Secret of Roan Inish.




I don't know if many of you have seen this movie. In fact, I forget when it came out--CollegeGrrrl must have been around six or seven and neither of the grrrls remember the movie. But, I do, and I remember being taken aback when I first saw the young actress. She was a ringer for my older daughter, aside from the accent. Glad to have found the videos so I can take a glimpse backwards.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Week of the Irish. The Song of Wandering Aengus.


by: W.B. Yeats


Went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;



And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

please note: art by Kelly Fearing

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Week of the Irish

Small Breaths

by Eileen Carney Hulme


No matter that my heart sinks,
sighs, with the weight of skeletons-

paths I forgot to follow
have slowly sealed

rooms go unrecognised
for fear of change

and I cry at the uncertainty of rainbows.

All the daydreams I stole,
refusing to give them back

are stored as silver dust
and each day is a small breath.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday in CinCity


Another rainy day in CinCity, and if you are tired of reading this I am equally as tired of writing it. I'd like to say it's a warm spring rain, but it's not. Cold and rainy. CollegeGrrrrl is back in her CollegeTown, missing us after a week up at the lake with her stepdad and a day and a half with all the family together. HoneyHaired Grrrl leaves next week with a group from school for Greece.



We need to go shopping for her, but it's a bit hard to get a feel for what their weather will be like. The riots going on there do nothing to motivate TryingVeryHardNotToBeWorried Mom, and think we won't be finding anything in Kevlar at The Gap.

Hubby's at work, also missing the lake and being with us, but aside from sitting in the ER and faking a seizure, I don't think I can fix that.

***if you are prone to be offended by inappropriately hilarious hospital humor, please don't watch this.



I believe we shall pull on our boots and grab an umbrella to go up to the local movie theater to see Ghost Writer. Seems like a damp and British, clandestine type of day. And of course, an afternoon full of English accents is spot on.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The World Loved by Moonlight

by Jane Hirshfield


You must try,
the voice said, to become colder.
I understood at once.
It's like the bodies of gods: cast in bronze,
braced in stone. Only something heartless
could bear the full weight.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Young Man. A Case of Mistaken Identity. A Fatal Head Injury.

In Blackwater Woods

by Mary Oliver


Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Old Neighbors


by Katha Pollitt


The weather's turned, and the old neighbors creep out
from their crammed rooms to blink in the sun, as if
surprised to find they've lived through another winter.



Though steam heat's left them pale and shrunken
like old root vegetables,
Mr. and Mrs. Tozzi are already
hard at work on their front-yard mini-Sicily:
a Virgin Mary birdbath, a thicket of roses,
and the only outdoor aloes in Manhattan.
It's the old immigrant story,
the beautiful babies
grown up into foreigners. Nothing's
turned out the way they planned
as sweethearts in the sinks of Palermo. Still,
each waves a dirt-caked hand
in geriatric fellowship with Stanley,
the former tattoo king of the Merchant Marine,
turning the corner with his shaggy collie,
who's hardly three but trots
arthritically in sympathy. It's only
the young who ask if life's worth living,
notMrs. Sansanowitz, who for the last hour
has been inching her way down the sidewalk,
lifting and placing
her new aluminum walker as carefully
as a spider testing its web. On days like these,
I stand for a long time
under the wild gnarled root of the ancient wisteria,
dry twigs that in a week
will manage a feeble shower of purple blossom,
and I believe it: this is all there is,
all history's brought us here to our only life
to find, if anywhere,
our hanging gardens and our street of gold:
cracked stoops, geraniums, fire escapes, these old
stragglers basking in their bit of sun.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Birthday Cake

by Hayden Carruth

For breakfast I have eaten the last of your birthday cake that you
had left uneaten for five days
and would have left five more before throwing it away.
It is early March now. The winter of illness
is ending. Across the valley
patches of remaining snow make patterns among the hill farms,
among fields and knolls and woodlots,
like forms in a painting, as sure and significant as forms
in a painting. The cake was stale.

But I like stale cake, I even prefer it, which you don't
understand, as I don't understand how you can open
a new box of cereal when the old one is still unfinished.
So many differences. You a woman, I a man,
you still young at forty-two and I growing old at seventy.
Yet how much we love one another.
It seems a miracle. Not mystical, nothing occult,
just the ordinary improbability that occurs
over and over, the stupendousness
of life. Out on the highway on the pavement wet
with snow-melt, cars go whistling past.
And our poetry, yours short-lined and sounding
beautifully vulgar and bluesy
in your woman's bitterness, and mine almost
anything, unpredictable, though people say
too ready a harkening back
to the useless expressiveness and ardor of another
era. But how lovely it was, that time
in my restless memory.
This is the season of mud and thrash, broken limbs and crushed briers
from the winter storms, wetness and rust,
the season of differences, articulable differences that signify
deeper and inarticulable and almost paleolithic
perplexities in our lives, and still
we love one another. We love this house
and this hillside by the highway in upstate New York.
I am too old to write love songs now. I no longer
assert that I love you, but that you love me,
confident in my amazement. The spring
will come soon. We will have more birthdays
with cakes and wine. This valley
will be full of flowers and birds.

please note: photo by im pastor rick

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Treading on Time

excerpt from The Postmistress

by Sarah Blake



"...She wanted to push it all back. No time, no town. Nothing but each other's hands and the tempo of their tread. The sky seemed to bowl up and away, curving like a cat. It was a mild morning, as can sometimes happen, as though May had slid in quietly for this January day. There was no wind at all. They walked along, and under the silent morning sky, she imagined she could pull Time like taffy, stretching it longer and longer between her hands until the finest point had been reached, the point just before breaking, and she could live there. A point at the center of time with no going forward, no looking back. Clasped in this way, without speaking, walking into no discernible ending, she could almost believe they tread on time."


please note: art by Richard Thorn, Endless Sky

Monday, March 1, 2010

Failing and Flying

by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.

Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.