I turned on the lights, the TV and the radio
Still, I can’t escape the ghost of you
What has happened to it all?
Crazy, some would say
Where is the life that I recognize?
But I won’t cry for yesterday, there’s an ordinary world
Somehow I have to find
And, as I try to make my way to the ordinary world
I will learn to survive
Is my World
… the rest “Housekeeping”
We mourn the broken things, chair legs
wrenched from their seats, chipped plates,
the threadbare clothes. We work the magic
of glue, drive the nails, mend the holes.
We save what we can, melt small pieces
of soap, gather fallen
As a way to live a life and leave it, one could do worse.
Born of a humble & poor family,
Received minimum education,
Learnt how to live by himself at fourteen,
Survived storms, one after another:
Bullets, starvation … the rest “Autobiography”
Forgot to check the mail yesterday, and this morning a nice surprise.
The poems date from 1966 and they are translated into English by the author.
Some people like their books to be in pristine condition but I have become less picky over the years. There is an inscription in this book that puts a smile on my face.
“To Another World Citizen…”—Chris Iverson, Clara Dugan, Shannon & Meghan
I posted the untitled first poem from this collection the other day. I repeat it again here.
If you have time to chatter
If you have time to read
Walk into mountain, desert and ocean
If you have time to walk
sing songs and dance
If you have time to dance
Sit quietly, you Happy Lucky Idiot
And a random selection:
Sharpening a Knife
Nanao, keep your knife clean
Nanao, keep your mind clean
Sea breeze is bad for a knife they say
Sea breeze is good for a m mind they say
Sea Breeze not bad for a knife
Sharpen your knife, that’s all
Sea breeze neither bad nor good
The ocean a whetstone for mind
A clean knife mind—Iriomote, Japan, Under the Tropic of Cancer, February 1976
A clean mind ocean
Nanao, sleep well tonight
Blossoming crinum lily as a shelter
The coral sand beach as a bed
The Southern Cross as a pillow.
Line three of Sharpening a Knife is typed here as it appears in the print version but I suspect a possible editing mistake. Perhaps it should read “Sea breeze is good for the mind they say.”
By the way, I ordered this book from AbeBooks which I recommend if you are looking for something out of print.
My friend Rex Siegler uses old-school tools. Visit “…and my typewriter too.“
Walt Whitman’s poetry frames scenes from 1920s New York in this film classic.
Billed as ‘a study of the modern Babylon-on-the-Hudson’, the short film Manhatta (1921) captures the rapidly developing cityscape of New York in the early 1920s. Made in … the rest “Manhatta (1921)”
… the rest “Portrait in Summer”
Portrait in Summer
You wander in and out of rain.
The city encloses you. You feel
the darkening of its metals, above ground
and below. Every night
you touch a boundary you don’t understand.
Even asleep you crave sleep,
Emma Lazarus was born on this date in 1849. Her verse was once a celebration and a welcome. Now it has become nostalgic lament. Please re-awaken Mother of Exiles.
… the rest “The New Colossus”
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
If you have time to chatter,
If you have time to read,
Walk into mountain, desert and ocean.
If you have time to walk,
Sing songs and dance.
If you have time to dance,—excerpted from How To Live on the Planet Earth: Collected Poems
Sit quietly, you Happy Lucky Idiot.
Learn these guidelines and practice them.
- Some evening you will see light reflect off the corner of her mouth. You will know that if the light was from the moon, it traveled for 1.3 seconds, but if it came all
If I can’t save us
then let me feel you
happy and safe
under my chin.
If this will drown
then let us drink starlight
nap under trees
sing on beaches—
the morning rush to sit indoors is for
If we are dying
then let me rip open
and bleed Love,
spill it, spend it
see how much
the reward for misers is
If this life is ending
then let me begin—Lynna Odel (2019)
a new one
Lynna’s personal take on fighting climate change has wisdom.
There’s something I should tell you
Before I take your blindfold off
I’ve been twisted and turned
By what I have learned
But my blood is warm
A dear friend of mine and I were recently discussing some of the surprising educational blessings we received in high school in Hutchinson, Kansas. The music program was exceptional, with some truly dedicated teachers. (Thank you Jim Swiggart and Mike … the rest “Reciting The Hollow Men”
I feel the moment of my arms
Hanging from bone levers off my spine.
They sway like untethered booms,
Why are they made so long?
I use the ends of them for
Cracking eggs, gripping handles,
Pressing keys. … the rest “Reach”
… the rest “We Real Cool”
THE POOL PLAYERS.
SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL.
We real cool. We
Left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
Sing sin. We
Yesterday, April 13th, was the birthday of poet Seamus Heaney. My father’s birthday is also this month and when I pulled this volume of Heaney’s poems off my bookshelf, I remembered that this was yet another gift of verse my dad had given to me a number of years ago.
Here’s a poem about fathers and sons. (My father is alive and well, despite what the sentiment of the verse implies.)
My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horses strained at his clicking tongue.
As expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the header, with a single pluck
Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land.
His eye Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.
I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.
I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.
I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,—Seamus Heaney, Poems 1965-1975
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.
Twenty years old.
The man had game.
White bee, you buzz in my soul, drunk with honey, and your flight winds in slow spirals of smoke.
I am the one without hope, the word without echoes, he who lost everything and he who had everything.
Last hawser, in you creaks my last longing. In my barren land you are the final rose.
Ah you who are silent!
Let your deep eyes close. There the night flutters. Ah your body, a frightened statue, naked.
You have deep eyes in which the night flails. Cool arms of flowers and a lap of rose.
Your breasts seem like white snails. A butterfly of shadow has come to sleep on your belly.
Ah you who are silent!
Here is the solitude from which you are absent. It is raining. The sea wind is hunting stray gulls.
The water walks barefoot in the wet streets. From that tree the leaves complain as though they were sick.
White bee, even when you are gone you buzz in my soul. You live again in time, slender and silent.
Ah you who are silent!—Pablo Neruda, From Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, Translated by W.S. Merwin
… the rest “1807 – Wordsworth Foretells Gutting of E.P.A.”
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that
Some women have big
wait thirty minutes after eating
and deep check the safety
Those women are likely up to something.
I would hope so.
One morning the God of our universe
waved a soapy cosmic wand about himself
and dragged our stars into existence.
He stood contemplating the large bubble of light
as it undulated and shimmered,
drifting towards the edge of his vision.… the rest “Maker”