Wednesday, January 30, 2019

"When you get older, it is a bit like being an adolescent – every day is different. It is a strange thing. You are proceeding into the unknown, which is different from growing up and proceeding into the known."

Susan Hiller

Friday, January 18, 2019

First draft/ The Poems Themselves

When the poet dies
it isn't like the end of coal
or the domestic auto industry.
The assembly lines don't pause
lake freighters aren't stilled at their docks
few jobs are lost, mortgages defaulted.

If they were old

maybe the poems ended years ago,
and their publisher has been compiling
their old essays for decades.

And after some lamentations, public

private, their world will still
save for the whispering, 
rustling of the poems themselves
as someone in need of something
alights among them
and learns of the smell of an old barn
in 1956 or the look on the faces of deer.


Mary Oliver 1935-2019 "When it's over, I want to say all my life/ I was a bride married to amazement."

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

from The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

“In my outward appearance and life habits I hardly change there’s never been a day that my friends haven’t been able to say, and at a distance, ‘There’s Oliver, still standing around in the weeds. There she is, still scribbling in her notebook,”’ Oliver wrote in Long Life, a book of essays published in 2004.

“But, at the center: I am shaking; I am flashing like tinsel.”

Mary Oliver, a prolific poet whose work garnered a wide audience for its clear, direct explorations of the natural world, died Thursday at her home Hobe Sound, Florida, according to Bill Reichblum, her literary executor. She was 83.

In more than 15 collections of poetry and other works of prose, Oliver’s writing, rooted in the Romantic nature writing tradition and the landscapes she loved, reflected her deep and loving attention to the world around her.

"When for too long I don't go deep enough 
into the woods to see them, they begin to 
enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the 
pinewoods of my inner life. I want to live a life 
full of modesty and praise. Each hoof of each 
animal makes the sign of a heart as it touches 
then lifts away from the ground. Unless you 
believe that heaven is very near, how will you 
find it? Their eyes are pools in which one 
would be content, on any summer afternoon, 
to swim away through the door of the world. 
Then, love and its blessing. Then: heaven."

The Faces of Deer
by Mary Oliver

“He saw clearly how plain and simple - how narrow, even - it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one's existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.” 

from  The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame,

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Winter roads

"My self will be the plain,
wise as winter is gray,
pure as cold posts go
pacing toward what I know."

from The Farm on the Great Plains
by William Stafford

Friday, January 11, 2019

“The things that make us happy make us wise. ” John Crowley - Little Big

As an antidote to poor Marie Kondo, who just wants to bring us joy.

It's Never Too Late to Have a Happy Childhood" is Doktor's Leech's motto as he opens a haul of Creepy and Eerie Magazines, a forbidden delicacy from his childhood. Thanks to an on-line auction at Back to the Past Collectibles ( the Doktor is finally able to see what his mother warned him about.

While my childhood was not unhappy, I also never truly embraced adulthood.  

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Thinking about the memoir

 After the death of the poet Donald Hall I arranged to borrow several books of his essays from the library. Most essays are memoirs of his early experiences collected from the point of view of a man obviously getting on in years. While I enjoyed his essays on other poets I began to find the memoirs less engaging. It is not surprising that many people find memory alluring as they age. It's what they have in abundance. As the Wendell Berry character stated in the quote below, " I see that my life is almost entirely memory and very little time." But what I am seeing is that too often I remember negative experiences. And even if the memories are good I have realized that I need to focus more on experiencing new things, the positives in life. Which seems simplistic, but many things we take an unconscionable amount of time to learn, in retrospect, are. So I have decided memory in moderation, and instead I will focus more on reading my many books, posting to my websites, working on my hobbies and connecting with family and friends. Which means these posts, which have gotten fairly perfunctory over the years will probably get longer. (Sorry)

The quote below is from a post on my Jagged Orbit  website, regarding the purchase of the magazine pictured above. It also deals with the subject of memory and aging. 

the full blog entry is here:

"I have to admit this purchase was rooted very much in nostalgia or perhaps immaturity if you like. I have lately found the rise of irrationalism worldwide troubling and some days the world seems unrecognizable. As I get older my reading and collecting helps keep me mentally active, engaged and grounded. The process of aging has been beautifully described by Wendell Berry in his novel (a favourite of mine) Jayber Crow.

 "Back there at the beginning, as I see it now, my life was all time and almost no memory. Though I knew early of death, it still seemed to be something that happened only to other people, and I stood in an unending river of time that would go on making the same changes and the same returns forever.
     And now, nearing the end, I see that my life is almost entirely memory and very little time." (24)

I try very hard to avoid wallowing in memories of the past, and make sure that I read new and diverse works and authors, but I, like Edward St Ives, cannot resist the occasional winged T-Rex." 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

“I believe in movement. I believe in that lighthearted balloon, the world. I believe in midnight and the hour of noon. But what else do I believe in? Sometimes everything. Sometimes nothing. It fluctuates like light flitting over a pond.” 

from M-Train
by Patti Smith