Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fly Story

I must confess, I carry the combined, dare I say compound weight?, of the myriad flies I have killed, and ants, ohmigawd! There was the yellow jacket nest in my bamboo, in the ivy beneath, and in the ivy under the big tree in my front yard, and the dozens of wasp nests that have come down at my hand. How about slugs? We moved into our house in 1981 and in the next few years there was a slug infestation. I was out killing slugs in the deep twilight night after night.

I am grateful to say I never killed any of the possums. At one point I encountered five in the garage where we left the door ajar for the cats. There was the possum who discovered that he could bury himself in the box with all the shipping peanuts and thus stay in for days and days, eating the cats' food, drinking their water and pooping any damn wheres he wanted to. That one drove me crazy.

Finally after days of hunting, that possum let a little of his back show dark amongst the peanuts, so I folded the lid flaps over and gave him a huge shaking on the way out of the garage. I poured him and the peanuts out and I have never seen a possum so pissed before or since. That was the last possum in my garage. You don't have to kill them.

Still, I think I will be reincarnated as a bug...

Fly Story

I've caught you napping,
the way your eyes work, compound
and deep shiny black,
and you fly backwards
as easily as forwards,
and sideways to dodge
the descending hand,
but I've caught you in a jar,
feel you cuss me out.

March 31, 2011 3:48 PM

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Wedding & Absence - Reprise

I got married to this song, chosen by Annie to start the ceremony. Here Comes The Sun, also by the Beatles ended the ceremony. Of course, this arrangement is not the one we used. We used the version on the original album. This wedding took place November 21, 1975. My mother was already a minister and she came out to do the ceremony. My sister came too, both of them from the Kansas City area of Missouri. Two of Ann's three sisters were there from Washington DC and her uncle's family came down from Tacoma, Washington. He gave her away. I got my friend and colleague to come out from Portland to be my best man, and I saw my old college roommate for the last time as he came to the coast from Eugene, Oregon to attend as well. This was entirely too much attention for me and I was a wreck. When it was over and I got back to normal, which took a while, I began saying I would never put myself in a wedding ceremony again. I guess I meant it. I never have.

The picture is Ann's family and me joining it. That's a 70's leisure suit that I am wearing. In the picture from left, on the floor is Chris, Ann's youngest sister, and Carey, her cousin. That's the Sheekley's son John, brother to Carey, and then Jack Sheekley and his wife is behind Chris and Carey. Next to Jack, that's Annie and then me, of course. Ann's older sister Mary is on the far right. Mary is dead now. So is Jack and his wife. So is Ann. That's 50%. That's what time and life do.

Abrupt shift to the old post which appeared here June 21, 2009...this is the first half of that post:

A man I love gave a talk one time and he pointed out that when my distress is mainly mental, or when it is physical at least the mental component can be dealt with by focussing the time frame. He said that there is really nothing wrong right now. He said whenever there is distress it is either coming from the future or the past and if I narrow my time frame to right now my pain will be already over or not yet here. In other words it is nearly always true that there is nothing wrong right now.

When I had the first heart attack, I used this right now thing. Except for the hours of that bloody nose, which was really just irritating, there was nothing wrong right now. The pain was never more than manageable. The drugs did not distress me overmuch right now. Even the shit for brains nurses (the two on shift during the bloody nose) were mostly not there and that was fine with me. I did not fret through any of it.


Today, I'm absent.
I do not sit in this seat.
I deny presence.
I have no purpose
For being gone, but gone I am.
I would be here now
If I was but, no,
I am not here, not waiting
And not writing this.

January 18, 2009 9:08 AM

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Holding You - Reprise

Suzanne is a Leonard Cohen song. I believe I first heard this song while I was overseas in the home some young diplomats who were also Judy Collins fans.

Hmmm, this is what I wrote on 9/3/09... It actually holds true these days too. I have had a harsh disappointment, a rejection by Bank of America that definitely will hurt my pocket book. There are other things. My friends are in trouble, some of them. Ouch.

I had a harsh morning and a relentless afternoon, then I went to a meeting and found out that there were many people struggling harder than I am with these issues of mine. I came home and realized that the next poem simply wasn't one I would post, so I skipped it and came to this one.

Tonight I miss my cat, and with that the tiny little hooks that lead to all the other lost cats, the wife, the mom, the dad, the many friends, all gone now. Thank God I know what to do. I have done it, am doing it. As my friend Vivian says, Relentless Forward Movement. That came from her extreme marathon running husband. He's gone now too, a heart event that occurred at the end of a mountain marathon. He finished, and finished well, but then he died, too far from the medics who could have saved him had they been able to get there. Relentless Forward Movement.

I am in between a rock and a hard place. Nothing new. Same old. Yet this time is new if the stuff in it isn't and I will go on. Of course I will. I am not alone. Nor are you.

Holding You

Spidersilk, silver
and stronger than beautiful
holds you as I spun
for you before this
life in another, knew you
then, knew you would need
it now, my princess.

February 10, 2009 2:48 PM

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lux Arumque, Clandestine Love Reprise

Wiki says:
Eric Whitacre (born January 2, 1970 in Reno, Nevada) is an American composer, conductor and lecturer. He is one of the most popular and performed composers of his generation. In 2008, the all-Whitacre choral CD Cloudburst (released by the British ensemble Polyphony on Hyperion Records) became an international best-seller, topping the classical charts and earning a Grammy nomination.

I'm on a roll of music personal to me. Yesterday's Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen is deeply related to some other Cohen songs. Sisters of Mercy and Suzanne come to mind, though in my life those songs were covered by Judy Collins.

Tonight I want to share Lux Arumque, composed by Eric Whitacre. I sang this piece in the chorale ensemble Unistus, directed by Lonnie Cline, a group associated loosely with Clackamas Community College. Our main body of work was Estonian music but we sang other challenging works. Lux Arumque is not an easy piece to sing well. Lonnie is the Director of Vocal Activities for the college and not only does the concert choir but has a jazz group called Mainstream as well. His special love is Unistus. He put the group together to have a group to take to Estonia once he realized how truly unique Estonia is in the global music scene. Members of Unistus are mainly graduates of the college music program but there were a few of us invited after auditions that did not attend the college. Unfortunately I missed traveling to Estonia. I did travel with them locally and once up to Seattle.

My heart breaks a little thinking about it but my health has forced my retirement from any singing gigs at all.

Changing the subject now,

This is a simple poem of truth. She arrived in my world a force of nature, asking for me directly, right out of the blue. She would come to my house for most of our time together. Her many arrivals and departures are what stood behind my commitment and the price I paid for it when I entered Clandestine Love. Knowing, indeed I knew, Oh shit! This is really going to hurt!, knowing that as sure as anything I have ever known, also I knew this: my world was remade.

Thank you.

Clandestine Love

I do remember.
The moments of waiting for you
To come, the green shape
Of your chariot,
The stamp of the hooves, the snorts
And wild equine eyes
As you tied up out
Front. Then you came in my door.
My world was remade.

February 2, 2009 7:48 PM
Poem first posted August 5, 2009

Friday, March 25, 2011



I lie silently
breathing so quietly I
lie still after you
have loved me like that,
like the sun rises, or moon
waxes, or birds call
after their nesting
served its purpose here today,
now a plenitude.
I lie very still
hoping you will not leave me
to fend for myself.

November 17, 2009 8:27 PM

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Leslie Temple-Thurston

"Leslie Temple-Thurston is a teacher of enlightenment, who for twenty-two years has wholeheartedly dedicated her life to inspiring and guiding people towards reaching their spiritual awakening at this most important and pivotal moment in humanity’s evolution.

“The heart is where heaven and earth meet—
it is the place where our human-ness meets and integrates with our divinity. The journey to discover the heart is the journey to find our true humanity—the perfected human being—that which we really are.”
—Leslie Temple-Thurston

"Leslie mentors individual seekers worldwide who are committed to their work of transformation and awakening to higher states. She guides people towards becoming fully conscious of and knowledgeable about the luminous core of light within themselves. She encourages her committed students, and many others who come to sit with and study with her, to aspire fully and completely towards the state of mystical enlightenment.

"Vision holder and founder of the non-profit organization CoreLight, Leslie and her partner of 18 years Brad Laughlin, developed CoreLight’s school of transformation, which offers online seminars and group meditations, as well as ongoing study courses.

is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the awakening of the global heart. We do this in a variety of ways, which include fostering outer peace in the world through developing personal inner peace. We offer teachings that help people move beyond fear, negativity and egoic limitations and awaken them into their highest potential. We also offer courses and opportunities for selfless/humanitarian service as well as meditation tours to different parts of the world.

"CoreLight’s founder, Leslie Temple-Thurston, offers events and courses worldwide. Her books and extensive audio teachings are available at our webstore and have been translated into many languages.

"Our humanitarian arm, Seeds of Light, assists AIDS orphans and marginalized communities in South Africa and endangered species and ecosystems worldwide."

If you want to find out more, go here... Corelight

(While Leslie now lives in the USA, she is South African.)


Now I am not saying I actually follow this woman. I don't. However, I am very happy she is in the world. I looked into what she has to offer. It is a path, just not my path. They want money. Corelight and especially Seeds of Light does stuff and needs money not only to do that but as well to fund the teaching she is offering.

I went to a Satsang with her in a local church. As I sat in meditation with her I was impelled to raise my hand from three quarters back in the large sanctuary and aim toward her with my open palm. She saw it or felt it and answered me with her own open hand. I got a huge energy rush from that connection. I know I have some ability. So does she. That's enough for me. The woman is real. She's been given a job and she is doing it. So have I, so am I. What are you doing? Times are coming.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What You Said - Reprise

I cringe a little posting this one. It's probably a pun. In my defense, I am convinced that God has a sense of humor, an infinite one to be sure...but He seems to have favorites, puns, pratfalls, practical jokes. He puts thieves in service as messengers, a position which they do really well. He seems to like His humor painted in primary colors with broad strokes. His subtlety lies elsewhere, perhaps in His relation to forgiveness and in His truth telling.

So if you have certain sorts of holes in your moral compass, there is hope for you yet.

One piece of this, over and over in my experience, many of us survive the most incredible circumstances. We so frequently do not deserve any kind of break like that if you look at us through our own human eyes. Yet we often thrive anyway and have amazing "war" stories, sometimes some harrowing war stories for real, the sort you would not relate in public if you are not certain of your audience. Or maybe not even then. But God has an infinite sense of humor as well as infinite justice and infinite mercy, infinitely focussed at each and every point in the cosmos.

I am very happy to tell you I have not received what I deserve. :)

What You Said

You told me so much
Last weekend when I came home.
It's hard to keep it
All in view, but one
Thing you said, at least I think
You said this to me,

"Go and sign no more."

I'm not sure I know what you
Mean by saying that.

January 11, 2009 9:40 AM

This first posted June 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pig Roast

As you can plainly see, this is a boar, and Zelda was a sow. However, she was not that much smaller than this boar. She was a biiiiig pig. She was sweet souled and made a great pet.

Fresh off the composition pages, written in response to images posted by lovely friend Lucy, an English lady living in Britanny, who composes exquisite posts on many subjects, posts like this one...go here to Box Elder.

Pig Roast

If I had a sow
I would name her Zelda Mae
and she would eat corn
and root the fresh earth
and roll in her own mud patch
spouting deep wisdom
with the twitch and sweep
of her tiny curled up tail.

Then comes my birthday
eve and I must weep
as I spill her hot red blood,
then spit and roast her
for the gathering
of all my friends old and new
invited to eat
lovely Zelda Mae.

‎March ‎22, ‎2011 8:09 PM

What is true, Robert Ramberg, somewhat recently released (in 1971) from Navy duty lived on acreage very near Moffett Field where he had been stationed. In 1972, he held a pig roast on his birthday and he did raise Zelda as his pet and he did weep as he killed her. I was just then becoming Annie Sheekley's life mate and she brought me with her to that pig roast. There was a great deal of celebration and a huge feast and of course a sufficiency of Zelda who was a monumental sow. Annie Sheekley had had two main jobs, though in the other one when I met her. She was the front desk clerk at the Hotel Ste Claire in downtown San Jose, but also she had been a cocktail waitress at the Officer's Club on the naval base at Moffett Field. That's where Annie met Ramberg. Annie and I spent our first year together in the apartment she had rented in Mountain View to be near Moffett Field.

Wiki says:
Moffett Federal Airfield, also known as Moffett Field, is a joint civil-military airport located between northern Mountain View and northern Sunnyvale, California, USA. The airport is near the south end of San Francisco Bay, northwest of San Jose. Formerly a United States Navy facility, the former naval air station is now owned and operated by the NASA Ames Research Center.

This picture is taken from the south, more or less over where we lived and looking north to the south portion of San Francisco Bay. We lived in an apartment complex just off Middlefield Road, with Fat Albert, the white rabbit in a cage on the small patio and an abandoned all white kitten we called Alonza.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Prayer of the Children

While it clearly works as a universal lament for the slaughter of innocence, the song was actually written about Bosnia, and the brief excursion away from English is entry into one of the languages of that conflicted land.

And another version, which is closer to the way we sang it...

It is very hard not to weep openly even while singing...

Words and Music by Kurt Bestor


Can you hear the prayer of the children
on bended knee, in the shadow of an unknown room?
Empty eyes with no more tears to cry
turning heavenward toward the light.

Crying," Jesus, help me
to see the morning light of one more day,
but if I should die before I wake,
I pray my soul to take."

Can you feel the hearts of the children
aching for home, for something of their very own.
Reaching hands with nothing to hold onto
but hope for a better day, a better day.

Crying," Jesus, help me
to feel the love again in my own land,
but if unknown roads lead away from home,
give me loving arms, away from harm."

(oooooo la la la la etc etc.) (bridge)

Can you hear the voice of the children
softly pleading for silence in their shattered world?
Angry guns preach a gospel full of hate,
blood of the innocent on their hands.

Crying," Jesus, help me
to feel the sun again upon my face?
For when darkness clears, I know you're near,
bringing peace again."

Dali čujete sve dječje molitve? (coda)
Can you hear the prayer of the children?

"Little Tommie Rush from New Hampshire"

Due to overwhelming work both at the salt mine and here in the troll hole, in the aftermath of dragon slaying on the way home, I am unable to put together a full blown post tonight. However here is a little something.

Wiki says:

Tom Rush (born February 8, 1941) is an American folk and blues singer, songwriter and recording artist.

Rush was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. His father was a teacher at St. Paul's School, in Concord, New Hampshire. Tom began performing in 1961 while studying at Harvard University after graduating from the Groton School. He majored in English literature. Many of his early recordings are versions of Lowland Scots and Appalachian folk songs. He regularly performed at the Club 47 coffeehouse (now called Club Passim) in Cambridge, the Unicorn in Boston and The Main Point in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Rush is credited by Rolling Stone magazine with ushering in the era of the singer/songwriter. In addition to performing his own compositions, he covered songs by Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Murray McLauchlan, David Wiffen and William Hawkins, helping them to gain recognition early in their careers.

Bob Dylan is reputed to be the "Roosevelt Gook" credited as playing piano on the 1966 Elektra album Take A Little Walk With Me, though many believe it was Al Kooper under another name to collect a second musician's fee.


1962 – Tom Rush at the Unicorn
1963 – Got a Mind to Ramble
1963 – Blues, Songs & Ballads
1965 – Tom Rush (Elektra)
1966 – Take a Little Walk with Me
1968 – The Circle Game
1970 – Tom Rush (Columbia)
1970 – Wrong End of the Rainbow
1972 – Merrimack County
1974 – Ladies Love Outlaws
1975 – The Best of Tom Rush (Columbia)
1982 – Tom Rush: New Year
1982 – Tom Rush: Late Night Radio
1991 – Blues, Songs and Ballads [Compilation]
1999 – No Regrets: The Very Best Of Tom Rush
1999 – Wrong End of the Rainbow (Import, Original recording remastered)
2001 – Tom Rush/Take a Little Walk With Me (Import, Original recording remastered)
2001 – Live at Symphony Hall, Boston (Live)
2002 – Merrimack County/Ladies Love Outlaws (Import)
2002 – Take a Little Walk with Me
2003 – Trolling for Owls
2009 – What I Know

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Cannot Rise

Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) (Leviticus 23:23-25). The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are called Asseret Yemey Tstwva, literally “the ten days of return.” It is a time of penance, of recognizing one’s failings and of asking both man and God for forgiveness. If a Jew has sinned, injuring or hurting another person he or she is to go to that person during the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, ask for forgiveness, and if possible, make restitution. As the year begins anew, so should one’s spiritual life. A lovely tradition accompanies Rosh Hashanah: on the afternoon of the New Year, Jews practice Tashlich (literally, “you will cast”), a ceremony of going to a river, praying, and emptying one’s pockets of lint and crumbs. As the water carries away the lint and crumbs that accumulate over the year, so does it represent one’s accumulated sins being carried away. It is important to understand that a Jew must ask forgiveness of his neighbor before asking forgiveness of God on Yom Kippur.

If this is that big a deal for one of the so-called Great Religions, it must be that I am not the only one dealing with forgiveness and making amends on this planet. Hmmm.

It would be my pattern over the course of several years with my last lover that we would go along fine for a long time then something would come up. I would lose my temper and she would take it for a awhile, then she would lose it too. Or else she would be successful this time and would not lose her temper, which was worse. I would invariably go home at some point, while we spent most nights together at her house with me getting up early in the morning to come home and get ready for work. This really did go on for several years.

I would be grateful for the relief of being at home alone and then I would realize that once more most of my distress was not her but me. This is not to say that the grievances were not real. She really did stuff that hurt me and vice versa. There were irresolvable issues and times when I knew she was just wrong for me, not totally but in this particular way. I never did find it necessary to break with her, but there were times when I could not support her in her positions either. There was one time in particular that occurred near the end of our time together. Ultimately she ended our partnership over knowing I was wrong for her in ways basic to her values. During those nights at home I invariably discovered the wrongheaded way I was going about things. Then I would have to return and apologize, hoping I would do better.

I don't mean to say that this was what our relationship was about. Far from it. These things did not happen often. I don't even think once a month - maybe once every couple months, maybe less.

I Cannot Rise

I am at home, not with you,
trying to understand, calm
even though I want to
growl like something wild,
turn and snarl, snapping
at the way it goes.

I am in pain, fear
I am self caused and abused,
and keep solitude
trying to rise up
as if I am not myself
and this ache is just
but does not belong
to me.

November 16, 2009 3:19 PM

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How It Works

Walls (Circus)

Some days are diamonds
Some days are rocks
Some doors are open
Some roads are blocked

Sundowns are golden
Then fade away
But if I never do nothing
I'll get you back some day, 'cause


You got a heart so big
It could crush this town
And I can't hold out forever
Even walls fall down

All around your island
There's a barricade
That keeps out the danger
That holds in the pain

Sometimes you're happy
Sometimes you cry
Half of me is ocean
Half of me is sky, but


Some things are over
Some things go on
Part of me you carry
Part of me is gone, but



Wiki says:
Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty (born October 20, 1950) is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is the frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and was a founding member of the late 1980s supergroup Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch. He has also performed under the pseudonyms of Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr. and Muddy Wilbury.
He has recorded a number of hit singles with the Heartbreakers and as a solo artist, many of which remain heavily played on adult contemporary and classic rock radio. His music, notably his hits, has become popular among younger generations as he continues to host sold-out shows. Throughout his career, Petty and his collaborators have sold 60 million albums.

Petty and his band the Heartbreakers celebrated their 30th anniversary with a tour in 2006

I saw Tom interviewed on some show not too long ago and was truly impressed with his brightness and his humanity. I am not surprised that he is frontman to a band with over thirty years hanging together. He projects a solid character. That's a pretty good job Tom has. I guess he's a pretty good man for the job.

How It Works

I turned the corner,
rounded my jagged outer
wall to find the small
hole I started once.

I found you already there,
chipping away from
your side. Amazing.

November 9, 2009 5:12 AM

Friday, March 18, 2011

Adam's Sacrifice - Reprise

The Creation Of Adam

This poem glances off the myth that informs one facet of my spiritual walk. I say of my life that it is a gesture of witness. I am not gathering witness of everything but only of certain things aimed at a kind of legal argument, something like that. Not really legal but as if I was an attorney gathering for an upcoming arqument and this with no less than God as the judge. As if I could ever win... But still, it is intensely important that I present the human side. That of course is the witness, the human side of the thing.

It is so beautiful here, such a wonderful chance. It is beyond belief the miracle and all that. But it is matched and more by the pain and loss. The price is too steep. That the Buddhist first principle has to be "all life is suffering", that is too much, too big. That you or I or anyone can decide that it is all too much and decide to quit in some way, that you or I or anyone really cannot be blamed even as we withdraw from such a person to protect ourselves or they withdraw to be free of persecution, all this is too steep a price. That is the argument, that it costs too much here.

Adam's Sacrifice

That you should require
My separation from you
Is what baffles me.
It feels bleak and hard
That I must walk out the door.

I know I started
This situation in truth
By my argument
And I think I'm right
But still, what a steep deep price.

And on top of it,
At the high capstone,
You want me to do this thing
As if willingly.

January 7, 2009 11:51 AM
First Posted, May 28, 2009

As I say, this is a myth and only one side of spiritual things for me. I deeply honor the Bodhisattva ideal also:

Guanyin, Bodhisattva of Compassion

Wiki says: Guanyin is the bodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female. The name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin which means "Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World". She is also sometimes referred to as Guanyin Pusa (simplified Chinese: 观音菩萨; pinyin: Guānyīn Púsà; Wade–Giles: Kuan-yin Pu-sah; literally "Bodhisattva Guanyin"). Some Buddhists believe that when one of their adherents departs from this world, they are placed by Guanyin in the heart of a lotus then sent home to the western pure land of Sukhāvatī.

It is generally accepted (in the Chinese community) that Guanyin originated as the Sanskrit Avalokiteśvara (अवलोकितेश्वर), which is her male form. Commonly known in English as the Mercy Goddess or Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin is also revered by Chinese Taoists (sometimes called Daoists) as an Immortal. However, in Taoist mythology, Guanyin has other origination stories which are not directly related to Avalokiteśvara.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Hopes Shiver - Reprise

Elena Dudina, a Spanish woman with a Russian soul...she is a master at photo manipulations and embellishments, creating stunning works of art, generally of remarkably beautiful women. I see deep feminine strength in this work, which appears to have been created quite recently.

Elena, I tried to leave you a message at deviantArt that I was taking this one. In some kind of strange way I am grateful for your skill. That makes no sense but there it is. You have treated me kindly in the past. I trust your life is going very well. I certainly hope for that.

To the rest of you, this is copyrighted material. Behave accordingly, please.

See Elena's work here

The women I like are strong women...little wonder with the mother I grew up with. I understand the special challenge that biology gives to women, and I am fairly interested in all the different ways they try to solve the conundrum of children and career, for example, or the simpler but still difficult issue of marriage itself. My last lover left me, I believe more to stay single than to leave me. At least she said so often enough. And yet in doing so she took on another different sort of relationship aimed at giving a young and talented man a chance to thrive. She adopted a young Mexican illegal who just happened to be an amazing baritone with a yearning for opera. Then they worked out solutions and what happened, he was able to go to Canada with her as she emigrated. In doing so he was able to surface and become legal. So now he can't come back to the States but he is legal going to school for his opera in Vancouver. This took most of two years to set up. She has a singular and unique path. So do her children. One has ties to Japan and a Japanese wife. Her daughter got a Masters at the London School of Economics and has worked for Prince Charles, in a charitable organization involved with consulting with cities and other large scale organizations concerning green spaces and how to get them incorporated into the landscape. That daughter had already spent a semester at university in France and graduated from the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Ann, my wife of twenty years was arguably among the best cross cultural specialists in child welfare in the state of Oregon before she crashed. What a tragedy her loss was...she raised a couple kids in the course of her work, both girls. One of them was totally institutionalized when she took her on, deemed hopeless, but Ann worked hard and eventually that kid became a dental technician and survived easily on her own. The other kid was born to street gutter drunks. She took that kid and engineered a life that led to a higher math degree at Yale and a 100k a year job out of the gate after graduation. Neither of these kids could have done it without Ann. There were of course many others.

My mother graduated from the University of California at Berkeley Phi Beta Kappa and Cum Laude and was valedictorian of her graduating class, sharing the podium at graduation with Harry Truman, who was then President of the United States. She turned down a movie career to go to school. In the last half of her life, she became a published author, a minister in Unity School of Christianity, and set up a training track for Unity ministers to stay in the field and meet the requirements of a Unity degree and license to practice. Prior to her time, all ministerial students were required to go to Unity Village to university there in order to be ordained as Unity Ministers, and that left many aspirants with no way to succeed. Her book, Handbook of Positive Prayer has become a training manual and classic in the Unity library of books. It stays in print long past her death. She received the Myrtle Filmore award for excellence and lifetime achievement and was Minister Emeritus (retired) and had the title of Chaplain to the local Unity ministers at the time of her death near 80. She still worked a little in the last year of her life, and she was highly active with Amnesty International as a letter writer and agitator protesting political prisoners.

All that was after accomplishments as actress and director of plays and a strong career as a high school teacher of English. She also had an opera quality soprano voice when she was young and still in middle age. She and I (and my sister too) all sang in the same church choir when I was in high school. That choir was remarkable and the choir master was dean of the San Jose State school of music. It had four professionally trained voices to anchor each section and these people and the organist were paid performers, soloists.

My Hopes Shiver

If you would hold still
Then I could touch you just so
And we would rise up
As if we had wings.

You insist on your freedom
And my hopes shiver,
Come apart at seams
I didn't know could be there.

You aren't what you seem.
I have to admit
I'm not either. I am less
Without your magic.

January 4, 2009 10:45 AM
This poem and the core of this post was published May 20, 2009.
The stuff about my mother was added tonight.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why You Should Write - Reprise

The Scribe's Refreshment

From the Guardian, UK:

James Frey ignores publishing houses to release new book

through art gallery

Bad boy of American letters prints just 10,000 copies of
his latest work, The Final Testament of the Holy Bible, in
time for Easter

James Frey
James Frey: ‘I tried to write a radical book; I’m releasing it in a radical way.’ Photograph: Antonio Olmos/ Antonio Olmos

These are tough times for the publishing industry, so writers are increasingly turning to unconventional ways to market their work.

There is the horror story printed on toilet paper, the novel composed of 2,000 tattoos etched on volunteers’ skin, the unbound book in a box that can be shuffled and read in any order, and of course the numerous collaborative Wikinovels.

Now the bad boy of American letters, James Frey, has jumped on the bandwagon with the announcement that his next book will be published by an art gallery. Just 10,000 copies will be printed on paper, with an additional collectors’ edition of 1,000 signed volumes.

Frey’s original manuscript will be printed on canvas and displayed by the publisher, the Gagosian gallery in New York, alongside new artworks by several top American artists to illustrate it. They include Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Richard Phillips and Terry Richardson.

Posted today at Jim's website, bigjimindustries

Back in October of 2009, I was reading Bright Shiny Morning, by James Frey. I am nearly done. What a gem. In the back of that book is an essay Jim entitled Music and Talking. He points out that he nearly always writes to loud music in the background. He points out that he always talks first what he writes and that if you talk you will see that language is only partially guided by grammar and mainly guided by context. Thus because he seriously writes as he speaks, he tends to write without many grammatical conventions, which do not show up in speech. He doesn't say, but he knows he should write. I know I should write.

Why You Should Write

The writing you do
reveals the design not yet
in God's world until
your hands and heart place
it precisely, a jewel.
That is what you do.

February 16, 2009 8:28 AM
First posted, October 6, 2009

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finding The Balance - Reprise

"People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American lecturer, philosopher, essayist, and poet, best remembered for leading the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.

"The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love."

Still Life With Woodpecker
- Tom Robbins

"Only mediocrity can be trusted to be always at its best." - Max Beerbohm

Sir Henry Maximilian "Max" Beerbohm (August 24, 1872 – May 20, 1956) was an English essayist, parodist and caricaturist best known today for his 1911 novel Zuleika Dobson.

Finding The Balance

I am here again,
Trying to figure it all,
Trying to square things.

I know I'm not all alone,
That others wish to balance
The ball precisely.

The perfect poem won't fit
In the perfect life.

January 6, 2009 9:57 AM
First published May 25, 2009

Monday, March 14, 2011

Written In The Dead Of Night

Written In The Dead Of Night

Just when I thought you
impossible, you changed me
and I saw the light.

So I say in my
own Puckish way, arrival
is a dialogue,
cross of numbers and changes,
and I confuse my
true solitude with
lost empty separation.

Yes? I ask, and Yes!
you answer in time,
yes in rhythm, and in rhyme.

November 4, 2009 2:58 AM

Oh my, I wonder, perhaps an acid flashback? I admit I can still exactly remember the taste of burning cigarette tobacco and paper when I am high on LSD. (I quit smoking in 1981 and used my last LSD in 1970.) There are other things too that I remember. The key pieces, though, I cannot exactly remember. They do not fit in my ordinary mind. I remember that I had the experiences. I remember some of the stories but not even all of them. However, I am not the only guy who can have deja vu all over again, stark raving sober. I know I am not the only guy. Back in the day, I aimed for that. I aimed to replace my ordinary mind with a fey mind, a mind with the energy of LSD running through it, with all the wild phenomena that can and does happen to some of us. They happened to me. I very much wanted to keep all that close. I was deeply disappointed when LSD turned on me and I tried to turn it back for a while before deciding I could not use it again.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stripped Naked - Reprise

"To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it's based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility." - Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum (born Martha Craven on May 6, 1947) is an American philosopher with a particular interest in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, political philosophy and ethics.

Nussbaum, though not a lawyer, is currently Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, a chair that includes appointments in the Philosophy Department, the Law School, and the Divinity School. She also holds Associate appointments in Classics and Political Science, is a member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and a Board Member of the Human Rights Program. She previously taught at Harvard and Brown where she held the rank of university professor.

"The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore." - Vincent van Gogh

Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colors and emotional impact. He suffered from anxiety and increasingly frequent bouts of mental illness throughout his life and died, largely unknown, at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Little appreciated during his lifetime, his fame grew in the years after his death. Today, he is widely regarded as one of history's greatest painters and an important contributor to the foundations of modern art. Van Gogh did not begin painting until his late twenties, and most of his best-known works were produced during his final two years. He produced more than 2,000 artworks, consisting of around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches

***This is a dream sequence. I am not so thin as I sit here pondering the state of things. I am also not old before my time. So this is a story poem, about someone, not about me directly. Yet, there is the suddenness of a heart event or two in my life and as well some other sudden things, so it is not as if this poem is made from pure imagination.

A spiritual encounter can be sudden and extreme, like a lightning strike. In certain Zen Buddhist lineages the master will use a bamboo cane as a striking tool. As one sits, one can fade, go adrift and the sudden strike of the bamboo will give the passage back to center. Sometimes that sudden return will yield the success one came to meditation to receive.

Stripped Naked

My stark lightning bones
Are thin, and look quite fragile
Reaching for heaven.

I was stripped naked
By a mighty wind
While sure I should stand my ground.

Then you come along,
Take my last picture
Before I fall down silently,
Old before my time.

January 6, 2009 9:15 AM
First posted May 24, 2009

Saturday, March 12, 2011

You Promised Me

"Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error." - Linus Pauling

Linus Carl Pauling (February 28, 1901 – August 19, 1994) was an American chemist, peace activist, author and educator. He was one of the most influential chemists in history and ranks among the most important scientists of the 20th century. Pauling was among the first scientists to work in the fields of quantum chemistry and molecular biology.

Pauling is one of only four individuals to have won more than one Nobel Prize. He is one of only two people awarded Nobel Prizes in different fields (the Chemistry and Peace prizes), the other being Marie Curie (the Chemistry and Physics prizes), and the only person awarded two unshared prizes.

"The biggest mistake is believing there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation -- or a relationship." - Deborah Tannen

Deborah Frances Tannen (born June 7, 1945) is an American academic and professor of linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.. She has been McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences following a term in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Her major theoretical contribution is a poetics of conversation. She showed in her academic work that everyday conversation is made up of linguistic features such as repetition, dialogue, and imagery, that are traditionally regarded as literary.

Tannen has also written several general-audience books on interpersonal communication and public discourse. She became well-known in the United States after her book You Just Don't Understand - Women and Men in Conversation was published in 1990. It remained on the New York Times best seller list for nearly four years (8 months at No.1) and was subsequently translated into 30 other languages.

I see the situation in my poem like a parent to a child perhaps, like a child knowing the patterns, when dad or mom just says shit to get past it, thinking they know the child will not remember after a bit, themselves reading the patterns, only this time the game is different, is no game at all. I have had this experience. Haven't you? This is one of the daily ways of love in the long haul. Love is full of stars and shattered stones, promises and shallow places. We can fly. We can fall. God willing we shall do this all together in the open. God willing we will love each other with full hearts today and tomorrow.

You Promised Me

You gave a promise.
You said I could pick a star
and we would go there
the moment, even
right now should I falter, fall,
and cut myself on
shards, your shattered stones.

You promised me this journey
thinking surely I
was not serious.

October 31, 2009 8:52 PM

Friday, March 11, 2011

Barking At The Grinning Moon - Reprise

"A barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion." - Washington Irving

Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He was best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle", both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.

Irving, along with James Fenimore Cooper, was among the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe, and Irving encouraged American authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allan Poe. Irving was also admired by some European writers, including Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron, Thomas Campbell, Francis Jeffrey, and Charles Dickens. As America's first genuine internationally best-selling author, Irving advocated for writing as a legitimate profession, and argued for stronger laws to protect American writers from copyright infringement.

"Grace must find expression in life, otherwise it is not grace." - Karl Barth

Karl Barth (May 10, 1886 – December 10, 1968) (pronounced "Bart") was a Swiss Reformed theologian whom critics hold to be among the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century; Pope Pius XII described him as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas. Beginning with his experience as a pastor, he rejected his training in the predominant liberal theology typical of 19th-century European Protestantism.

Instead he embarked on a new theological path initially called dialectical theology, due to its stress on the paradoxical nature of divine truth (e.g., God's relationship to humanity embodies both grace and judgment). Other critics have referred to Barth as the father of neo-orthodoxy — a term emphatically rejected by Barth himself. The most accurate description of his work might be "a theology of the Word." Barth's theological thought emphasized the sovereignty of God, particularly through his innovative doctrine of election.

When I encounter events in the spiritual life I press so hard against the edge of me that I wonder if I can move at all sometimes. There is something about seeing with the eyes of God. That resolves some paradoxes. However living today as I am, another bozo on the bus, all I get is that the paradoxes do resolve. Trust me on this.


There are no answers here, not real answers. There are dogmas, tenets, assertions. There is faith. If you try to hold one horn of the dilemma and then try to stuff the other in beside it, it won't fit until the other falls out. It's the shape of the mind, not even really the size of it that's the trouble. The paradox would fit if it was shaped more humanely or the mind shaped closer to God's shape.

There are something like higher dimensions involved. Those words do not have the right shape either...not higher dimensions, not in the scientific sense but yet these words evoke how the infinite is present in mortal life. So we say that eternity lies at right angles to spacetime and that has to suffice.

Barking At The Grinning Moon

Without God I'm fucked,
Without free will, this also
Screws me to the wall.

There is no matter
More important than my time
And what I might do
Yet nothing's required.
God, how shall I reconcile
Me with paradox?

If you think I know
The answers, then you're barking
At the grinning moon.
He taught me this truth:
It's the questions that move worlds.
Answers will kill them.

January 5, 2009 2:20 PM

This is the second half of yesterday's reprise, first posted May 23, 2009.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Seeking God Himself - Reprise

Green Flames

"Religion often gets credit for curing rascals when old age is the real medicine."

"The hardest fact in the world to accept is the inevitable mixture of evil with good in all things." - both attributed to Austin O'Malley, b. 1858 - d. 1932

This poem was written over two years ago, written in the winter before my first heart event. In those days they found two clogged veins and fixed one, using a stent to hold it open. In those days I had no atrial fibrillation, no ventricular hesitations, no apparent thickened heart muscles creating stiffened diastolic response, a heart failure that won't kill me of itself but is very good at making me feel awful quite often and very likely to help me stroke out.

I have to deal with turkeys. I am schmoozing my Warfarin clinic nurse to get her to see things my way. She is far too conservative and as a result my warfarin number is way too high. That can lead to really bad bleeds if I should pop something somehow. But I don't want to piss her off. She is an essential team player. The phlebotomy team at the local lab is terrible at finding my veins. But the lab over by my work is batting one thousand. Local turkeys revealed by distant competence. I have to give blood samples twice a week at this point.

This is the heaviness of living with my own death. That is close and present even if I still have twenty years. My mother had something like ten years past her first heart event, but it was much bigger than mine. I am living with lung trouble daily right now but it is not really lungs, it is the backup of blood at my lungs because my heart doesn't move the blood well.

I am not saying these things to get sympathy, which they say you can find between shit and syphilis in the dictionary. I am pointing out that any spirit filled life that is true does not hesitate on this threshold. There is somewhere in me that is just fine right now even as I cough so hard I faint sometimes and have to sleep sitting up in a chair.

Note. Sitting up in a chair is one recommended posture for people in overt heart trouble...they say do not lie down while waiting for the medics. They say remain standing or sitting upright as best you can. I tie that recommendation to this sleeping posture I must take. I really can't lie down right now and may never be able to again. That's not good for the edema in my legs, also part of this trouble of course.

Seeking God Himself

I carry this weight
Doing my part as you do
Accepting the chill.
At the edge of me
Is the bud waiting for spring,
Then to swell, intense,
Ready to burst with
Green flames, to look for lifemates,
To seek God Himself.

January 5, 2009 9:00 AM

To burst with green flames...a solution to heart pain. <== Look at that! :D That sentence was written in the original post.

First posted May 23, 2009

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hot Leads - Reprise

Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice

Michael John Douglas (born September 5, 1951), better known as Michael Keaton, is an American actor, well known for his early comedic roles in films such as Night Shift, Mr. Mom, Johnny Dangerously, Beetlejuice, and for his dramatic portrayal of Batman in Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns, as well as lead roles in other films including The Paper, Jackie Brown, Jack Frost, White Noise, Cars, The Other Guys and Toy Story 3.

I think I looked a little like Michael at one point.

I have direct experience of altered states. It was a long time ago, November, 1966. It was also not fun. I did not do drugs for fun, not after this certain change, this turning point. At the moment of the change, something else happened. This was not only LSD. I have been working hard ever since, casting out what needs to go, keeping what needs to be kept. I share what I know by writing poems among other things. Here is one side of the experience. If encountering raw spirit is much like grabbing hot electrical leads, then one could surmise some things.

A spiritual event is not always like that. The encounter with spirit can be amazing and easy, peaceful, full of love, and the first of the two that happened to me was just like that. But it can also be a dangerous matter, and the continuation a couple days later blew my mind out. The Bardo Thodol was written as a guide for Tibetans who might enter demonic realms in their spiritual passage. And more. Because the wise will point out that the bliss of spirit can be even more dangerous, entrapping a soul short of the mark.

The biggest thing to know because raw spirit can burn you, get a guide. Also, if there is such a thing as insulation, then get some of that too. Another thing to know, if spirit is stronger than you, then beef up. These images have actual counterparts in the spiritual disciplines, all of which offer techniques and living conditions, teachers and communities which offer protection and training. The only reason to strike out into the spiritual wilderness without discipline, training, guidance, fellowship, tradition and practice would be a direct call of spirit to do it, or as happened to me, by "accident", meaning spirit comes to you.

But that accident was no easy thing. Destined or not, I nearly paid with my life, also with my sanity. The next thing that happened to me was four months in an institution and two more years in exile and on antidepressants, and at least some of that really needed. I have journals from that time. It is amazing to me that I have this double vision. I know I did not feel depressed. I was really excited, chasing spirit, hoping to learn what happened to me, and being convinced it led further than my insides into direct connection with what was central and happening in the world. Even though all this excitement and dedication was true then and now, when I read those journals, I read the work of a depressed young man. Wow.

Hot Leads

I asked if I'll snap
Stretched like this. You said, "Maybe".
That's just friggin fine.

I've been here before,
Took me years to untangle
And stitch a new seam.

This spiritual stuff gets me
All riled up, hair stands on end.

Like grabbing hot leads
And power searing my soul,
I just can't let go.

January 4, 2009 9:14 AM
First Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hard Pressed

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being." - Hafiz of Persia

This morning (meaning the morning that I wrote this poem) I read a passage from The Path To Bliss written by the Dalai Lama in which he points out that the universal only appears in particulars in our experience, that this applies to teachers and students of awakening as much as anyone else. Thus the presence of God Incarnate on the planet, even that, is ever and always deniable by those who cannot see. He points out that the message delivery, being particular even if the message is perfectly universal, can only succeed with those already prepared to receive it in just the way it is given. He calls this preparation the karmic bond between souls.

That is why there must be many teachers of enlightenment. It is not enough that I am ready to receive, in itself miraculous. As well there must be a teacher or a teaching intimate enough that the message would seem to rise up from within me, as if a memory.

Hard Pressed

He cast his salt on
the seasons of nearby souls,
knowing only some
would receive from him,
those who have traveled in his
company, dancing
with him through ages.

Though my heart's universal
my armor is stone,
my salt has true grit,
and I'm hard pressed against my
limited presence.

October 31, 2009 7:33 AM

Listening To Trees

Here’s a wonderful idea by Joseph Cornell, author of Sharing Nature With Children:

If you listen carefully with a stethoscope, you can hear the “heartbeat” of a tree. Find a thin-barked tree more than 6 inches in diameter and place your stethoscope against its trunk. Be very quiet. Move the stethoscope around until you can hear the crackling, gurgling sound of sap flowing up to the branches.

- Listening to Trees

How To Listen To Trees Communicate

1 Surround yourself in a silent environment with plenty of trees and foliage.

2 Be prepared to stay for a long while. Trees are very noble and peaceful. They neither welcome the bird nor beckon for its return. They let things be as they are. Therefore, they won't welcome your willingness to listen, they'll only see you as you are and continue with their normal behavior.

3 You should treat the trees with respect. As you meditate, make sure your respect is noticed. You are sure to be able to hear more clearly in this manner.

4 Listen to the inner sounds of the vegetation and hear them whisper to each other. The sounds will be very quiet, so you must listen closely.

5 Inhale deeply and slowly exhale to feel the discourse of the trees within you.

6 Repeat previous steps as long as you like. Hopefully this will further enlighten you.

Listening To Trees

I had to climb more
than I wanted to get here
in the midst of trees
that sigh your holy
name in the wind, in the night
bright with points of light,
so bright I see you
on the next hill with your ear
pressed against a tree.

October 29, 2009 2:54 PM

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Turn Honesty Into Art - Reprise

"Of all the feats of skill, the most difficult is that of being honest." - Marie de Beausacq

Marie-Laure de Beausacq writes: My grand-mother (Marie de Beausacq), used to sing with Debussy and was a model for Parisian mazazines: here, in Harper's Bazaar, dressed by Patou in 1925

I write: I believe this is the woman who also was an actress, noted for one of the Perils of Pauline silents. I am not sure if this woman is the author of this quote - it may have been an earlier woman of the same name who was perhaps her mother and a woman of letters in Paris.

"There is always a way to be honest without being brutal." - Arthur Dobrin

Arthur Dobrin writes: I am Professor of Humanities at Hofstra University, on Long Island, New York. I began full-time in 1998 and was part-time for 10 years before that. My area is applied ethics (I teach courses in business and journalism ethics, as well as a course in ethics as it applies to everyday life). I also teach, now and then, a course on East African literature. I am also Leader Emeritus of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island, in Garden City. I was the Leader of the Society from 1968-2001. My wife Lyn and I were Peace Corps Volunteers in Kisii, Kenya, from 1965-1967. We both have written books based in Kenya.

"Good design begins with honesty, asks tough questions, comes from collaboration and from trusting your intuition." - Freeman Thomas

Freeman Thomas, born August 20, 1957, is an American automobile and industrial designer who has worked for Porsche, Volkswagen Group, DaimlerChrysler and Ford. In 1999, Thomas was appointed vice president of DaimlerChrysler Advanced Product Design Strategy, later beconing head of their Pacifica Advanced Design Center in 2002. At DaimlerChrysler he oversaw the design of several Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep concept cars and production models. Thomas moved to the Ford Motor Company, taking up the role of Director, Strategic Design for North America on 1 June 2005. He is responsible for developing product design strategies and concept vehicles for the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury Marques.

I know who holds my soul...I am under vows to the Master of Poets. God in this facet. I am under vows as was Hafiz, the Sufi mystic First Poet of Persia. From time to time one feature or another of my situation arises in a poem. Usually I say, Yup. That's true. Then, I say, that's not it though. Turn honesty into art. Yup. That's not it though, or else poems of fantasy and science fiction wouldn't count, and they do. Oh yes, they do. So do shape shifting stories and poems of whimsy. In this particular game it has to resolve into one thing, the poetical Theory of Everything.

Turn Honesty Into Art

The way this thing goes,
This poetry thing happened
And now I'm in vows
Like my man Hafiz
To turn honesty to art
Before the Lord, you,
All of you, spirit
Moving across my heart bones,
I turn in my grave.

Digging myself out
Or maybe digging me in,
Deeper into God.

Written 1/01/2009 7:11 PM
Poem first posted, Friday, May 15, 2009

Saturday, March 5, 2011

In The Thrall Of Pain

Thrall: "O.E. thrael "bondman, serf, slave," from O.N. thraell "slave, servant," probably from P.Gmc. *thrakhilaz, lit. "runner," from root *threh- "to run" (cf. O.H.G. dregil "servant," prop. "runner;" O.E. thraegan, Goth. thragjan "to run").
1. a. One, such as a slave or serf, who is held in bondage. b. One who is intellectually or morally enslaved.
2. Servitude; bondage: "a people in thrall to the miracles of commerce" (Lewis H. Lapham).
tr.v. thralled, thrall·ing, thralls Archaic
To enslave.

Note: P.Gmc. means Proto-Germanic, or the root stock from which the Germanic languages branch, close enough to Germanic to no longer be considered Indo-European.

I find the connection to runner fascinating. I take it that "runner" in this context means a messenger sent by a master.

Also one of the rules of linguistics is demonstrated here, how thre* can be in another context dre*. If you wonder how, check the tongue's position in the mouth when pronouncing th* and d*. Though not the same, they are very close. Linguistics asserts that d-words can evolve into th-words and vice versa.

Thus while thrall means in bondage, tied to lord and land, it can also mean one appointed to a journey for the purpose of a message relayed. In other words, a thrall is freed to a purpose, a state otherwise not achieved. That takes a master and a destiny. It also takes a willing submission.

In The Thrall Of Pain

In the heat of it
I sweat and steam, awash with
dark strong firelight
and close knit wicker
walls curving, center the hole
through which smoke escapes
and my soul flies too
away from your fearful demands
that I rise from death.

October 28, 2009 2:54 PM

Friday, March 4, 2011

Castle Walls - Reprise

Constructed around the same time as the Tower of London (late 11th century), Dover Castle stands as one of the earliest castles built by William the Conqueror after his conquest of Anglo-Saxon England. Duke William had the castle built near an old Roman lighthouse and burgh, which King Harold (the last Saxon king of medieval England) established sometime before the Norman invasion in 1066. None of William’s constructions, however, survive to this day. The great keep dates back to King Henry II’s reign in the 1180s and is still there today.

"Our purpose is to consciously, deliberately evolve toward a wiser, more liberated and luminous state of being; to return to Eden, make friends with the snake, and set up our computers among the wild apple trees. Deep down, all of us are probably aware that some kind of mystical evolution - a melding into the godhead, into love - is our true task. Yet we suppress the notion with considerable force because to admit it is to acknowledge that most of our political gyrations, religious dogmas, social ambitions and financial ploys are not merely counterproductive but trivial. Our mission is to jettison those pointless preoccupations and take on once again the primordial cargo of inexhaustible ecstasy." - Tom Robbins

Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins, born July 22, 1932, is an American author. His best-selling novels are serio-comic, often wildly poetic stories with a strong social and philosophical undercurrent, an irreverent bent, and scenes extrapolated from carefully researched bizarre facts. He is probably best known for his novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues which was made into a movie in 1993 by Gus Van Sant and starring Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco and Keanu Reeves.

I am building now. These last years are under construction. I have come home to myself. I have done my life as I did the beginning of it. I rehearsed and mastered and then began. It is what I do now and not a moment too soon.

Castle Walls

I stand on ramparts
I have built, indeed to lift
Me up to heaven.

But I trained with a master
Who instructed me on doors.

So below my height
Are doors well made, wide open,
And to my left, stairs.

December 31, 2008 3:30 PM
First posted 11 May 2009
and I heartily recommend that post.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This Empty Day - Reprise

"Ikkyu, a fifteenth-century Japanese Zen master and a fine (and strikingly fearless) poet himself, laughingly ridiculed his fellow poets, knowing as he did the distractions and temptations that might come with literary aspirations. His "intimacy with demons" is not to be seen in the light of the occidental romance with alienation, however. In Japanese art, demons are funny little guys, as solid as horses and cows, who gnash their fangs and cross their eyes. Poetry is a way of celebrating the actuality of a nondual universe in all its facets. Its risk is that it declines to exclude demons. Buddhism offers demons a hand and then tries to teach them to sit. But there are tricky little poetry/ego demons that do come along, tempting us with suffering or with insight, with success or failure. There are demons practicing meditation and writing poetry in the same room with the rest of us, and we are all indeed intimate. It didn't really trouble Ikkyu."
- Gary Snyder
Just One Breath: The Practice of Poetry and Meditation

Gary Snyder (born May 8, 1930) is an American poet (often associated with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance), as well as an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist (frequently described as the "poet laureate of Deep Ecology"). Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His work, in his various roles, reflects an immersion in both Buddhist spirituality and nature. Snyder has translated literature into English from ancient Chinese and modern Japanese. For many years, Snyder served as a faculty member at the University of California, Davis, and he also served for a time on the California Arts Council.

Gary was there. So was I. 1967.

There are people on the planet who have to be busy or else they start to itch. I am not one of them.

This Empty Day

This day is empty,
Not even my poem is
Here in this one day.

I am at rest, nothing done.
I lie so still my cat looks
For me without hope.

I watch the light slowly change,
The motes drifting down.

December 28, 2008 12:03 PM
First posted April 21, 2009

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