Thursday, June 25, 2015

To a Mountain Daisy

 - Robert Burns

                                               On Turning One Down with the Plow, in April, 1786


Wee, modest, crimson-tipp├Ęd flow'r,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
            Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my pow'r,
            Thou bonie gem.

Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,
The bonie lark, companion meet,
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet
            Wi' spreck'd breast,
When upward-springing, blythe, to greet
            The purpling east.

Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth
            Amid the storm,
Scarce rear'd above the parent-earth
            Thy tender form.

The flaunting flowers our gardens yield
High shelt'ring woods an' wa's maun shield:
But thou, beneath the random bield
            O' clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble-field
            Unseen, alane.

There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie-bosom sun-ward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head
            In humble guise;
But now the share uptears thy bed,
            And low thou lies!

Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet flow'ret of the rural shade!
By love's simplicity betray'd
            And guileless trust;
Till she, like thee, all soil'd, is laid
            Low i' the dust.

Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd!
Unskilful he to note the card
            Of prudent lore,
Till billows rage and gales blow hard,
            And whelm him o'er!

Such fate to suffering Worth is giv'n,
Who long with wants and woes has striv'n,
By human pride or cunning driv'n
            To mis'ry's brink;
Till, wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n,
            He ruin'd sink!

Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
That fate is thine—no distant date;
Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives elate,
            Full on thy bloom,
Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight
            Shall be thy doom.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Covers

- Rae Armantrout

The man
slapped her bottom
like a man did
in a video,

then he waited
as if for shadow
to completely cover the sun.

Moments later
archeologists found him.

*

The idea that they were reenacting something which had been staged in the first place bothered her. If she wanted to go on, she’d need to ignore this limp chronology. She assumed he was conscious of the same constraint. But she almost always did want to proceed. Procedure! If only either one of them believed in the spontaneity of the original actors and could identify with one. Be one. For this to work, she reasoned, one of us would have to be gone.

*
“Well, look who missed
the fleeting moment,”

Green Giant gloats
over dazed children.

If to transpose
is to know,

we can cover our losses.

But only
If talking,

Formerly food,

Now meant
Not now

So recovery
Ran rings.

If to traverse
is to envelop,

I am held
and sung to sleep.


from: Veil: New and Selected Poems. Copyright 2001.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.


Friday, June 19, 2015

The Jabberwock

- Lewis Carroll

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
the frumious Bandersnatch!"
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the maxome foe he sought-
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.
As in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came.
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack.
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
"Has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Calloh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


from: Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. Copyright 1871

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Past Is Always With Us . . .


. . . whether we like it or even acknowledge it,
and these photographs by Sergey Laurenkov make that connection tangible.

Dear friends, if you’re interested in travel into the past, I will try to help you. But be warned, the history often hides very scary pages, and returning to the present is much more pleasant than traveling into the past.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

poem in praise of menstruation

- Lucille Clifton

if there is a river
more beautiful than this
bright as the blood
red edge of the moon          if
there is a river
more faithful than this
returning each month
to the same delta          if there
is a river
braver than this
coming and coming in a surge
of passion, of pain          if there is
a river
more ancient than this
daughter of eve
mother of cain and of abel          if there is in
the universe such a river          if
there is some where water
more powerful than this wild
water
pray that it flows also
through animals
beautiful and faithful and ancient
and female and brave

from: The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton. Copyright 1991.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Here's to the Ideals in the Constitution This Flag Represents


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

It's A Garden Party - What's the Buzz?




This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

This is my corner bed by the community mailbox. I originally planted it with Lavender, but the neighbor's irrigation was too much for it. Currently it is filled with plants that are tolerant of a variety of conditions. I hardly have to water this bed and it still explodes with life, all because the neighbors like grass and don't understand how irrigation works. By now, even if they figure it out the plants are well enough established to thrive. 

The plants you see are (front to back): Sedum, Coreopsis, Agave, Cape Honeysuckle, & Fortnight Lily. (There is still some Oxalis mixed in with the Sedum.) The California Poppies in the photo are growing outside the bed, in the yard.

I have been having a problem keeping water in my little Bird Bath here. The clay is so porous that once the summer heat sets in (like now) it's gone in a matter of hours. We are looking for either a coating that won't hurt the patrons or a replacement vessel.


Sweet!


Aside from the wonderful scent, my Lavender is usually so full of these little guys, in all sizes and colors, that it seems to be moving on its own. Somewhere nearby there must be hives with wonderful honey. I wonder how far Bees travel for pollen.


The walk to our front door divides the front yard in half, and about 1/2 of the right hand side (as you face the house) is planted with Lavender. I now have four different kinds: Spanish, Grosso, Munstead, & English. Each is a bit different in growing habit, color, and scent. (Yeah. California Poppies are everywhere.)


There's a few things I've learned in life: always throw salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for good luck, and fall in love whenever you can.
(- Practical Magic)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Quote of the Day


When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.
 - John Lennon

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mottled Tuesday

- John Ashbery

Something was about to go laughably wrong,
whether directly at home or here,
on this random shoal pleading with its eyes
till it too breaks loose, caught in a hail of references.
I’ll add one more scoop
to the pile of retail.

Hey, you’re doing it, like I didn’t tell you
to, my sinking laundry boat, point of departure,
my white pomegranate, my swizzle stick.
We’re leaving again of our own volition
for bogus patterned plains streaked by canals,
maybe. Amorous ghosts will pursue us
for a time, but sometimes they get, you know, confused and
forget to stop when we do, as they continue to populate this
fertile land with their own bizarre self-imaginings.
Here’s hoping the referral goes tidily, O brother.
Chime authoritatively with the pop-ups and extras.
Keep your units pliable and folded,
the recourse a mere specter, like you have it coming to you,
awash with the new day and its abominable antithesis,
OK? Don’t be able to make that distinction.


from: A Worldly Country. Copyright 2007.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Lesson for This Sunday

- Derek Walcott

The growing idleness of summer grass
With its frail kites of furious butterflies
Requests the lemonade of simple praise
In scansion gentler than my hammock swings
And rituals no more upsetting than a
Black maid shaking linen as she sings
The plain notes of some Protestant hosanna—
Since I lie idling from the thought in things—

Or so they should, until I hear the cries
Of two small children hunting yellow wings,
Who break my Sabbath with the thought of sin.
Brother and sister, with a common pin,
Frowning like serious lepidopterists.
The little surgeon pierces the thin eyes.
Crouched on plump haunches, as a mantis prays
She shrieks to eviscerate its abdomen.
The lesson is the same. The maid removes
Both prodigies from their interest in science.
The girl, in lemon frock, begins to scream
As the maimed, teetering thing attempts its flight.
She is herself a thing of summery light,
Frail as a flower in this blue August air,
Not marked for some late grief that cannot speak.

The mind swings inward on itself in fear
Swayed towards nausea from each normal sign.
Heredity of cruelty everywhere,
And everywhere the frocks of summer torn,
The long look back to see where choice is born,
As summer grass sways to the scythe’s design.


from: Collected Poems: 1948-1984. Copyright 1986.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

It's A Garden Party - So Far, So Good . . .



This feature, originally known as Saturday Farmer's Market, was created by Heather at Capricious Reader, and then hosted by Chris at Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

Consider me
As one who loved poetry
And persimmons.
- Masaoaka Shiki

This week in the garden:

Red Chrysanthemums are hugging the Copertina Ninebark.


The birthday Rose goes from yellow to peach.


 Crazy Shasta Daisies grown from seed in the 'conservatory' have taken off.


 "The Little Viola That Could'"


Plums are ripening!


 Agave against a Lavender backdrop


Lantana


X


3


Another Rose


Did I say Lavender?


Volunteer!
 This showed up next to the California Poppies
It has flowers like Squash or Cucumbers but I have no idea what it is.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Nellie Clark

 - Edgar Lee Masters
 
I was only eight years old;
And before I grew up and knew what it meant
I had no words for it, except
That I was frightened and told my
Mother; And that my Father got a pistol
And would have killed Charlie, who was a big boy,
Fifteen years old, except for his Mother.
Nevertheless the story clung to me.
But the man who married me, a widower of thirty-five,
Was a newcomer and never heard it
Till two years after we were married.
Then he considered himself cheated,
And the village agreed that I was not really a virgin.
Well, he deserted me, and I died
The following winter.


from: Spoon River Anthology.  Coptright 1915.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Mummy

 - Jessica Hagedorn
 
Montana,
you beat your fists
against museum doors
your bronze dress
shimmering
in the starless night.

The doors are locked,
Montana
dreaming
of snow-white mice
cluttering the shelves
in your kitchen,
snow-white mice
inside the oven,
snow-white mice
clogging
your shiny aluminum sink,
their corpses curled up
like piles
of fluffy cotton.

Mosques are desecrated
and altars overturned
outside the museum's
cool stone walls.
Border skirmishes
seen and heard
in the distance,
delicate bursts
of poppy-red flames.
The wars go on and on,
invading
your dreams.

The mirror reflects
a young man's body
dangling
from a rope
and you gasp:
"O, my brother—"

The doctor
finally lets you in,
unlocking the door.
Forbidden to touch you,
he stares straight ahead,
avoiding your curious glance.
"You're partly Egyptian, aren't you?"
The doctor inquires.

You stalk
the dark museum halls
calling out the name
of your dead lover,
the name of a man
unspoken
since the siege of Troy.
"How did you guess?" You growl,
"Do you have to open graves
to find girls
to fall in love with?"

The doctor smiles,
averting his gaze
from your ravaged face.
He longs to trace
your fish scale dress
with his slender fingers.

Montana
scarlet
shameless
Montana,
you stalk
the dark museum halls
in a rage.

Ripping
your satin gloves
to shreds
you pry open
coffins;
reading
between the lines
you decipher
hieroglyphics
on tombs.
"Any message would do,
you say,
tiny jeweled tears
permanently etched
in the corners
of your eyes.
The doctor sighs,
his impotence
ancient
as the curse
that immortalizes him,
the terrible secret
that pursues you.

Montana
on the night
of a full moon
you are a perfumed woman
in a bronze dress
who shatters glass
with a vengeance,
searching in vain
for signs and clues
among the rubies
and emeralds
that litter
museum floors.

THE MUSEUM WORKS FOR SCIENCE
NOT FOR LOOT,
the doctor tells you.
You laugh at his bandaged face,
the sad, smoldering eyes—
the only things visible
beneath the gauze.

"You can't tell the blood
from the paint
splashed on these walls,"
you say with contempt,
reaching out for his arm
in spite of yourself.
He moves away.
"I dislike being touched,"
he whispers,
"pardon me—it's an
Eastern prejudice."

You never see his anguish;
he won't allow it.
His pride
is what keeps him
going.

Exhausted,
you lie amid the rubble.
The mummy
guards your body
and you dream
of straddling
your sleeping lover's back
like a dolphin
you ride underwater

safe
within the confines
of deserted museum halls.

from: Danger and Beauty. Copyright 1993. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ordinary Time

 - Tim Dlugos
 
Which are the magic
moments in ordinary
time? All of them,
for those who can see.
That is what redemption
means, I decide
at the meeting. Then
walk with David wearing
his new Yale T-shirt
and new long hair to 103.
Leonard and Eileen come, too.
Leonard wears a shark’s tooth
on a chain around his neck
and long blond hair.
These days he’s the manager
of Boots and Saddles (“Bras
and Girdles,” my beloved
Bobby used to say) and
costumer for the Gay Cable
Network’s Dating Game.
One week the announcer is
a rhinestone cowboy, sequin
shirt and black fur chaps,
the next a leatherman, etc.
Eileen’s crewcut makes
her face light up.
Underneath our hairstyles,
23 years of sobriety, all told—
the age of a girl who’s “not
so young but not so very old,”
wrote Berryman, who flew
from his recovery with the force
of a poet hitting bottom.
It’s not the way I choose
to go out of this restaurant
or day today, and I
have a choice. Wanda
the comedian comes over
to our table. “Call me
wicked Wanda,” she smirks
when we’re introduced.
Why is New York City
awash in stand-up comics
at the least funny point
in its history? Still,
some things stay the same.
People wonder what the people
in their buildings would think
if the ones who were wondering
became incredibly famous,
as famous as Madonna.
Debby Harry lived in Eileen’s
building in the Village
in the early seventies, and she
was just the shy girl
in the band upstairs.
Poets read the writing
of their friends, and
are happy when they like it
thoroughly, when the work’s
that good and the crippling
sense of competition stays away.
Trips get planned: David
home to California, Eileen
to New Mexico, Chris and I
to France and Spain, on vectors
which will spread out
from a single point, like ribs
of an umbrella. Then
after the comfort of a wedge
of blueberry peach pie and cup
of Decaf, sober friends
thread separate ways home
through the maze of blankets
on the sidewalk covered with
the scraps of someone else’s life.
Mine consists of understanding
that the magic isn’t something
that I make, but something
that shines through the things
I make and do and say
the way a brooch or scrap of fabric
shines from the detritus
to catch Leonard’s eye
and be of use for costumes,
when I am fearless and thorough
enough to give it room,
all the room there is in ordinary
time, which embraces all
the people and events and hopes
that choke the street tonight
and still leaves room for everyone
and everything and every
other place, the undescribed
and indescribable, more various
and cacophonous than voice
can tell or mind conceive,
and for the sky’s vast depths
from which they’re all
a speck of light.


From: A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos. Copyright 2011.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lucky


 - Dorothea Tanning
 
Ever imagining the dire, the sudden
the menace with no thought of the
gradual, the lingering itch of whatever.
That was my sister.
A stomach ache had to be diagnosed.
“Oh, come on, it’s no big deal.”
“How do you know? You aren’t me.”
 
At the doctor’s office she waited.
He reached for his stethoscope,
held it to her back and put it away
in his pocket. Then, leaning across
his desk, he asked importantly,
“How long have you been eating your hair?”
She couldn’t answer.
 
After surgery they came into the recovery
room where she had just wakened.
“You are a lucky lady. We found nothing.”
She had an incision and several visitors.
Besides, she was so lucky (incisions heal)
and not a little disgusted.
 
“Me, eating my hair.”


from: Coming to That. Copyright 2011.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Kilt Monday!

'Cause let's face it,
Mondays can be so rough, hard, difficult.