4.29.2022 – good bad that’s ugly

good bad that’s ugly
quest for anonymity
labeled by the world

So much anger.

So much frustration.

We’re tired of being cooped up, tired of being careful, tired of being scared. Our collective fatigue is making some people careless –

However, facing this fatigue is important for our personal health and for beating the coronavirus that has shaken American life so completely. Many people understand this, which adds to their exhaustion and stress.

“This is a real challenge,” said Kaye Hermanson, UC Davis Health psychologist in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “There are no easy solutions.”

This is a real challenge!

There are no easy solutions.

I just want to hide.

I crave anonymity.

So I go one facebook.

Thats good?

Thats bad?

Well.

It sure is ugly.

4.28.2022 – I take the deep breath

I take the deep breath
how unlikely that death is
a hole in the ground

Based on the poem, Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond, by Mary Oliver.

Again, a big thank you to my sister Lisa, to telling me about Ms. Oliver.

Feel free to touch base and tell me what to read.

For me, herons, seeing a heron, has been and still is a harbinger of good fortune, a good omen.

Not that you saw herons all that often in West Michigan where I grew up but maybe that was part of it.

And not that I really believe in good omens but more in line that seeing one made me feel that, surely, this wasn’t as black a world as I made it out to be.

And I have had enough Latin and roman history to not think about omens and not smile inwardly.

It is in the movie Spartacus that Roman Senator Sempronius Gracchus, played by Charles Laughton, walks out of the Senate and buys a pigeon saying “Let’s make a good old-fashioned sacrifice.

Still I cannot see a heron and somehow, not feel better.

I also cannot see a heron that I do not think of the time that Doug, my college roommate, and I were driving back to Ann Arbor, Michigan on I-96 and a heron dove out of the sky and swooped low, just above the median between the two sides of the freeway in a glide..

As I remember it, we were going about 60 miles an hour.

This was way back in the ‘Drive 55’ era and it took forever to get to Ann Arbor.

The heron passed us.

Here is the poem.

Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond by Mary Oliver.

So heavy
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

open
and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone.

Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is

that death is a hole in the ground,
how improbable
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed

back into itself–
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle,
the fallen gate.

And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn’t a miracle

but the common thing,
this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body

into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.

So heavy
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

open
and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone.

Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is

that death is a hole in the ground,
how improbable
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed

back into itself–
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle,
the fallen gate.

And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn’t a miracle

but the common thing,
this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body

into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.

– – – – – – –

Readers of this blog may remember that from time to time I struggle with the weight of effort of producing a daily Haiku and any thoughts I may have about the words and time that went in the Haiku that day.

This daily schedule of missing a day can bring on a personal mental paralysis wherein writing these entries becomes impossible.

I learned to deal with this by not dealing with it and let it go.

Then when I look at my register of entries and see blank days with no post, I will grab a topic or book or poem for a source and produce a series of Haiku to fill in those blank dates.

This is one of the great benefits of this effort being my blog and my blog, my rules.

It IS cricket because I say it is.

It is ‘according to Hoyle’ because I say it is.

Thus I have this series of haiku based on the poem ‘Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond‘ by Mary Oliver.

4.27.2022 – yesterday, I saw

yesterday, I saw
man who wasn’t me – there I
was again today

Inspired by the poem, Antigonish”.

Which is, according to wikipedia, an 1899 poem by the American educator and poet, William Hughes Mearns. It is also known as “The Little Man Who Wasn’t There” and was adapted as a hit song under the latter title.

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there!
He wasn’t there again today,
Oh how I wish he’d go away!

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there,
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away…

I was flipping through facebook today, checking on the posts that the folks at work have made to the company facebook page where I work and I saw a photo of two co workers who had taken part in last weeks dolphin count.

I looked at the photo and thought it was interesting as the young lady looked familiar but not the guy in the photo.

I looked again and thought that the hat the guy was wearing looked real familiar.

I looked again and thought that the binoculars the guy was holding looked real familiar.

Then I realized.

I was the guy!

When I was in third grade, as readers of this blog will know, I had an ‘interesting’ relationship with my third grade teacher.

Suffice it to say I don’t know that if an angel were sitting on my shoulder, she would have believed anything I told her.

When I started complaining I couldn’t see the chalkboard in front of my face she felt I was being me and fought back.

First she moved my desk up to a row in front of the first row so I sat by myself about 5 feet from the chalkboard.

That worked for a bit but I soon started telling I couldn’t see that ol’ chalkboard anymore.

She countered by handing me the lessons for the day from her notebook where she had her sentences and spelling words and such written out long hand.

She literally tore the pages out and slammed them on my desk in front of me.

I looked at the pages for a second then said, “I can’t read cursive.”

And it was off to the office and my reserved chair.

She also called my Mom to say I was at it again.

By again, she meant, for example, I had watched the Davy Crockett series on the Walt Disney show.

And Davy, well, he said he never was in a problem that he couldn’t grin his way out of it.

The show opened when Davy was off in the brush trying to ‘grin’ a ‘baaaare’ down a tree.

Taking the words of this great American hero to heart, I tried to grin at my teacher when I got in trouble.

She called my Mom and told her whenever I got a talking too, I just made faces at her.

I also once asked to have my desk moved so I could sit with my back to the wall.

When she asked why, I said so no one could shoot me in the back.

When she asked where in the world did I come up with that idea, I said from the “Life of Wild Bill Hickok” in the school library.

When we talked, she often just sat at her desk staring down for some reason.

So she calls my Mom and says my latest thing was to claim I couldn’t see the chalkboard.

That BIG GREEN BOARD that ran the length of the room.

I don’t know what my Mom said to her but she made an appointment of her own and two weeks later, I walked into class wearing my first pair of glasses.

Hey, I said, I can see the the chalkboard!

My teacher looked and me and burst into tears.

Since that time I don’t know that I have seen more than a hand full of photos of myself without my glasses.

Since the only time I do see myself is in the mirror, that feller who is a mirror reverse of that image of what I look like in my mind is not someone I recognize.

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

4.26.2022 – barnacle scarred

barnacle scarred
nothing at all whole or shut
but tattered split

Based on the poem, Breakage, by Mary Oliver.

Thank you to my sister Lisa, to telling me about Ms. Oliver.

Here is the poem.

Breakage by Mary Oliver.

I go down to the edge of the sea.
How everything shines in the morning light!
The cusp of the whelk,
the broken cupboard of the clam,
the opened, blue mussels,
moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred—
and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split,
dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone.
It’s like a schoolhouse
of little words,
thousands of words.
First you figure out what each one means by itself,
the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop
full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.

go down to the edge
of the sea – How everything shines
in the morning light

It’s like a schoolhouse
of little words, thousands of words
First you figure out what each one means by itsel

– – – – – – –

Readers of this blog may remember that from time to time I struggle with the weight of effort of producing a daily Haiku and any thoughts I may have about the words and time that went in the Haiku that day.

This daily schedule of missing a day can bring on a personal mental paralysis wherein writing these entries becomes impossible.

I learned to deal with this by not dealing with it and let it go.

Then when I look at my register of entries and see blank days with no post, I will grab a topic or book or poem for a source and produce a series of Haiku to fill in those blank dates.

This is one of the great benefits of this effort being my blog and my blog, my rules.

It IS cricket because I say it is.

It is ‘according to Hoyle’ because I say it is.

Thus I have this series of haiku based on the poem ‘Breakage’ by Mary Oliver.

4.25.2022 – lines of buried bones

lines of buried bones
unpaid waiting debt – sound of
a gentle sobbing

ANZAC Day, 2022.

From the poem, Anzac Cove by Leon Gellert.

He enlisted with the Australian Imperial Forces 10th Battalion within weeks of the outbreak of the Great War and sailed for Cairo on 22 October 1914. He landed at Ari Burnu Beach, Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, was wounded and repatriated as medically unfit in June 1916. He attempted to re-enlist but was soon found out. He returned to teaching at Norwood Public School.

Here is his poem.

There’s a lonely stretch of hillocks:
There’s a beach asleep and drear:
There’s a battered broken fort beside the sea.
There are sunken trampled graves:
And a little rotting pier:
And winding paths that wind unceasingly.
There’s a torn and silent valley;
There’s a tiny rivulet
With some blood upon the stones beside its mouth.
There are lines of buried bones:
There’s an unpaid waiting debt:
There’s a sound of gentle sobbing in the south.

North Beach – Evening Nov 5. 1915 by Leslie Hore

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served”. Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918). (from Wikipedia)

4.24.2022 – a calibrated

a calibrated
articulation that can’t
be articulated

I think this is a good thing.

Today’s haiku is based on comment in a story about a change at the New York Times.

The story is Less advocacy, more journalism. Changes at CNN and New York Times may signal push to the centre by Edward Helmore.

Mr. Helmore is reporting on the impression given at CNN and New York Times to focus their news efforts on news.

Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University is quoted saying that the NYT is “… e saying they’re not going to be intimidated by the right wing or congratulated by the left wing into doing what they want.”

Mr. Helmore reports that “Two weeks ago the paper’s outgoing executive editor, Dean Baquet, issued “a reset” in the paper and reporters’ approach to Twitter, long held up as having undue influence over some aspects of the Times’s editorial approach.”

I can’t see anything wrong in any of these points of view.

Time will tell if the NYT follows through.

This is the newspaper that used to say, “All the News that is Fit to Print.”

The NYTs hasn’t actually made an announcement of this change but Mr. Helmore reports:

In February, the Times launched a new advertising campaign: Independent Journalism for an Independent Life. To Rosen, it was the carefully calibrated articulation of a shift that cannot be fully articulated.

“This whole issue has been wrapped up in a bow of independence,” he said. “It’s the language they’re using to announce a shift without articulating any need for a shift.”

Something along the line of trying to explain something that cannot be explained.

I wish them luck and will hope for the best.

If nothing else, I love the combination of the words.

4.23.2022 – past past the image

past past the image
above the waves, sound of waves
a voice voice speaking

Adapted from the poem, The Sound of Waves by William Carlos Williams in the The Collected Later Poems of William Carlos Williams (1950).

A quatrain? Is that

the end I envision?

Rather the pace

which travel chooses.

Female? Rather the end

of giving and receiving

—of love: love surmounted

is the incentive.

Hardly. The incentive

is nothing surmounted,

the challenge lying

                elsewhere.

No end but among words

looking to the past,

plaintive and unschooled,

wanting a discipline

But wanting

more than discipline

a rock to blow upon

as a mist blows

or rain is driven

against some

headland jutting into

a sea – with small boats

perhaps riding under it

while the men fish

there, words blowing in

taking the shape of stone

    . . . . .

Past that, past the image:

a voice!

out of the mist

above the waves and

the sound of waves, a

voice . speaking!

4.21.2022 – each generation

each generation
its past, future determined
by its own problems

Based on essay, On the Charms of History and the Future of the Past by Aldous Huxley, published in Music At Night and other essays, including Vulgarity in Literature, by Chatto & Windus, 1931.

Mr. Huxley writes: The past and the future are functions of the present. Each generation has its private history, its own peculiar brand of prophecy.

What it shall think about past and future is determined by its own immediate problems. It will go to the past for instruction, for sympathy, for justification, for flattery.

It will look into the future for compensation for the present – into the past, too.

For even the past can become a compensatory Utopia, indistinguishable from the earthly paradises of the future, except by the fact that the heroes have historical names and flourished between known dates.

From age to age the past is recreated.

It was curious for me to take in this thought and think that past and present can be generational.

It of course makes sense that each generation sees the past and the present by their problems but by presenting the past and the present as something different for each generation, then these pasts and futures exist for the different generations together.

We live in the parallel universes of generational experience all at the same time.

The seems simplistic and oh-of-course on the surface though below the surface there is something here.

Tempora mutantur.

Times change and we change with the times.

But we don’t.

The times may change, but within our generation, we don’t change.

And our times co-exist and interact with the times of the previous and following generations.

And of course plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

The more we change the more we stay the same.

Everyone searching for that compensatory Utopia.

There is more here to be sure but it is too early in the morning and I have to get to work.

I am reminded of a discussion of weather forecasting that I had with my friends when I worked in the world of online television news.

We had developed the rule that the 7th day of the 7 Day forecast was always warm and sunny.

You never actually got to that 7th day …

4.20.2022 – by means of which sounds

by means of which sounds
represented, language
is made visible

Adapted from the book, Facts for Everybody by Robert Kemp Philp,  1863, T. Nelson and Sons, Paternoster Row, London.

The fact from Facts for Everybody that I am quoting is the listed under ALPAHABET.

Mr. Philp writes thusly:

ALPHABET. The most important invention of man, ascribed to a Phœnician, by means of which sounds are represented, and language made visible to the eye by a few simple characters.

Previous to this invention, pictures, or hieroglyphics, were used to record events; and letters were, probably, a generalization of these.

At this day, the Chinese have no letters, but have 214 keys to classes of words, distinguished by the number of strokes combined in each, The English language has 26 letters; the French 23; Hebrew 22; Greek 24; the Latin 22; the Arabic 28.

The figures used in arithmetic are an universal character, and many attempts have been made by the learned to introduce an universal character into language, but at present (1863 remember) there are 200 or 300 various alphabets.

The most important invention of man?

But what about …

But what …

But …

The most important invention of man!

Language made visible.

I am not sure that anything I have written or quoted (including Mr. Hemingway’s Novel in 6 words) has packed so much into so few words.

Language made visible.

I recall another quote in a post quoting Alain de Botton.

I began word painting because such a factual description seemed of little help to me in pinning down why I found the scene so impressive.

Word painting with language made visible through use of the alphabet.

Word painting in 2022 using a keyboard of letters developed in 1870 and a description describing language made visible written in 1863 about an invention that dates back perhaps to 1000’s of years before the birth of Christ.

The most important invention of man.

I am okay with that.