Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Yesterday was my first day back at the local farmer's market. In my neck of the woods, there is little in the way of fresh local produce this time of year. In lieu of that, everyone seemed to have made fresh bread. Unfortunately, I like homemade bread more than I like cookies, and that's saying a lot. I was reminded of when I was very young and we would tire of those homemade cookies Mother made, delicious though they were, and yearn for some that were store-bought. We would often stop at the Corner Store after church, and once in a blue moon we were allowed to buy them. My preferred store-bought cookie? Pecan shortbread. I would fondle that package and look at my mother longingly until she gave in. Heaven was not to be found in the Great Hereafter, as the Sunday School teacher wanted me to believe. I knew where heaven was and it was inside that package of shortbread. Which takes me back to the Friday farmer's market.
There's a gal who makes all organic homemade bread with listed ingredients such as peace and healing. Yesterday I bought Early Riser, next week she promises Old World, which is, according to the neighbors, other-worldly. But, here's the kicker: she had homemade Scottish shortbread made with her Scottish grandmother's recipe who also taught her how to make it. Three ingredients: flour, sugar and butter. And, perhaps a fourth: a grandmother's love. Needless to say, I brought a package home, clenched in my fist much like that little girl who longed to have a package of shortbread heaven in her hands all those millenia ago. Don't tell anybody, but I just ate two, and I'm waiting for my Early Riser toast to pop up as I write this.
If a man ever wants to find his way into my heart, he should show up with homemade bread and a jar of blackberry jam. If he made both in his own kitchen, he would probably gain entrance to more than my heart. But, I'm surrounded by lilacs on this rainy Sunday morning and the scent is intoxicating, so...
Note: blogger has been trying for some time to choke me out of this old template I love, so they will not allow me to enlarge my pictures any further and the whole thing is shrinking. I have tried to compensate, to no avail, "no longer applicable to this template." So, I shall be changing templates soon. As the Chinese have been fond of saying for some time now."There's nothing permanent but change."
Addendum: I have made the change. It is a work in progress. I welcome feedback regarding font size, color and such. Hope this is appealing to all of you. Onward and Upward...
All photos were taken this morning, in the rain, here at Lonewolf.
Be sure to visit my micropoetry blog:
It also mentions lilacs...
Friday, May 31, 2013
A friend recently introduced a poet who was entirely new to me, a poet with whom I felt an immediate affinity. When this happens, it's as though I've been given a delicious, but temporary secret which must be held and cherished for a while before sharing. I think it's time.
The poet, Max Garland, arrived in this world via Kentucky, where he spent fifteen years as a rural mail carrier. Perhaps this spoke to me, in part, because my grandfather, Moses, who raised sheep, was also a rural mail carrier, although a couple of generations earlier. It seems we are arriving at a time when both writing and distributing letters is coming to an end. I wish it were not so, but life goes on and now I wouldn't want to live without the immediacy of email. So, a price is sometimes paid, a new way emerges and we become accustomed.
Max is now living and teaching in Wisconsin, and is the poet laureate of that state. He has two books of poetry published, which I have on the table next to me. I read from them a little each day, lingering over each line, sometimes each word, as I recall days so similar in their nature that I could be reading from my own diaries or journals.
It's been difficult for me to choose the right poem to share here, as I know you would like so many of them, but just this morning I ran across this poem and knew it was the one. I was reminded of my grandfather and a particular day when I was very young. We walked down the cow path in our pasture to where the raspberries grew, wild and untended, ripe and ready. I recall sawdust on the ground from an old sawmill, the sun shining brightly, my grandfather bent towards the vines, filling his bucket with sweetness. There was a sense of enduring goodness, and I'm happy to say strawberries and raspberries still fill my summer days...
Now, I'll be quiet and let you read.
~ for Rayford Simmons
Whatever is truly delicious
according to a local Baptist proverb.
Whatever bides its life
under the leaves, patiently
undoing the bitter
green knot of itself, swelling outward,
deepening, reddening. Whatever ripens
in the sun, shaping itself
into a tiny version of the heart,
the sweetness at a berry's core
leaking slowly through the flesh.
We had nearly a half-acre to pick,
my grandfather and I, crawling
or stooping through the long rows.
Not much passing between us --
the faint snapping of the fruit
from the stem, the occasional
judgment of cigar smoke
trailing back to where I lagged,
knees stained almost to blossoms; the low vines
teaching the body to bend. The arc
of my grandfather's back, for example,
repeated the story of strawberry gathering,
spring after spring. Whatever is delicious
draws the man from the body, is the proverb,
coaxing the long, elderly nerve
through all the meandering hoops
of the spine. Until
after a while, my grandfather
thought it would be a good idea
to rest there. He thought
it would be a good idea to lie down
among the berries. According
to the Baptists, whatever it is
invites us, can almost taste us
near the end. He thought
it would be a good idea to sleep
down in the cool shadows
of the berry vines. Just for a while,
my grandfather thought. Just until
his mind was sweetness.
Just until his body was straw.
~ Max Garland, The Postal Confessions
On my other blog, bayousummer.blogspot.com , I've posted a micropoem, one I wrote a few months ago, that seems to dovetail nicely with this post. I hope you'll visit me there...
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
My love for trees continues unabated. Every time I walk through the meadow with Buddy and then enter the grove of large Norway pines, I stand for a few minutes and take them in, breathe their air and feel their weight, the strength of life in their trunks. Yes, I have hugged them, even prayed to them. If there is divinity in this world, it's right there in the bark and the branches.
This morning, I came across this wonderful excerpt from Herman Hesse, and wanted to share it with you. It looks like a commitment to read, but I don't think you'll be sorry. It reads so beautifully and is well worth the time:
For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the more indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts… . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
~ Hermann Hesse, Baeume: Betrachtungen and Gedichte (Trees: Reflections and Poems)
Friday, May 10, 2013
I have always loved buying fruit at roadside stands, pulling the first peach of summer from a paper bag and biting into its sweetness. Then, later, I sit at the kitchen table and have another, this one with cream and sugar, old-fashioned decadence in a small white bowl.
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
~ Li-Young Lee, from Rose
Li-Young Lee is a contemporary poet.
No known attribution for the photograph.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
There are many things I could live without, but those that comprise our natural world are not among them. I could do some trading, but even that would be difficult. Perhaps if the trading went along these lines it would be more acceptable...
You can have the grackle whistling blackly
from the feeder as it tosses seed,
if I can have the red-tailed hawk perched
imperious as an eagle on the high branch.
You can have the brown shed, the field mice
hiding under the mower, the wasp’s nest on the door,
if I can have the house of the dead oak,
its hollowed center and feather-lined cave.
You can have the deck at midnight, the possum
vacuuming the yard in its white prowl,
if I can have the yard of wild dreaming, pesky
raccoons, and the roaming, occasional bear.
You can have the whole house, window to window,
roof to soffits to hardwood floors,
if I can have the screened porch at dawn,
the Milky Way, any comets in our yard.
~ Patricia Clark, She Walks into the Sea, Michigan State University Press, 2009
Ms. Clark is a contemporary poet and environmentalist from Michigan
I could not find attribution for that lovely image.
I could not find attribution for that lovely image.
Friday, April 19, 2013
There's almost a foot of new snow this morning and the wind is persistent, as it pushes it into snowdrifts around my porch. A part of me wants to complain, but I also realize it might be exactly what I need, perhaps even asked for, in order to stay here inside a bit longer...
Will steal you if you don't
And sell you as a slave in the
To the nightingales' hearts
Hoping they will learn
So that no will ever imprison
Your brilliant angel
Have I put enough spiced manna
On your plate
In this tavern
If not please wait,
For more light is now
Someone will steal you if you
Don't stay near,
And sell you as a slave in
So your Beloved and I
The photograph was taken yesterday evening at 6:00, as more snow continued to come down...
Friday, April 12, 2013
|Yeah, that's Lennon at the jukebox.|
For reasons unknown, a jukebox has been playing in my mind lately, along with a few memories. My first jukebox was in a cafe about an hour from home where I sat with my parents and played, relentlessly, the Lennon Sister's "Sugartime." Shortly after that, my parents bought a small cafe where the jukebox was perpetually fed with coins painted with a splotch of red, which told us it was our money and not a true customer. It was a pretty simple accounting system. The records were changed regularly by a man who came around just for that purpose. But, the song I remember is Lefty Frizzell's "Saginaw Michigan." I have never gotten tired of that song. I still love it after all these years.
In seventh grade, when I thought having a boyfriend might be a good idea, I sat across from Allen at a cafe, after our church youth group had taken us down to the YMCA for swimming and general mayhem. Allen is the young man with whom I exchanged a fair amount of kissing back in the days of that youth group; necking was far preferred to bible toting, and so that's what I did. On the wall of this cafe was a jukebox that was being fed by the two of us and others sitting in the booth. What I remember was the brief discussion which ensued after the playing of Johnny River's "Secret Agent Man." Yes, a few fools were certain it was Secret Asian Man, but since I was still considering a future as a secret agent, I knew better.
Soon, it turned into the summer of '68, and I'm in an even smaller town where my then current boyfriend was living at the time. He was working at a resort in that same small town, so my sister and I went down to a local club another friend's parents owned to hang out while we waited for him. When I walked through the door, my friend, Stan, whom I've talked about more than once on these pages, walked the length of the club to greet me, with a big smile on his face the whole time. Man, he had a nice smile. We stood next to the jukebox on the wall and threw in a coin. What I remember is Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly." We just stood there and listened. He was such a good friend. It's good to have friends like that.