“The fruition of the year had come and the night should have been fine with a moon in the sky and the crisp sharp promise of frost in the air, but it wasn’t that way.” ~ Sherwood Anderson, from Winesburg, Ohio

John Fabian Carlson River in Winter oil on canvas nd
“River in Winter” (nd, oil on canvas)
by John Fabian Carlson


The weather is calling for a massive winter storm. It was 62 degrees today. Does this make any sense? Well, I wanted snow, I suppose.

John Fabian Carlson WInter Willows c1935
“Winter Willows” (c1935)
by John Fabian Carlson

Bright Sun after Heavy Snow

A ledge of ice slides from the eaves,
piercing the crusted drift. Astonishing
how even a little violence
eases the mind.

In this extreme state of light
everything seems flawed: the streaked
pane, the forced bulbs on the sill
that refuse to bloom . . . A wad of dust
rolls like a desert weed
over the drafty floor.

Again I recall a neighbor’s
small affront — it rises in my mind
like the huge banks of snow along the road:
the plow, passing up and down all day,
pushes them higher and higher…

The shadow of smoke rising from the chimney
moves abruptly over the yard.
The clothesline rises in the wind. One
wooden pin is left, solitary as a finger;
it, too, rises and falls.

~ Jane Kenyon


John Fabian Carlson Windswept Places, oil on canvas nd
“Windswept Places” (nd, oil on canvas)
by John Fabian Carlson

Snow at the Farm

My father gets his tractor out.
It is winter, finally—the first
big snow of the year—and

he is eighty-four. He does not leap
into the seat the way that I
remember, but once he’s there

he pulls down the brim of his cap,
and all-in-one his legs and arms
work at clutches, throttles, and

levers as he pushes and loads
the snow into neat hills at
the edge of the yard. The sun

is a bright shield in the sky,
something I cannot bear to look at,
and the snow is so white that

it shows black where the plow
cuts in. From the kitchen window
I watch the red tractor moving

back and forth through the blue
and white world, my father’s
hands at the wheel.

~ Joyce Sutphen


Music by Lottie Kestner, “Halo”


“The heart is a foreign country whose language none | of us is good at” ~ Jack Gilbert, from “Meanwhile”


“It turned out that being together
at twilight in the olive groves of Umbria
did, indeed, measure everything after that.” ~ Jack Gilbert, from “Living Hungry After”

Some poems from Jack Gilbert’s book The Dance Most of All: Poems

Winter in the Night Fields

I was getting water tonight
off guard when I saw the moon
in my bucket and was tempted
by those Chinese poets
and their immaculate pain.

After Love

He is watching the music with his eyes closed.
Hearing the piano like a man moving
through the woods thinking by feeling.
The orchestra up in the trees, the heart below,
step by step. The music hurrying sometimes,
but always returning to quiet, like the man
remembering and hoping. It is a thing in us,
mostly unnoticed. There is somehow a pleasure
in the loss. In the yearning. The pain
going this way and that. Never again.
Never bodied again. Again the never.
Slowly. No undergrowth. Almost leaving.
A humming beauty in the silence.
To having been. Having had. And the man
knowing all of him will come to the end.

Going Home

Mother was the daughter of sharecroppers.
And my father the black sheep of rich Virginia
merchants. She went barefoot until twelve.
He ran away with the circus at fourteen.
Neither one got through grammar school.
And here I am in the faculty toilet
trying to remember the dates of Emperor Vespasian.


Music by Black Lab, “Weightless”

“Memo to Justin Bieber: For the young celeb, life is a banquet of free food. What they don’t tell you is that you are often the last course.” ~ Stephen King, January 23, 2014 Twitter

Friday leftovers on a Saturday . . .

The collective noun for baboons is commonly troop, but members of the genus Papio, also called dog-faced monkeys, are colloquially referred to as a congress . . .

This is one of the reasons why I enjoy tumblr so much: these serendipitous bits of humor and loveliness. In this case, the image below sparked a whole fan base, including comics, videos, and even a t-shirt. Here is the link:

The real Miss Officer is now on tumblr. And if you haven’t seen her interview, she is just as cute in real life as in the comic.

And this is another, Tom Hiddleston hugs (He just seems like a genuinely nice guy . . . ):

Blizzard cam, meet Polar Bear. Polar Bear, meet blizzard cam . . .

Here’s a new Anne Emond comic:

And finally, if you want to read one of the funniest news stories ever written about a woman, a gun, lingerie, and um, body parts, go here. I won’t ruin it for you. Trust me, though. It’s a doozy.