“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?” ~ John Keats
Sunday, early evening. Rather quiet. I think that I am ready for fall, ready for this summer to be over.
Do not ask me why I am rushing my life away. I couldn’t possibly tell you. I did make a decision today to halt a project that I’ve had flailing in the wind for months because I cannot devote the time to it that it deserves. Time for me is an oxymoron: I have too much of it and not enough. I mean, all that I have is time, but at the same time, in the time that I have, being able to concentrate on productive things is hard.
I read an article today that says that people with fibromyalgia have a credibility problem. No kidding. Try having fibromyalgia and chronic pain. People think that it’s “all in my head” or hypochondria. I just know that when my muscles burn so much that having the sheets in the bed come in contact with them is painful, then it’s not in my head.
Other than that, not much to say today, mostly wanted to post this poem that I found on tumblr.
More later. Peace.
Letter to a Stranger
I drifted on the bouquet of your red tongue
for two years. It was a kingdom, the stadium
of your face. I took sweets from a sealed jar
when mother wasn’t looking. I grew up on the back steps of St. Mary’s
where I learned to scream at kitten boys that didn’t do
what I said. We took the body and the blood in time. It is possible
to be divine in one afternoon.
A girl kneels on pebbles to feel the roughness that will change her destiny.
When you died, Vincent started his fascination with glass:
its world of definites. Cut or uncut. Severed or whole. It is the year 2000
and all our failures are tangible. Vincent is 30 and carries a pistol
wrapped in a powder-blue handkerchief. He will use it
on the clocks, the countenance of apples, the delicate house
of some girl’s throat still dripping with wine.
Let me sleep now, in the shelter, in the halt. Stop.
At your burial, I dropped carnations into the big earth. Mother pulled
me along by the sleeve. Now there is the sound of great thunder
as the brothers come running through the house, their boots cracking
the surface of things, fuck you’s dropping from their fat lips.
One organ persists alone. Three notes repeating and repeating.
I am governed by terror, sleeplessness, nostalgia.
Mother of God helps me out with my daily chores. I capture heat
in a rusted pot, smooth the bed sheets with a hammer, take up the hours
with my veined hands. Father, there are magnificent shadows
engraving themselves onto the dinner table. I keep thinking
that you are telling me to go. Let me sleep
and dream of the falling architecture of this house, transform it
into an imitation of heaven. My eyes are closed, two razors.
Dear Father, What kind of music is coming from me? What kind?
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Advil Cold & Sinus is good, but Theraflu warming relief is better; however, since I only have Advil Cold & Sinus, that will have to do. With any luck, this is just a cold and not the onset of anything else. When I have serious body aches, it’s hard to say whether or not the aches are from my regular pain or whether they have anything to do with being sick, one of the perks (I don’t think so).
Last night I just didn’t have the energy for a regular post, and I’m not sure about my output for tonight, but let’s just follow along and see where this takes us . . .
I have been meaning to comment on the moon, which was absolutely spectacular in its second full moon phase for December. My entire backyard was fully lit in the middle of the night. The frozen surface of the water in the pool glimmered and looked sort of Tolkien.
I know that those of you who are old enough are familiar with the phrase once in a blue moon, which is a colloquialism for rarely and has nothing to do with the orb’s color. The phrase blue moon refers to the second full moon in a calendar month, which is an infrequent occurrence, once every 2.5 years to be exact, and the next one is expected in 2012.
But this year’s blue moon fell on New Year’s Eve, which makes it a generational blue moon; the last blue moon on New Year’s Eve was 19 years ago. Do you remember where you were on New Year’s Eve 1990? Me neither. The next New Year’s Eve blue moon is supposed to appear in the year 2028, after another metonic cycle (which equals 19 tropical years). I won’t even discuss how old I might be when that happens. Anyway, I was aware of this year’s, sorry, last year’s blue moon appearance, but then promptly forgot to mention it in any previous posts, but when I came across the Rumi quote about the reflection of the moon, it stirred my memory.
“One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Sunset Over Lake Dora, FL, by Janson Jones
My friend in Alaska, Janson Jones of Floridana Alaskiana, recently posted two beautiful pictures of the sunset, both of which I am featuring, as well as an older photo of moonrise. Janson and his family went to Florida for the winter break, and the sunset images are the first of his photographs from his latest sojourn down south.
I know that I’ve been posting a lot of winter and snow pictures, but I thought that for a change of pace tonight I would mix a few beautiful sunsets from warmer area of the lower 49 along with some images of the moon.
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
It’s a Thoreau kind of night, by that I mean a bit reflective, a bit peaceful. I return to Thoreau frequently as I have always found great beauty in his words. Thoreau’s ideas about nature, simplicity, friendship, reading, writing, and truth fill me with a sense of quietude far deeper than most other philosophers. One quote in particular, which I found years ago, has always stayed with me: “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
I was much younger when I found that particular quote, and only in recent years have I begun to appreciate its true meaning. When I think back on all of the pained, vapid verse and prose that I wrote, ink-stained fingers from agonized pauses, searches for just the right phrase to declare my angst, my heartbreak, my despair. Thank god that I don’t know where most of that work is because I think that I would probably burn it if I ever came across it.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m hardly declaring myself a genius with the written word. Rather I’m saying that now that I have lived much more of life—have stood up for things, have been knocked down by other things, have loved, lost, raged, crashed, gotten back up, fallen, gotten back up, retreated, gone back in—now that I have tasted some measure of life, I believe that I finally understand what Thoreau meant.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Years ago, before Google could return a search on subject quotes in a millisecond, people actually had to read a great deal to amass a collection of quotes. And before I ever had a computer, I had a quote journal. It’s still around here somewhere. I used to (still do, actually) cut things out of newspapers and magazines, copy passages I had read, write down the words to songs. Anytime I came across words that I found inspiring, or touching, or life-changing in their intent, I stole them openly and added them to my collection.
Now, I still like to find my quotes from places other than quote sites. For example, several blogs that I read use a lot of quotes. Goodreads is also a wonderful source of quotes, and then of course, there are all of the books.
I have written many times that I collect certain things—books, boots, purses, pens—admittedly to the point of clutter at times, but there is no doubt that what I collect more than anything else in the world, what I earnestly seek, unearth, amass, record, and return to again and again are words, in particular words from other people—writers, philosophers, poets, journalists, artists—those who have experienced life in a different way than my own experiences, or those whose insight I value, or those with whom I find great empathy.
Words are phenomenal things. They have the power to soothe, to enrage, to instill, to oppress. Words used by a charismatic personality can take a group of people who are indifferent to a cause and ignite within them a desire to act. Give words and a forum to an aggressive individual who desires power without justice, and you can create a dictator. The right words spoken to a young person who is seeking reinforcement can instill the confidence to go on; just as hateful words spoken out of anger can be more injurious than a weapon.
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
I suppose my reflective mood may come from the school project that I typed recently for Brett, one in which he had to research one decade for each of four centuries in American history. The most interesting part of the project was that Brett had to identify an iconic quote, work of literature, piece of music, person and event for each decade. So much delving into history always makes me thoughtful about where we have been as a nation, as a people, as a community, as humanity.
Brett chose the 1690s, the time of the Salem Witch trials; the 1780s, the post-Revolution and first Congress; the 1860s, the Civil War, and the 1960’s, a time of massive social change in America. There was so much information as each of those decades were times of social reform, cultural divisiveness, upheaval and unrest in society, and governmental change
I don’t know how one could help but be moved when reading the words of individuals such as Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and of course, Thoreau, not to mention reading the words to songs of generations past.
So I will close with this passage from one of Thoreau’s journals (1840):
No day will have been wholly misspent, if one sincere, thoughtful page has been written. Let the daily tide leave some deposit on these pages, as it leaves sand and shells on the shore. So much increase of terra firma, this may be a calendar of the ebbs and flows of the soul; and on these sheets as a beach, the waves may cast up pearls and seaweed.
More later. Peace.
Annie Lennox’s beautiful “Fingernail Moon,” of course:
From St. Nadie in Winter by Terrance Keenan
One day, my dear,
you stop and look around you,
find yourself stuffing needs into a sack of thoughts,
realize you have talked your life to pieces,
scratched your self to bits,
that neither hope nor doubt
can protect you,
that you are not mistaken,
that you haven’t lost your grip –
it is dissolving.
Now you can speak about everything silently.