zirconium: snapshot of my healthiest hollyhock plant (French hollyhock)
[Subject line from Swinburne's "March: An Ode," via Dawn Potter]

[Speaking of Ms. Potter, I read Galway Kinnell's "For Robert Frost" during lunch two days ago. It begins, "Why do you talk so much / Robert Frost?"]

There is paperwork that must be conquered, but the sun was shining, so there was snipping and lugging and sowing. Four cubic feet of garden soil (plus maybe another half-foot left over from the fall) doesn't go all that far, but it made for a solid start. I transplanted my mama Christmas pepper plant (the one that spawned these) and spice-jar tomato seedling into larger planters, and sowed the following:

  • Evergreen scallions (seeds from Hudson Valley Seed Library, via All Seasons)

  • Hungarian breadseed poppies (Renee's Garden, via [I think] the now-shuttered Worm's Way Nashville) -- I've never gotten these past seedling stage, but maybe third time + larger pot will translate into success

  • chives (Plantation Products quarter packet, via Nashville Public Library Seed Exchange)

  • Jade Gem lettuce (Renee's Garden, via Worm's Way St. Louis, source of the terrific tomato plants)

  • petite marigolds (Ferry-Morse, via NPL Seed Exchange)

  • Grand Rapids lettuce (Bean Acres Seeds, eBay)

  • Rainbow radishes (Seeds of Change, Turnip Truck)

  • arugula (Seeds of Change)

  • Dainty Marietta French marigolds (seeds harvested from last fall's blooms, which were from a 2013 eBay purchase)

  • Now I am chilling out with a tumbler of Pisco Capel and a library copy of Soul Food Love. I am boiling rice in chicken broth for the dog (who was trying her darnedest earlier to hoover up the soil that didn't make it into the pots), and later I will cook shrimp grits for the BYM.
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    [Subject line from Chuck Berry's Memphis, Tennessee]

    Presley poodles
    Poodles at Graceland

    I'd like to be in Memphis. Or Morocco. Or Monterrey. Or Miami. Or Monticello. Or messing around my yard. But here in my kitchen is a pretty good place to be as well. The BYM and the dog were in here earlier, the tomato cuttings aren't dead yet, and I have poured for myself a glass of the wine [personal profile] dichroic sent in December, to go with the edamame-wasabi dip I just made.

    I am frustrated about a number of things, including not yet feeling well enough to sing or to resume practicing yoga, but happy happenings have been in abundance as well. The client to whom I delivered a commission this past Sunday was very pleased with it. ("We definitely got our money's worth.") I fashioned a pin for a friend while at the easel.

    The Poetry Storehouse now has audio for my poems "Novecento," "Schrodinger's Top Hat," "Even an Empty Life Can Hold Water," and "Lining Up." At Autumn Sky Poetry, Christine Klocek-Lim published my sestina "O Clouds Unfold" (which may look familiar to some of you, as I posted the first draft here just under a year ago). First Class accepted a poem.

    The lily in the bathroom has put forth new shoots. A longtime friend got married. My honorary mama celebrated her eighty-something-eth birthday. Mary sent a sprig from Wilbur's "Black Birch in Winter."

    And now I must turn back to paperwork and work-work.


    Feb. 8th, 2015 01:24 pm
    zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle rear)
    This afternoon's main project is getting ready for this evening's Heartbreak Happy Hour at the Stone Fox -- I'm one of the performers.

    The years I've spent drafting sermons (and numerous other speeches for church) mean that I now have a pretty good sense of how many words = ten minutes of material. Which I found myself grateful for this past week, what with trying to bounce back from the flu while going back to work and staying on schedule on a commission and so on. It was nice to know that ten minutes of material isn't actually that many words and that I could knock it out in a day if I couldn't carve out the time any earlier. (But what actually happened was that I started writing it in my head two minutes after receiving the invitation, and sketched it various lines and points in my Workflowy during the rest of the week before slicing and knotting it all together the past two days.)

    Coincidentally, two of the hymns in this morning's church service were ones I selected for a service I led a decade or so ago. One was "When Shall We Learn," which is Carl Flentge Schalk's setting of a poem by Auden:

    When shall we learn, what should be clear as day,
    we cannot choose what we are free to love?
    We are created with and from the world
    to suffer with and by it day by day.

    For through our lively traffic all the day,
    in my own person I am forced to know
    how much must be forgotten out of love,
    how much must be forgiven, even love.

    Or else we make a scarecrow of the day,
    loose ends and jumble of our common world;
    or else our changing flesh can never know
    there must be sorrow if there can be love.

    The other is "Creative Love, Our Thanks We Give," a William DeWitt Hyde poem adapted by Beth Ide, and set to "Truth from Above" with harmony by Vaughan Williams:

    Creative love, our thanks we give
    that this, our world is incomplete . . .

    Since what we choose is what we are,
    and what we love we yet shall be,
    the goal may ever shine afar--
    the will to reach it makes us free.

    Also at church: an adorable mop of a service dog, who snuggled into its owner's shoulder for a while during the sermon:

    service dog

    After church, I ran an errand and picked up Chinese carryout. There was an invisible fortune cookie in the bag...

    invisible fortune cookie

    ... and this advice in one of the corporeal cookies:

    Business is a lot like playing tennis; if you don't serve well, you lose.

    From the speculative writing/publishing realm:

  • Sue Burke and several other very experienced translators want to bring castles in Spain to you -- specifically Castles in Spain, a bilingual anthology they're raising funds for via Indiegogo.

  • If you're a Science Fiction Poetry Association member, you have one week left to nominate your favorite 2014 poems for Rhysling Awards. I have both long and short poems eligible this year [downloadable at http://sfpoetry.com/ra/eligible/PegDuthie2014.rtf] . . .

  • How to Live on Other Planets is available for pre-order. The list of contributors is fierce, y'all.
  • pleasures

    Jun. 26th, 2014 09:00 pm
    zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
    1. Putting together breakfast this morning for a friend from grade school and his wife, which mainly consisted of stopping by Sweet 16th for four to go.

    2. The Straight to Ale beer tasting at Woodland Wine Merchant. My favorite was Unobtainium. Rich (their sales manager) was fun to chat with; Tyler talked me into picking up a bottle of Ransom gin (I'm not a fan of most gins, but I do like jenever, and I like whisky, and the Ransom reportedly has elements of both); and staying to the end of the tasting meant that Rich poured me an exceedingly generous portion of Monkeynaut, which I sipped while reading picture books such as Maira Kalman's Chicken Soup, Boots and Sasek's This Is Paris.

    Also, a neighbor and I and Rich started chatting about space monkeys (Straight to Ale is based in Huntsville, hence beers named after Laika and the like), and the neighbor reminisced about taking her daughter to the US Space and Rocket Center while the monkeys were still there, and one of the monkeys playing pattycake with her daughter through the barrier for twenty minutes.

    Also, another neighbor showed up with a super-sweet lovey-dovey doggie.

    3. Speaking of picture books, I happened on Gloria Houston and Barbara Cooney's The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story at the library. It is a beautiful story, with a strong woman who is not its central character and yet is its true heroine.

    4. On my walk to the library, I passed a young boy (eight years old or thereabouts) calling out "Have fun at banjo!" to a girl about to enter a house a few doors down. She cheerfully replied, "Thank you!" I just -- this is Nashville, and I have the heart of a mountain troll, and yet, God, it was just so unbelievably cute and real.

    5. My micro-poem "Five Finger Frustration" was published by unFold today.

    6. Coming home in time to see Roger Federer slam down three aces in a row.

    7. Reviewing the proof for the 2014 Dwarf Stars anthology, which will include three of my poems.

    8. World Cup mania = soccer on the TVs in waiting rooms and the like. A vast improvement over the usual daytime fare, imnsho.

    9. I'm still alive in the Wimbledon men's suicide pool. (I consider making it past the first day an occasion worthy of champagne, and I may well treat myself to a jeroboam if I get to the second week.)
    zirconium: photo of bell tower seen on a walk to the Acropolis (athens bell tower)
    I turn 44 in a few weeks. On the one hand, I am enjoying my mid-forties. On the other hand, one does become ever more conscious of how little time is left. Neither of my parents made it to 65. I visit cancer journals now and then, including that of a fellow writer in his forties.

    Last night, I revisited my Penguin edition of Gerard Manley Hopkins's poetry and prose, and registered anew that he had died at the age of 44, and that his last words were reportedly "I am so happy. I am so happy." (According to Eleanor Ruggles, as quoted in Wikipedia, the words were "I am so happy, I am so happy. I loved my life." Now I am even more curious about these words, and why some accounts leave out "I loved my life.") So I hopped online to seek additional context, and stumbled on this passage in David E. Anderson's review of a Paul Mariani biography:

    Hopkins died on June 8, 1889, just six weeks short of his 45th birthday. He was diagnosed with typhus, but Mariani suspects it was complicated by Crohn's disease, a sickness unnamed until 1932. Hopkins's last words, repeated over and over, were an affirmation--or a plea to himself: "I am so happy. I am so happy." He died unheralded and unpublished, and it was not until 1918 that Oxford University Press published an edition of 750 copies of the poems edited and introduced by his old friend, England's then poet laureate, Robert Bridges.

    A decade before his death, however, Hopkins ruminated on the question of fame in an exchange of correspondence with his friend, fellow poet, and Anglican cleric Richard Watson Dixon. "Fame," Hopkins wrote, "is a thing which lies in the award of a random, reckless, incompetent, and unjust judge, the public, the multitude. The only just judge, the only just literary critic is Christ, who prizes, is proud of, and admires, more than any man, more than the receiver himself can, the gifts of his own making."

    Nearly a century later, John Berryman, a poet as singular as Hopkins, would appropriate Hopkins in one [of] his last poems, a poem of his own religious conversion:

    Father Hopkins said the only true literary critic is Christ.
    Let me lie down exhausted, content with that.

    I'm fascinated by this stance. As a non-Christian, it's not exactly of comfort to me, but as both a theist and a book industry professional -- having seen so many well-wrought works sell so very little and receive the barest flicker of attention -- I confess that my sanity has long been rooted in the conviction that one's job is to create the right poem/song/story/image for one's right audience regardless of its size, be that a single human being, a swarm of millions, or a silent yet merciful deity. So while the phrase "only true/just literary critic" makes my teeth itch, there's a part of me that nods in recognition at Hopkins's and Berryman's declarations.

    Assessing articulations of faith (when are they authentic? when are they obnoxious? when are they engaging? when are they derailing?) is a recurring activity in my various circles. I'm told that accusations of anti-Christianity were flung at critics of this year's Hugo nominations. Sports fandom has long been divided over expressions of evangelical Christianity on the court and in interviews; for my vacation this past weekend, to get into the spirit of Fed Cup, I brought along a pile of tennis-related reading I'd been meaning to get to. This bit showed up in a July 26, 1993, New Yorker essay by Martin Amis:

    To see Courier and Sampras on Centre Court was to see a dramatic opposition of will and talent: to see what Courier had given to get as good as he is, and to see, more simply, what Sampras had been given by God. (Refreshingly, neither player is especially religious, unlike Chang, Wheaton, Agassi, and, of all people, Nick Bolletieri.)

    Because I don't have cable here at home, one of the things that makes a vacation vacation-y for me is catching an episode of Chelsea Handler or The Best Thing I Ever Made/Ate. The TBTIEM show on cakes included a segment with Alton Brown; his feature on Apple Spice Bundt Cake led me to look up grains of paradise, and keeping company with it in the surfing-after-a-show rabbit hole was this interview about (among other things) his family's sense of stewardship, about saying grace in public, and about the discomfort being a churchgoer raises in other people.

    It hadn't been in the plan, but on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, part of my reading was Kathleen Jowitt's entries (so far) on her 2007 pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. A sample of why I kept reading (and why I think some of you might find it likewise inviting/compelling):

    A Quaker challenged me, the summer before, about the idea of pilgrimage. God is everywhere: no place can be called holier than any other. What was the point? Actually, I agreed. Santiago de Compostela itself, the Holy City of the Iberian peninsula, held no greater attraction for me than any other place; I had my reservations as to whether it was genuinely the resting place of the mortal remains of Saint James the Apostle, and there were other European cities that would have taken precedence my 'must see' list. The traditional way of getting there, however, made it another matter entirely: one's own two feet; one's own pace -- quite literally; the chance to prove that five hundred years of civilisation hadn't turned one soft.

    Circling back to birthdays, it is April 23. A few weeks ago, I was reading another old magazine (this one purchased from a church rummage sale years ago) -- an April 4, 1964, issue of Saturday Review with Ivor Brown's "How Shakespeare Spent the Day" as its cover story. Here is how it opens:

    It is remarked by Hamlet that "everyman hath business and desire." That Shakespeare had desire we know from his sonnets. That he had his business in the workaday, money-earning world is sometimes forgotten in the appraisals of his genius. But that he chose to mind, and could successfully mind, the business side of his career is proved by what we know of his life.

    People today are apt to think of poets and businessmen as living in far separated worlds. But it was certainly not so in the case of Shakespeare, who was born on the premises of a small-town business. His home was a shop and his neighbors were shopkeepers. There was nothing strange to him in the process of buying, selling, and striving to make a profit.
    zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
    When I was in grade school, I read Richard Shelton's "Certain Choices," and I have never forgotten the closing stanza:

    I have few friends, and none of them
    are replaceable. That's the way it is
    with friends. We make certain choices.

    I'd misplaced Shelton's name for years, and the rest of the poem too (it's one of those that unfortunately seems to get attributed to "Author Unknown" more often than the writer himself), but thanks to Google Books, I finally read the whole thing again within his memoir of being a prison volunteer. And some other people have reposted it on Tumblr and other spaces.

    In Camille T. Dungy's Smith Blue, there's a poem titled "Association Copy," which is about a book that used to be owned by Lynda Hull. The opening lines:

    Maybe you sold it to buy junk. Though I like to think not.
    And I don't want to think you used the money for food
    or rent or anything obligatory, practical...

    And then the fourth and fifth lines are very Linda, to my eyes:

    A pair of boots, perhaps. Thigh high burgundy boots
    with gold laces. Something crucial as lilies.
    zirconium: photo of ranunculus bloom on my laptop (ranunculus on keyboard)
    Par la bouche de ce canon il neige. C'était l'enfer dans notre tête. Au même moment c'est le printemps au bout de nos doigts. C'est la foulée de nouveau permise, la terre en amour, les herbes exubérantes.

    Snow is falling from the mouth of this cannon. There was hell in our heads. At the same time, spring's at our fingertips. Permission's granted to step forth again, the earth's in love, the grasses exuberant.

    -- René Char; translated by Ralph Freedman, Donald Justice, and Paulène Aspel
    zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
    In the most recent batch of picture books from the library, the one I like best is Hena Khan's Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story (Chronicle, 2008), beautifully iluustrated by Julie Paschkis with lots of blue, green, and gold. I especially like how Yasmeen's Eid present at the end ties in with the overall storyline of her gazing at the moon.

    In other goings-on:

  • fourteen takes on Hopkins's "The Windhover", including mine

  • a reading of Traci Brimhall's The Labyrinth

  • a reading of Uma Gowrishankar's At the Moment of Death: Bardo 1
  • zirconium: Photo of Joyful V (racehorse) in stall (Joyful Victory)
    1. My poem Spelling "For Worse" is up at Goblin Fruit, in both text and audio formats.

    1a. I am keeping right fine company on that TOC. :-)

    2. Merrie Haskell wrote a novel called Castle behind Thorns. It's about to emerge, it has earned a starred review in Publisher's Weekly, and it will be a Junior Literary Guild selection. (Her second published novel has been collecting recommendations and awards, too, including "the 2014 Schneider Family Book Award winner for middle school for its depiction of a person with a disability.")

    3. The Velveteen Rabbi will be reading her poetry in Jerusalem. I am so excited for her!

    4. Making manuscripts reader-friendlier. Go me!

    4a. Having the chops and experience to recognize typos (especially in Spanish) I wouldn't have caught five years ago.

    5. Ripe cantaloupe and canned quail eggs. For when one works flat through dinner and then needs something that doesn't require cooking (i.e., stink up the kitchen) right before bedtime.

    6. The sumo tangerine I picked up at a store last week. It was an indulgence, but it was also a great conversation piece, and I am about to candy the peel.

    7. Having a dog that gleefully hoovers up vegetable scraps. (I am less enamored of her fondness for snacking on potting soil, but that's because it makes her wheeze.)

    8. It is sunny and 55 F here right now. I'll be spending most of the day with spreadsheets, but I think I'll first sneak out for a walk.

    9. Particle Fever! (And yes, I wore my CERN jacket to the showing.)


    Feb. 24th, 2014 09:32 am
    zirconium: photo of ranunculus bloom on my laptop (ranunculus on keyboard)
    1. My sonnet "The Bed I Haven't Made Yet" has been nominated for a Rhysling Award. My first nomination ever! Thank you, mystery nominator!

    2. Rejections received within last 8 days: 2

    3. Poems submitted within last 8 days: 8

    4. Clothing items to return to Coldwater Creek: 2 *sigh*

    5. Ratty nightgowns binned within the last month: 2

    6. Picture books on loan from the library: 11 print, 1 electronic

    7. Requested edits: 1

    8. Ml of mustard seed oil remaining in my pantry: approximately 250
    zirconium: Photo of Joyful V (racehorse) in stall (Joyful Victory)
    The Christmas stockings are already back in the basement, and after lunch I might dismantle the wreath for the compost pile, and then prepare kale salad and clove snaps for the next round of shenanigans. It wasn't overly crowded at the dump, but I was amused to see others on similar "let's get this clobber OUT of the house and yard NOW" missions. The grocery stores and wine boutique were hopping as well. The wine shop owner told me that the caramel brownies I'd given to them were "mindblowing." (That recipe has done right by me this past year: I had to bin my first batch because I'd forgotten the gelatin, which left the glaze harder than plexiglas, but I've baked and boiled several pans' worth since then, and it's been pretty sweet to see "OMG THOSE BROWNIES" on my phone. *Cheshire grin*)

    My 2013 had a fair amount of grief and fear and aggravation in it. Some of it likely won't be sorted out until 2015, and some of it not ever. I've gotten better at coping with "not soon" and "not ever" scenarios as I get older (Gottseidank), but man, they still bite.

    But there was also the love and support of friends and colleagues, both in crisis and in general; happy trips to New Orleans, Keeneland, Atlanta, and Vancouver; seventy-one yoga classes, twenty-one bike rides, and assorted hikes (including a climb up the Grouse Grind); and some publications:

  • one haiku and two haiga, in Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku and Haiga (Dos Gatos Press)

  • "Even an Empty Life Can Hold Water" and "Making Rice Dance," in the "Journeys" issue of Inkscrawl, August 2013

  • "With Light-Years Come Heaviness," in the "Immigrations" issue of Eye to the Telescope, April 2013

  • "Newest Amsterdam," in Dreams and Nightmares, May 2013 (issue 95)

  • "The Bed I Haven't Made," in STAR*LINE, April 2013

  • "Sweet 16th" and "Novecento," in the "Menupoems 2013" featurette of Alimentum, April 2013

  • "Proportions," UU World, Summer 2013 (first published in Measured Extravagance [Upper Rubber Boot, 2012])

  • "creasing the statement," unFold, 10 April 2013

  • "Clinging," in Escape Into Life's "Dog Days of August" feature

  • "Remnant," in Escape Into Life's "Fleurs de Mai" feature

  • "next to the bandshell" and "kittens nesting," in 7x20, September 2013

  • five poems on offer at The Poetry Storehouse for remixing (an offer so far taken up by Nic Sebastian and Othniel Smith); an interview of me was published in the Moving Poems forum on 2 December.

  • "Watching Pain(t) Dry," in Overplay/Underdone (Medusa's Laugh Press)

  • Thank you all for being a part of my life -- be it as an occasional visitor to this blog or the pal pouring me another whisky or some other incarnation of reader/friend/colleague/inspiration. Wishing you all a splendid 2014!
    zirconium: sculpture of owl at Cheekwood, Nashville (Cheekwood owl)
    Henry Parland's My Hat: "My hat / was run over..."

    Jones Very's The Hand and the Foot, a sonnet. I don't agree with the thesis but it's been in my clippings pile all this time because of the final couplet.

    This item in Dylan Thomas's list of Useless Presents: "once, by mistake that no one could explain, a little hatchet."
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    (1) Lunch (at Rice Paper) and ice cream (at Sebastian Joe's) with M'ris and Timprov. There were a number of "Yep, I'm in Scandosota" moments during this trip: among them was listening to the others discussing reindeer castration while I dug into my Nicollet Avenue Pothole sundae. :-)

    (2) There's an interview of me at the Moving Poems Forum.

    (3) A few weeks ago, LiAnn Yim posted praise for inkscrawl at her blog.
    zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
    It's a wonderful world, y'all. A bloke in Cardiff, Othniel Smith, found Nic Sebastian's reading of "Playing Duets with Heisenberg's Ghost" at the Poetry Storehouse and was moved to make a videopoem of it:

    "Playing Duets with Heisenberg’s Ghost" by Peg Duthie from OTHNIEL SMITH on Vimeo.

    (Amplifying the pleasure: hearing about the video not only from Nic but from Rachel, whose d'var Torah on wrestling with angels has me thinking about how "face" and "facet" are only one letter apart; Sarah Sloat's poems at the Storehouse, which I will want to spend more time with later; and the cheap but nonetheless distinct thrill of seeing that if one Googles "Heisenberg's ghost" or "Heisenberg duets," the above video shows up first. [insert joke about Schrodingerian search results...])

    In other news, the BYM's biking bestie brought breakfast to our house yesterday and (in celebration) I showed her all the spent enoxaparin syringes I'd collected in the box another friend had sent chocolates in. (Long story short: the BYM underwent surgery twice last month, which [among other things] necessitated thirty-nine anticoagulant shots, which neither he nor I ever got used to administering; the process was just as awful on day 39 as it was on day 1, especially since he had no padding on him to begin with and has since lost 10-15 pounds.) I mentioned that I had a couple of art projects in mind; the BYM furrowed his brow and made a squinchy face at me, but the bestie's face lit up, and she said, "If you don't end up doing something with them, I will." Have I said lately how much my friends delight me? :-)
    zirconium: Photo of graduated cylinder with black and blue feathers (measured 1)
    Nic Sebastian has added a video of "Playing Duets with Heisenberg's Ghost" to The Poetry Storehouse.
    zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
    Nic Sebastian has created a recording of Playing Duets with Heisenberg's Ghost and uploaded it to The Poetry Storehouse. Squee!

    Christmas cactus bud

    The first buds on the Christmas cactus in our library room have appeared. The plant is from one of my mother's plants, which I split into three smaller plants this year. I haven't had much luck with small cuttings/breakings (I did get some to root this summer, but then rain or critters got the better of them), but the three big chunks from the mama plant (so to speak) seem to be doing fine.

    The first fall frost of the year will hit us any day now, so Saturday's chores included harvesting the last of the Kentucky Colonel mint:

    final harvest
    zirconium: corner of dormant tulip bed (corner)
    An invitation to remix: five poems at The Poetry Storehouse (which I heard about from Rachel Barenblat). Come and play!


    It's looking like the first fall frost may hit us this Sunday, so I will be devoting part of my Saturday to tucking kraft paper, dog hair (to continue deterring bunnies), and mulch around the hollyhocks. The yard provided an excellent therapy break this afternoon: things had gotten messy around the Kentucky Colonel mint. Detangling it perfumed my hands, and clearing away the weeds and stray leaves and weeds soothed my mind.

    And now I'm going to make shrimp korma, and then dive back into work.
    zirconium: US and POW-MIA flags above Andrew Johnson National Cemetery (US/POW flags)
    I came across This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort last month, while looking up Karla Kuskin in my library catalog. Each poem is paired with an illustration by a different artist. You can see some of the illustrations in this Candlewick Press PDF, including one of my favorites, Chris Raschka's depiction of New York City. It's next to Ann Turner's "The Beginning," which opens with

    This is where it begins
    like God really lives in New York
    and he opens his hands, PRESTO!
    there are subway trains
    churning through the dark
    and Brooklyn Bridge swaying
    all its lights like ribbons...

    And the line "dogs running underfoot / like bits of escaped rug" -- oh, hee!

    Another pairing I especially liked was Margaret Tsuda's "Commitment in a City" with a painting containing dozens of people (as well as some dogs and cats and birds) by Jill McElmurry, whose work I now definitely want to see more of (her new book, Tree Lady, is about "the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science," Katherine Olivia Sessions). The ending of Tsuda's poem:

    ... You are part of my city,
    my universe, my being.
    If you were not here
    to pass me by,
    a piece would be missing
    from my jigsaw-puzzle day.
    zirconium: photo of bell tower seen on a walk to the Acropolis (athens bell tower)
    The subject line is from William Stafford's Putting the Sonnet to Work (written about eight months before he died). It is unsettling...

    Decal seen on the front of a lawn mower in Jerusalem, on the Givat Ram campus of Hebrew University, October 2009:
    From Israel 2009 - set 3
    From Israel 2009 - set 3

    From another Stafford poem, written about three months before he died:

    It's heavy to drag, this big sack of what
    you should have done. And finally
    you can't lift it any more.
    Someone says, "Come on," and you
    just look at them. Trees are waiting,
    mountains. You never intended
    that it should come to this.

    But Now has arrived and is looking
    straight at you, the way a lion does
    when thinking it over . . .

    There are many lions in Jerusalem:

    From Israel 2009 - set 3
    From Israel 2009 - set 2
    From Israel 2009 - set 2


    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)

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