Art thou pale for weariness of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth, wandering companionless among the stars that have a different birth, and ever changing, like a joyless eye that finds no object worth it's constancy? Thou chosen sister of the Spirit, that gazes on thee til in thee it pities. . . -Shelley (To The Moon)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

See Our, A Very Poet

Geraldine Chaplin by Harold Chapman
 I open the door once more, to put words out like a bowl of milk for sweet night kittens.

1953 Ace Books, artist unknown
William Seward Burroughs II
had eyes intense and sad
before he died.

Poets eyes

but stark as new planets.

Don't ever become

so unkown
(after long periods of unknowableness)
that your eyes can't be visited.

Keep the last of the jazz

blue note beads
around your neck

Your songs'll maybe better

than rain, stars & laughter
& prose manuscripts
'graved on killed cold stone.

Be intense as air

Be sad as a backyard scuffle

But eat cake and listen to someone

sometime a friend.

I'm telling you WSB killed his eyes.

Don't kill yours
even though you're a poet sure.

Alphabet Exercise

Lithograph by Ernest Lister, illustrator unknown

             Instead of posting only finished poems, I will now occasionally post writing exercises, drafts, and randomly selected pieces, so that my writing is represented in a sort of a workroom fashion. A blog isn't a book, and I haven't an editor, so I want to take advantage of the lack of judgmental chaperoning. I want to be more editorializing, too, in a way, in my comments and introductions. 

The alphabet.

Tasha Tudor
Apples in late-August are ample
Bear the fruits of imagination
Creases in the psyche are recommended
Dogs teach us how to play
Eligible bachelors are a societal construct
Friends can be a distraction
Glib speech is unnecessary; thought-out responses are optional
Hope is a fancy name for what you fear won’t happen
I can’t see myself except for in pieces
Justice as vocation
Killers in heaven
Love is the right thing
Marionettes strung high act
Nonsense the truth
Oh my
Quench your eyesight with flame
Restrain nothing, only release
Summer music
Tease the heart
Us versus I
Vaunted beauty or none at all

Monday, January 17, 2011


It's the coldest day of the year so far, and I'm content to remain indoors, doing some thinking. I'm also content to remain on the North American continent, as a fairly sedate and sober writer, instead of doing a job most would consider to be glamourous. There isn't anything glamourous about a bespectacled writer who teaches piano and snowshoes through the park - or is there?

Above is 'Le Reve' by Picasso, and to the right is 'The Ballerina' by Cezanne

The penguins in Patagonia
are mysteries to me,
all of Europe evades.
I did not become the ballerina
I dreamed of becoming,
I failed to take one superstep
down the catwalk beckoning me.
My lifelong, loving companion
has not yet arrived,
and neither are my composed words

soul-tinged compared with Dickenson's.
I have, though, held time
in my hands and shaped it. . .
gave it wings. . . let it rest.
I have held one billion snowflakes
in my gaze - and knew their number.
I don't try to chalk the sun
or give a phrase to every thought.
I like to know that others, too, let alone
the souls of things.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Reserves I May Have In My Heart Made

When I read this line by Gerald Manley Hopkins I shuddered: "They were faithful but not rich observers of nature" Perhaps he doesn't mean to condescend, but it's not something I'd like to have said about myself. I want to be a rich observer of nature! One thing I'm certain of, regardless, is that if you are here on this page to read some poetry, I believe you are the one richly observing nature, even if it's only the faithful, poor workings of language in my mind.....

Above the image is Rouen Cathedral by Monet, to the right is Autoportrait by Tamara de Lempicka

Vicious bodycolour enclouds his chaste mind
in a room of bruised tiles. This apple,
this bee harbour, is modest,
by medievalist virtue.

Under the green
stained glass, I stand
extending lucid transmissions from my smoky heart

pursuing his black perjury

He wakes with manners,
morals, obligations
but ends it all with eternity incarnate,

a spiritual feast on tragic letters
sprawled out on tossed blue ribbon
with necessary eyes
he feasts on their exotic wine

Young birds carry me
to emotional graveyard
while he's away, seldom afraid

of my serviceable art.

Too smooth a mirror on the mantle
in confused imagery - city or cloudscape?

I perform the familiar practice of leaving him with others, happily rattling.

All who have come here,
have come to stand in the light.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Motet Lyrics

Weddings are inspiring occasions, when celebration is merry. I had the luck, also, of sitting beside a chorister who told me of a competition being held by a local chamber choir to find a new choral work. I have decided to enter, and I have written lyrics to my motet. Please wish me luck, and I hope someday you will hear the music, too! These are the lyrics:

Above is Suerat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grand Jatte, and to the right is Ingres' Portrait of Princesse de Broglie
"A countenance more of sorrow than anger" - Shakespeare

I listen to the light
I see the sound
If you ask me
the purpose of life
I'll fly away

because loving is like waiting
for a bus that won't stop
you must run to catch up
and jump
feel your blood pump
and lift your mind over the stump
we call body.

If you ask me
the purpose of life
I'll fly away
because loving is like waiting
for a bus that won't stop
a bus that won't stop
a bus that won't

I listen to the light
I see the sound
I listen to the light
I see the sound
you must run to catch up
you must run to catch up
and jump

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Virgina Woolf

Mind-blowing experiences. There are other terms to describe such events or passages, but it does suffice. A mind-blowing experience makes one feel alive. Today this happened to me, as I reread Virgina Woolf's "To the Lighthouse". In itself, the passage I will share below blew my mind - but there was something even more. . . I had read it before and wasn't noticeably moved. To have missed it before, only to have it affect me so dramatically now - is also in itself a mind-blowing thing. You can imagine to what extent my wonder for the world has expanded, and as always it expands to include you:

The sketch above is by Paul Gustave Fischer

There he stood in the parlour of the poky little house where she had taken him, waiting for her, while she went upstairs a moment to see a woman. He heard her quick step above; heard her voice cheerful, then low; looked at the mats, tea-caddies, glass shades; waited quite impatiently; looked forward eagerly to the walk home, determined to carry her bag; then heard her come out; shut a door; say they must keep the windows and the doors shut, ask at the house for anything they wanted (she must be talking to a child), when, suddenly, in she came, stood for a moment silent (as if she had been pretending up there, and for a moment let herself be now), quite motionless for a moment against a picture of Queen Victoria wearing the blue ribbon of the Garter; and all at once he realized it was this: it was this: - she was the most beautiful person he had ever seen.

With stars in her eyes and veils in her hair, with cyclamen and wild violets - what nonsense was he thinking? She was fifty at least; she had eight children. Stepping through fields of flowers and taking to her breast buds that had broken and lambs that had fallen; with the sta
rs in her eyes and the wind in her hair - He took her bag.

"Goodbye, Elsie," she said, and they walked up the street, she holding her parasol erect and walking as if she expected to meet someone around the corner, while for the first time in his life Charles Tansley felt an extraordinary pride; a man digging in a drain stopped digging and looked at her; let his arm fall down and looked at her; Charles Tansley felt an extraordinary pride; felt the wind and the cyclamen and the violets for he was walking with a beautiful woman for the first time in his life. He had hold of her bag.

Monday, August 9, 2010

(weird and silly) Things I Want:

(This is my second entry today, so you can be sure it's raining outside, so you can be sure I'm drinking too much coffee.) In life, I'm inclined to write lists. Once in a while, my lists have an extraordinary or weird aspect. For example, on a grocery list, I will sometimes include an item that I could never afford or even find, like a rare mushroom or champagne. After I made the following silly list in a hurry, my partner picked it up, read it, and we laughed. I love laughter; mine, yours, ours. . .

Above is A Joan Crawford Alphabet by Donald Urquhart and to the right is a movie poster (artist unknown)

Things I want:

not necessarily for myself but wild horses
a solid gold menorah

a mayan monument
a real Picasso that takes up the whole wall
a vintage tiara

one thousand bottles of Veuve Cliquot
to travel at night always
longer days and longer nights sometimes
a deep sea hub
a chartreuse kimono
parallel universes

peace/ all criminals reformed
endless romantic possibilities
a life-sized Jade elephant with sapphire eyes
a cathedral (to record in)
a country church (to write in)
a black Jaguar (car)

a melanistic jaguar
Shirley Temple as a child forever
to be internally composed of stars
to play everything Bach and Mozart ever wrote by memory
to lay an egg painlessly
to fly