"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words." ~Goethe

~ also, if possible, to dwell in "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." ~Yeats

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun

A COSMIC EVENT & A POSTAGE STAMP
WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS

Before the year ends, I want to say something about the eclipse of the decade, which I witnessed -- partially; in Las Vegas -- on Monday, August 21, 2017. Although we were nowhere near the path of totality, we did wake up to a double rainbow -- a lucky omen on Total Solar Eclipse Day!


At the time of the eclipse, Gerry was indoors, delivering a hugely successful presentation at the Cisco Global Sales Conference in the MGM Grand Garden Arena. He began his speech with a humorous nod to both the eclipse and his schedule for the day, which had allotted 15 minutes for hair styling, quite a bit more than would be needed to perfect his Uncle Fester coiffure:
"In those 15 minutes, the stylists have brought my updo to such an astonishing state of perfection that I feel compelled to advise you on this day of the solar eclipse not to look directly at my head." An appreciative audience totally enjoyed his "Total Eclipse of the Hair" joke as well as the more serious presentation that he gave on the working relationship between Cisco and Purdue.
CLICK TO WATCH
Gerry at the MGM Grand
Click for a brief video &
click again on "2 Shares"
for additional comments

As for what was happening outside under the beating sun, I was fascinated to read the many firsthand accounts of those who traveled great distances so as to witness not just what was on offer locally but the actual totality. David Pogue's account of "What I learned from my first total solar eclipse" is the one that convinced me to try to go next time; and Annie Dillard's description from last time is astounding and awe - inspiring:
"You have seen photographs of the sun taken during a total eclipse. The corona fills the print. All of those photographs were taken through telescopes. The lenses of telescopes and cameras can no more cover the breadth and scale of the visual array than language can cover the breadth and simultaneity of internal experience. Lenses enlarge the sight, omit its context, and make of it a pretty and sensible picture, like something on a Christmas card. I assure you, if you send any shepherds a Christmas card on which is printed a three-by-three photograph of the angel of the Lord, the glory of the Lord, and a multitude of the heavenly host, they will not be sore afraid. More fearsome things can come in envelopes. More moving photographs than those of the sun’s corona can appear in magazines. But I pray you will never see anything more awful in the sky."
In addition to Dillard's Pulitzer Prize winning narrative, I am equally honored to share these accounts from two writers somewhat closer to home:

1. My friend, The Rev. Ed Tourangeau
And so Day 5 comes to an end. No more states traversed today, in fact we only drove about 80 miles: to Tryon and back. Got there +/- 10, found good seats on a bit of a terrace near the "necessaries" and not far from lunch (the brisket was superb!). Chatted with/ neighbors (mostly from Colorado) and watched the last of the fog burn off to reveal good skies w/ a few fluffy clouds of no real impedance. PSAs announced critical points in the entire show: first contact, advances in occlusion, notice the temperature drop (it certainly did), "watch for the shadow approaching" (couldn't discern it), "watch for Bailey's beads .... watch for the diamond ring" (I think I saw the ring), and then "you may remove your glasses now." What struck me was the noise difference of the crowd before, and during, the process. Totality was "reverential", or at least attentive. We never went midnight black but did have two minutes plus of refreshingly cool heavy twilight. The corona was amazing and totally worth it - I encourage my readership to catch the next one, in 2024. Finally, the population of this Nebraska county where Tryon is located is about 580 souls. I expect at least 575 pitched in to host and serve us. They tried to anticipate our every need, including bratwurst, if you don't care for BBQ. Guys in little four wheeler dune buggies offered rides, and no one was too busy to chat. The entire day was part of what is meant by "Totality".
2. My friend, musician and scientist Jay Mermoud
Obligatory Eclipse Post: I was out on a sales call in Indianapolis today and was not sure if I was going to be on the road or in the city for the eclipse. I was a bit daunted by the fact it was so overcast on the drive down, but when I stopped at a restaurant minutes before the eclipse hit, several people were stepping outside the restaurant with their glasses and a perfect window opened in the clouds. I had somehow managed not to ever get around to buying eclipse glasses, but some very kind people standing in the parking lot were passing theirs around to anyone who wanted to take a look. So I did. And for a brief moment six or eight of us who really didn't know each other shared a common moment in our lives, awestruck by what we were witnessing, and extraordinairily grateful for the perfect timing of the clouds opening and generous souls willing to share their glasses. Many grateful thank yous followed, each of us a bit changed for the better by the experience. Hard not to think our creator was speaking to all of us in that moment.

My brother Bruce and friends expressed a variety of mixed emotions and opinions in response to an article that asked, "Are solar eclipses proof of God?", while all I could think of were these lyrics from our upbringing:

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art . . .

*********************

In the stars His handiwork I see,
On the wind He speaks with majesty,

Though He ruleth over land and sea,
What is that to me?
I will celebrate Nativity,
For it has a place in history,
Sure, He came to set His people free,
What is that to me?

Till by faith I met Him face to face . . .


Bruce and I also too a moment to reminisce about sitting out in the yard with our eldest brother Dave on an early autumn night, watching the total eclipse of the 2015 Harvest Supermoon from start to finish and back again. Its hard to beat that!

********************
The best eclipse video of the day
came from the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society

This compilation of seven eclipse moments in popular culture is also excellent, featuring, among others, Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and Little Shop of Horrors:

" . . . I was just about to, ya know, walk on by,
when suddenly, and without warning,
there was this total eclipse of the sun
.

It got very dark and there was this strange
sound like something from another world.
And when the light came back
this weird plant was just sitting there . . . "

I would also include a couple of personal favorites, both by Janis Ian:
"I believe in mystery and your sincerity . . . "

"Might as well be living on the other side of the sun . . . "

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS ON MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Sunday, January 14th

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT ~ "All The Frosty Ages" & "Crystallized Happiness"
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST ~ "Everything by Kent Haruf"
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Not the Husband, Not the Father

A TOWN WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS
Salida, Colorado ~ known in Kent Haruf's fiction as Holt
I took this photo on 23 September 2017
at the Kent Haruf Literary Celebration,
where I presented the following paper:

"They were not the husband . . . they were not the father":
Nativity Play in the Novels of Kent Haruf

My first reading of Plainsong and Eventide happened to be during the Christmas season, a coincidence of timing that has indelibly informed my understanding of the connections shared by Victoria Roubideaux, a pregnant teenage girl with nowhere to stay, and the noble McPheron brothers -- Harold and Raymond, who, to everyone's surprise, including their own, take her in on their farm. The community at large find the relationship difficult to comprehend. As the post - delivery nurse In Plainsong points out ". . . they were not the husband, were they, they were not the father . . . " (289); and as Victoria has to explain with some exasperation to her curious apartment manager in Eventide, the McPherons are neither grandfathers nor uncles nor preachers: "But they did save me . . . when I needed help so badly (7 - 8).

In their generosity, Harold and Raymond step up to meet whatever needs they can for this young expectant stranger. No matter how confused and uncertain Victoria may be, the kindly elderly brothers radiate calm and stability. If you like to think, as I do, that the true message of Christmas is ~ "Be nice to pregnant women, no matter who the father of the baby is and regardless of their legal marital status; and to babies no matter who their parents are; and don't ask questions that are none of your business" ~ then the McPherons are the embodiment of the Spirit of Christmas. As Raymond says a few years later, looking back on the early days of Victoria's pregnancy: "I didn't much care for it myself. The way people talked. I couldn't see how it was much of anybody else's business" (Eventide, 247).

Moving from Holt County to long - ago Bethlehem, the McPherons are Wisemen, Shepherds, and Innkeepers, all rolled into one, doing the best they can to care for the pregnant virgin. When they first agree to take Victoria in, Harold confides in Raymond, "This ain't going to be no goddamn Sunday school picnic," and Raymond responds, "No, it ain't . . . But I don't recall you ever attending Sunday school either" (Plainsong, 113). In this paper, instead of a Sunday school picnic, it's going to be a Nativity play (or perhaps a medieval pageant, 69)! An annunciation of sorts takes place when Maggie Jones arrives at the McPheron farm to inform Harold and Raymond that "I want something improbable" (109). Remember what the Angel Gabriel says to Mary: "For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37). The stage is set for a miracle play.

Standing at the center of this living nativity are three dramatic figures, Victoria, naive and apprehensive, and the two gruff farmers, somewhat careworn but well - intentioned. Imagine Harold and Raymond as creche figures, standing in the manger scene. When Maggie first drives out to request their assistance, "They . . . approached her slowly, calmly, as deliberately as church deacons" (106); and when Maggie brings Victoria out to meet them for the first time: "They came out of the house at once onto the little screened porch and stood waiting . . . like two lifelike statues of minor saints" (125). Now imagine Victoria as a stand - in for the Virgin Mary, troubled and vulnerable. Her morning sickness notwithstanding, she still appears virginal, wearing a white sleeping shirt by night and a white tee shirt by day (whereas her harsh unyielding mother wears a "stained blue satin robe" 8 - 10).

As the day begins, Victoria's mother, Betty, who has been broken by the world and has her own problems, displays a heart - breaking lack of compassion. Even when Victoria pleads: “Help me, Mama. I need you to help me” (10), Betty Roubideaux (not to be confused with Betty June Wallace in Eventide) remains unmoved. To Victoria's credit, she possesses an understated determination that carries her through the unfolding crisis. After the early morning altercation with her mother, she pulls herself together and "walked to school in a kind of dream . . . past the display windows of the stores, watching her reflection, how she walked and carried her body, and as yet she could see no change. There was nothing she could discern outwardly" (10 - 11). The pregnancy is still a secret that she carries within herself, as she seems to float, dreamily down the street. She makes it through the day, attending classes, warding off unwelcome advances from an older boy, working hard at her after - school job, and finally drifting home in the early autumn night: " . . . the air was turning sharp, with a fall feeling of loneliness coming. Something unaccountable pending in the air " (31).

Sadly, the day ends, as it began, in conflict. Victoria is once again at odds with Betty, who has hardened her heart and locked her daughter out of the house. Victoria implores in vain: “Mama. Let me in now. Do you hear me? . . . I'm sorry, Mama. Please. Can't you hear me?” But the inside lights go out. Now what? In a scene right out of "The Little Match Girl," Victoria sits waif - like on the front step: "She seemed to fade away, to drift and wander in a kind of daze of sorrow and disbelief. She sobbed a little. She stared out at the silent trees and the dark street and the houses across the street where people were moving about reasonably in the bright rooms beyond the windows . . . She sat staring out, not moving. Later she came out of that" (31 - 32).


This is Victoria, just like Mary, pondering her condition in her heart and deciding what to do next. Yes, she feels abandoned and betrayed, but she will soon be a mother and must come up with a plan. Seeing the more "reasonable" family over the road has given her an idea. Just as the newly pregnant young Virgin Mary struck out on her own to visit her older Cousin Elisabeth, so the temporarily homeless Victoria sets out alone, through the chilly night, following the streets of Holt to the house of her teacher Maggie Jones. Though not with child herself, Maggie's role is similar to that of the biblical Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist when Mary learns of her own pregnancy: "And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth."

Maggie has the benefit of life experience to share with Victoria, who arrives on foot at bedtime to confide in a trusted adult. Victoria appears on Maggie’s doorstep, with nowhere else to go, the pregnant virgin in search of a safe place to rest. Maggie's first gesture is to offer comfort and adorn her unexpected visitor as one might a nativity statuette: she "took up a throw blanket from the couch and draped it around the girl’s shoulders. . . .The girl looked tired and sad, the blanket wrapped about her shoulders as though she were some survivor of a train wreck or flood." Maggie is very gentle with Victoria but also direct: “For God’s sake. Did you not know any better . . . did you not use any protection at all?” Victoria, in return, answers frankly about her romantic encounters with the boy who told her that her "beautiful eyes . . . were like black diamonds lit up on a starry night" (33, 35, 36).

The conception of her baby was not immaculate, but it may as well have been, for all that Victoria reveals about the father. When Maggie asks, "But who was he?" Victoria answers, "A boy. . . . I don't want to say . . . He won't claim it. . . . He's not the fathering kind. . . . I don't think you would know him" (34). She keeps his name a secret; and his whereabouts are a mystery: "He's from another town . . . he doesn't live here. He lives somewhere else." Harold refers to the absent boyfriend as if he were a breeding animal, asking Maggie, "What about the sire . . . Where does he come into this?" Maggie is thrown off at first by the breeding lingo, but suddenly realizes, "Who? . . . Oh. You mean the baby's father" (109).

In dealing with the situation, Maggie reveals an intuitive wisdom similar to that of the Virgin Mary's cousin Elisabeth: "And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. . . . And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord" (Luke 1: 39 - 42, 45). As Elisabeth prophesies, so does Maggie, providing a latter day Magnificat of cynicism and challenge. First, to Victoria, Maggie predicts: “Oh, honey . . . I do feel sorry for you. You’re going to have such a hard time. You just don’t know it yet” (37). Second, to the McPherons, as she persuades them to take Victoria in, Maggie points out: “You’re going to die some day without ever having had enough trouble in your life. Not of the right kind anyway. This is your chance” (110).

The McPheron's are tempted, as we all are, to buy their way into the Kingdom of Heaven, if possible. Is Maggie asking for a donation of money for Victoria? They would gladly contribute, but "No. She needs a lot more than that." After listening to Maggie's proposal, Harold says, "Hell, Maggie . . . Let's go back to the money part. Money'd be a lot easier." However, after some consideration, both Harold and Raymond are willing to do this huge favor for Maggie and Victoria, to alter their life-long routines and embrace the unknown possibilities of the good deed at hand. Victoria has already been rejected by her mother, turned away from her own home, locked out of the house. Maggie’s place serves for a time but does not prove to be a safe haven, as Maggie is dealing also with her unwell elderly father. Truly there has been no room at the inn for Victoria, but with her introduction to Harold and Raymond McPheron, that is about to change. The way they see it, the unexpected pregnancy needn't be a negative turn of events for this solitary mother - to - be, bereft of friends and relatives.

As Innkeepers, they open their home to Victoria. They tidy up, carefully attempting to see each room through the eyes of a girl. They anticipate Victoria's need not only for physical shelter but for emotional comfort and privacy as well. Their domestic skills include a sense of tradition, as they search out old treasures from their own mother's household effects and personal collections. On Maggie's first night at the farm, Harold checks on her before bedtime and sees what might easily be taken for a portrait of the Madonna, complete with heavenly halo: Victoria “was sitting up in bed in a square – necked winter nightgown with a sweater pulled over her shoulders, a schoolbook and a blue notepad propped up in her lap, while the lamp beside the bed cast yellow light onto her clear face and her shining hair” (132).

As Wisemen, Raymond and Harold can read the stars in the sky at night. There are so many beautiful examples to choose from, but perhaps the most mystical occurs in Eventide when Raymond observes ". . . the sky overhead clear of any cloud, the stars as clean and bright as if they were no more distant than the next barbed - wire fence post . . . everything all around him distinct and unhidden. He loved how it all looked, except he would never have said it that way. He might have said that this was just how it was supposed to look, out on the high plains at the end of winter, on a clear fresh night" (Eventide, 206). This is the mystical Colorado sky as Raymond reads it, as Haruf shares it with us through every feast and season.

Furthermore, like the Wisemen of yore, Harold and Raymond come bearing gifts! Surely there is no scene more delightful than the excursion to the department store, in search of nursery furniture. This is a new venue for the brothers, but they are equal to the task of choosing the best baby crib available, and all of the accessories. When they call Maggie for advice about buying a crib, she teases them, "I'm to understand that you don't mean a corn crib." Victoria is overcome with emotion at their generosity. Like the Virgin Mary, she would be only too pleased with a humble manger. But the way Harold and Raymond see it, nothing is too good for this first - time mother and her coming child, plus they are enjoying the shopping trip: "We're having us some fun here. . . . It's all right . . . It is. You'll just have to believe that" (Plainsong, 176, 182).

As Shepherds, their understanding of fertility and birth on the farm enables them to help Victoria at this crucial and vulnerable time. Raymond scolds Harold for comparing Victoria's pre-natal habits to those of a young heifer. "She's not a cow!" Raymond insists. " She's not a heifer!" But Harold persists in his analogy, drawing on familiar knowledge to improve his understanding of the unfamiliar: "Both of them is young. Both of them's out in the country with only us here to watch out for em. Both is carrying a baby for the first time. Just think about it" (174).

They take admirable care of their "flock" -- the many head of cattle who depend upon them for a good, safe existence. When the birthing season begins and the first heifer goes into labor, Harold and Raymond carry a lantern out to the calf shed, just as we might envision the biblical shepherds on their way to Bethlehem to witness the birth. It is a hard delivery -- a struggle for heifer, calf, and ranchers -- but successful in the end. As the heifer settles in to clean and feed her newborn calf, the brothers return to the house in a reverie drawn from a Christmas carol: "By now it was after midnight. It was cold and bleak outside the shed and utterly quiet. Overhead, the stars in the unclouded sky looked as cold and arctic as ice" (Plainsong, 204).

No, they are not the husband, father, grandfather, uncle, or preacher. Maybe deacons, saints, innkeepers, wisemen, or shepherds. Cattle farmers certainly. Guardians of youth and innocence. Realistic to a fault, romantic in spite of themselves. Friends indeed. Most importantly they rise to the occasion of befriending Victoria, never judging, always advocating on her behalf, bringing the light of Christmas to the community of Holt.

Thanks to the Kent Haruf ~ Literary Celebration

Previously on FN

Christmas Star at the Palace Hotel

Stairs Going Up

Stairs Going Down


SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS ON MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Thursday, December 28

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT ~ "Haruf (Rhymes with Sheriff)"
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST ~ "Everything by Kent Haruf"
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cyber Monday

A THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY,
WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS
Gorgeous hand - crafted card from
my multi - talented sister - in - law Tina

A week ago, I had one of those life - affirming Monday - morning coincidences. You know. The kind that makes you believe in the whole Universe at once . . . that amazes and surprises and suggests a pattern. I was looking at my pre - Thanksgiving "to do" list and decided that even more importantly than grocery shopping and housecleaning, I should finally look up the poem that had been recommended to me several months ago when I was having lunch with a few friends. I googled what I had scribbled on a post - it and discovered this truly transporting poem:

What To Remember When Waking
~by David Whyte (Dec 30, 2013)

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?

At first, I was feeling bad that it had taken me over three months to finally follow - up on this reading suggestion; but then, when I thought about what a perfect poem it was for a Monday morning, and what a perfect poem for Thanksgiving week, it seemed that the delay was meant to be and the poem had come into my life at exactly the right moment.

I knew I should write a note that instant to thank all my lunch companions -- since I couldn't remember which one had recommended the poem back in August. But first I went to run some errands -- and who should I run into but one of those very friends, in the greeting card aisle at CVS! I told her the whole story about the poem, but she was unfamiliar with the author and said she couldn't take credit for the suggestion but would, of course, love to see it. So, as soon as I got home, I sent an email of thanksgiving, including the poem, to the entire group.

As an added bonus coincidence, another friend wrote a week later (yesterday, to be exact) with the perfect message to conclude this anecdote:
"For some reason I’m only seeing this tonight. This is a lovely poem to choose as my Cyber Monday gift for those special to me this season. No deep discounts; just deep gratitude for all my loved ones."
What a beautiful sentiment! And yet another timely coincidence that her viewing was delayed -- as mine had been -- until the very day that she needed to discover this poem!

I particularly love this line for Thanksgiving:

"You are not a troubled guest on this earth . . .
you were invited . . . "

Whyte writes similarly, in his Letter From the House: Autumn/Winter 2017 - 2018:
We are invited into the great sense of the now to understand that we are a living conversation between what we thought was the past and what we could only imagine as the future. We are creatures made to live in all three tenses at once, to hold past, present and future together . . ."
And how about this line for any morning, such as the Monday before Thanksgiving or the Monday after Thanksgiving, when you wake up with a "to - do" list that is already out of control before you even open your eyes:

" . . . there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live. . . . "

Thankfully, Whyte reminds us that relinquishing all -- or at least some -- of our big plans might allow us to intuit the even bigger and better plan that the world has in store for us on any given day.

" . . . a small opening into the new day . . . "

Previously from Tina

My friend Katie also recommended John O'Donohue's interview, "The Inner Landscape of Beauty." Some favorite passages:

Well, I think it makes a huge difference, when you wake in the morning and come out of your house, whether you believe you are walking into dead geographical location, which is used to get to a destination, or whether you are emerging out into a landscape that is just as much, if not more, alive as you, but in a totally different form, and if you go towards it with an open heart and a real, watchful reverence, that you will be absolutely amazed at what it will reveal to you.

But I do think, though, that it’s not just a matter of the outer presence of the landscape. I mean the dawn goes up, and the twilight comes, even in the most roughest inner-city place. And I think that connecting to the elemental can be a way of coming into rhythm with the universe. And I do think that there is a way in which the outer presence, even through memory or imagination, can be brought inward as a sustaining thing.

. . . the world is always larger and more intense and stranger than our best thought will ever reach. And that’s the mystery of poetry. Poetry tries to draw alongside the mystery as it’s emerging and somehow bring it into presence and into birth.

. . . everyone is involved, whether they like it or not, in the construction of their world. So it’s never as given as it actually looks. You are always shaping it and building it. And I feel that from that perspective, that each of us is an artist.

. . . every night when we sleep, we dream. And a dream is a sophisticated, imaginative text full of figures and drama that we send to ourselves.

. . . there is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there is still a sureness in you, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you.

And the trouble is, though, for so many of us, is that we have to be in trouble before we remember what’s essential.

. . . there is an evacuation of interiority going on in our times . . . there is very little time or attention given to what you could almost call learning the art of inwardness, or a pedagogy of interiority.


[See also "The Wire Brush of Doubt"]

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS ON MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Thursday, December 14

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Water in Every Wine

A HOUSE UNCEREMONIOUS, UNACCUSTOMED
Hey Trump, clean up your trash!

You might notice in this photograph that I have cropped out the flag flying above the White House, so you don't have to put your hand over your heart or anything. Just go ahead and take the knee in mourning for the grievous plight of our federal government.

I guess if I'd been feeling more ennobled that day, I could have been a pro - active citizen and picked up the litter myself. Heaven knows I did it plenty of times in Philadelphia, as my family can well attest. But right there in front of the White House, it seemed symbolic, so I just left it lay.

For me, "taking the knee" is a metaphor, a gesture of lament for the deplorable state of our federal government -- not just for professional athletes in the public eye but for all citizens at any time in the privacy of their hearts. I can hardly think of a gesture more respectful than taking the knee -- as in prayer. And not just when the National Anthem plays, but at anytime when things don't seem to be as they should -- such as seeing a pile of nasty litter in front of the White House, or realizing that our elected officials have sold their souls and are not representing our interests.

Maybe we don't even need the anthem at sports games -- we might call them national events, but they're not. The players are paid professionals who work for private clubs. But I digress, my post is not about the NFL. It's about the disgust and sadness that have washed over our country in the Aftermath of last year's Election.

I believe it when my brother Bruce asserts -- much as he did last year -- that "this man has ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE what it means to be president." A president, for example, does not declare: "I'm the only one that matters." As Bruce suggests, "Someone needs to explain our Constitution to the man, explain how divided branches of government work, explain the difference between a president and a despot. Listening to him makes me physically ill. I am ashamed and embarrassed every time I think about him, dishonoring and disgracing the office of the presidency."

I concur.

It has been a year of high blood pressure, attributed by many, including my friend Olynn, to Trump's incivility, cruelty, and inhumanity. It has been a year of daily lies and serious scholars asserting with straight faces that "The right wing’s disregard for facts and reasoning is not a matter of stupidity or lack of education."

Hmmmm. How can this be, unless we are recalibrating what we mean by "stupidity"? Personally, I still consider a "disregard for facts" to be a kind of stupidity. Is that no longer part of the standard definition? Author and psychologist John Ehrenreich insists that he is not condoning "alternative facts," but it sure sounds like he is, leading some of his less astute readers to such inane conclusions as "after all, what is a fact?" or "how do we verify facts?" Verifiable facts may elude the grasp of some, but contrary to popular opinion, they do exist; and to suggest otherwise is just plain embarrassing.

*****************

Some Words to the Wise
for these Troubled Times
1. As Oscar, from "The Office" warns us: "It's a very dangerous time. The coalition for reason is extremely weak."

2. As Samuel Beckett observes in his novel Watt: "Times are hard, water in every wine" (27).

3. As Woody Allen cautions: "Mankind is facing a crossroad -- one road leads to despair and utter hopelessness and the other to total extinction -- I sincerely hope you graduates choose the right road."

4. As the school principal tells Billy Madison: "what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

5. As poet Philip Booth reminds us:

Ganglia
As long as you
know you don't know,
not knowing's not
what hurts,

;it's what

you don't know you
don't know that
finally gets
to you, right
in the old
solar plexis.


First Lesson
Lie back daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream
and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater
ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash
to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

I fear it might be true that listening to the political discourse of the current administration has indeed made us all stupider. Thanks to Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and their deplorable retinue, reason is extremely weak in our country now; there is water in every wine; despair, hopelessness, and -- yes -- even extinction are daily concerns. A punch in the gut, a cramp in the heart -- I hope the poet is correct that the sea will hold us up, that we will survive.

*****************

One of the Best Antidotes So Far

Also from Philip Booth:
“I think survival is at stake for all of us all the time. . . .
Every poem, every work of art, everything that is well done, well
made, well said, generously given, adds to our chances of survival.”


Which is precisely what this blog strives to provide,
in accordance with Goethe's admonishment:

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem,
see a fine picture and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words."


*****************

In this picture,
later that same day,
our Nation's capital looks as pretty as Paris!

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS ON MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Tuesday, November 28th

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Dogwood, Spring and Fall

THE DOGWOOD TREE, ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS

*******************


The dogwood tree next door to us:
above ~ April 2016, looking south;
below ~ October 2017, looking north.


At Auntie Jan's House
in the South of England ~ October 2016

The following autumnal "Elegy" from Linda Pastan
(thanks Katie Field & Writer's Almanac),
echoes a letter we received recently
from Gerry's 86 - year old Auntie Margaret,
over in Reading, England. Bracing for the first
frost, she writes, nearly sonnet - like:

18 October 2017 ~ "The weather is still quite mild
but I get depressed as the days shorten
and one after another I do the jobs
that need doing to get plants through the winter."


Auntie Margaret, the poet feels your pain!

*******************
Elegy

Our final dogwood leans
over the forest floor

offering berries
to the birds, the squirrels.

It’s a relic
of the days when dogwoods

flourished—creamy lace in April,
spilled milk in May—

their beauty delicate
but commonplace.

When I took for granted
that the world would remain

as it was, and I
would remain with it.


by Linda Pastan, American Poet (b 1932)
from Insomnia [see previous posts]

*******************


Gerry, in the Fall with Auntie Margaret (above) ~ October 2016
and in the Spring with Auntie Jan (below) ~ April 2017


*******************

a page from my scrapbook
45 - year - old dogwood leaf

May 1972 ~ Lindenwood College Campus
St. Charles, Missouri

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS ON MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Tuesday, October 14th

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT ~ More "Spring & Fall"
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com


Look at these beautiful greeting cards
that I just ordered for the holidays!
Dogwood Berries by Sari Sauls

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Bright Blue October

A SKY WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS
See the black walnuts up there in the blue October sky, pacing themselves -- as Frost suggests the leaves should do -- to fall on my driveway in Indiana: a bushel one day, a peck the next; on another day maybe just a couple dozen, then an infinity nestled in the flowerbeds along the drive. I only pick them up as an offering to the recycling gods on yard - waste day; however, as wise Robert Frost observes in another poem, a crop's a crop!

In this beguiling invocation to October, he reminds us how enchanting October can be and helps us prepare our hearts for the season:

October

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.

Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.


by Robert Frost (American, 1874 - 1963)
Don't believe what they tell you about
the sun never shining in the British Isles:
October Sky in Crosby, England!
Frost depicts the grape harvest and the autumnal tones of amethyst. And of course there are the many colors that always come to mind at the mention of falling leaves: brown, orange, red, yellow; or, more poetically, russet, bittersweet, scarlet, and goldenrod. Yet even though we are mid - way through October, looking out at my yard today, I see mostly green and blue. The leaves have not yet heard the call to change, and the sky is precisely as described in this lovely poem by Helen Hunt Jackson:

October’s Bright Blue Weather
O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;

When loud the bumblebee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And goldenrod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When gentians roll their fingers tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October’s bright blue weather.

O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.


by Helen Hunt Jackson (American, 1830-1885)
Hunt's charming conclusion is shared by Ada,
who struggles with the same favortism in Cold Mountain :

"Ada had tried to love all the year equally . . .
Nevertheless, she could not get over loving autumn best . . . "

Charles Frazier (American novelist, b. 1950)

What else can I say? Neither can I!

Bright Blue and Green October

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS ON MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Saturday, October 28th

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com


Bamboo Trees in the South of England

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Smart Beautiful City

A CITY WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS
All photos in this post ~ Astana, Kazakhstan ~ August 2017

Earlier this week, I spent two days at Purdue University's Dawn or Doom Conference, an annual event that takes a close look at both the rewards and risks of emerging technology. The theme for Dawn or Doom '17 was inspired by Professor Michael Bess's insightful, disturbing book about biomedically enhanced humans: Our Grandchildren Redesigned: Life in the Bioengineered Society of the Near Future. Topics ranged from Designing Humans (think Gattaca) to Designing Food (think Monsanto) to Designing Information (think fake news) to Designing the Workforce (think Brave New World) to Designing Cities:

"Whether it was Uruk,* the first ever human city, or Sumerians throwing up ziggurats like they were temporary housing, or the social engineering dreams of the 19th century utopians or the Puritans' visions of a godly “city on a hill,” humans have always seen cities as a way to solve humanity’s hardest problems.

"Of course, reality is a different beast. Cities are notoriously hard places to manage, among other things because of the amount of information required to allow them to run at all, let alone perfectly. But that doesn't mean people don't try to build perfection. And the latest incarnation of these utopian cities are known as “smart cities” their deep and embedded technology."
~ Gerry McCartney

*Uruk, was in Sumer but is regarded as pre-Sumerian.
Ur was up the road about 300 miles.

We then listened to two speakers who explained how these new “smart cities” are going to enable us to build the technological advanced “city on a hill” of the 21st Century: Mike Langellier from Techpoint and Paul Singh from Results Junkies.


Gerry's thought - provoking introduction to "Smart Cities" brought to mind a few connections worth sharing:

1. from Song of Myself, Part 42 ~ Walt Whitman

"A call in the midst of the crowd,
My own voice, orotund sweeping and final. . . .

This is the city and I am one of the citizens,
Whatever interests the rest interests me, politics, wars, markets,
newspapers, schools,
The mayor and councils, banks, tariffs, steamships, factories,
stocks, stores, real estate and personal estate . . .

the fathomless human brain . . . "


[See also Ferry Connections & House With a Past]


2. from the novel Benediction ~ Kent Haruf

"What if we said to our enemies [or at the national level, what if we said to our citizens]: We are the most powerful nation on earth. We can destroy you. We can kill your children. We can make ruins of your cities and villages and when we're finished you won't even know how to look for the places where they used to be. We have the power to take away your water and to scorch your earth, to rob you of the very fundamentals of life. We can change the actual day into actual night. We can do these things to you. And more.

"But what if we say, Listen: Instead of any of these, we are going to give willingly and generously to you. We are going to spend the great American national treasure and the will and the human lives that we would have spent on destruction, and instead we are going to turn them all toward creation. We'll mend your roads and highways, expand your schools, modernize your wells and water supplies, save your ancient artifacts and art and culture, preserve your temples and mosques. In fact, we are going to love you.
"


3. from the musical Godspell ~ Stephen Schwartz

Beautiful City

sung in the movie adaptation,
featuring Victor Garber, Lynne Thigpen, et. al.

Come sing me sweet rejoicing
Come sing me love
We're not afraid of voicing
All the things
We're dreaming of
Oh, high and low,
And everywhere we go

We can build
A beautiful city
Yes we can
Oh yes we can
We can build
A beautiful city
Call it out
And call it the city of man [and woman]

We don't need alabaster
We don't need chrome
We've got our special plaster
Take my hand
I'll take you home
We see nations rise
In each other's eyes

We can build
A beautiful city
Yes we can
Oh yes we can
We can build
A beautiful city
Call it out
And call it the city of man [and woman]

Come sing me sweet rejoicing
Come sing me love
We're not afraid of voicing
All the things
We're dreaming of
Oh, high and low,
And everywhere we go

We can build
A beautiful city
Yes we can
Oh yes we can
We can build
A beautiful city
Call it out
And call it the city of man [and woman]
**

**A simple suggestion, as Schwartz is
not exactly known for inclusive gender.


In closing, I'm charmed by these contrasting thoughts about the men and women who populate the cities. Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892) offers an expansive view, complete with quaintly agrarian metaphor:

"In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less,
And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them.
"

from Song of Myself, Part 20)

For others, the human density not only of a large smart city but even of a beautiful college town can be overwhelming. A hundred years before Whitman, English poet Thomas Gray (1716 - 1771) wrote:

"Cambridge is a delight of a place now, there is nobody in it.
I do believe you would like it, if you knew what it was without inhabitants.
It is they, I assure you, that get it an ill name and spoil all.
"

from the Works of Thomas Gray

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS ON MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Saturday, October 14th

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

More Dawn or Doom Links

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Read A Book About Reading

A BOOK CLUB WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS
Painting by Vittorio Matteo Corcos (1859 - 1933)
Book by Stefan Bollmann (b 1958)
Foreward by Karen Joy Fowler (b 1950)

Thanks to my friend Katy B. for giving me this gorgeous and inspiring book. I read the foreword and introductory material months ago, just after Christmas, and since then have had the book on my coffee table, where I pick it up at random quiet moments and study the classic paintings (plus a few photographs) of reading women, beautifully explained by author / editor Stefan Bollmann. I was delighted to note the inclusion by Bollmann of a few prints that have appeared previously on my Book Blog (e.g., Young Woman with Book, by Alexander Deineka; Reading Girl by Franz Eybl; and Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard). Great minds!

by Alexander Deineka

Speaking of great minds, thanks to my friend Katie F. for suggesting earlier in the summer that I might enjoy reading The Jane Austen Book Club, which I promptly ordered and placed carefully atop my towering "to read" stack.

The connection was right in front of me, but I missed it until, by happy coincidence, Katie F. stopped by to visit, noticed and admired Women Who Read laying out in pride of place on my table, and then exclaimed "Foreword by Karen Joy Fowler -- she also wrote The Jane Austen Book Club! Have you read it yet? No, I hadn't, but I did so right away, then re-read Fowler's opening remarks about dangerous reading women, and typed up the following favorite passages from each:

Women Who Read Are Dangerous

"Centuries upon centuries . . . women have read on -- the unacceptable books as well as the acceptable, Gothic novels in the time of Austen, Harlequin romances, horror novels, space operas, mysteries, police procedurals, chick lit, biographies . . . Now they are joining book clubs . . ." (16, emphasis added).

by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

"One might wonder why artists so often choose a woman reading as the subject of a painting or photograph. . . . the image is an interestingly complicated one. . . . She might, while the book lasts, be a completely different person from the one we are seeing. . . . She might be having trouble concentrating, or she might be spellbound. She might be escaping from boredom into a frothy romantic comedy [by Jane Austen!] . . . she might be experiencing some transformation so profound that she will never be quite the same again. At the very moment we see her, the scales might be falling from her eyes" (13 - 14).

The Jane Austen Book Club

"Austen suggests that Udolpho is a dangerous book, because it makes people think life is an adventure . . . But that's not the kind of book that's really dangerous to people. . . . All the while it's Austen writing the really dangerous books . . . Books that people really do believe, even hundreds of years later. How virtue will be recognized and rewarded. How love will prevail. How life is a romance" (141).

by Franz Eybl

"There was something appealing in thinking of a character with a secret life that her author knew nothing about. Slipping off while the author's back was turned to find love in her own way. Showing up just in time to deliver the next bit of dialogue with an innocent face. If Sylvia were a character in a book, that's the kind she's want to be" (171).

Another timely connection: As I was pulling this post together, my good friend and reading buddy Cate sent me an excellent article:

"Why Books and Reading Are More Important Than Ever"

containing these inspiring words by Will Schwalbe
"I wrote that books remain one of the few defenses we have against narrowness, domination, and mind control. But only if we read them – and then only if we spring into action based on what we’ve learned and discovered. Books can’t do anything by themselves. They need us.

"Today we need to read more than ever. And we need to act now more than ever.

"If you are reading this essay, you aren’t reading a book. At least, not this very second. But you’re probably a book reader or you wouldn’t have found your way here or clicked on the shared link that brought these words to your attention. And there’s the rub. I’m writing a piece about the importance of books for an audience already sold on the concept. And it’s taking you (and me) away from them."


additional titles from Schwalbe:

Books for Living & The End of Your Life Book Club

I had to write straight back to Cate:

"I love this essay and it fits right in with the blog post that I'm working on right now: "Read A Book About Reading." No kidding -- that's the title that I gave it before reading this essay, in which he talks about the very same conundrum of reading an essay about reading! I'll add the link here as soon as I get done! Hey I've got writing to do! As Schwalbe commands us: 'Seriously. Go! I've got books to read. You do, too.' What a great conclusion!"

Dreams, 1896

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS ON MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Thursday, September 28th

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT ~ BEAUTIFUL POEM FROM CHARLOTTE ERIKSSON ~
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST ~ THIS MONTH ~ MORE FROM CATE ~
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sing A Song About Singing

A MELODY WHERE ALL'S ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS
The Musicians, 1979 ~ Ferdinand Botero

"No human would enjoy my singing --
only maybe an old house that can't be choosy."

~ Jessamyn West ~
The Friendly Persuasion (50)

No doubt, it's best for me to take Jessmyn West's advice and constrain my singing to old houses and locked cars with the windows up. However, I did earn an unexpected compliment awhile back, when I was singing along with an old favorite from Marie Osmond -- "Paper Roses." Gerry called in from the other room to say that my voice was sounding really good that day! He was obviously a little confused, but I was honored that he thought Marie Osmond was me.

I'm hoping that in my next lifetime, the gods remember to endow me with
the gift of music as described in these rousing tributes to the meledious, harmonious, songful muse:

Thank You World ~ The Statler Brothers ~ 1973
I want to thank you, world, for lettin' me belong
I'm just one fourth of one small group that sings your songs
I know that there are others who have served in bigger ways
All I can do is sing your music all my days

It makes me grateful just to know, to know that I can be
Unique and fill a spot beside the other three
Without a place here in this world, I know that I'd be lost
Thank you, world, for lettin' me contribute to the cause

I may not ever stand like Stonewall Jackson stood
But standin' on that stage to me is just as good
Now I may never be a heavy or a great
But you've given me the strength, the strength to pull my weight

Oh for the part I sing is truly part of me
and it does its part to lock the other parts in the key
and it does its part to pull, to pull that sweet applause
Thank you, world, for lettin' me contribute to the cause

Oh world, you've given me a place that I call mine
Though I've stepped out of it & I've gotten out of line
Sometimes I sing the music slightly out of key
and I know I make it harder for the other three

I've always done my part the very best I could
and it's done the other guys a world of good
You've let me sing your praises, world, and harped about your faults
Thank you, world, for lettin' me contribute to the cause

It makes me grateful just to know, to know that I can be
Unique and fill a spot beside the other three
Without a place here in this world, I know that I'd be lost
Thank you, world, for lettin' me contribute to the cause
Without a place here in this world, I know that I'd be lost
Thank you, world, for lettin' me contribute to the cause
Thank you, world, for lettin' me contribute to the cause


Lyrics
Written by Don S. Reid, Lew Dewitt
• Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group, Music Sales Corporation
[and this retrospective of their early years with Johnny Cash]

1979

I Write the Songs ~ Barry Manilow ~ 1975
I've been alive forever
And I wrote the very first song
I put the words and the melodies together
I am music and I write the songs
I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs

My home lies deep within you
And I've got my own place in your soul
Now, when I look out through your eyes
I'm young again, even though I'm very old

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs

Oh my music makes you dance
And gives you spirit to take a chance
And I wrote some rock 'n' roll so you can move
Music fills your heart
Well, that's a real fine place to start
It's from me it's for you
It's from you, it's for me
It's a worldwide symphony

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs

I am music (music) and I write the songs


Lyrics
Written by Bruce Johnston
• Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

1991

Thank You For the Music ~ Abba ~ 1977
I'm nothing special, in fact I'm a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, you've probably heard it before
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing
Cause everyone listens when I start to sing
I'm so grateful and proud
All I want is to sing it out loud

So I say
Thank you for the music
, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

Mother says I was a dancer before I could walk
She says I began to sing long before I could talk
But I've often wondered, how did it all start?
Who found out that nothing can capture a heart
Like a melody can?
Well, whoever it was, I'm a fan

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

I've been so lucky, I am the girl with golden hair
I wanna sing it out to everybody
What a joy, what a life, what a chance!

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me


Lyrics
Written by Benny Goran Bror Andersson, Bjoern K. Ulvaeus
• Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Though I'm always inspired to sing along with the Statlers, Abba, and Barry Manilow, as they extol the great good fortune of their musical talent, I think a better message for me comes from the Carpenters: "Don't worry that it's not good enough / For anyone else to hear / Just sing, sing a song!"

"Sing" ~ Carpenters ~ 1973
Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things not bad
Sing of happy not sad.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.

Sing, sing a song
Let the world sing along
Sing of love there could be
Sing for you and for me.

Sing, sing a song
Make it simple to last
Your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.


Lyrics ~ Portuguese-American composer songwriter and pianist,
Joe Raposo (1937 - 1989)

Naturaleza con mandolin ~ 1998

DON'T MISS

More Botero on Artsy

Women at Music

Piano Paintings

*******************

AND MANY THANKS TO MY BROTHER BRUCE
for these additional connections:

"I Believe in Music"

Mac Davis

"Where words fail, music speaks."
Hans Christian Anderson

"Music expresses that which cannot be said,
but upon which it is impossible to remain silent."

Victor Hugo

"Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Berthold Auerbach

And the quote that most fits with our
online musicians in residence, Post Nuclear Trash:

"Can you imagine a world with no music? It would suck."
Harry Styles

Naturaleza muerta con Instrumentos Musicales ~ 1993

SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS ON MY
Next Fortnightly Post
Thursday, September 14th

Between now and then, read
THE QUOTIDIAN KIT
my shorter, almost daily blog posts
www.dailykitticarriker.blogspot.com

Looking for a good book? Try
KITTI'S LIST
my running list of recent reading
www.kittislist.blogspot.com