Category Archives: Poetry

No Hugs for Doug

There was a boy
his name was Doug
and all he wanted
was a hug

When he asked
they’d always shrug
and so there were
no hugs for Doug

When he asked them
in the hall
there he got
no hugs at all

When he asked them
during lunch
they shook their heads
all in a bunch

When he asked
out in the rain
they all thought
he’d gone insane

He asked them late
he asked them early
and all they thought
was: ‘Damn, he’s squirrelly!”

And so he goes
with grin on mug
hoping for
a hug for Doug

To all those who refused.
MDW 4/15/00

Basimanyana

Basimanyana

YouTube Preview Image

Basimanyana, Basimanyana, Basimanyana ba llela boroko (x2)
Be re bolaisa go disa
Rena re thuswa le ke bo nimadikepu

(chorus)

sebaka sena se a thosa, se thotse, se a makatsa
ha ke seba sithaba
di kwahetswe ke mohudi kahohle

(chorus)

tlong, tlong badisa, tlong re be mmoho
bokellang makgomo
Basimanyana, Basimanyana, Basimanyana ba llela boroko (repeat)

(chorus)

tlong, tlong badisa, tlong re be mmoho
bokellang makgomo (x2)
ka re thabantana tsosa thabo
ha la ka la memella ntate moholo
ha a re le se ke la thusa makgomo, tulong ena
Basimanyana, Basimanyana, Basimanyana ba llela boroko (repeat)

(chorus)

Vusi Sidney Mahlasela Ka Zwane (born 1965 in Pretoria) is a Sotho South African singer-songwriter.
His music is generally described as ”African folk”. Vusi Mahlasela, is simply known as ‘The Voice’ in his home-country, South Africa, celebrated for his distinct, powerful voice and his poetic, optimistic lyrics.
http://vusimahlasela.com/bio/

A Book Worthy to be Read

A Book Worthy to be Read

I wait quietly, but you do not see me
hidden among the volumes on the shelf.
I am touched by age, tattered with use,
but a book worthy to be read,
filled with tales of love and sorrow,
of days gone by and hopes still to be realized.
Yet you do not look beyond my cover.

My edges may be yellowed and frayed
but my words are strong and true.
So my pages will sing out my words for you
and tell of the marvelous things written within,
etched by time, engraved by experience,
and worthy to be told.

For too long I lingered on the shelf, dusty and muted,
lost between stories that were not my own.
But I have been touched by rays of sun
peeking through heavy curtains
dancing with motes that fall through time and space.

The dust that once buried me, dulled my vision,
now sparkles like so much glitter in the shards of light.
The same sun that once burned, yellowed, faded me
is now my beacon, calling me on through the darkness.
I will not be shut up, shut down or shut in.

Elizabeth Winkelmeyer
November 28, 2009

Printable calligraphy version (PDF)

Jolly Springtime

Jolly Springtime

Oh! The jolly Springtime
in the merry month of May
Oh! The heavenly hours
Oh! The come again day

Oh! The jolly Springtime
in the merry month of May
Oh! The heavenly hours
Oh! The come again day

Let the day run long
let the river run high
that tomorrow may live
so much yesterday died

Let the resin risin up in the tree
make the green leaf bud
bird and the bee and the fish in the sea
feelin it in my blood

Oh! The jolly Springtime
in the merry month of May
Oh! The heavenly hours
Oh! The come again day

Yes the winter was bitter and long
so the spring’ll be sweet
come along with a rhythm and song
watch Creation repeat

Thin, thin the moment is thin
ever so narrow the Now
Everybody say got to live in today
don’t nobody know how

Oh! The jolly Springtime
in the merry month of May
Oh! The heavenly hours
Oh! The come again day

Oh! The jolly Springtime
in the merry month of May
Oh! The heavenly hours
Oh! The come again day

James Taylor
Before This World – 2015

Friend of My Heart

My uncle Mickey was one of the first men I met who was truly *gentle* with me and playful as I was. His hugs were so encompassing, like no danger or harm could reach me in his arms. All my childhood cares were swept away when I was with him and he made my soul rise up and catch fire. I thank God for his love, it was a wonderful gift to me and transformed my heart.

He was SO silly. I had not known adults were allowed to BE silly ( I did not know my Uncle Bob very well at this point, rest his soul! ) but oh my God he WAS. I remember on at least one occasion laughing so hard I peed my pants. And it was even FUNNIER. Mickey always gave you a warm feeling – sometimes in ways you didn’t expect – or know that you needed.

At my mother’s funeral his words of comfort were like a stone wall holding me up. Even at that dark moment his blazing soul was hard at work and his humor helped me cheer my sister Paula who was dealing with losing her avatar. With one short conversation he helped us both. That’s a moment I remember so clearly.

He was more than my uncle, he was my childhood friend and as I grew, he remained a friend of my heart. He knew well how much I loved him. His Light lives on in me and I give Thanks to God for it.

This poem is my final homage to him.

I love you Uncle Mickey.

M. Douglas Wray and William D. "Mickey" Rowe - Oct. 30, 2010 - Family reunion
M. Douglas Wray and William D. “Mickey” Rowe – Oct. 30, 2010 – Family reunion

Friend of My Heart

Through wind and fire
you have come –
done the things
that must be done.

Worked the Steel
that built our dreams,
fought the fight
and heard the screams.

Built a family
shared his joys –
his lovely girl
his two fine boys.

Gentle heart
devoted soul –
perfect for
a father’s role.

Always humble,
God’s own tool
he shared his gifts –
obeyed the Rule.

Consoled the hearts
of those in pain
and raised them up
to Light again.

Made laughter ring out
clear and sweet –
wit so clever!
mind so fleet!

Time has taken
my favorite clown.
Friend of my heart!!!
My Friend is gone!

To my Uncle Mickey
With all my love

M. Douglas Wray
a nephew
2015

Guardian of the Light

dozer
Dozer 2013

When I look in your eyes
I sense the corridors of time
that your ancestors have trod.

For endless years
you’ve stood at man’s side
and faced danger with him.

The wheel of time has brought you here
to the warm soft bed
of your human companions.

I know the bitter winds of the steppes
still whistle through your soul
and the howls of the wolves as well.

But for now we are safe – together
in this quiet place in life’s River
no wolves at the door to fight.

When your days grow short
and the Earth calls for you
I will make easy your way.

Into the Great Darkness you will go
to clear the way for my arrival
and to make joyous our reunion.

MDWray 2015

for my beloved dog Dozer, an Anatolian Shepherd dog.

Spirit Abides

This is a poetic eulogy for my mother,  Shirley Jean Wray (1927-2001). It was printed on the back of the program for my youngest sister Paula’s wedding.

One of the decorative elements of the wedding was violets in many places, a tribute to our mother. I found it tremendously touching.

I miss you mom.

Spirit Abides

Though absent in body,
a spirit abides
we’ve only to summon –
it’s there at our side

Fire and steel
and a vessel of clay
brought forth a family
known proudly as Wray

But furnaces falter
and day turns to night
what once was so brilliant
is now gone from sight

So if there’s no answer
when her name is read,
let blossoms of violet
stand now in her stead

For Shirley Jean Wray
Beloved Mother

MDW 3/03

The Frozen Man

Lyrics by James Taylor

The Frozen Man

(James Taylor)

Last thing I remember is the freezing cold
Water reaching up just to swallow me whole
Ice in the rigging and howling wind
Shock to my body as we tumbled in
Then my brothers and the others are lost at sea
I alone am returned to tell thee
Hidden in ice for a century
To walk the world again
Lord have mercy on the frozen man

Next words that were spoken to me
Nurse asked me what my name might be
She was all in white at the foot of my bed
I said angel of mercy I’m alive or am I dead
My name is William James McPhee
I was born in 1843
Raised in Liverpool by the sea
But that ain’t who I am
Lord have mercy on the frozen man

It took a lot of money to start my heart
To peg my leg and to buy my eye
The newspapers call me the state of the art
And the children, when they see me, cry
I thought it would be nice just to visit my grave
See what kind of tombstone I might have
I saw my wife and my daughter and it seemed so strange
Both of them dead and gone from extreme old age
See here, when I die make sure I’m gone
Don’t leave ’em nothing to work on
You can raise your arm, you can wiggle your hand
And you can wave goodbye to the frozen man

I know what it means to freeze to death
To lose a little life with every breath
To say goodbye to life on earth
To come around again
Lord have mercy on the frozen man
Lord have mercy on the frozen man

On the Other Side

YouTube Preview Image

On the Other Side

On the other side, the sun always shines
No minutes, no hour, there’s no such thing as time
Where the streets are paved with gold and
you never grow old on the other side

On the other side, everybody sings
there’s miles and miles of flowers and lots of pretty things
Where the sky’s pearly blue and everything looks brand new
on the other side

Chorus 1
Well I’ve never been to heaven,
I didn’t know what it was like
But God let me have a glimpse,
in my dream last night
And I could see you smiling,
you were looking right at me
For the first time in a long time,
on your face I saw some peace
I knew everything was going to be all right,
on the other side,
on the other side.

On the other side, do you ever see me cry
Do you know how much I miss you,
wish I could have said good-bye
Just one more I love you,
oh am I really getting through on the other side?

Chorus 2
Well I’ve never been to heaven,
I didn’t know what it was like
But God let me have a glimpse,
in my dream last night
And I could hear you laughing,
you were looking right at me
For the first time in a long time,
on your face I saw some peace
I knew everything was going to be all right,
no more tears and no more sad good-byes,
on the other side
On the other side

I’ll see you on the other side.

 written by: Tommy Dunbar, Kyle Vincent; Lyrics © Bob-A-Lew Songs, Cohen and Cohen

Amazing Grace

Judy Collins a capella choir (mp3)

Bagpipes (mp3)

John Newton (1725-1807)
Stanza 6 anon.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Hymn

‘My way is not thy way, and thine is not mine.

But come, before we part
Let us separately go to the Morning Star,
And meet there.

I do not point you to my road, nor yet

Call: “Oh come!”
But the Star is the same for both of us,

Winsome.


The good ghost of me goes down the distance
To the Holy Ghost.
Oh you, in the tent of the cloven flame

Meet me, you I like most.

Each man his own way forever, but towards

The hoverer between;

Who opens his flame like a tent-flap,

As we slip in unseen.

A man cannot tread like a woman,

Nor a woman step out like a man.

The ghost of each through the leaves of shadow

Moves as it can.

But the Morning Star and the Evening Star
Pitch tents of flame

Where we foregather like gypsies, none knowing

How the other came.

I ask for nothing except to slip

In the tent of the Holy Ghost
And be there in the house of the cloven flame,

Guest of the Host.

Be with me there, my woman,
Be bodily there.
Then let the flame wrap round us

Like a snare.

Be there along with me, O men!

Reach across the hearth,

And laugh with me while the woman rests

For all we are worth.’

-D.H. Lawrence

Faithful Friend

Faithful Friend

In my heart you shall always live
eyes aglow and eager
quivering with excitment
ready to play

My child soul rose up in joy
when we first met
for surely I knew you
from lives before

Now you’ve gone to heaven
and live only in a field
that I keep verdant
– for you alone,
my faithful friend.

One day I’ll greet you again
when life has had enough of me
and we will spend eternity
at play.

For my lost friend Cody,

rest in peace.

MDW June 8, 2011

Ode to Spot

(original transcription found here)

Felis Cattus, is your taxonomic nomenclature,
an endothermic quadruped carnivorous by nature?
Your visual, olfactory and auditory senses
contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses.

I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
a singular development of cat communications
that obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
for a rhythmic stroking of your fur, to demonstrate affection.

A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
you would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
it often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.

O Spot, the complex levels of behaviour you display
connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.

— Lt. Commander Data from Star Trek The Next Generation


I’ve always enjoyed this poem, on several levels, not the least the humor in the scene in which it’s read:

YouTube Preview Image

How Can I Keep From Singing?

Traditional Shaker Hymn

My life goes on in endless song
above earth’s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
that hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
it sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth it liveth.
And though the darkness ’round me close,
songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I’m clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth,
how can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble in their fear
and hear their death knell ringing,
when friends rejoice both far and near
how can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
our thoughts to them are winging,
when friends by shame are undefiled
how can I keep from singing?

–Enya from Shepherd Moons

Dreams are more precious

Dreams Are More Precious

Come see, high above.
Come see, high in the heavens.
A new star shining bright.
Out of the darkness, comes a light.

Come here, midnight chimes
Come here, bells that are ringing
And from some distant shore
Sounds of a journey, echo on

This is the night
They say,
Everyone wants a dream.

This is the night
They say
Nothing is as it seems.

Come sleep, close your eyes.
Come sleep, give me your sorrow.
And I keep watch for you.
Until the dawn is, breaking through.
Until the morning wakens you.

Da, Da, Da…

Come dream, through the night.
Come dream, and then tomorrow
They’ll see who, what will know.

Dreams are more precious than gold
Dreams are more precious than gold
Dreams are more precious than gold

– Enya

My pal Deb Johnson

The Gifting

I send you roses.  And warm fuzzies.  And Cinderella’s horseshoe I have on my mantle.

I send you sunshine, and blue skies, and white puffy clouds that come in funny animal shapes.

I send you rainbows, and dewdrops, and the soft scent of rain;

the smell of freshly mown grass in the farmer’s field;

meadows of wild flowers; sheep, content.

I send you healing thoughts; your mother’s hands to hold you in warm embrace;

fresh loaves of homemade bread; sunflowers; and a night sky filled with stars.

I send you wind through pine trees whispering; the song of your sisters singing.

I send you your child’s first word; a purring kitten on your lap; fireflies dancing the dark;

and a garden, filled to overflowing, waiting for canning.

I send you a basket, woven of marsh grasses, lined in velvet,

full of wonder and love.

I send you butterflies and the 4th of July; rubies, and Christmas;

a circle of friends to hold you; and a seat by a warm fire.

For you, I light a candle.

I send you peace.

© June 1995 by D.W. Johnson


On a Thought Of Leaving Home and Coming Here

The next time I come (here)

I will go (this way)

I am always coming or going–

Coming to stillness; going out of chaos.

Coming from work; going home.

Coming from home; going to a friend’s house.

Coming from the grocery; going to the book shop.

It is the pattern of my life–

I am coming in; I am going out.

Breathing in; breathing out.

What is left from the wake of the wave.

So if I say, “I don’t know if I am coming or going”, what does it matter?

I am in step with what I am…

A part of it.

©  August 26, 2005 by D.W. Johnson

Sisters of Mercy

A wonderful plaint. Posting inspired by my friend George Seaton.

Burn bright George. Burn bright.

Sisters of Mercy

Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can’t go on.
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me their song.
Oh I hope you run into them, you who’ve been travelling so long.

Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control.
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.
Well I’ve been where you’re hanging, I think I can see how you’re pinned:
When you’re not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you’ve sinned.

They lay down beside me, I made my confession to them.
They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem.
If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn
they will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem.

When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon.
Don’t turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon.
And you won’t make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night:
We weren’t lovers like that and besides it would still be all right,
We weren’t lovers like that and besides it would still be all right.

-Leonard Cohen

YouTube Preview Image

Bramble and the Rose

Thinking about all the loves I’ve had, how our lives twined around each other and how we changed each others path through life.

Here’s to all the wonderful and terrible moments, summed up in a traditional folk song by the Black Family (my favorite rendition) – go to the link and give it a listen.

Bramble and the Rose

Traditional. Arrangement The Black Family

We have been so close together
Each a candle and each a flame
All the dangers were outside us
And we knew them all by name

Chorus

See how the bramble and the rose intertwine
Love grows like the bramble and the rose
Often cruel and often kind

Now I’ve hurt you and it hurts me
Just to see what we can do
Give ourselves unto each other
Without ever meaning to

Chorus

Throw your loving arms around me
And sing for me a true love song
And the words sung together
I could sing them all night long

Chorus

See how the bramble and the rose intertwine
Love grows like the bramble and the rose
‘Round each other they will twine

Can be found on the album The Black Family.

Bless The Broken Road

Rascal Flatts
Songwriters: Boyd, Bobby C; Hannah, Jeff; Hummon, Marcus;

I set out on a narrow way, many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
Yes He did

I think about the years I spent, just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost, and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You’ve been there, you understand
It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

But now I’m just rolling home into my lover’s arms
This much I know is true

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

Remember when it rained

Was thinking about my beloved Marilyn Bonita today (it’s our wedding anniversary today) and this song came up on the radio.

I swear sometimes God is standing right next to me with His hand on my heart.

I’m trying to go on, but when a song touches ‘the one within’ part of me bursts into flame and my grief becomes incandescent agony.

I miss you Didi. Thank you for sending Tammi. She knows this pain and she helps me as I help her grieve for her beloved Scott.

I’m glad you’re someplace where pain can no longer touch you.

Remember when it rained

by Josh Groban

Wash away the thoughts inside
That keep my mind away from you.
No more love and no more pride
And thoughts are all I have to do.

Ohhhhhh Remember when it rained.
Felt the ground and looked up high
And called your name.
Ohhhhhh Remember when it rained.
In the darkness I remain.

Tears of hope run down my skin.
Tears for you that will not dry.
They magnify the one within
And let the outside slowly die.

Ohhhhhh Remember when it rained.
I felt the ground and looked up high
And called your name.
Ohhhhhh Remember when it rained.
In the water I remain
Running down
Running down
Running down
Running down
Running down
Running down
Running down

Thirst

In this vineyard
I have waited
parched of throat
despairing of kinship
hiding in the shadow

Comes a vintner now
eager and joyous
blessed by the light
unafraid of the dark
to lead me forth

Working as one
we prune away the dead
shore up the weak
and harvest together
the sweet fruit of life

When the wine is ready
bloody red and warm
fill the cups
brimming full
and raise them high

Let us toast this day
and vow between us
to always drink deep
until the cups are empty
or stricken from our lips

MDW 6/98
to Marilyn on our wedding day

Piece of the Sky

I often hear it said that parents ‘…would give their child the moon and the stars…’

My father did.

Piece of the Sky

I will never forget
late on a summer evening
deep in the humming heart of science
my father, master of machines
said “Come here,
I want to show you something.”

With careful hands
he took a small wooden box
from a locked cabinet
and opened it, carefully
so carefully,
like a priest.

Inside the box,
inside a glass jar,
perched on a wire,
was a stone
more a cinder, really.

Removing the glass
he plucked it free
and told me to hold out my hand.
“Be careful, don’t drop it” he ordered
as he placed it in my palm.

As I inspected this nondescript clinker
he said
matter of factly,
“That’s a piece of the moon.”
Just able to realize what it was
I goggled in awe
at the wonder of it.

Now, in the night
looking up at that gleaming coin
sliding through the clouds,
I realize what he gave me that night,
most precious of all,
respect.

MDW 7/98

Raise me up

You Raise Me Up

by Josh Groban

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

There is no life – no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

To all of you who have come to ‘sit awhile with me’ when it was the darkest, bless you. Your names are written in my deepest heart, not to be forgotten.

Carbon

By DJ Cline

I am the thing you thought you had destroyed.
My hammered chains and broken rings
Smoke up the chimney
Riding the wind and falling from the sky
The soul from a coal.
The ash from the flash
The grit that grinds
The dust in the very air you breathe
I am everywhere now and cannot go away.
I am part of you.
You could not exist without me.
I am the balance.
Without my comedy
There is only your tragedy.
Be careful what you burn.

Copyright 2010 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

Carbon

East Looe Boys

by Alan Moorhouse
Go here to listen and here to see a photo of the band

It was Saturday night
and we were tight
and the maids were locked indoors
and we planned to meet at Union Street
mid the sailors and the whores

On our forth round
we heard the sound
they singin’ Trelawney song
they fisher-boys makin all that noise
and from then it didn’t take long

When the East Looe Boys come in
with a shout and a terrible din
we would smack some chins
and get stuck in
when the East Looe Boys come in

We would fight they boys whenever we could
in the pubs or county fairs
we’d fight they Bodmin and Liskeard boys
Anytime anyplace! anywhere

For we worked six days
in frost or blaze
on the land throughout the year
and on Saturday night we’d go out and fight
and we’d fill our ‘eads with beer

When the East Looe Boys come in
with a shout and a terrible din
we would smack some chins
and get stuck in
when the East Looe Boys come in

By ’41 me friends had gone
and the woman worked the land
but at last I turned eighteen
and the Army took this young farmhand

The basic training soon brought home
there was worse than a big black eye
for fightin’ that meant somethin else
at the old DCLI

When the East Looe Boys come in
with a shout and a terrible din
we would smack some chins
and get stuck in
when the East Looe Boys come in

At Tobruk, Benghazi, and El Alamein
we left good friends behind
and we landed ashore at Salerno
and the bloody place was mined

With a shattered leg under firin’ shell
I was scared out of my skin
and I thought me time had come as well
till the East Looe Boys come in

When the East Looe Boys come in
it was then we knew we’d win
and this frightened boy nearly cried for joy
when the East Looe Boys come in

They cleared the ridge that had pinned us down
they led us through the wire
Jim Batten grinned as he led me in
to a place not under fire

And they saved me leg and the German lad
who was lyin next to me
and I raised me thumb and I never made

another enemy

When the East Looe Boys come in
it was then we knew we’d win
and this frightened boy nearly cried for joy
when the East Looe Boys come in

So we go back there
just now and then
just Jim and Hans and me
and the crosses of so many men
it breaks your heart to see

And we fought back tears
these many years
we are old and grey and thin
but wherever we are they’ll be pints on the bar
when the East Looe Boys come in

When the East Looe Boys come in
When the East Looe Boys come in
this frightened boy nearly cried for joy
when the East Looe Boys come in

When the East Looe Boys come in
When the East Looe Boys come in
and wherever we are they’ll be pints on the bar
when the East Looe Boys come in


Thanks to my dear friend Rebecca Jessup for introducing me to this song – it touched my heart.

I’ve linked all the place-names and other info I could guess at. Still not sure what ‘get stuck in’ means but I surmise it has to do with getting one’s arse kicked roundly.

Further Away

Long ago, like yesterday
she warned me
“You’ll miss me
when I’m gone”

Now the grief lies frozen
beneath my feet
till something breaks it
and casts me in

All the strength I took from her
washes away in a moment
the icy knowledge crashing in
that I will hear her no more

Small silences loom large
stopping my voice
the silence bursting with absence
of a love that defined my life

The days pass
the sun keeps rising
the ice seems thicker
and safer to walk across

The pain stays the same
fewer cracks in the ice
the truth still beneath my feet
just a little further away.

MDW 11/98
For Marilyn
on the loss of her mother

Daren Gray

Screamingly funny twist on Casey at the Bat.

From the comments at Wired.com’s live coverage of the Apple event

“Jobs at the Bat”

by Daren Gray

(as largely thefted from Ernest Lawrence Thayer)

.

The Outlook wasn’t brilliant for the older tech that day:

The score stood ten to one against, with but one inning more to play.

And then when Kindle died at first, and Nook did the same,

A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest

Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;

They thought, if only Jobs could get but a whack at that –

We’d put up even money now, and possibly our cat.

.

But first some stuff about that phone, and more of AT&T

And the former was a lulu and the latter an atrocity;

So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,

For there seemed but little chance of Jobs getting out of that.

.

But soon the music swelled and to the wonderment of all,

To ringing chords of Coldplay came Jobs into the hall

And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,

There was Jobs upon the stage, and Ballmer flipped him the bird.

.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;

It rumbled through the building, it rattled down at Dell;

It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,

For Jobs, mighty Jobs, was advancing to the… WHAT THE F*** IS THAT?!

.

There was ease in Jobs’ manner as he stepped into his place;

There was pride in Jobs’ bearing and a smile on Jobs’ face.

And when, responding to the cheers, he lofted high the gizmo,

No fanboy in the crowd could hold their ever-building jizzmo.

.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with balm;

Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped it on his palm.

Then while the writhing members ground their hands into their hips,

Defiance gleamed in Jobs’ eye, a sneer curled Jobs’ lips.

.

And now his withered old man finger came whizzing cross the screen,

And Jobs stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur keen.

Close by the sturdy CEO the clock unheeded sped –

”That ain’t my style,” said Jobs. “Strike one,” a critic said.

.

From the aisles, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,

Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.

“Kill him! Kill the blasphemer!” shouted someone on the stand;

And its likely they’d a-killed him had not Jobs raised his hand.

.

With a smile of Christian charity great Jobs’ visage shone;

He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the show go on;

He signaled to the projector, and once more the hype did flew;

But Jobs still ignored it, and the critic said, “Strike two.”

.

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud;

But one scornful look from Jobs and the audience was awed.

They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,

And they knew that Jobs wouldn’t let that moment pass again.

.

The sneer is gone from Jobs’ lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;

He pounds with cruel violence the tablet on his pate.

And now the critic holds his tongue, and now he lets it go,

And now the air is shattered by the force of Jobs’ blow.

.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,

And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children tweet;

There is no joy in Redmond, but, MAN… this tablet’s sweet!

#

Posted by: daren_gray | 01/27/10 | 2:13 am

Rough God Goes Riding

by Van Morrisson

Oh the mud splattered victims
Have to pay out all along the ancient highway
Torn between half truth and victimisation
Fighting back with counter attacks

It’s when that rough god goes riding
When the rough god goes gliding
And then rough god goes riding
Riding on in

I was flabbergasted by the headlines
People in glasshouses throwing stones
Gaping wounds that will never heal
Now they’re moaning like a dog in a manger

It’s when that rough god goes riding
And then the rough god goes gliding
There’ll be nobody hiding
When that rough god comes riding on in

And it’s a matter of survival
When you’re born with your back against the wall
Won’t somebody hand me a bible
Won’t you give me that number to call

When that rough god goed riding
And then that rough god goes gliding
They’ll be nobody hiding
When that rough god goes riding on in
Riding on in

When that rough god goes riding
When that rough god goes gliding
There’ll be nobody hiding
When that rough god goes riding on in
Riding on in

There’ll be no more heroes
They’ll be reduced to zero
When that rough god goes riding
Riding on in
Riding on in
Riding on in

Love of my life

DSC_0054_Doug&Tammi

I am amazed
when I look at you
I see you smiling back at me
it’s like all my dreams come true
I am afraid
if I lost you girl
I’d fall through the cracks
and lose my track in this crazy lonely world

Sometimes it’s so hard to believe
when the nights can be so long
and faith gave me the strength
and kept me holding on

Chorus
You are the love of my life
and I’m so glad you found me
You are the love of my life
baby put your arms around me
I guess this is how it feels
when you finally find something real
my angel in the night
you are my love
the love of my life

Now here you are
with midnight closing in
you take my hand as our shadows dance
with moonlight on your skin

I look in your eyes
I’m lost inside your kiss
I think if I’d never met you
about all the things i’d missed

Sometimes it’s so hard to believe
when a love can be so strong
and faith gave me the strength
and kept me holding on

You are the love of my life
and I’m so glad you found me
you are the love of my life
baby put your arms around me
I guess this is how it feels
when you finally find something real
my angel in the night
you are my love
the love of my life.

– Jim Brickman

video

for Tammi

Wild at Heart

(see video here)

Down a back road
Long, hot summer
A couple kids runnin’ loose and wild
He kissed her
She said mister,
Take an inch and I’ll give you a mile

I ain’t here to do anything half-way
Don’t give a damn what anyone might say
I just wanna free fall for a while

That rebel moon is shinin’
Those stars burn like diamonds
Hell bent on chasin’ down that crazy slide
I’ll follow you where you’re leading
To the first sweet taste of freedom
You got me runnin’ baby,
Wild at heart

About midnight, he tells her
I ain’t got no come-on lines
Well I’ll love you, or I’ll try to
We got nothing to lose but time

Stick your hand into my back pocket
Light me up like a bottle rocket
I just wanna free fall for a while

That rebel moon is shinin’
Those stars burn like diamonds
Hell bent on chasin’ down that crazy slide
I’ll follow you where you’re leadin’
To the first sweet taste of freedom
You got me runnin’ baby,
Wild at heart

O-oh, alright
Tonight is tellin’ us we’re way too young

O-oh, that’s alright
I’ve forever on the tip of my tongue

That rebel moon is shinin’
Those stars burn like diamonds
Hell bent on chasin’ down that crazy slide
I’ll follow you where you’re leading
To the first sweet taste of freedom
You got me runnin’ baby,
Wild at heart

That rebel moon is shinin’
Those stars burn like diamonds
Hell bent on chasin’ down that crazy slide
I’ll follow you where you’re leading
To the first sweet taste of freedom
You got me runnin’ baby,
You got me runnin’ baby,
Wild at heart

O-oh, alright…

++++++++++++++

Thanks to Tammi

Forge

Clasped in tongs
a heart of gold
incandescent
from the mold

Upon the anvil
water hiss
hammer falls
in iron kiss

Sparks explode
and corruscate
from pealing blows
of angry fate

Blow and blow
ring clarion
purifying
making strong

From the anvil
to the Fire
heart remelts
from new desire

Then to the fount
in churning steam
solidifying
this new dream

No other path
would I this trade
for now this heart
is whole,
remade

MDW 7/09
For Tammi

God, Thou Art Love

If I forget,
Yet God remembers! If these hands of mine
Cease from their clinging, yet the hands divine
Hold me so firmly that I cannot fall;
And if sometimes I am too tired to call
For Him to help me, then He reads the prayer
Unspoken in my heart, and lifts my care.

I dare not fear, since certainly I know
That I am in God’s keeping, shielded so
From all that else would harm, and in the hour
Of stern temptation strengthened by His power;
I tread no path in life to Him unknown;
I lift no burden, bear no pain, alone:
My soul a calm, sure hiding-place has found:
The everlasting arms my life surround.

God, Thou art love! I build my faith on that.
I know Thee who has kept my path, and made
Light for me in the darkness, tempering sorrow
So that it reached me like a solemn joy;
It were too strange that I should doubt Thy love.
—Robert Browning

Rising Trail

Up from the Canyon of Death I climb,
legs weary and burning
I pause at a vantage point
and look back

Only darkness lies below
clouds and fog shroud the trail
my lungs burn from the effort
of such a terrible climb

I sit for a moment
in a quiet place
remembering
shuddering in horror

I feel the clouds part
and the sun pour down
it’s heat welcome on my closed eyes
as the wind tousles my hair like a mother

The wind gusts now, pushing at my back
I open my eyes, shoulder my burden
and resume the climb
rising with the trail.

MDW 6/26/09
To all those who helped me reach this vantage

God Bless You All

Tupelo Honey

Sitting the Green Tortoise ballroom having breakfast and this came on the radio.

I hear you Didibear.

Tupelo Honey by Van Morrisson

You can take all the tea in china
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail right around the seven oceans
Drop it straight into the deep blue sea
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You cant stop us on the road to freedom
You cant keep us cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor bent on chivalry
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You cant stop us on the road to freedom
You cant stop us cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor intent on chivalry
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You know shes alright
You know shes alright with me
Shes alright, shes alright (shes an angel)

You can take all the tea in china
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail it right around the seven oceans
Drop it smack dab in the middle of the deep blue sea
Because shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like the honey, baby, from the bee
Shes my baby, you know shes alright…..

Pretty Ballerina

Marilyn was my pretty little ballerina

Hat tip to DJCline.

YouTube video (audio with image of record player)

Pretty Ballerina by Left Banke

I had a date with a pretty ballerina
Her hair so brilliant that it hurt my eyes
I asked her for this dance
and then she obliged me
Was I surprised, yeah
Was I surprised,
no not at all

I called her yesterday,
it should have been tomorrow
I could not keep
the joy that was inside
I begged for her to tell me
if she really loved me
Somewhere a mountain is moving
Afraid it’s moving without me

I had a date with a pretty ballerina
Her hair so brilliant that it hurt my eyes
I asked her for this dance
and then she obliged me
Was I surprised, yeah
Was I surprised, no not at all

And when I wake on a dreary Sunday morning
I open up my eyes to find there’s rain
And something strange within said,
go ahead and find her
Just close your eyes, yeah
Just close your eyes and she’ll be there
She’ll be there…

Yet a While

My dear friend Mary Pitt sent me this poem she wrote for her beloved husband. He too, has departed and this poem now has special meaning for me as well.

Thank you Mumzee.

 

 

Ed Pitt

 

 


Yet a While

Walk with me yet a while, dear heart,
The road is dark ahead
I need your light to show the way
Down the path of fear and dread

Our journey started long ago
Skipping gaily hand in hand
Young and eager to face the challenge
Of great adventure and foreign lands

We often stopped to smell the flowers
And pick up burdens along the way
Confident of our strengh to carry
And our ablilties to pay

Later we walked to slower measure
Due to weight we often bore
Tiring from our mainful labor
But willing still to carry more

Uphill and down, through heat or cold
Heedless of the weather
We presevered and carried on
And always clung together

You lent your strength, I added mine
No mountain was too high
You stumbled, I caught you, I fell, you raised me
We let no challenge pass by

And now we near the fearful end
The greatest challenge of all
I fear without you by my side
That I will fail and doubt and fall

So give me once again that wink
And optimistic smile
That tells me you will find the strength
To walk with me yet a while

Mary Pitt 2004

O Wife

marilynwray_2008

O Wife
for my beloved Marilyn Bonita

God did smile
when we met
happiest either
had been yet

Love had blossomed
we both grew
each made the other
whole and new

The wheel has turned
and you’ve departed
now I finish
what we started

I walk alone
pain like a sun
heart like a stone
almost! undone

Now you’ve burned
and ash remains
to Earth return
in sooty grains

Within my heart
there is a flame
that burns forever
just the same

Now I proceed
and you abide
no longer hand-clasped
at my side

To gateway distant
sure and true
and on that day
return to you

Goodbye O Wife!

I Come O Wife!

MDW

“…I walk alone…”

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

Green Day

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I’m the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah,
Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I’m walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and everything’s alright
Check my vital signs
To know I’m still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah
Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I walk alone
I walk a…

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone…

The Cremation of Sam McGee

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursèd cold, and it’s got right hold, till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ’tain’t being dead — it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you, to cremate those last remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows — Oh God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared — such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; … then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear, you’ll let in the cold and storm —
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Robert Service (1874-1958)

Renascence

by Edna St. Vincent Millay in 1917

All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I’d started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Over these things I could not see;
These were the things that bounded me;
And I could touch them with my hand,
Almost, I thought, from where I stand.
And all at once things seemed so small
My breath came short, and scarce at all.
But, sure, the sky is big, I said;
Miles and miles above my head;
So here upon my back I’ll lie
And look my fill into the sky.
And so I looked, and, after all,
The sky was not so very tall.
The sky, I said, must somewhere stop,
And–sure enough!–I see the top!
The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
I ‘most could touch it with my hand
And reaching up my hand to try,
I screamed to feel it touch the sky.
I screamed, and–lo!–Infinity
Came down and settled over me;
Forced back my scream into my chest,
Bent back my arm upon my breast,
And, pressing of the Undefined
The definition on my mind,
Held up before my eyes a glass
Through which my shrinking sight did pass
Until it seemed I must behold
Immensity made manifold;
Whispered to me a word whose sound
Deafened the air for worlds around,
And brought unmuffled to my ears
The gossiping of friendly spheres,
The creaking of the tented sky,
The ticking of Eternity.
I saw and heard, and knew at last
The How and Why of all things, past,
And present, and forevermore.
The Universe, cleft to the core,
Lay open to my probing sense
That, sick’ning, I would fain pluck thence
But could not,–nay! But needs must suck
At the great wound, and could not pluck
My lips away till I had drawn
All venom out.–Ah, fearful pawn!
For my omniscience paid I toll
In infinite remorse of soul.
All sin was of my sinning, all
Atoning mine, and mine the gall
Of all regret. Mine was the weight
Of every brooded wrong, the hate
That stood behind each envious thrust,
Mine every greed, mine every lust.
And all the while for every grief,
Each suffering, I craved relief
With individual desire,–
Craved all in vain! And felt fierce fire
About a thousand people crawl;
Perished with each,–then mourned for all
A man was starving in Capri;
He moved his eyes and looked at me;
I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
And knew his hunger as my own.
I saw at sea a great fog bank
Between two ships that struck and sank;
A thousand screams the heavens smote;
And every scream tore through my throat.
No hurt I did not feel, no death
That was not mine; mine each last breath
That, crying, met an answering cry
From the compassion that was I.
All suffering mine, and mine its rod;
Mine, pity like the pity of God.
Ah, awful weight! Infinity
Pressed down upon the finite Me
My anguished spirit, like a bird,
Beating against my lips I heard;
Yet lay the weight so close about
There was no room for it without.
And so beneath the weight lay I
And suffered death, but could not die.

Long had I lain thus, craving death,
When quietly the earth beneath
Gave way, and inch by inch, so great
At last had grown the crushing weight,
Into the earth I sank till I
Full six feet under ground did lie,
And sank no more,–there is no weight
Can follow here, however great.
From off my breast I felt it roll,
And as it went my tortured soul
Burst forth and fled in such a gust
That all about me swirled the dust.

Deep in the earth I rested now;
Cool is its hand upon the brow
And soft its breast beneath the head
Of one who is so gladly dead.
And all at once, and over all
The pitying rain began to fall;
I lay and heard each pattering hoof
Upon my lowly, thatched roof,
And seemed to love the sound far more
Than ever I had done before.
For rain it hath a friendly sound
To one who’s six feet underground;
And scarce the friendly voice or face:
A grave is such a quiet place.

The rain, I said, is kind to come
And speak to me in my new home.
I would I were alive again
To kiss the fingers of the rain,
To drink into my eyes the shine
Of every slanting silver line,
To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze
From drenched and dripping apple-trees.
For soon the shower will be done,
And then the broad face of the sun
Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth
Until the world with answering mirth
Shakes joyously, and each round drop
Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.
How can I bear it; buried here,
While overhead the sky grows clear
And blue again after the storm?
O, multi-colored, multiform,
Beloved beauty over me,
That I shall never, never see
Again! Spring-silver, autumn-gold,
That I shall never more behold!
Sleeping your myriad magics through,
Close-sepulchred away from you!
O God, I cried, give me new birth,
And put me back upon the earth!
Upset each clouds gigantic gourd
And let the heavy rain, down-poured
In one big torrent, set me free,
Washing my grave away from me!

I ceased; and through the breathless hush
That answered me, the far-off rush
Of herald wings came whispering
Like music down the vibrant string
Of my ascending prayer, and–crash!
Before the wild wind’s whistling lash
The startled storm-clouds reared on high
And plunged in terror down the sky,
And the big rain in one black wave
Fell from the sky and struck my grave.
I know not how such things can be;
I only know there came to me
A fragrance such as never clings
To aught save happy living things;
A sound as of some joyous elf
Singing sweet songs to please himself,
And, through and over everything,
A sense of glad awakening.
The grass, a-tiptoe at my ear,
Whispering to me I could hear;
I felt the rain’s cool finger-tips
Brushed tenderly across my lips,
Laid gently on my sealed sight,
And all at once the heavy night
Fell from my eyes and I could see,–
A drenched and dripping apple-tree,
A last long line of silver rain,
A sky grown clear and blue again.
And as I looked a quickening gust
Of wind blew up to me and thrust
Into my face a miracle
Of orchard-breath, and with the smell,–
I know not how such things can be!–
I breathed my soul back into me.
Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I
And hailed the earth with such a cry
As is not heard save from a man
Who has been dead, and lives again.
About the trees my arms I wound;
Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;
I raised my quivering arms on high;
I laughed and laughed into the sky,
Till at my throat a strangling sob
Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb
Sent instant tears into my eyes;
O God, I cried, no dark disguise
Can e’er hereafter hide from me
Thy radiant identity!
Thou canst not move across the grass
But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,
Nor speak, however silently,
But my hushed voice will answer Thee.
I know the path that tells Thy way
Through the cool eve of every day;
God, I can push the grass apart
And lay my finger on Thy heart!

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,–
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat–the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden

Mirror and candle

releasingthespirit

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton, Vesalius in Zante
US novelist (1862 – 1937)


Note – everything in this photo is significant: The chalice holding the candle is one that’s been in Marilyn’s family for generations. The candle itself from the supply she used to heat essential oils to fragrance the house. The red-framed mirror a heart-shaped ‘Safelite Sweetheart’ promo she’d had since teens and carried in her purse. The mirror is resting on a ceramic butter dish – Marilyn adored butter. The silver frame has a grapes motif – echoing the poem on the kitchen wall that I wrote for her the day of our marriage. Everything is resting on the top of a glass-top stove she’d gotten a bargain on – she loved that stove.

Memorial to Boatswain

Transcription from Ready to go e-Books free online books.

Image of original monument inscription.

Inscription on the monument of a newfoundland dog by Lord Byron at Newstead Abbey, November 30, 1808.

Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG
Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803,
And died at Newstead, Nov 18th, 1808.

When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rest below:
When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been:
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master’s own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonour’d falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth:
While man, vain insect!  hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.
Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye! who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn:
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one, – and here he lies.

Folk Song

I’m a geek. No apologies. Weird stuff gets stuck in my head.

The StarTrek: The Next Generation episode “Family” featured Picard and his brother singing a French song together after fighting and then reconciling / drinking. The refrain was all I could remember:

Auprès de ma blonde, qu’il fait bon, fait bon, fait bon…

SO… a few Googlicious moments later I’ve got the tune:

and the lyrics:

Auprès de ma blonde (next to my girlfriend)

Au jardin de mon père les lilas sont fleuris
Au jardin de mon père les lilas sont fleuris
Tous les oiseaux du monde y viennent faire leurs nids.

Refrain
Auprès de ma blonde, qu’il fait bon, fait bon, fait bon,
Auprès de ma blonde, qu’il fait bon dormir.

La caille, la turturelle, et la jolie perdris
La caille, la turturelle, et la jolie perdris
Et la jolie colombe qui chante jour et nuit.
Refrain

Qui chante pour les filles qui n’ont pas de maris
Qui chante pour les filles qui n’ont pas de maris
Pour moi, je chante guère car j’en ais un joli.
Refrain

Que donneriez-vous, belle, pour avoir un mari?
Que donneriez-vous, belle, pour avoir un mari?
Je donnerai Versailles, Paris et St. Denis.
Refrain

Les tours de Notre Dame et les cloches de mon pays
Les tours de Notre Dame et les cloches de mon pays
Et ma jolie colombe qui chante jour et nuit.
Refrain

Cross references from Wikipedia

and this history taken from Everything2:

Auprès de ma Blonde

This well-known French folk-song (also known as The Prisoner in Holland) seems to date from the reign of Louis XIV, when France was at war with the United Provinces – the present-day Netherlands. The Netherlands were ruled by William III of Orange, who also became King of Great Britain. The wars were bloody and largely inconclusive, but form the backdrop to various songs and stories. Some refer to the Duke of Marlborough, who rose to prominence under King William and became one of the main allied generals under Queen Anne, as the War of the Spanish Succession unfolded. Alexandre Dumas (père) used the siege of Maastricht for the final scene of The Man in the Iron Mask. This song has a mournful tone, especially in the verses, as you will see. I’ve liked this song since before I understood the words, hearing my mother singing it as she worked. Knowing the words, and their themes of love, separation, and loss, has only increased that liking.

In each verse, the last couplet of the previous verse is sung twice, and then a new couplet sung once, and then the chorus. The first verse is written out in full, and after that, I’ve just added the new couplet. The English translation is not intended to be at all poetic, but it is intended to fit the tune, more or less, and to be an accurate reflection of the French meaning. I have not been able to replicate the rhyme-scheme, which is somewhat irregular in any case. In sung French, terminal ‘e’s which are silent in speech are often pronounced to improve scansion, and this is the case here.

Dans les jardins de mon père
Les lilas sont fleuris;
Dans les jardins de mon père
Les lilas sont fleuris;
Tous les oiseaux du monde
Vient y faire leurs nids.

Auprès de ma blonde
Qu’il fait bon, fait bon, fait bon –
Auprès de ma blonde
Qu’il fait bon dormi.

O, in my father’s garden
The lilies are in bloom;
O, in my father’s garden
The lilies are in bloom;
The birds of all creation1
Come there to build their nests.

Ah, near to my blonde lass,
It’s so good to sleep, to sleep –
Ah, near to my blonde lass
It’s so good to sleep.2

La caille, la touterelle,
Et le joli perdrix;

The turtle-doves and quails,
And bonny partridges;3

Et ma jolie colombe,
Qui chante jour et nuit.

And my own pretty stock-dove
Which sings both night and day.

Qui chante pour les filles
Qui n’ont pas de mari.

Which sings for all the lassies
Who haven’t got a lad4.

Pour moi ne chante guère,
Car j’en ai un joli.

It scarcely sings for me now,
For I’ve a handsome lad5.

Dites-nous donc la belle,
Ou donc est votr’ mari.

So tell us then, O beauty,
Where your fine husband is.

Il est dans la Hollande –
Les Hollandais l’ont pris.

He’s gone into the Netherlands
The Dutch have taken him.

‘Que donneriez-vous belle
Pour avoir votre ami?’

‘And what fair thing would you give
To have your husband back?’6

Je donnerai Versailles
Paris, et Saint-Denis;

O, I would give Versailles
Paris, and Saint-Denis;

Les tours de Notre Dame
Et le clocher de mon pays;

The towers of the cathedral
And the belfry of my land;

Et ma jolie colombe
Qui chante jour et nuit.

And my own pretty stock-dove
Which sings both night and day.


Notes on the translation:

  1. Literally, ‘All the birds of the world’.
  2. The chorus is the refrain of the prisoner, while the verses are for his wife and her companions.
  3. The French has singular birds here; in English, the plurals scan better
  4. Literally, ‘Which sings for all the girls (or daughters) / who have no husband’
  5. This verse doesn’t have a noun in the French. ‘J’en ai un’ literally means ‘I have one (of them)’.
  6. ‘Ami’ means ‘(boy)friend’, not ‘husband’. It’s not clear whether ‘belle’=’beautiful’ refers to the prisoner’s wife, or to the things she mentions next.

Squimmy

Squimmy on the Porch

Squimmy

1989-2007

Beloved of Rebecca and David, departed this 20th day of January. Adopted as an orphan and cared for as family. I knew this sweet girl and mourn her passing. Bon voyage mon petite.

I offer the following for her owners:

Do not stand at my grave and weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there;
I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there;
I did not die.

Mary Frye

Christmas Eve in Brooklyn

by Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
Da whole house was mellow,
Not a creature was stirrin’,
I had a gun unda my pillow.

When up on da roof’
I heard somethin’ pound,
I sprung to da window,
To scream, “Ay! Keep it down!”

When what to my
Wanderin’ eyes should appear,
But dat hairy elf Vinny,
And eight friggin’ reindeer.

Wit’ a bad hackin’ cough,
And da stencha burped beer,
I knew in a moment
Yo, da Kringle wuz here!

Wit’ a slap to dere snouts,
And a yank on dere manes,
He cursed and he shouted,
And he called dem by name.

“Yo Tony, Yo Frankie,
Yo Sally, Yo Vito,
Ay Joey, Ay Paulie,
Ay Pepe, Ay Guido!”

As I drew out my gun
And hid by da bed,
Down came his friggin’ boot
On da top a my head.

His eyes were all bloodshot,
His b.o. wuz scary,
His breath wuz like sewage,
He had a mole dat wuz hairy.

He spit in my eye,
And he twisted my head,
He soon let me know
I should consider myself dead.

Den pointin’ a fat finga
Right unda my nose,
He let out some gas,
And up da chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh,
Obscenities screaming,
And away dey all flew,
Before he troo dem a beatin’.

But I heard him exclaim,
Or better yet grump,
“Merry Christmas to all, and
Bite me, ya hump!”