Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jim Harrison - Renegade, Earthy Poet

Winter Moon by Marion

By Jim Harrison

The moon comes up.
The moon goes down.
This is to inform you
that I didn't die young.
Age swept past me
but I caught up.
Spring has begun here and each day
brings new birds up from Mexico.
Yesterday I got a call from the outside
world but I said no in thunder.
I was a dog on a short chain
and now there's no chain.


Flowers, 2001
By Jim Harrison

Near a flowershop off boulevard Raspail
a woman in a sundress bending over,
I'd guess about 49 years of age
in a particular bloom, just entering
the early autumn of her life,
a thousand year old smile on her face
so wide open that I actually shuddered
the same shudder I did in 1989
coming over the tip of a sand dune
and seeing a big bear below me.


Older Love
By Jim Harrison

His wife has asthma
so he only smokes outdoors
or late at night with head
and shoulders well into
the fireplace, the mesquite and oak
heat bright against his face.
Does it replace the heat
that has wandered from love
back into the natural world?
But then the shadow passion casts
is much longer than passion,
stretching with effort from year to year.
Outside tonight hard wind and sleet
from three bald mountains,
and on the hearth before his face
the ashes we’ll all become,
soft as the back of a woman’s knee.

from "Saving Daylight".


"Saving Daylight" is my favorite book by Jim Harrison.  Though he's famous for his fiction, I love his poetry much better than his novels.  He's been compared to both Faulkner and Hemingway.  All I know is that he's an amazing poet, in touch with the earth.

I'll be away from my computer next week for a few days, but I'll be back on Thursday.  I hope you all have an awesome week!

Love & Blessings,



"God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars." ~Martin Luther


"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.... People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back." ~Alice Walker, The Color Purple, 1982


The poetry of the earth is never dead. ~John Keats

Friday, March 19, 2010

Poet-Tree is for Kids of All Ages!

This is the newest "Fancy Nancy" book which I sent to my granddaugher, Mary Mace, earlier this week.  The title is:  "Fancy Nancy, Poet Extraordinaire!" written by Jane Conner and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.  Mary Mace has all of the books in this series and has an extraordinary vocabulary, partially from reading these books or having them read to her by her Mom.  Each book teaches a few 'fancy' words to the reader, then explains them and uses them in sentences.  Also, the artwork in each  book is amazing, totally sparkly and vivid. 

Ralph Fletcher writes for children, and I have four of his books about writing.  They're as good as or better than any writing book I have written for adults.  My daughter, Sarah, is teaching Poetry this month in her 4th grade class and Mr. Fletcher will be visiting her class.  I sent her five of his books as a birthday present.  The one above is one he'll be teaching from.  How amazing for children to meet a published poet?  I'm hoping lots of new poets will be born and inspired by him.

This is a closeup shot of the Poet-Tree in Sarah's classroom.  Guess who she got this great idea from?  None other than the teacher in the "Fancy Nancy" books, Mrs. Glass.  The trunk is made of the kids' poems, the leaves are vocabulary words they are learning about poetry and the acorns are Sarah's comments on their work.  She called me laughing at the perfect synchronicity of me sending Mary Mace that book and her teaching Poetry at the same time.  All of her teacher friends loved the idea and borrowed it for their classes, too. 


Happy TGIF, and the last day of Winter. 

Love & Blessings,

~Marion, proud mother of two teachers


Modern cynics and skeptics... see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing. ~John F. Kennedy


The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. ~Kahlil Gibran


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Grow, Grow, Grow by P. J. Harvey, Perfect Spring Song

By P. J. Harvey
From the CD: "White Chalk"

I sowed a seed
Underneath the oak tree
I trod it in
With my boots I trampled it down


I sowed a rose
Underneath the oak grove
With my boots on the ground
Into the earth I trampled it down


Teach me how to...grow
Teach me how to...grow

Teach me, Mommy
How to grow
How to catch someone's fancy
Underneath the twisted oak grove



"It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought." ~James Douglas, Down Shoe Lane


"We have descended into the garden and caught three hundred slugs. How I love the mixture of the beautiful and the squalid in gardening. It makes it so lifelike." ~Evelyn Underhill, Letters


"I never had any other desire so strong, and so like to covetousness, as that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and a large Garden." ~Abraham Cowley, The Garden, 1666


One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. ~W.E. Johns, The Passing Show

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Goodbye Olympis, World's Best Grand-Dog

OLYMPIS, World’s Best Grand-Dog
1998 - 2010
Crossed the Rainbow Bridge Yesterday

In 1998 my future son-in-law's cousin said her dog was having puppies. My daughter, Sarah, and Paul drove to Lafayette and looked at the puppies. They left with a cute, little Chocolate Lab bundle. Sarah and Paul were 20 years old. Paul had always wanted a dog, but had never had one.  They argued over names but settled on Paul’s pick, Olympis. He was the sweetest puppy. Paul lived in a refurbished 100 year old shotgun shack near the college in Natchitoches and he made a fenced-in area for the dog on the side, but as a puppy Olympis stayed in the house. Paul took him outside every two hours to potty train him, and he was trained in about a week. They spoiled him rotten and before too long he outgrew living inside the house.

A year later they decided he needed a friend. Approaching his teenage years (in dog years) they learned that was a mistake. They adopted Apollo, a feisty Black Lab, who turned out to be a troubled teen. Paul and Sarah were engaged and planning their wedding for just after graduation from college. Paul had just got accepted into LSU medical school, and one day they drove to Shreveport to look at a house to rent.  They left Olympis and Appollo outside in the little fenced-in area. 

And here comes our favorite family dog story ever:

They got back home to Natchitoches late that night and pulled into Paul’s driveway. The gate was closed but the fenced-in area was empty. No Apollo and no Olympis. Apollo had a habit (due to the fact he was very tall) of jumping the fence in the middle of the night and Olympis would “bark” him home.

Well, they drove around that night all over Natchitoches hollering out the window “Olympisssssss!” They drove along Cane River, not far from Paul’s house, and were calling the dogs.

They ran into a man by Cane River who told them, “I saw those dogs....Yeah, they swam clear across the river and it took them so long to cross that by the time they made it to the other side the dog catcher was waiting for them when they climbed out of the water over by Front Street .” That sounded right because Olympis knew he wasn’t allowed in the street so wouldn’t cross the Front Street Bridge, but rather swam across Cane River instead!

Sarah and Paul drove to the dog pound which was closed and peeked into each little kennel. There the dogs were, busted. They went the next morning and bailed them out. I think it cost about fifty bucks. Soon after they had to give away Apollo. He was just too bad of an influence.

Olympis then shared all the momentous occasions of their lives:  their marriage and the births of their two children. He was a gentle dog, never snarled or even showed his teeth at them or either of the kids.  He will be missed by Sarah and Paul, 31, Mary Mace, 6 and Warner, 3 and by all of his extended family members. 

Goodbye, Olympis.  You were the World's Best Grand-Dog and gave us many wonderful memories and stories.  We'll see you on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.



The Rainbow Bridge
Author Unknown

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Shotgun shacks at the Shack-Up Inn.

I don't know how I came across the website for the Shack-Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi, but it must've been karma.  I was browsing around looking for information about places to stay around Oxford, Mississippi, the home of William Faulkner.  I've long wanted to visit Oxford.  They have one of the South's largest Independent bookstores, (which are fast becoming a vanishing breed).  Hell, I think books will be obsolete in the future, much less bookstores.  Anyway, I digress. 

I grew up on a farm in the middle of the cotton fields of north Louisiana.  There were shotgun shacks all around us and this place brought back childhood memories.  And my Mama is from Mississippi, so I have some roots there, just further south in Pascagoula.  So Ray and I are planning a trip later this Spring to the 'cradle of the blues' and plan to stay right here at the Shack-Up Inn.  I hear the food is amazing, the music even better and the ambiance, uniquely unforgettable.  I'll be sure to tell y'all about our trip after the fact.

Here's the website if you want to plan a trip of your own.

Spring has sprung around here and everything is blooming.  I've got seeds sprouting in egg cartons, jars, box lids and even cleaned a few windows today.  No small feat, that.  Wishing you flowers, sunshine, clean windows and warm breezes.

Love & Blessings,



"And even if you were in some prison, the walls of which let none of the sounds of the world come to your senses - would you not then still have your childhood, that precious, kingly possession, that treasure-house of memories?" ~Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Last Night by Sharon Olds

Last Night
by Sharon Olds

The next day, I am almost afraid.
Love?  It was more like dragonflies
in the sun, 100 degrees at noon,
the ends of their abdomens stuck together, I
close my eyes when I remember.  I hardly
knew myself, like something twisting and
twisting out of a chrysalis,
enormous, without language, all
head, all shut eyes, and the humming
like madness, the way they writhe away,
and do not leave, back, back,
away, back.  Did I know you?  No kiss,
no tenderness---more like killing, death-grip
holding to life, genitals
like violent hands clasped tight
barely moving, more like being closed
in a great jaw and eaten, and the screaming
I groan to remember it, and when we started
to die, then I refuse to remember,
the way a drunkard forgets.  After,
you held my hands extremely hard as my
body moved in shudders like the ferry when its
axle is loosed past engagement, you kept me
sealed exactly against you, our hairlines
wet as the arc of a gateway after
a cloudburst, you secured me in your arms till I slept---
that was love, and we woke in the morning
clasped, fragrant, buoyant, that was
the morning after love.


Monday, March 8, 2010

The Thing Is by Ellen Bass

Catfish in my antique bread-making bowl.  Catfish is the alpha-cat around here.  He's bob-tailed and hops like a bunny rabbit.  I think the nub-for-a-tail thing has given him a complex and he overcompensates.  You know how it is.  He also thinks he's a dog and follows Cody around and acts coming when called....something other self-respecting cats would never even consider, much less do.

Garfield sleeping on one of my many cat blankets.

Cody taking a nap wearing a new sock hat.

Gir reading over my shoulder while I was blogging.  He likes to wop the cursor ever so often and suggest synonyms or subject matter.  He totally hates people who call me a crazy cat lady.  My cats are people.  When Gir was born, his mother tried to kill him 3 times.  She kept moving all the other kittens and left him behind.  He's a special cat and has powers.  He sat by my fairy door last night and stared for over an hour at it, his head moving right and left.  I didn't see any fairies, but I'm sure he did.   Like I said, he's special.  He never once swatted at a fairy either.  Smart cat.

Garfield on a shelf watching me blog.  He's my first orange/yellow cat ever and he has the softest fur of any cat I've ever had.  It feels like mink.  Catfish daily gives his brothers and sister a cat-bath.  I have the most wonderful, caring, loving cats on earth. 


The Thing Is
By:  Ellen Bass

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.


That's all I got.  Rainy, cloudy day here in the deep South.  I love y'all, I really do. 



"Women, poets, and especially artists, like cats; delicate natures only can realize their sensitive systems." ~Helen M. Winslow


"I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul." ~Jean Cocteau


"Cats have intercepted my footsteps at the ankle for so long that my gait, both at home and on tour, has been compared to that of a man wading through low surf." ~Roy Blount, Jr


"People who love cats have some of the biggest hearts around." ~Susan Easterly


"It always gives me a shiver when I see a cat seeing what I can't see." ~Eleanor Farjeon


"A cat pours his body on the floor like water." ~William Lyon Phelps

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Barter by Sara Teasdale

by Sara Teasdale

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And childrens's faces looking up
Holding wonder in a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstacy
Give all you have been, or could be.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On Joy and Sorrow by Kahlil Gibran

On Joy and Sorrow

Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater thar sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.


This is from Kahlil Gibran's incredible book, "The Prophet".  If you haven't read it, then it's a must-read and a must-own.  I read it often and just swim around in the beautiful words and imagery. 

The sun is shining today, thank God, and I'm going to go outside and soak up some of it while I finish reading my Greg Iles book, "The Devil's Punchbowl".  I have my Moonflower, Sunflower, Tomato and Basil seeds planted indoors and will have them ready for planting outside after Good Friday.  I'm eagerly awaiting spring, the return of the dragonflies and the hummingbirds and the hot summer sun.  It's been much too cold this winter!!

Love & Blessings,


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sharp Cutting Wings (Song To A Poet) by Lucinda Williams

Sharp Cutting Wings (song To A Poet)
by Lucinda Williams
from:  "Happy Woman Blues" CD

you're the one, you're my shinin' star
you're the one I've been waiting for
let's fly away to some foreign country
where nobody knows who we are
I wish I had a ship to sail the waters
I wish I had about a hundred dollars
but I'll just stand with this glass in my hand
feelin' like nothin' even matters

your words run thru me
like the blood in my veins
I could swear I knew your love
before I knew your name
before I knew your name

every day I miss your smilin' face
no one here can ever take your place
the sun can shine down over my town
but it never shines in my day
I told all the stars above
I'm gonna shower you with my love
I won't demand you, I'll try to understand you
my love is as free as a dove

your words run thru me
like the blood in my veins
I could swear I knew your love
before I knew your name
before I knew your name

you're the one, you're my shinin' star
you're the one I've been waiting for
let's fly away to some foreign country
where nobody knows who we are


Nobody on earth sings the blues like Lucinda Williams.  I have all of her music and listen to it often.  Check her out if you've never experienced her soulful tunes.