Monday, December 19, 2016

A Poem from the Experimental Novel, "House of Leaves"...



(Untitled Fragment)
By Mark Z. Danielewski, from "House of Leaves", page 563

Little solace comes
to those who grieve
when thoughts keep drifting
as walls keep shifting
and this great blue world of ours
seems a house of leaves

moments before the wind.

<><><><><><><><><>

This truly experimental novel, which is many stories (lifetimes/dimensions) in one, messed with my head so badly that, among other abuses, I threw it against walls, poured coffee (then blow dried it in remorse) on it, tossed it in the trash (and retrieved it) twice, stopped reading it for a full year, then finally just wrote my frustration into the margins (along with the author's gazillion footnotes/endnotes/sidenotes) which is freaking hilarious NOW as I revisit it about 10 years after I read it and enjoy my bad attitude back around 2005 when I experienced "House of Leaves".  Mark Z. Danielewski (MZD) is a pioneer, a poet, and a courageous trailblazer.  He's also a crazy as a loon genius and an excellent storyteller.  It would just be nice to read one of his stories in chronological order, but I doubt that'll happen.  Reading a fat novel (occasionally) in circles and sideways got a bit tedious at times, but I guess that's art for you.

If you're looking for a challenging reading experience, then read this book.  If you're an impatient, normal type, then for heaven's sake:  DO NOT READ THIS BOOK!




Friday, December 16, 2016

Questions of Travel by Elizabeth Bishop

There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams
hurry too rapidly down to the sea,
and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops
makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion,
turning to waterfalls under our very eyes.
–For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains,
aren’t waterfalls yet,
in a quick age or so, as ages go here,
they probably will be.
But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling,
the mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships,
slime-hung and barnacled.
Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theatres?
What childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework,
inexplicable and impenetrable,
at any view,
instantly seen and always, always delightful?
Oh, must we dream our dreams
and have them, too?
And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?
But surely it would have been a pity
not to have seen the trees along this road,
really exaggerated in their beauty,
not to have seen them gesturing
like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.
–Not to have had to stop for gas and heard
the sad, two-noted, wooden tune
of disparate wooden clogs
carelessly clacking over
a grease-stained filling-station floor.
(In another country the clogs would all be tested.
Each pair there would have identical pitch.)
–A pity not to have heard
the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird
who sings above the broken gasoline pump
in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque:
three towers, five silver crosses.
–Yes, a pity not to have pondered,
blurr’dly and inconclusively,
on what connection can exist for centuries
between the crudest wooden footwear
and, careful and finicky,
the whittled fantasies of wooden footwear
and, careful and finicky,
the whittled fantasies of wooden cages.
–Never to have studied history in
the weak calligraphy of songbirds’ cages.
–And never to have had to listen to rain
so much like politicians’ speeches:
two hours of unrelenting oratory
and then a sudden golden silence
in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes:
“Is it lack of imagination that makes us come
to imagined places, not just stay at home?
Or could Pascal have been not entirely right
about just sitting quietly in one’s room?
Continent, city, country, society:
the choice is never wide and never free.
And here, or there . . . No. Should we have stayed at home,
wherever that may be?”
Elizabeth Bishop


Saturday, December 3, 2016

In The Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti

It's been crazy here at Chez Dragonfly since I got my greenhouse. Did I mention I have a new little greenhouse/potting shed?  I do! I counted 62 plants in it yesterday, most babies propagated from my other plants: Lemongrass, Yarrow, Pineapple Sage, Spearmint, Peppermint, Chocolate Mint, Apple Mint, Comfrey, Basil, Lavender, Airplane Plants, Wandering Jew, Black Sweet Potato Vines, Passionflowers...too many to recall!  Mother Nature keeps blessing me with abundance.  For the first time in my life, I have big fat Tomatoes in December!  They're also in the greenhouse.  I bought one Angel Trumpet flower a few years ago & now have 12 of them. They're like trees! This Spring I plan to have a few plant sales to make some money to buy more plants. LOL!  It's an addiction.  And my Cypress Tree has 10 babies all thriving across my front yard.  They're gorgeous.

I want to wish you all a blessed Christmas/Holiday season filled with love, peace & happiness.  I sincerely appreciate the many faithful readers of my blog, several who have become dear, precious friends over the years.  This has been a physically painful year for me (chronic pain & autoimmune disorders) and your support means the world to me.  God bless you all! xo, Marion

...water like a stone...


In the bleak midwinter

Related Poem Content Details

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!



My favorite holiday dish on this day of gratitude.  It's great any day of the year but goes especially well with cornbread dressing, turkey & giblet gravy.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!  ~Marion


Mama's Sweet Potato Soufflé

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (I used canned yams, but you can use fresh)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon  (you can also add nutmeg if you like)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (my secret ingredient)
½ cup butter, melted

Mix the above ingredients well using electric mixer and pour into oven-safe casserole dish.

TOPPING:  (mix in separate bowl)

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1/3 cup butter

Melt butter in mircrowave.  Mix all topping ingredients together with a fork. It will be crumbly. Sprinkle mixture evenly over top of casserole mixture. Bake 30 minutes (or until medium golden brown in color) at 350 degrees.  Enjoy!!!
 
==============================

Friday, November 11, 2016

RIP Leonard Cohen

RIP, great Poet!!


Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen
("Various Positions" Version)

Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

An American Tune By Paul Simon - My 800th Post!

Make America Great Again Today - VOTE!!

An American Tune
by Paul Simon

Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and often felt forsaken
And certainly misused 


But I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be
Bright and bon vivant 


So far away from home, so far away from home
And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered 

or driven to its knees 

But it's all right, it's all right
We've lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
we're traveling on 


I wonder what went wrong 

I can't help it, I wonder what went wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
And I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly 


And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea 


And I dreamed I was flying
We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hour
and sing an American tune
But it's all right, it's all right
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I Was a Mean to You Today by Pat Schneider



I Was Mean to You Today

Things were difficult
and I was impatient.
You were trying to explain
why I must reorganize the files
on my computer, why
they all have to have project numbers,
why I can't put them
where they've always been,
what the tax consultant said,
what you need for your report
to the Board of Directors,
and it boiled down to my files
have to be re-filed, and they
have to have titles with no more
than twelve letters to leave room
for project numbers,
and I said, Well, dammit.
And you said, Don't talk like that.

You sounded pained
and I was mean to you.
I was bored and tired
and mad, and you were
trying hard. Later,
I went out in the rain.
I went to the mall
and bought us both really
expensive pillows. Down
pillows with 100 per cent
cotton covers, 400 thread count.
I have lusted after them for years,
ever since Mama told me
that she asked Grandma,
who was 86 and dying,
"If you could have anything
in the world, what would it be?"
and Grandma answered,
"A down pillow" and Mama
didn't have enough money.
I bought two down pillows for us all,
to say I'm, sorry. 
"I Was Mean to You Today" by Pat Schneider, from The Patience of Ordinary Things. © Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2003

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Surviving Love By Linda Gregg

"...forgiveness is hard for the wounded..."



SURVIVING LOVE
By Linda Gregg

I work hard at managing, grateful
and spare. I try to forgive all trespasses
and give thanks for the desert. Rejoice
in being alive here in my simple world.
Each evening I walk for an hour, paying
attention to real things. The plover
sweeping at my face to get me away from
its ground nest. An ant carrying the wing
of a butterfly like a flag in the wind.
A grasshopper eating a dead grasshopper.
The antelope close up, just staring at me.
Back in the house, I lie down in the heat
for a nap, realizing forgiveness is hard
for the wounded. Near the border,
between this country and the next one.
“Surviving Love” by Linda Gregg from In the Middle Distance.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Starlings in Winter By Mary Oliver

LOOK!  A jet trail dragonfly!



Starlings in Winter

By Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can't imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,

even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard, I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

"Starlings in Winter" by Mary Oliver, from Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

WHAT THE CROW SAID By Michael Hannon



Amy Brown Art





WHAT THE CROW SAID
By Michael Hannon

Though friendly to magic
I am not a man disguised as a crow.

I am night eating the sun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Louisiana Autumn, October Lullaby By Marion



Louisiana Autumn
October Lullaby
By Marion

A few brown,
desiccated, falling leaves---
lush, fragrant Lavender
and feathery Yarrow yet
reaching skyward.

Endings woven
into Beginnings
and Circles breeding
Circles.

Moonflower seed pods
heavily pregnant with
next year's blooms.
Two hundred seeds
lying on my windowsill:
bountiful, generous
Autumn!

Beginnings woven
into Endings
and Death breeding
Life.  Imagine!

Only the occasional Hummingbird
now at the almost empty,
red plastic feeders
rocking in the
80 degree breeze.
Such tiny enigmas,
sustained
on sugar water and
insects...headed even
further South.

...and not surprisingly---
the only flowers
yet still blooming
are the luscious
red-centered, sadly drooping
clusters of seemingly pulsing,
beating,
Bleeding
Hearts.

10/11/16

Monday, October 10, 2016

Shadows...


I walked out the kitchen door...

barefoot...onto the carport...and into the front yard.

I inhaled the scent of freshly cut grass,
admiring the vivid greens against the
aching cobalt of
Southern Autumn sky.

A Mockingbird landed to
fetch a worm, then
sat on a telephone wire to
sing me a dozen tunes.

I was not looking up,

I was still looking at my wet,
clipped-grass-coated feet
sunk into the soft, spongy lawn
and enjoying the bird's serenade.

I was, to be redundant, at that moment,
looking down...at the ground,

when a shadow,
a wide shadow,
an unusually large shadow
passed over my own
verdant-footed shadow...

...no, it glided,
effortlessly,
poetically...
right over me.

I, of course, looked
straight up into the sun
and saw spots,
then walked in circles,
head upturned,
knowing it was a Hawk,
a big, beautiful predator
hunting for breakfast.

The Mockingbird
quickly left...
self-preservation!

Finally, I spotted the Hawk
still gliding, wings outstretched,
     drifting on an air current
along the edge of
the woods, the Ent-like Pines.

I stood transfixed,
watching reverently
until it vanished...
     as in a lucid dream
into a fast approaching
storm cloud...

By:  Marion, Summer 2016

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Epilogue by Robert Lowell



Epilogue

Related Poem Content Details

Those blessèd structures, plot and rhyme— 
why are they no help to me now 
I want to make 
something imagined, not recalled? 
I hear the noise of my own voice: 
The painter’s vision is not a lens, 
it trembles to caress the light. 
But sometimes everything I write   
with the threadbare art of my eye 
seems a snapshot, 
lurid, rapid, garish, grouped, 
heightened from life, 
yet paralyzed by fact. 
All’s misalliance. 
Yet why not say what happened? 
Pray for the grace of accuracy 
Vermeer gave to the sun’s illumination 
stealing like the tide across a map 
to his girl solid with yearning. 
We are poor passing facts, 
warned by that to give 
each figure in the photograph 
his living name.

Robert Lowell, “Epilogue” from Day by Day. Copyright © 1977 by Robert Lowell

Friday, September 30, 2016

Black Moon Rising



Tonight, September 30,  is the 2nd new moon
in September---a rare Black Moon,
which only occurs every 32
months...

It's the threshold/doorway into Autumn,
the dark time of the year, a time for
staying in and going inward.
Contemplation, reflection, resting,
and reverie are on the menu.

Even nature rests in Fall
and Winter, going dormant,
quiescent:  living, yet appearing barren.

Nature is our mirror,
our teacher and muse
telling us to slow down now,
collect her gifts of
seeds, then
ponder our own gifts.

Black Moon rising,
new moon ruling.
Fearlessly enter your darkness---
explore the shadow side
of your life---and of nature.

Disentangle your
knotted, twisted thoughts
and prepare to grow
in the spring...

like a brazen, hot pink Zinnia
bursting from the soil.

9/30/16


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Advice to Myself & Grief by Louise Erdrich

Wish that younger me could have read this---


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~




Advice to Myself
By Louise Erdrich

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don't patch the cup.
Don't patch anything. Don't mend. Buy safety pins.
Don't even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don't keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll's tiny shoes in pairs, don't worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don't even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don't sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we're all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don't answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don't read it, don't read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

~From: "Original Fire: New and Selected Poems", page 149

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

GriefBy Louise Erdrich

Sometimes you have to take your own hand
as though you were a lost child
and bring yourself stumbling
home over twisted ice.

Whiteness drifts over your house.
A page of warm light
falls steady from the open door.

Here is your bed, folded open.
Lie down, lie down, let the blue snow cover you.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

At Burt Lake by Tom Andrews & Bardo (excerpt) by Suzanne Paolo


No coolness yet, but I can smell it coming...Time to awake now and begin again.  xo




At Burt Lake
By Tom Andrews

To disappear into the right words
and to be their meanings. . .

October dusk.
Pink scraps of clouds, a plum-colored sky.
The sycamore tree spills a few leaves.
The cold focuses like a lens. . .

 Now night falls, its hair
caught in the lake's eye.

 Such clarity of things. Already
I've said too much. . .

                                  Lord,

language must happen to you
the way this black pane of water,
chipped and blistered with stars,
happens to me. 

From:  "The Hemophiliac's Motorcycle" by Tom Andrews, page 13.  (Winner of  'The Iowa Poetry Prize')

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

Mistaking Opiates for the Clear Light
By Suzanne Paola

There's always been this confusion with white things---
hospitals, cold, moonlight.
They seemed to embody the will
paralyzed into peaceful acceptance.
Blank paper consecrate
to the end of words:  I love that,
secretly, more than this.
Quaaludes in my palm, rowers, eucharistic form.
Clear bag of heroin.
Stuff, we called it.  Too foundational to define.

*

In a clear bowl, a pear & a pomegranate wizen
into color.  Almost
alive, skins rucking
in on themselves.  Cheeks
sunk, russet
& carmine, seeming
almost to care about this...
Each a countenance
too private for a face, collapsing
in the hard gravity of color.

I was their opposite, pale girl, not living
or dying.  They were
what I feared.

*

I trust in the bardo wisdom:  how the gods,
with their soft white light, draw us in, convince us
their stuporous world is all there is.

I've seen them, slumping
forward, burning themselves with cigarettes.

How grand they were for a while:  their leathers, their etched
            bodies, a stalled
writhing eagle on each arm.
And their nectars, their secret foods, that gave
an easy kind of sensate order.

Though a god's world finally
suffers itself away from him, braille of the tracks
of a thousand needles, transgressions of red
under the skin---

From:  "Bardo" by Suzanne Paola, pages 6, 7 (Winner of "The Brittingham Prize in Poetry")

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

Bardo (from Wikipedia):  "Used loosely, the term "bardo" refers to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena. These usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, and then proceeding to terrifying hallucinations that arise from the impulses of one's previous unskillful actions. 

For the prepared and appropriately trained individuals the bardo offers a state of great opportunity for liberation, since transcendental insight may arise with the direct experience of reality, while for others it can become a place of danger as the karmically created hallucinations can impel one into a less than desirable rebirth."

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PAIN By Linda Pastan

Smile, even when you feel like crying...



PAIN
By Linda Pastan, from "Waiting For My Life"

More faithful
than lover or husband
it cleaves to you,
calling itself by your name
as if there had been a ceremony.

At night, you turn and turn
searching for the one
bearable position,
but though you may finally sleep
it wakens ahead of you.

How heavy it is,
displacing with its volume
your very breath.
Before, you seemed to weigh nothing,
your arms might have been wings.

Now each finger adds its measure;
you are pulled down by the weight
of your own hair.

And if your life should disappear ahead of you
you would not run after it.

===============================

Pain is with me 24/7, 365.  Nobody can see it, so few believe it.  It feels like I should be bleeding profusely, covered in bruises...but I'm not.  Autoimmune disorders, say the doctors...no known cause, no cure...just pain that affects mostly women...go figure.  To those in pain...I wish you relief.  xo