From the Pacific Northwest – Part XX

Musings in Autumn: Edward Abbey

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”

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A Poem for Today

“The American middle class…”
By Dawn Lundy Martin

The American middle class is screwed again but they don’t
know it.
Politics is a gleaming nowhere. Žižek fantasizes about
Capitalism’s
inevitable end. Reviewers want these poems to be more
hopeful.
Love is obvious. She’s a tutu shelter leaning out! Love is miraculous.
She’s twirling quite naturally! We dangle our feet in a July swimming
pool. Shoots sparkles from our eyes—to quiet to quiet all our
little
monsters. Street habits rear up. Any fire. Any quell. Who’s
made it
to well being? The television projects hysterical grief. Brown
women
wailing fall to knees draped over. We are only who we are
supposed
to be. No moon tonight, dear one.

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Art for November – Part I of II: John Ottis Adams

Below – “November Freshet”

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A Second Poem for Today

“First Gestures”
By Julia Spicher Kasdorf

Among the first we learn is good-bye,
your tiny wrist between Dad’s forefinger
and thumb forced to wave bye-bye to Mom,
whose hand sails brightly behind a windshield.
Then it’s done to make us follow:
in a crowded mall, a woman waves, “Bye,
we’re leaving,” and her son stands firm
sobbing, until at last he runs after her,
among shoppers drifting like sharks
who must drag their great hulks
underwater, even in sleep, or drown.

Living, we cover vast territories;
imagine your life drawn on a map—
a scribble on the town where you grew up,
each bus trip traced between school
and home, or a clean line across the sea
to a place you flew once. Think of the time
and things we accumulate, all the while growing
more conscious of losing and leaving. Aging,
our bodies collect wrinkles and scars
for each place the world would not give
under our weight. Our thoughts get laced
with strange aches, sweet as the final chord
that hangs in a guitar’s blond torso.

Think how a particular ridge of hills
from a summer of your childhood grows
in significance, or one hour of light–
late afternoon, say, when thick sun flings
the shadow of Virginia creeper vines
across the wall of a tiny, white room
where a girl makes love for the first time.
Its leaves tremble like small hands
against the screen while she weeps
in the arms of her bewildered lover.
She’s too young to see that as we gather
losses, we may also grow in love;
as in passion, the body shudders
and clutches what it must release.

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A Third Poem for Today

“Apocalypse Soliloquy”
By Scott Hightower

I hope my death is not stolen from me
by a fiery blast of Fahrenheit or Celsius
or another calculatable accuracy.

I will gladly relinquish all the pleasures of daily
bread, the pride and dreams of art—even pulse;
but I hope my death will not be taken from me.

Actually, it is a modest policy;
little there to discuss as to solace
or in the way of privacy.

A valued moment of self-possession? Might it be
something to embrace more than to expulse?
I hope my death will not be pried from me.

My end is not to be just a cause in a public sea
of scientists teaming against a disease,
a private point in a welter of piracy.

After all, won’t it fundamentally and rightly
be mine and no one else’s? I hope my death is
not taken from me; better, it be
an appointment kept in a private sea.

hightower

Canadian Art – Bev Rodin

Artist Statement: “Good art like music plays forever and I endeavour to create imaginative, spiritual and individual work that does not lose its potency over time. I believe the space between the brushstrokes is where intuition liberates the intellect. Both are essential. My predominantly medium and large scale paintings in acrylic medium on canvas, explore unusual lighting, transparency, abstraction, universality, movement, colour and connections between them. These simple notions provide both the grand gestures and the details of my work. I am also interested in the universal human responses and relationships to natural landscapes, water and the beauty of natural geometries. I am well known for three dominant themes, Forest Light Series, Shorelines Series and City and Country Gardens and recently a new theme Wetlands. Other works include internationally award winning watercolours and plein air small works.”

Below (From the Forest Light Series) – “Small Beach”; “Good Friends”; “Road to the Lake”; “Granite Point”; “Portage”; “Painting the Sunshine”; “Winter, Ohmic Lake.”

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Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918) was an American historian.

Some quotes from the work of Henry Brooks Adams:

“Were half the power that fills the world with terror, Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts, Given to redeem the human mind from error, There were no need of arsenals nor forts.”
“Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.”
“Of all studies, the one he would rather have avoided was that of his own mind. He knew no tragedy so heartrending as introspection.”
“You say that love is nonsense…. I tell you it is no such thing. For weeks and months it is a steady physical pain, an ache about the heart, never leaving one, by night or by day; a long strain on one’s nerves like toothache or rheumatism, not intolerable at any one instant, but exhausting by its steady drain on the strength.”
“In Paris and London he had seen nothing to make a return to life worth while; in Washington he saw plenty of reasons for staying dead.”
“To her mind the Senate was a place where people went to recite speeches, and she naively assumed that the speeches were useful and had a purpose, but as they did not interest her she never went again. This is a very common conception of Congress; many Congressmen share it.”
“Someday science may have the existence of mankind in power, and the human race can commit suicide by blowing up the world.”

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Musings in Autumn: Richard Keith Frazine

“Going barefoot in the forest is a very sensuous and a pleasurable experience. For some of us it is almost a mystical experience. I know that I dreamt of it long before I ever durst try it. It is also an experience that brings into question our entire relationship with nature in a way that disturbs and challenges our ideas about ourselves as civilized beings.”

frazine

A Fourth Poem for Today

“The Truth About the Present”
By John Lane

after Bei Dao

when rivers are intoxicated
with dioxide you gather lotus shoots
to pick their pockets is
the clock of the age

when the last songbird
shivers with undue cold like wires overhead
to handle harsh metals is
the clock of the age

when your keyboard dissolves
in the pit of nations
to write in echoes is
the clock of the age

when you forge transparencies
in the foundries upstream
the bridges are blocked by karaoke
their digital sand is
the clock of the age

the cell phone’s face is always
time-dependent on fingers somewhere
today opens to the nearby delta
and tomorrow
is the clock of the age

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Musings in Autumn: Daniel J. Rice

“I walked slowly to enjoy this freedom, and when I came out of the mountains, I saw the sky over the prairie, and I thought that if heaven was real, I hoped it was a place I never had to go, for this earth was greater than any paradise.”

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Art for November – Part II of II: Egon Schiele

Below – “Four Trees”

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Musings in Autumn: Sylvia Plath

“Wind warns November’s done with. The blown leaves make bat-shapes, Web-winged and furious.”

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Forgetfulness”
By Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

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Musings in Autumn: Kristian Goldmund Aumann

“November; Crows are approaching – Wounded leaves fall to the ground.”

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A Sixth Poem for Today

“We have no choice in the bodies that hold us”
By Holly Amos

Thing of dirt and water and oxygen marked by thinking
and reacting and a couch
one may or may not be permitted
to sleep on. He may not permit me
to touch him or to take the bone
from his mouth, but he does, and that’s a choice
based on many factors, not the least of which
is his own desire to let me
do these things. How I could ever
think or feel myself more
deserving of a single thing than
this being, whom I call by a name the same way
my parents chose a name for me. The same way my genes
went expressing themselves to make my face exactly
my face. This isn’t special. Or this is special. But it’s one
answer, the same, for us both.

amos

American Art – Chris Moench

Artist Statement: “In nature I discover ideas for Prayer Wheel designs. My wife and I kayak and hike every chance we can get. My son North and daughter Yarrow are also avid climbers, campers, hikers and trail runners with an appreciative eye for small wonders like alpine blueberries that melt on your tongue. I feel completely blessed and wish to give something back. My work and life are extensions of my belief all things are intimately linked.”

Below (Ceramic Prayer Wheels) – “Frog Song”; “The Crossing”; “Here where the World Is Being Made”; “Gifts of this Turing Earth”; “Raven Moon”; “Carried By Waters”; “Higher Path”; “Salish Sea Wheel.”; “Reflecting the Universe.”

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