A Poem for Today
“Daylight Savings Time”
By Phyllis McGinley
In spring when maple buds are red,
We turn the clock an hour ahead;
Which means, each April that arrives,
We lose an hour out of our lives.
Who cares? When autumn birds in flocks
Fly southward, back we turn the clocks,
And so regain a lovely thing
That missing hour we lost in spring.
Musings in Autumn: Henry Adams
“The Indian Summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone, but never hustled.”
Art for November – Part I of II: Randall David Tipton
Below – “November Rain”
A Second Poem for Today
“Fruit Cocktail in Light Syrup”
By Amy Gerstler
Rocket-shaped popsicles that dyed your lips blue
were popular when I was a kid. That era got labeled
“the space age” in honor of some longed-for,
supersonic, utopian future. Another food of my
youth was candy corn, mostly seen on Halloween.
With its striped triangular “kernels” made
of sugar, wax and corn syrup, candy corn
was a nostalgic treat, harkening back to days
when humans grew, rather than manufactured,
food. But what was fruit cocktail’s secret
meaning? It glistened as though varnished.
Faint of taste and watery, it contained anemic
grapes, wrinkled and pale. Also deflated
maraschino cherries. Fan-shaped pineapple
chunks, and squares of bleached peach
and pear completed the scene. Fruit cocktail’s
colorlessness, its lack of connection to anything
living, (like tree, seed or leaf) seemed
cautionary, sad. A bowl of soupy, faded, funeral
fruit. No more nourishing than a child’s
finger painting, masquerading as happy
appetizer, fruit cocktail insisted on pretending
everything was ok. Eating it meant you embraced
tastelessness. It meant you were easily fooled.
It meant you’d pretend semblances,
no matter how pathetic, were real, and that
when things got dicey, you’d spurn the truth.
Eating fruit cocktail meant you might deny
that ghosts whirled throughout the house
and got sucked up the chimney on nights
Dad wadded old newspapers, warned you
away from the hearth, and finally lit a fire.
Musings in Autumn: Edward Abbey
“My most memorable hikes can be classified as ‘Shortcuts that Backfired’.”
American Art – Ann Rutter
In the words of one writer, “Ann became a self-taught and highly respected watercolor artist whose Northwest scenes have graced the walls of countless homes over a forty year career. Much of her work was inspired by the beauty she found in the islands to the north, the farms of the Skagit Valley as well as the Cascade Mountains.”
Below – “Autumn Fog Lifting at Mt. Rainier”; “Mt. Rainier Wildflowers”; “Afternoon at Mt. Jefferson, Oregon”; “Fraser Valley, BC”; “North Cascades and Methow Valley”; “Olympic Spring”; “Desolation Sound.”
A Third Poem for Today
By Sara Teasdale
It will not hurt me when I am old,
A running tide where moonlight burned
Will not sting me like silver snakes;
The years will make me sad and cold,
It is the happy heart that breaks.
The heart asks more than life can give,
When that is learned, then all is learned;
The waves break fold on jewelled fold,
But beauty itself is fugitive,
It will not hurt me when I am old.
James Herriot is the pen name of James Alfred “Alf” Wright, a British veterinary surgeon and writer.
Some quotes from the work of James Herriot:
“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
“I think it was the beginning of Mrs. Bond’s unquestioning faith in me when she saw me quickly enveloping the cat till all you could see of him was a small black and white head protruding from an immovable cocoon of cloth. He and i were now facing each other, more or less eyeball to eyeball, and George couldn’t do a thing about it. As i say, I rather pride myself on this little expertise, and even today my veterinary colleagues have been known to remark, ‘Old Herriot may be limited in many respects, but by God he can wrap a cat.’”
“At times it seemed unfair that I should be paid for my work; for driving out in the early morning with the fields glittering under the first pale sunshine and the wisps of mist still hanging on the high tops.”
“And I could find other excuses to get out and sit on the crisp grass and look out over the airy roof of Yorkshire. It was like taking time out of life. Time to get things into perspective and assess my progress.”
“I could do terrible things to people who dump unwanted animals by the roadside.”
“I love writing about my job because I loved it, and it was a particularly interesting one when I was a young man. It was like holidays with pay to me.”
“I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs.”
Musings in Autumn: John Muir
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.”
Art for November – Part II of II: Mandy Budan
Below – “November Sun”
Musings in Autumn: Dan Thompson
“Travel is the discovery of truth; an affirmation of the promise that human kind is far more beautiful than it is flawed. With each trip comes a new optimism that where there is despair and hardship, there are ideas and people just waiting to be energized, to be empowered, to make a difference for good.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“[Do you still remember: falling stars]”
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Do you still remember: falling stars,
how they leapt slantwise through the sky
like horses over suddenly held-out hurdles
of our wishes—did we have so many?—
for stars, innumerable, leapt everywhere;
almost every gaze upward became
wedded to the swift hazard of their play,
and our heart felt like a single thing
beneath that vast disintegration of their brilliance—
and was whole, as if it would survive them!
Musings in Autumn: Dan May
When preparing to climb a mountain – pack a light heart.
A Fifth Poem for Today
“Elegy for a Dead Labrador”
By Lars Gustafsson
“Elegy for a Dead Labrador”
Here there may be, in the midst of summer,
a few days when suddenly it’s fall.
Thrushes sing on a sharper note.
The rocks stand determined out in the water.
They know something. They’ve always known it.
We know it too, and we don’t like it.
On the way home, in the boat, on just such evenings
you would stand stock-still in the bow, collected,
scouting the scents coming across the water.
You read the evening, the faint streak of smoke
from a garden, a pancake frying
half a mile away, a badger
standing somewhere in the same twilight
sniffing the same way. Our friendship
was of course a compromise; we lived
together in two different worlds: mine,
mostly letters, a text passing through life,
yours, mostly smells. You had knowledge
I would have given much to have possessed:
the ability to let a feeling—eagerness, hate, or love—
run like a wave throughout your body
from nose to tip of tail, the inability
ever to accept the moon as fact.
At the full moon you always complained loudly against it.
You were a better Gnostic than I am. And consequently
you lived continually in paradise.
You had a habit of catching butterflies on the leap,
and munching them, which some people thought disgusting.
I always liked it. Why
couldn’t I learn from you? And doors.
In front of closed doors you lay down and slept
sure that sooner or later the one would come
who’d open up the door. You were right.
I was wrong. Now I ask myself, now this
long mute friendship is forever finished,
if possibly there was anything I could do
which impressed you. Your firm conviction
that I called up the thunderstorms
doesn’t count. That was a mistake. I think
my certain faith that the ball existed,
even when hidden behind the couch,
somehow gave you an inkling of my world.
In my world most things were hidden
behind something else. I called you “dog,”
I really wonder whether you perceived me
as a larger, noisier “dog”
or as something different, forever unknown,
which is what it is, existing in that attribute
it exists in, a whistle
through the nocturnal park one has got used to
returning to without actually knowing
what it is one is returning to. About you,
and who you were, I knew no more.
One might say, from this more objective
standpoint, we were two organisms. Two
of those places where the universe makes a knot
in itself, short-lived, complex structures
of proteins that have to complicate themselves
more and more in order to survive, until everything
breaks and turns simple once again, the knot
dissolved, the riddle gone. You were a question
asked of another question, nothing more,
and neither had the answer to the other.
Canadian Art – Leslie Rowe-Israelson
In the words one writer, “Leslie Rowe-Israelson and her twin sister, Melanie Rowe-Prosser spent their childhood in Victoria. For the last twenty years, the twins have lived and worked in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The beauty of the mountains, particularly in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, is their passion and inspiration. It was in the mountains that they discovered their other shared passion. Glass would come to consume their thoughts and dreams. Through dedication, this passion became their visual language. Part of the dedication has been training and dialogue with other glass artists. From 1985-1994, Leslie and Melanie attended the world-renowned Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. Both sisters say, ‘Pilchuck Glass School was a wonderful atmosphere to share ideas and experiences with people from around the world.’ Pilchuck provided an environment where they could contribute to and learn from the triumphs and failures of top calibre glass artists. The sisters also received training from the Alberta College of Art, Andrighetti Glassworks, Colton Glass School and the Vancouver College of Art.
To express their artistic ‘voice’, their visual language has required the development of unusual techniques involving sand-casting, mosaic and pate de verre. Because of the time consuming nature involved in the creation of each piece, it becomes a contemplative process which both Melanie and Leslie find rewarding. As an extension of this contemplative process, Leslie often writes poems relating to the pieces that the twins are working on.”
Below – “Fall in the Rockies”; “Rocky Mountain Splendor”; “Ancient Oceans: Mountain Strata”; “Rocky Mountain Twilight”; “Mother/Daughter Flight: Over the Rockies”; “Rocky Mountain Wetlands.”