April, Maypole

I learned about Spring, as a child, with my educational sources still reflecting mystical attitudes about the seasons that go way back into antiquity.

I remember, in elementary school learning what was called a “maypole dance”. This “dance” consisted of walking slowly in a circle with other clueless kids, each holding a colored ribbon tied to the pole, then all turning around and walking in the opposite direction. It was like tetherball, both structurally and in how baffling to us it’s whole purpose was.

(We were also taught square dancing, too; giving me a head start on a humiliation caused by dancing that many only start to feel in their teens.)

I remember also covering Greek, Roman, Norse, and Native American myths about Spring, many of which involved girls being dragged off to Hell, a fate many of my female classmates seemed sadly too acquainted with through being forced to participate in cotillion — getting their own head start on dancing hell.

More happily, I also remember learning that Easter was always on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox, which has proved useful ever since, since I’m apparently one of six people in all of North America who has the first idea how the date of Easter is arrived at.


Ambivalence is not the issue, or maybe it is.


In the spring, a young man’s fancy
May turn towards some thoughts romancy,
Or to baseball turn, instead —
If they have thought in their head

In the spring, young women’s heeding
May turn towards some new succeeding
Or may turn to instead to guys —
I’m not saying if that’s

Wise


Here are the lyrics to a song I learned when I was still a boy, called “The Turtle Dove”. The song dates back to the 1700’s. I’m including it for no other reason than that I like it.

Fare you well my dear, I must be gone and leave you for a while –
If I roam away I’ll come back again,
Though I roam ten thousand miles, my dear,
Though I roam ten thousand miles.

So fair though art my bonnie lass, so deep in love am I –
But I never will prove false to the bonnie lass I love,
Till the stars fall from the sky, my dear,
Till the stars fall from the sky.

The sea will never run dry my dear, nor the rocks ever melt with the sun –
And I never will prove false to the bonnie lass I love,
Till all these things be done, my dear,
Till all these things be done.

O yonder doth sit that little turtle dove, he doth sit on yonder high tree –
A making a moan for the loss of his love,
As I will do for thee, my dear,
As I will do
For thee.

Alive With Stars

I saw as though alive with stars
The sky. The desert cold and still
Beneath a breathing canopy,
And you were shiv’ring, shiv’ring next
To me. I placed a blanket ‘round
Your shoulders, as we sat upon
The back of some old vehicle,
And bright upon your eyes I saw
Reflected like eternity
The hopes of one whose heart is full
Of doubt, but some serenity,
For knowing what one’s feeling is
Enough — enough for two like us —
It has to be enough for two

  Like us

If Liberty Means Anything…

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – George Orwell, the Original Preface to Animal Farm


I feel about political parties the way a cat feels about various packs of dogs. None of them are friendly, and none of them would ever want me as a member.*

I don’t like political parties because I don’t like gangs. I don’t talk about politics much on my blogs because you are either in a gang, or you are its enemy, as I have repeatedly found throughout my life. I belong to no gang, which makes me the enemy of all of them.

That being said, there is a political issue I do feel strongly about, and that is people’s right to express their own opinions. If you feel moved enough by a given issue to speak out about it, speak out. If you feel safer doing that with a large group of others, do it, that’s your right.

I won’t be comfortable around your large group, but I believe in your right of free opinion and speech, and free assembly.

In fact, I’ll probably be as far away from your assembling group as my noncomformist cat self can get.

I don’t like any part of political discourse that consists of trying to stop the other side from speaking. In fact, I despise it.  It can be right wing talk show hosts telling people to “shut up and dribble” (or shut up and whatever), or it can be left wing sheep saying “Four legs good, two legs bad”**.  All these tactics are reprehensible.

For those of us who live in the United States, we either believe in freedom and in government by the people, or we don’t.

And it’s the ones who don’t who are always the enemy.


* I used this image for a poem recently, but this was the sentence (and context) as I originally intended it.

** This is also from “Animal Farm”. You probably should reread it, eighth grade was a while ago.

To A Future that Never Was…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s to the future that never was:
From a wide-eyed boy by the shining sea,
And a place of forgotten expectancy,
Where miles to travel were galleries seen,
Like a page from a modernist magazine.

With an unfolded map in the passenger seat,
Down on Union or Lincoln or Jefferson Street,
In a town that would grow till it reached the moon,
Like our astronauts would on a day pretty soon.
We would all of us join in exploring, because…

We would, in that future
That never

Was


All photos from : Pleasant Family Shopping

Magpies

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss.


I saw seven birds overhead while walking this morning, and was reminded of an old nursery rhyme about magpies.

I don’t know if kids learn nursery rhymes anymore. They were a sort of an ancestral link, much like various proverbs and sayings are. This country is rich in many cultural traditions, this particular one is either Scottish or English, but nursery rhymes are a common phenomenon across many cultures.

At any rate, I remembered that “seven” was for “a secret / never to be told.” So I won’t.

One that I occasionally still hear, is

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.


For the record, I was born on a Monday. If “fair” means “light-skinned; prone to sunburn” this is no doubt accurate, but I’m not sure that is the intended meaning. I feel more like a Thursday’s child, truthfully. I have very far to go, and the same indeterminate time to get there everyone else has.


I gave the bad news: how the older gentleman we’d always been so fond of had suffered a stroke, was being moved to hospice, and was not expected to live. The voice on the other end of the phone seemed shocked — talking about what a horrible and lonely week it had been: trying to make friends, but not really connecting; trying to live healthy, but wondering if it was even worth it; wanting to move, but without the money to do it or even a hope of ever earning it.

On wanting hormone replacement therapy. On wanting to be accepted.

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss.


One for sorrow. For who we are, and what we must face.

Two for joy. All joy to all of you, wherever you can find it.

Three for a girl / Four for a boy. Especially for all of those who feel they were not born as they should have been.

Five for silver / Six for gold. Hope for all those who despair of ever having enough of either.

Seven for a secret / Never to be told. Safety and security for all who remain tethered to their secrets.

Eight for a wish / Nine for a kiss. To hope and love, two of the very greatest of all things.

Ten for a bird / You must not miss. To magpies.

May you all find them, today, in exactly the right number.

Although

Although I speak,
My light was meant to listen;
Though I might sing,
My body’s meant to dance —-

We’re really made
Of more than our intentions:
Choice, place, and time,
Those spawns of circumstance,

Design the game,
The rules that we must move in.
With glimpses few
Of what’s outside the lines —

Although I write,
My light was made for silence
In worlds beyond, which baffle

Our designs

At Twenty

(At twenty, she was everything to me)
  She lay out in the warming April sun
(At once, both remedy and malady)
  To bask as though the summer had begun
  Or maybe, just for her, the only one.
(I loved her with a love both strong and true:
  And she was like, ‘just who the hell are you?’)

  In college: she, a princess and a star
(I was a jester, a nonentity)
  The light of any class and ev’ry bar
(I had no me, no real identity;
  Just hopes for virtue, and for devilry)
An April when the world was hers to hold
And fleeting touches turned to lasting gold

(I died at twenty much more than I lived)
  She was both perfect heart and vanity;
(I never had the knack, but had the gift)
  She grew into her mind, and her humanity
  Soon blossomed into balance, hope, and sanity.
(While I went on to madness, and to rue:
  At twenty, that was all that I could do)

Along the Pure Blue Sea

She walks along the pure blue sea
As happy now as she can be;
For she is finally, finally free –
She’s finally free of love and me.

She once bore all the fetid weight
Of marriage to a damned ingrate;
A saddle carved by love and fate
To know her but to not relate.

But one day, she woke up to this:
That ignorance is hardly bliss,
And men who are not worth a piss
Are better off to just dismiss.

She walks along the pure blue sea
As happy now as she can be;
For she is finally, finally free —
She’s finally free of love
And me

just once and all

just once and all that’s known would be

forever in your heart and eyes

a touching slowly turning soft

a time to feel without disguise

 

when close the world is sealed and still

and trust gives way to mouth and skin

just once and all is all at once

to drop the veil, and let me

in

a bit of some untangled truth

a bit of some untangled truth:
that’s all she needs to set her free —
a word of love that’s really meant;
some kindness, and some honesty —

a touch of some unvarnished hope,
a chance to be, a place to grow —
a bit of some untangled truth:
to have, and hold, and really

know

The trains don’t run…

The trains don’t run, but her stampeding mind
Goes endlessly in circles. So she sits
Out on the tracks, past words untrue, unkind,
Surrounded by a buzz that never quits —

To live, and then relive, the same few days;
To hear, and then re-hear, the same old words —
She can’t escape a world grown out of phase,
Even among the birches, and the birds.

That’s how a haunting works: within the head.
External ghosts can always be ignored,
But inner spirits go where we have fled,
A cargo that we always have aboard.

And love’s not coming back, not coming back —
The trains don’t run, but she’s still on
    the track

{… time stopped …}

time stopped that day
and it has never really started moving since

it was like
part of him broke, and
he’s just been kind of…
drifting

desire
is the yearning to have;
love
is the yearning
to be worthy of

and there is no more desperate hopelessness
than genuine love felt by
an unworthy

man

What I’ll Never Know

I saw you at the coffee shop,
As beautiful as you were when I met you,
And though it’s years since last we met,
There was no way that I would e’er forget you

We spoke of all the things we love:
The people and the places and their glories;
Just two old friends who chanced to meet
And spent a happy hour swapping stories

So many things that we tried to recall

It might have felt like we had said it all —

But what I’ll never say is that
I really was a fool,
And what I’ll never talk about
Were all the times, in school,
I had the chance to tell you, but
I never gave a clue —
Now, what I’ll never know is how
It would have been, with you

The rain was falling, outside, and
You said that you had better get on moving;
And all of it came back to me,
The days I wasted, posturing and proving

To no one in particular,
That I was all that any girl could want;
And watched the good one slip away,
In secret dreams, a specter there to haunt

It isn’t that I want to change the world

It’s just – I knew a boy who loved a girl –

Now, what I’ll never say is that
I really was a fool,
And what I’ll never talk about
Were all those times, in school,
I had the chance to tell you, but
I never had a clue —
Now, what I’ll never know is how
It would have been, with you

I had the chance to say or ask,
Or maybe, just — to do —

Now, what I’ll never know is how

It would have been

With you