Friday, September 23, 2016


This morning was something.
A little snow
lay on the ground.
The sun floated in a clear
blue sky.
The sea was blue, and blue-green,
as far as the eye could see.

Scarcely a ripple.
I dressed and went
for a walk -- determined not to return
until I took in what Nature had to offer.

I passed close to some old, bent-over trees.

Crossed a field strewn with rocks
where snow had drifted.
Kept going
until I reached the bluff.

Where I gazed at the sea, and the sky, and
the gulls wheeling over the white beach
far below.
All lovely.
All bathed in a pure
cold light.
But, as usual, my thoughts
began to wander.
I had to will
myself to see what I was seeing
and nothing else.
I had to tell myself this is what
mattered, not the other.
(And I did see it,
for a minute or two!) For a minute or two
it crowded out the usual musings on
what was right, and what was wrong -- duty,
tender memories, thoughts of death, how I should treat
with my former wife.
All the things
I hoped would go away this morning.

The stuff I live with every day.
I've trampled on in order to stay alive.

But for a minute or two I did forget
myself and everything else.
I know I did.

For when I turned back i didn't know
where I was.
Until some birds rose up
from the gnarled trees.
And flew
in the direction I needed to be going.
-Raymond Carver, "This Morning"

Saturday, September 17, 2016

For the Faithful

...and their Philosopher's Stone
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:

20 This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

23 This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
- Psalm 118 (19:24)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Tequila Time

Take life with a pinch of salt
So the old adage goes
So follow the advice
Take it from one who knows
Take life with a pinch of salt
Take it from a wise fella
Just follow it with a slice of lemon
And a good shot of tequila
Paul Curtis, "A Pinch of Salt" (2011)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Casting Stones

Joan Miro, "Person Throwing a Stone at a Bird" (1926)
We shouted out
'We've got her! Here she is!
It's her all right '.
We caught her.
There she was -

A decent-looking woman, you'd have said,
(They often are)
Beautiful, but dead scared,
Tousled - we roughed her up
A little, nothing much

And not the first time
By any means
She'd felt men's hands
Greedy over her body -
But ours were virtuous,
Of course.

And if our fingers bruised
Her shuddering skin,
These were love-bites, compared
To the hail of kisses of stone,
The last assault
And battery, frigid rape,
To come
Of right.

For justice must be done
Specially when
It tastes so good.

And then - this guru,
Preacher, God-merchant, God-knows-what -
Spoilt the whole thing,
Speaking to her
(Should never speak to them)
Squatting on the ground - her level,
Writing in the dust
Something we couldn't read.
And saw in her
Something we couldn't see
At least until
He turned his eyes on us,
Her eyes on us,
Our eyes upon ourselves.

We walked away
Still holding stones
That we may throw
Another day
Given the urge.
- Elma Mitchell, "A Stone's Throw"