Archive for the 'Words for Wednesday' Category

Words for Wednesday: Love and Roses

Posted in Words for Wednesday on June 16th, 2010

A very long time ago, I heard this poem sung by a sweet young tenor. It was beautiful and sad and made my heart sigh. It took a couple of hearings to understand all the words, but it still makes me smile whenever I hear or read it.

A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns

O my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
O I will luve thee still, my dear,
When the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve,
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

Words for Wednesday: Peace

Posted in Words for Wednesday on June 9th, 2010

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Words For Wednesday: Wholehearted Living

Posted in Words for Wednesday on May 11th, 2010

If you’ve never heard of a musical group called the Rock Bottom Remainders, don’t despair. It’s made up of a group of authors (and the occasional ringer) who got together to sing some old rock and roll and have a good time. (You might recognize some of the names: Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan and others.) To help finance their tour, they wrote a book called “Mid-Life Confidential”, which was published in 1994. One of the authors was Barbara Kingsolver, and it is her words I’m sharing today. She is talking about how life has gotten busy, fast, streamlined, and everyone is expected to do one thing and do it right.

For all the years I’ve worked as a writer, I’ve also played piano and synthesizer, bass clarinet, guitar, and lately even conga drums. I have sung in the shower (I sound great in the shower.) I have howled backup to Annie Lennox and Randy Travis and Rory Block in my car. I’ve played in garage bands and jammed informally with musician friends, and with them have even written and recorded a few original songs. But I have never called myself a musician. It’s not the one thing I do well.

As I approach the middle of my life, though, it’s occurred to me that this is the only one I’m going to get. At some point I’d better open the closet door and invite my other selves to the table, even if it looks undignified or flaky. I like playing music. The music I make has not so far been nominated as a significant contribution to our planet, but it’s fun.

I’ve seen those books on multigenre genius: paintings by Henry James, poetry by Picasso. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m saying I’d like to think it’s okay to do a lot of different kinds of things even if you’re not operating at the genius level in every single case. I’d like to think we’re allowed to have particolored days and renaissance lives, without a constant worry over quality control. If the Rock Bottom Remainders are a role model of any kind, I think that’s our department: we’re going on record as half-bad musicians, having wholehearted lives.

Words For Wednesday: Vitality

Posted in Words for Wednesday on May 5th, 2010

I’ve long had a theory that everything is connected – that one thing inevitably leads to the next – that information travels from one person to another as naturally as water flows in a stream. Today’s words were originally written by Martha Graham to her friend Agnes DeMille, and were read by my friend Laura, who passed them on to her friend (and mine) Diane, who passed them on to me.

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique

If you block it,
it will never exist through any other medium
and be lost.
The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is;
nor how valuable it is;
nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly,
to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You have to keep open and aware directly
to the urges that motivate you.

Keep the channel open.
No artist is pleased.
There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction;
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes us more alive than the others.

Words For Wednesday – Fire and Ice

Posted in Words for Wednesday on April 14th, 2010

Fire and Ice
by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Words For Wednesday – Questions

Posted in Words for Wednesday on April 7th, 2010

Some Questions You Might Ask
by Mary Oliver

Is the soul solid, like iron?
Or is it tender and breakable, like
the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl?
Who has it, and who doesn’t?
I keep looking around me.
The face of the moose is as sad
as the face of Jesus.
The swan opens her white wings slowly.
In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness.
One question leads to another.
Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg?
Like the eye of a hummingbird?
Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop?
Why should I have it, and not the anteater
who loves her children?
Why should I have it, and not the camel?
Come to think of it, what about the maple trees?
What about the blue iris?
What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight?
What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves?
What about the grass?

Words For Wednesday – Soaring

Posted in Words for Wednesday on March 23rd, 2010

Greetings, my little chickadees! I just spent a week in Santa Fe (which is why there was no entry last week), and have been immersed in southwestern style art, food, and literature. One of my purchases was a small volume entitled “Native American Wisdom” which contained this lovely piece by Chief Dan George.

My Heart Soars

The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass
speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
the rhythm of the sea,
speaks to me.

The faintness of the stars,
the freshness of the morning,
the dewdrop of the flower,
speaks to me.

The strength of fire,
the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun,
And the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.

And my heart soars.

Words For Wednesday – The Sea

Posted in Words for Wednesday on March 10th, 2010

Attempting to select  a paragraph or two from Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift From The Sea” proved to be too daunting a task for me.  Therefore, I include here her introduction to the work, in hopes that it will encourage you to read (or re-read) this lovely little volume of her thoughts.

I began these pages for myself, in order to think out my own particular pattern of living, my own individual balance of life, work and human relationships,  And since I think best with a pencil in my hand, I started naturally to write.  I had the feeling, when the thoughts first clarified on paper, that my experience was very different from other people’s. (Are we all under this illusion?) My situation had, in certain ways, more freedom than that of most people, and in certain other ways, much less.

Besides, I thought, not all women are searching for a new pattern of living, or want a contemplative corner of their own.  Many women are content with their lives as they are.  They manage amazingly well, far better than I, it seemed to me, looking at their lives from the outside.  With envy and admiration, I observed the porcelain perfection of their smoothly ticking days.  Perhaps they had no problems, or had found the answers long ago.  No, I decided, these discussions would have value and interest only for myself.

But as I went on writing and simultaneously talking with other women, young and old, with different lives and experiences – those who supported themselves, those who wished careers, those who were hard-working housewives and mothers, and those with more ease – I found that my point of view was not unique.  In varying settings and under different forms, I discovered that many women, and men, too, were grappling with essentially the same questions as I, and were hungry to discuss and argue and hammer out possible answers.  Even those whose lives had appeared to be ticking imperturbably under their smiling clock-faces were often trying, like me, to evolve another rhythm with more creative pauses in it, more adjustment to their individual needs, and new and more alive relationships to themselves as well as others.

And so gradually, these chapters, fed by conversations, arguments and revelations from men and women of all groups, became more than my individual story, until I decided in the end to give them back to the people who had shared and stimulated many of these thoughts.  Here, then, with my warm feelings of gratitude and companionship for those working along the same lines, I return my gift from the sea.

Words For Wednesday -More Metaphors

Posted in Words for Wednesday on March 3rd, 2010

Here’s another wonderful run-on metaphor from Dave Barry’s great book, “Bad Habits”, a 100% fact free book. This time the subject is pornography, which he takes pains to explain that he is opposed to, claiming that it is directly related to increased drug abuse, unemployment, international terrorism, all-polyester clothing, and above all, violence. As I have mentioned before, Dave’s run-on metaphors are so bad, they’re wonderful. Enjoy!

Pornography is like tooth decay, eating slowly away at the molars of our morals, and if it is not stopped we will wind up as a toothless nation, gumming at the raw meat of international competition while the drool of decadence dribbles down our collective chin and messes up the clean tablecloth of our children’s futures.

Words For Wednesday – Goals

Posted in Words for Wednesday on February 24th, 2010

The Three Goals
By David Budbill

The first goal is to see the thing itself
in and for itself, to see it simply and clearly
for what it is.
        No symbolism, please.

The second goal is to see each individual thing
as unified, as one, with all the other
ten thousand things.
        In this regard, a little wine helps a lot.

The third goal is to grasp the first and the second goals,
to see the universal and the particular,
simultaneously.
        Regarding this one, call me when you get it.