Saturday, March 31, 2012

prodigal son is back from the Galapagos and is sick


All day I have successfully avoided Sylvia Plath’s poem ”The Bee Meeting”.
I am as exhausted as she is in the poem where she says:

Page 81

I am exhausted, I am exhausted---
Pillar of white in a blackout of knives.
I am the magician’s girl who does not flinch.
The villagers are untying their disguises, they are shaking hands.
Whose is that long white box in the grove, what have they accomplished,
            why am I cold.
**

“The Bee Meeting” by Sylvia Plath from “Ariel  The Restored Edition”


Older boy is back from the Galapagos Trip.
He missed the first day of the trip due to the unfortunate plane problems.
Then he was vilely sick with a respiratory infection for three days at the end of the trip.
He is still hacking away.
He has lost weight and looks gaunt (did not eat for three days).
Fortunately the mum of one of his giggly girlfriends is a physician and she bought him amoxicillin and so he survived.
One of the kids had his passport stolen and is still stuck in the Galapagos and has to pay $1,000 extra.
I can’t imagine how he is doing there.
I don’t think the trip was as good as I expected it to be  but ---that's fine.   I'm not looking for Paradise here. Any sort of outing with his school pals to a remote location is good enough an experience---and it was an initiation of sort for future trips.

He has a ton of blurry photographs and I don’t think they will show up well on the blog. Most of them appear to be of sea lions (I think)—they look like black globs of plasticine and their babies are brown and ugly.
Apparently the next most common sight are statues of Charles Darwin who also appears on their coins.

This is not what I expected.  He also did not get to scuba dive due to the stupid EPS insurance company that prohibited--- the kids --- from sticking their faces---or any other body parts--- in water just case a shark ate these yummy parts.
Sigh. 
Also, the trip did give him a bit of a sun burn--- despite the four containers of sunscreen--- I sent with him and he is still coughing up a storm.

For souvenirs he  bought a ukelele that isn't a ukelele (can't remember what he called it) for an exorbitant number of American dollars, T-shirts and a minute carved pipe.  Sigh again.  Well at least he got some coins with Charles Darwin's face imprinted on them.

As soon as he got home he called his friends and left the house---- for a sleepover and movies (male teenager concept of civilization) at their house.  I hope he will not infect them with his bug. At least I am sure he is happy to be back in Canada again. 

Books bought March 31, 2012

Because I am inhibited by the fact that my husband wants to take the plastic bins full of books in our bedroom (all 5 of them) down to the basement—I can no longer buy books freely as I was wont to before I became bankrupt in cash.
I am going to have to buy books in small piddly amounts like this as my husband is still working on that male bondage place in the basement, we have a washer and dryer to save up for and the minivan repair bill cost almost $3,000 making Wayne at Tire Warehouse a  much richer retired business owner but doing nothing for my bottom line.  Thanks Wayne. I hope you enjoyed your trip to Mexico.  Why aren’t you at the Tire Warehouse working still? Retirement isn’t supposed to be all travel and fun you know.

But enough about Wayne.  He deserves his retirement that I am paying for with my minivan repairs.  I also have to save up for a new car. This is the reason I can’t buy great gobs of print as I did the first year. First my husband is feeling claustrophobic in our bedroom—the place where I write and where I keep the ten thousand books I am imminently going to read (after I finish with Sylvia Plath, the dung beetle saga and miscellaneous other topics like those jellyfish and slug stories that I have on the table in various untidy states of research –not to mention ten files of printouts on EPS regulations, special education rules and god knows what other stuff Alberta Education makes as impermeable to parent understanding as they can make it—all over the floor –waiting to be truffle-pigged through.

But I wasn’t going to whine about EPS again.

I was whining about the lack of money to buy ten thousand books. I will have to work again. I will have to do a small grunt job somewhere so I can have cash to make the purchases of ten thousand books this year.

So I don’t have that grunt job yet and so I limited myself to three books –even though there were other luscious books I looked at and drooled over –I decided to be spare because first of all –as I have told you ---I lack funds—and second of all—I have ten thousand books already all over the house waiting to be read once Sylvia Plath’s book  of poems are done.

So ---finally---what were the books I bought?



1)      Titus Groan
By Mervyn Peake
I’ll admit this name seems familiar to me (I don’t know why) and there were weird hard words in here and being an odd creature myself –I was instantly drawn to the book.
Also the title.  Titus Groan. Apparently it is part of  trilogy (according to the back of the book).

Let me give you the first paragraph of the first chapter so you will see why this book caught me and did not let me go:


Page 15
THE HALL OF THE BRIGHT CARVINGS

Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain ponderous architectural quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around its outer walls.  They sprawled over the sloping earth, each one half way over its neighbour until, held back by the castle ramparts, the innermost of these hovels laid hold on the great walls, clamping themselves there to like limpets to a rock.  These dwellings, by ancient law, were granted this chill intimacy with the stronghold that loomed above them. Over their irregular roofs would fall throughout the seasons, the shadows of time-eaten buttresses, of broken and lofty turrets, and, most enormous of all, the shadow of the Tower of Flints. This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow.

**

Isn’t that the most amazing initiation into a world?
I love it.
The author is in full control of his writing and you are not left struggling with his futile grasp of language –but know he won’t leave a single detail to dangle in mid-air with gutter stones stuck in his mouth. There are many poetical parts that I have underlined for you to note. This is very, very delicious and I will learn so much.

That is I will learn so much if I get out of “The Bee Meeting” by Sylvia Plath (yes, I am still frozen in it).


2)      following the plough   recovering the rural
poems and stories on the land
selected & edited by John B. Lee

I’ll confess that I bought this book for only one poem—in the beginning that I liked.
I don’t know if the other poets are any good.
I just liked this poem:

BEFORE WE GAVE THEM NAMES
George Swede


I should know what to call
that bird whose song
makes my breath slow
and that sky-sweeping tree
from which the bird sings
I should know what to call
these common wild flowers
aglow with their yellowness
in the evening light
I’m supposed to be
a lover of nature
yes, but at this moment
I’m a lover of things
the way they were
before we gave them names

**
I just loved this poem.
It gave me a feeling of William Stafford---of his plain, calm voice speaking of the universal things in common brutal language.
I loved the voice in this poem.
I will have to look him up. Now.

I find this website:

This is his website:


He seems to adore Haiku which might explain the simplicity of his work.

His most recent works are:

Most Recent Collections:  Joy In Me Still (haiku) and White Thoughts, Blue Mind (tanka). Both were published by Inkling Press, May 2010. For more information, go to GeorgeSwede.com.

Someone who is a gifted poet for sure.
I’m so lucky to find him.

3)      World Poetry An Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to our Time
Edited by Katherine Washburn and John S. Major.
It is enormous. But I wanted it. I got it.






March 31, 2012 laps

I went around the track in the slowest way possible listening to Leonard Cohen.
Lennie made the laps bearable.   I wasn’t able to waltz with his song “Take this waltz” but I was able to do the 100 laps.
I think my right foot is dead now.
But, that is fine. I got the laps done.

mono-interests

I must not forget to pick up older boy from the airport this evening.

When I am running through words—I forget to pick folks up from places.
I forget about potatoes on the stove (we eat a lot of potatoes since I do not know how to cook anything well).

I forget to pick up the boys from  places a great many time and before we got our family cell phones last year ---it was a very traumatic business for the boys.

I forget where I put my keys and I forget where I put the calendar that has my appointments (I still don’t know how to use the cell phone to note down appointments.)

I forget because my mind is fixated on poetry.

I think this might be the reason why I don’t have any interest in anything else as well.

Once I get a passionate interest—I am pretty much on my knees worshipping the new idol.

It gets hard for the family.
But I suspect that younger boy has this dominant gene expressing itself in him as well.
If he is interested in a subject—it is almost impossible to get him to study anything else.

Mono-interests like this – that result in the monomania that has created this blog---that take more time –and life energy—than any other interest---are hard to rid yourself of and I don’t know if I will ever surface out of this sea of poetry to make a life.

I may simply drown in this sea of words.

the nun’s room

I will not answer you
if you
take me for granted

or play silly games
that try to make me
a device that you control

Nor will I answer you
if you are closed
like a fist

and hold yourself
in your pocket
of alone---

I am not willing to be
such an answer
to your discontent

Instead—
I will lose myself
in a poem

or  I will stand by water
and see the ground
remember its skin—

It is not that I do not want
your company
but I will not do this---

matter of division
and being less than
I wish to be---

it is a matter of
simple dignity—
and being free.

When anyone asks
that I be –a yo-yo
on their string—

I take myself out
of the hand that plays
and I put myself—firmly away.

I think we are all children
inside of our bodies
and sometimes we are hurt—

inside of our hearts
and we play out some
childish place where we still live---

I understand this
but I am implacable.
We must be good.

We must satisfy—
each other with our hearts—
and not these falsities –and I do

not want to be a toy.
I would be growing—
a living shape that reaches

like a clematis vine—
for the blue expanse---
I simply want this romance.

I am teaching myself
to grow –in a way--- that is dignified
and that permits me to be most alive—

and if you will take me for granted-
I will leave the blue room and go to
a darker place.

It is not that I want to do this—
but I will –if I must---for we are all
children – in our broken down ways---

and we are waiting ---
we are waiting for someone to say—
we are broken—but we are still lovable---

and I will say this—if you cannot—
You do not need to be this foolish—you can be pure—
even broken in this way---you can still choose—

I will not be the way that you are—
or the way the world is---and if this a futile romance—
I will put myself in isolation---as if away from a disease---

and not come out to meet an infection like this---
I will be myself—not a copy  of a child who cannot grow—
I do not want to be stunted—like those that I see---

who grow towards the light—constantly—
and elongate who they are –in order to get more light—
in order to be ---etiolated forms of present perfect states---

I do not need to be more powerful—
I am enough –inside.  If you take me for granted—
I will go back to the nun’s room.  I will hide. I will stay away.

March 31, 2012 Muse letter


I am trying to concentrate
but music licks at the edge
of where I am standing
and brings me down

Outside the world is remembering
its birth and its gold state—
the marsh is a bristle of hedgehog rows
and the sun is a gold tongue

The heavens are brittle
with the breaking clouds that rip
their sheets and form rags—and there
is sky blueing everywhere---

It feels as if ---spring is finally here---
Yes—it is real—even the geese have
arrived although they walk on ice—
and their children –have not yet—arrived---

a few signals of buds smoke forth—
the river is broken into spare change ice bills
and a flow of gray coins--- you might be rich
in this wallet---

and grasses are rising –out of their deaths—
they frock the land now—and lie down content—
I am trying to concentrate—on the poem that hums here—
but outside the world –is singing--- a far more determined song—

and I have to listen—the words are flying
with the wind’s wings—that caress—the slowly
moving growth--- I leave all the study—and go to the praise—
there is no need for suffering—if you merely watch

a land turn itself in a bed of wet and be born—
to a green—that tells me –complete—that we
are not born to be dead things.  We—too—can rise out—
of our beds of disaster—and raise up green cities—

we can forget the winter –and begin again.
I polish my third eye –and see deep into the land—
where the beaver has hooked the first sapling –
and hung it on the water roof---

where the trees are all contorted
in frozen dances of old wood—
from out of that pasture—the cows
of new growth begin to moo—

and the red lips of surrender---
shout out their decisions from
the dogwood’s crimson room---
Here is a landscape –that I praise every day---

you have a place like this—and you too—
can pray in this way.  We do not need to go to—
a concrete room---but simply rise out of our sickness—
and go out ---to the green space—that is our womb—

Find a place where you –
are safest and the danger is simply to be—
impervious –and open yourself—completely—
do not forget to be –this innocent---

And lay down your horrors –and say nothing of hate—
and put down a few words about the trees and the gate—
the door is always open—you must understand—it is just
we are so poor---we don’t know---

Music licks at the edge—of all that we are—
and singing is the answer—to all of our lacks---
I put out a poem—or what I call this work—
and I praise the world—and I am reborn.

we can all do this work.
The Muse permits this.
If you are willing –if you so choose—
you can forget your other labors---and make

 a small gift of music
to the one—who is waiting—
to hear our small songs---to the Muse—
who is all about –the only real work of our lives—which is that of love---

I will show you how to do this—
You must be simple---you must decide to love—
and not refuse---to be this act of love---you must simply do—
and not wait—for an end state ---

that will never satisfy----
I have proven this to myself—
Money won’t make anything go away--
Instead---say a song of love to the world---

show  yourself—as you are—
and love everyone who needs your love—
and do not forbid yourself this joy—
It is not a sin---it is what we are to do—

and we are to do it with every soul we meet---
I do not say the Muse would demand that you do this—
you must choose your own music—as I have chosen mine
and then praise---all of the world—for that is the answer---

not this matter of things—
and if you are lost—this is how you must begin.
Love.  Praise. The singing.
And the music that licks at the edge of our lives.

You must take my advice
You must understand
there is nothing left---after this life—
You must sing out -- now – and you must not wait ---

March 31, 2012 Reader Letter

It is getting sunny outside and so I am feeling like writing in a positive way.
This is the psychologically correct moment to confront my sole Reader.

Dear sole Reader,
It is nice outside which puts me in a good mood and so you won’t hear whining in this letter.
You will –no doubt be relieved.
I was going to talk about poetry –knowing your intense attraction for all things poetical –or why else would you be on a children’s blog?
Here I am.
I am still on Sylvia Plath.
No doubt you understand my inertia.
It took me more than a year to get through Emily Dickinson.
But it is even worse now.
I have spent days on the poem “The Bee Meeting”.
Why? The Muse alone knows.
It may be that I have insomnia and this has resulted in even more attrition in my brain capacity and concentration.
It may just be that I am mentally fragile and I tend to be a landsite where stuff leaks out of garbage bags of feelings and contaminates me.   In other words—I may just be overly susceptible to the feelings in Ms. Plath’s poetry.
Sigh. What to do? What to do?
I keep at reading the poem and hoping to write something about it.
Why does every single poem I read in this book feel like a suicide note?
Why does it feel that the whole collection—was a sort of preparation the poet was making to get her courage up to kill herself?
Why am I stuck in this book?

You can’t answer me since I haven’t put up my e-mail address up.
I don’t put it up because I don’t answer the phone, don’t answer the front door and don’t answer e-mails unless they come from Revenue Canada or educational officers.

I think it may be that the poems are sad. I am feeling sad.
I started this post happy about the fine shine on the beach of grasses outside my door.
Now I am sunk in the deepest despondency and have probably sunk your ship of happiness as well.
There is no other solution now.
I will ignore the laundry on the bed and go buy products—pretty underwear from MEC to cheer me up.
I don’t know if the minivan is going to be able to cough me to downtown.
I don’t know if I am able to go yet as the minivan is full of junk.
Let me wait a bit.

This post is getting blurry.
I will leave you dear Reader.
I am going to first –resolutely face—that poem.
Even suicide notes in bee poems must be faced—if you want to be a poet.

Sincerely,

Julie

March 31, 2012 writing notes

I got the idea for using photographs as poetry prompts –from another blog—and I stumbled onto Ron’s blog because of my interest in flowers and hiking.



This is Ron’s blog:


Then Ron told me about his photostream –which has zillions of photographs on it and I started to tentatively respond to the pictures (very badly).
I now just zip off writing in response to the delicious photographs that his family seem to proliferate cancerously all over the Internet and I don’t bother if I am maiming his reputation—what the heck—I am just a beginning poet!

And so this is my suggestion to all poets who are visual freaks.
Get a hobby. I like to hike and garden. I combined the two-and voila! There is Ron popping up.
I steal his photographs.
I write paeans of painful lyrics to them.
Then I keep going.
In this way, I destroy Ron’s reputation and pump up my word count.

It is very simple.
Find someone who has talent and clutch tight to his rear bumper as he goes riding that great vehicle of talent off.

Don’t worry if your poems are rotten and desecrate Ron’s art.
It will be paid back one day when I write a decent poem on one of his visual feasts.