Saturday, February 21, 2015

Note from Cindy; All that we have is now; Time; Cat alarm; Coffee in the afternoon

John and Cindy take Emerson for a sleigh ride
in their solarized back yard where Cindy's story takes place 
in shadow of Holy Hill

To the Helt family, plus a few friends:
(Now Raccooned, Ed. note)

I wanted to share a story about an event that happened today. Around 2pm, John and I both heard a loud "thwump", which sounded like a bird hitting the windows. It has  happened frequently in the past, until we learned that moving feeders either 3 feet or thirty feet from the house could prevent this tragedy. (This advice was given by birding experts). As I scanned the perimeter of the house, I spotted the upside-down body of a bird I recognized as a woodpecker lodged in the snow, with only his feet and tail showing. Panic-stricken, I threw on my coat and boots and ran out to see if there was any chance it was still alive. I picked it up, and its eyes were still open. I quickly thrust it under my coat, knowing that it needed to be kept warm. I ran to the garage, secured a small box, and went in the house. John got a soft towel to line the box, and I followed  him to the shower room, where he shut the doors. We placed the bird (a red-bellied woodpecker) in the box, and shut the lid. He would remain in the box for a half hour. I know from past experience that in this time the victims either recover or perish. Sometimes they just seem to need some quiet recovery time to gather their wits. 

After about 15 minutes, we heard a "tap-tap" noise from the room. John thought the bird got out. I checked, and saw the lid was still in place. So I quickly got my coat and boots on, and got the box.I could see the tip of the bird's bill poking out around the lid; I took this for a good sign. John opened the back door, and I stepped out toward the back yard to open the lid. With a leap and a flutter the woodpecker flew off to the nearest tree. I heard a squawk, and chose to interpret it as a simple thanks, instead of a scolding for the temporary confinement. I love happy endings. 

Stay warm. 


Sarah, Cindy (Grandma), and Emerson
whose Dad is my godson Aaron Helt

Helt's train intro



Like cousin Steve Dix, author of FINDING HONOR, Winchester - the late - went to Canada instead of Vietnam.
He stayed there until the last 10 yrear of his life
when he returned to the US, pardoned.

Steve says he knew of JS but did get to meet him.

Funny thing is that one of the commmenters under the U-tubed song is another Canada-flight Viet avoider,
poet Michael Lee Johnson. I contacted him thru his link below; we are now in touch with things in common.. + Steve and Michael
are exchanging books, a nice thing.


Pink Floyd

-  "the tolling of the iron bell"  -

even a child can ring it

Ticking away the moments 
That make up a dull day 
Fritter and waste the hours 
In an off-hand way 

Kicking around on a piece of ground 
In your home town 
Waiting for someone or something 
To show you the way 

Tired of lying in the sunshine 
Staying home to watch the rain 
You are young and life is long 
And there is time to kill today 

And then the one day you find 
Ten years have got behind you 
No one told you when to run 
You missed the starting gun 


And you run and you run 
To catch up with the sun 
But it's sinking 

Racing around 
To come up behind you again 

The sun is the same 
In a relative way 
But you're older 

Shorter of breath 
And one day closer to death 

Every year is getting shorter 
Never seem to find the time 

Plans that either come to naught 
Or half a page of scribbled lines 

Hanging on in quiet desperation 
Is the English way 

The time is gone 
The song is over 
Thought I'd something more to say 

Home again 
I like to be here 
When I can 

When I come home 
Cold and tired 
It's good to warm my bones 
Beside the fire 

Far away 
Across the field 
Tolling of the iron bell 
Calls the faithful to their knees 
To hear the softly spoken magic spell...

Bill H. oils it


Dee now, zips up for the present cold temp.


Cat Alarm


Coffee in the Afternoon
by Alberto Rios

It was afternoon tea, with tea foods spread out
Like in the books, except that it was coffee.
She made a tin pot of cowboy coffee, from memory,
That’s what we used to call it, she said, cowboy coffee.
The grounds she pinched up in her hands, not a spoon,
And the fire on the stove she made from a match.
I sat with her and talked, but the talk was like the tea food,
A little of this and something from the other plate as well,
Always with a napkin and a thank-you. We sat and visited
And I watched her smoke cigarettes
Until the afternoon light was funny in the room,
And then we said our good-byes. The visit was liniment,
The way the tea was coffee, a confusion plain and nice,
A balm for the nerves of two people living in the world,
A balm in the tenor of its language, which spoke through
       our hands
In the small lifting of our cups and our cakes to our lips.
It was simplicity, and held only what it needed.
It was a gentle visit, and I did not see her again.

"Coffee in the Afternoon" by Alberto Rios from The Theater of Night. © Copper Canyon Press, 2007

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Just for openers; In the Chicago theater; Auction; Laughton; Jesse Winchester ....That's what makes us see....


My Father Laughing in the Chicago Theater
by David Wagoner

His heavy body would double itself forward
At the waist, swell, and come heaving around
To slam at his seatback, making the screws groan
And squawk down half the row as it went tilting
Under my mother and me, under whoever
Was out of luck on the other side of him.
Like a boxer slipping punches, he’d lift his elbows
To flail and jerk, and his wide-open mouth
Would boom out four deep haaa’s to the end of his breath.
He was laughing at Burns and Allen or Jack Benny
In person or at his limitless engagement
With Groucho, Chico, and Harpo. While my mother
Sat there between us, gazing at the stage
And chuckling placidly, I watched with amazement
The spectacle of a helpless father, unmanned,
Disarmed by laughter. The tears would dribble
From under his bifocals, as real as sweat.
He would gape and gag, go limp, and spring back to life.
I would laugh too, but partly at him, afraid
Of becoming him. He could scowl anywhere,
Be solemn or blank in church or going to work,
Turn grim with a cold chisel, or he could smile
At babies or football games, but he only laughed
There in that theater. And up the aisle
And through the lobby to the parking lot
And all the way home, I’d see the glow on his cheeks
Fade to the usual hectic steelmill sunburn.

"My Father Laughing in the Chicago Theater" by David Wagoner from Traveling Light. © University of Illinois Press, 1999


Farm Auction

Contrails scrawl the sky under which
sawhorse-and-lumber tables offer up
the hoard and store of fifty years.
Neighbors have come to scour house
and barn and implement shed.
Yes, we’ve come to haul it all away-
their nests of pillows and quilts
and feather ticks, the glazed plates
and bread crocks, a washtub rimed
with bluing, the saltcellar and gravy boat,
her cross-stitch sampler and figurines,
canning jars, seals, lids. And spools
of baling wire, seed drills, spades,
coffee cans of bolts and bent nails,
a burlap-wrapped schnapps bottle
he kept back of the barn’s fuse box and all
his spare fuses. An aerial photo of their farm.
And even the rusted harrow in the ditch.
The auctioneer works to disperse
all their worldly goods, singing hey
somebody give me twenty now, twenty
as his wife hands over odd boxes
of cribbage boards and crucifixes
to the ladies fanning themselves
with sale bills by the tilting lilacs.
From the porch the 4-H club sells
plates of peach pie and waxy cups of pop.
Inside, the smell of silage still clings
to his chambray shirt hung
on the backdoor peg after choring.
How, in stocking feet, he loved to step
on the warm place where the dog had lain,
where dilapidated hips collapsed her
in a sleeping, yellow heap.
Now all is echo where once they sat
together with the ledger, adding columns
of crop yields and prices per bushel,
or thumbing rosaries like they shelled peas-
dutiful, dutiful to the ceaseless seasons,
to their tillage and cattle and kin.
Through the window screen comes little gusts
and the sound of the gavel coming down.

"Farm Auction" by Amy Fleury from Sympathetic Magic. © Southern Illinois University Press, 2013. 


Rememberng Charles Laughton

Charles Laughton
1899 - 1962



A Day Of the Dead figurine
purhased long ago at the Market Place
on Milw. East Side

converted to an item for the faithful waitress
by painting one of the breasts red.

Happy Valentines Day !

Jesse Winchester (the late)

"That's what makes us see"

Thanks to Rev/Dr. Bentz of New Jersey

Saturday, February 7, 2015

I just called; To teach; To Margo; Adage; 1 = 1000

'LOVE' wood carving
bought at the old Marketplace S/American import shop
on East North Ave near St. Mary's hosp.
For Dee on an earlier Valentines Day

I have it by my chair
ad turn it over
and over almost
daily for years
and it's not worn smooth


Attn:  Music lovers, including Lee
~ to teach ~


From Tin Toy


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To Margo
by Gavin Ewart

In life’s rough-and-tumble
you’re the crumble on my apple crumble
and the fairy on my Christmas tree!
In life’s death-and-duty
you’ve the beauty of the Beast’s own Beauty-
I feel humble as a bumble-bee!
In life’s darkening duel
I’m the lighter, you’re the lighter fuel-
And the tide that sways my inland sea!
In life’s meet-and-muster
you’ve the lustre of a diamond cluster-
a blockbuster - just a duster, me!

"To Margo" by Gavin Ewart from The Complete Little Ones. © Hutchinson, 1988.


by Billy Collins

When it’s late at night and branches
are banging against the windows,
you might think that love is just a matter
of leaping out of the frying pan of yourself
into the fire of someone else,
but it’s a little more complicated than that.
It’s more like trading the two birds
who might be hiding in that bush
for the one you are not holding in your hand.
A wise man once said that love
was like forcing a horse to drink
but then everyone stopped thinking of him as wise.
Let us be clear about something.
Love is not as simple as getting up
on the wrong side of the bed wearing the emperor’s clothes.
No, it’s more like the way the pen
feels after it has defeated the sword.
It’s a little like the penny saved or the nine dropped stitches.
You look at me through the halo of the last candle
and tell me love is an ill wind
that has no turning, a road that blows no good,
but I am here to remind you,
as our shadows tremble on the walls,
that love is the early bird who is better late than never.

"Adage" by Billy Collins from Aimless Love. © Random House, 2013


1 = 1000

Dee wraps Ben's 30th birthday box




Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hawk; Mom (unreal); Maryland crabs

Breakfast time
at the Odd Fellows 1-28-15

1.  Hawk in the tree in front of the Clarke;
2.  Dave's breakfast sandwich board;
3.  KD Cat considers her breakfast on the other side of the glass

We feed the birds from the window sill

Sometimes when we are hungry
here at the poor man's penthouse
we will capture fat pigeons for dinner

So we can't blame the hunting Goshawk
perched in perfect camouflage
in the nicely- lichened tree 
hiding place across the street
for having eyes for the squab too.

A lucky hand-held photo
thanks to Dee who spotted the hawk
with own very sharp eyes.

Mairzy doats and dozy doats
and hawks eat nice fat pidge-

For months we've occasionally heard thumps
at the bird feeler sill
and they would mightily scare KD off, where she would
cower under the sofa or chair
regaining her wits and courage.

We've never actually seen a hawk strike
but have seen feathers in the air after being startled
and looking toward the window.

Now we know:
This hawk knows where we live.
Lucky for him we're onto
 eating squab.

Attn:  SRN readers
who were around in 1944 



A tree comes down in Waukesha


Into the ornament box
for another year goes one of our favorites

a hard-shell crab creation given to us in 1995
by Dee's family where the Chesapeake Bay crabs grow -

Crabs are well known to the Maryland folk

who buy them by the bushel and sit out on Gramaw and the now late Poppy's porch
comsuming vast quantities at the groaning board, shucking and eating them over spread newspapers
that get rolled up and thrown out after fills are had ~
on special occasions; reunions.

The Santa ornament came from a craft fair out there.
Fragile; handled lovingly; we observe that maxim.

But during crab festivals on Gramaw's (and Poppy's) porch
they get man-handled.

Maryland's and Means Rest's gift to Wisconsin
Denise Means
 here since Sept.1982


Saturday, January 24, 2015

'Deep Purple' ~ the song ~ 1933; Rescued; Skin

1930, Ruth Elies, prom queen at Sun Prairie WI high school
beneath arrow, center.

From age 13 Ruth had her own dance band
a music woman more to be.

Three years later the song DEEP PURPLE was written.

It became Ruth's favorite.
She played it through life
and for her children time after time
on her grand piano.

I remember it well
` ~ indelibly ~
and am moved when I hear it,

Even when jazzed up as in
this brother and sister act that won 
a much later Grammy Award for their version.

Or even when mentioned in a poem
as it was this week on Keillor's `WRITERS ALMANAC:  

The Guest
by Patricia Fargnoli

In the long July evenings,
the French woman
who came to stay every summer
for two weeks at my aunt’s inn
would row my brother and me
out to the middle of the mile-wide lake
so that the three of us
would be surrounded by the wild
extravagance of reds that had transformed
both lake and sky into fire.
It was the summer after our mother died.
I remember the dipping sound of the oars
and the sweet music of our voices as she led us
in the songs she had taught us to love.
“Blue Moon.” “Deep Purple,"
We sang as she rowed, not ever wondering
where she came from or why she was alone,
happy that she was willing to row us
out into all that beauty.

"The Guest" by Patricia Fargnoli, from Winter. © Hobblebush Books, 2013


by Anne Porter

When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother’s piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold
And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying
Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country
I’ve never understood
Why this is so
But there’s an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow
For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest
And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country
We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams
And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows
Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.

"Music" by Anne Porter, from Living Things. © Zoland Books, 2006




His note:

"cute critters in crisis,
rescued in the nick or tick of time.
but I'm
wouldn't it be good
if we would
exert as much energy and effort
to rescue endangered humans
as we are moved to and by saving endangered animals?"


I've got you
under my skin

Cole Porter

This was another of Mom's favorites
I heard it a lot