Monday, November 28, 2011

Naturally: Round; Groin feeling; Solar / + Tenderly 1954


Is it a sign of being civilized

To live in spaces that always have an angle

Squares and rectangles

Cornering us in the dust

When all uncivilized simple creatures

Around the globe

- Under the dome of heaven -

Live in tepees, igloos, round or oval nests

Without reservation

The choice is automatically made

Make it round;

:"We'll have what nature's having."

Why our angular fixation then when

Our own preliminarily-cultured children

Given their first crayon will draw

Instinctive curves and ovals

Nothing in nature is straight

We use our squares, plumbs, transits,

And snapped chalk lines to get it straight

We need straight to build high; but not nature

Nature is round

Even a squirrel outside my window

Chewed a near-perfect circle enlargement

In a gourd filled with bird-feed

He'd squeezed through my smaller

Bird-sized hole but it was a tight fit

So while I secretly watched him

He went around my circle all the way

So I wouldn't notice what he'd done?

He could have hacked a jagged opening

Any shape to gain access to the seed

But he carefully widened my circle

I think this wasn't really a squirrel squirrel

It was an Indian squirrel

Or an Esquimaux squirrel

A spirit squirrel from another world

Following an instinctive blueprint

And I sat in my square room

Looking out my square window, amazed

And roundly amused

[Zep 6-11-00]


On Wheeling Island

If you ever drive east and want a good place

To stay and rest overnight at the base of the Alleghenies

Before ascending possibly the oldest mountain range

In the world

Stop in Wheeling, West Virginia

I can recommend the Best Western Motor Lodge

On the east bank of the Ohio River

Where the oldest suspension bridge in the US is

In fact the eastern vertical of this suspended marvel

Is almost touchable from the veranda of the lodge

Gigantic cables run from the support and are

Buried deep in tons of concrete beneath the street in front

Built 150 years ago, pre-Civil War, this bridge

Is not the main artery across the Ohio anymore

Interstate Route 70 runs across a newer bridge

About 200 yards north

But the old bridge is a difference of night and day

As the way to cross the big river to Wheeling Island

And I like to walk over it at dawn

From my room in the Best Western

It has been repaired and repainted in 1999

And was disappointingly closed my last trip east

So I took my morning walk across to Wheeling Island

On the newer bridge, a sterile experience

The new bridge, even with the pounding of

Many cars coming down from the mountains

Or going up into them

Is motionless under the weight

Whereas the old one, even with one car

Coming across while you're walking it

Sways slightly, flexing on its ancient cables

And gives you to understand the tenuousness

Of a span that fell once when Union soldiers

Marched across in a heavy cadence

Too martial for the peacable lazy structure

It's something to feel in your groin

And think about on the way across


Wheeling Island is loaded with pre-turn-of-the-century

Mansions and a panoply of lesser-degreed dwellings

All in a state of ill-repair except for scattered

Restorations going on, and I'm sure,more are to come

An economic page is yet to be turned there

But I love the crumbling age of it all

The brick sidewalks disheveled by tree roots

And the high porches and built-up homes to beat

Ohio River flooding that has washed over the island

Devastatingly from time to time

One commercial building has a gradient of high water marks

Recorded like a thermometer on its front façade

I have made the acquaintance of a few hunting cats

In those early morning hours

One golden one that I've seen there in an alley

Three years now in a row

I have taken my late father to Wheeling Island

And my fellow revolutionary Juan as well

And I would like to take you there to see all this

Quiet decaying charm

And one simple frame house is a highlight

Only an awninged window graces the front

The door is on the side

And it's all on top of a 5-foot flood foundation

A tiny and unprepossessing dwelling

Out of scale with the larger former-day homes

In its vicinity, but one thing arrests the eye

In passing on my walk

I see a small oval hand-painted sign

Hanging beneath the one front window on a rope

Tied to the window sill at a slight angle

Rakishly but proclaiming lovingly:

"An old fisher-man

lives here

with the catch of his life."

That is so touching to me I shudder

……Like the bridge

[David Zep Dix ã2-14-00

This news crossed our wires this very morning.

St. Pauls UCC in OK, COLGATE (I like to say Hubertus), got some nice news coverage in the local paper on their solar panels in back of their cemetery.

The article sheds additional light on the project:


Lastly, a tune for my 1954 classmates: