Saturday, February 22, 2014

Poetry; Roof, up on the; Life; B'day; Runny eggs; Privacy, invasion of; Sign unto you, let this be a


I had a dog
   who loved flowers.
         Briskly she went
              through the fields,

yet paused
   for the honeysuckle
         or the rose,
                   her dark head

and her wet nose
         the face
                     of every one

with its petals
   of silk,
         with its fragrance

into the air
       where the bees,
         their bodies
                        heavy with pollen,

     and easily
             she adored
                        every blossom,

not in the serious,
   careful way
              that we choose
                                            this blossom or that blossom—

the way we praise or don't praise—
   the way we love
         or don't love—
              but the way

we long to be—
   that happy
                            in the heaven of earth—
                            that wild, that loving.

"Luke" by Mary Oliver from Dog Songs. © Penguin, 2013


Nonsense Song

My love is like a red red rose
Or concerts for the blind,
She's like a mutton-chop before
And a rifle-range behind.

Her hair is like a looking-glass,
Her brow is like a bog,
Her eyes are like a flock of sheep
Seen through a London fog.

Her nose is like an Irish jig,
Her mouth is like a 'bus,
Her chin is like a bowl of soup
Shared between all of us.

Her form divine is like a map
Of the United States,
Her foot is like a motor-car
Without its number-plates.

No steeple-jack shall part us now
Nor fireman in a frock;
True love could sink a Channel boat
Or knit a baby's sock.

"Nonsense Song" by W.H. Auden from As I Walked Out One Evening. © Vintage Books, 1995


I had a deck in Waukesha

("I had a farm in Africa....." Isak Dinesen)

James Taylor


Life is like that:

Rec'd 2-21-14
from Raccoon reader
Rev. Dr. Tom Bentz, UCC New Jersey
with thanks


From Laurie in AK:


Rec'd 2-21-14:

Her shelter video:


Runny eggs and toast

As Downtown denizens
Dee and I sometimes catch breakfast
at Dady-oh's in the old Metropolitan.
[Why they did not spell Daddy right
I do not know]

Dee likes to order two eggs over easy
and to dip her toast in the egg yolks.

The other day we were in there
and saw the partitions the Kruegers
are erecting between the booths
on the Broadway wall.

We sat there admiring the recycled
windows that form part of the

We'll be back to see the finished product

The downtown district
just keeps getting better.
We're glad to be living here!
Ask us.

For more info on the Morton's Salt waitress
at Dady-Oh's

scroll down to it
when you pull up the link


KD's privacy invaded

She comes out, having been disturbed.

We have a traveling box KD gets put in
when she goes to the humane shelter
for her monthly claw-clip.

She runs like crazy on those Saturdays
when she sees the box coming out of the storeroom.
Very hard for us to corner her.
She prefers staying here at the Odd Fellows.

But now we've cleverly left the box
in the upstairs hall where she likes to nap.
She frequently now hangs out in the box.
It has become her friendly and private cove.

It will be right there for her to ride in,
an accustomed place
when she gets her nails done next time.


Election signs
 We now have our signs for Shawn Reilly
candidate for Mayor of Waukesha
and Brian Running for City Attorney
looking down at the Five Points major intersection.

We are proud to lend these windows to the
candidates at this critical time in Waukesha's life.

For us with the super-tall windows
and our 18 feet ceilings in the front room
the political signage blends right in
and is easy to live with for the few weeks
before the general election.

Our new windows were installed
earlier this week and are dazzling!

The Putney Building is the jewel in
the crown of the Five Points.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentines; Marble machine; Poetry

For my Valentine

We went to the Tin Toy Arcade
for Dee's valentine this year.
She seemed pleasantly surprised.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


It matters not how small the price
It's the thought that counts!

I've been going to the Tin Toy Arcade
for gift items for a long time.
Ben, who collects elephants,
could show you his elephant watering can.
(The water pours from its trunk.)

We have ordered zeppelins from the Arcade
(William has one)
and the bicycle-riding duck -
they repose here at the raccoon office.


Not solar, but...

We have a swinging sun that goes back and forth
by a weight; it is
presently perched on the electric stove top.
When it goes left the eyes pivot left
and when it swings right the eyes go right.
The eyes make a clicking sound.


That photo was taken with the lower crustacean cell cam
but it is acceptable.

Likewise the one of KD on the floor upside down
as she watches her spinning mouse toy while Dee plays with her
music machine...



This toy would fascinate KD

This video is pretty silent at the beginning
but keep watching it.



My father taught me how to eat breakfast
those mornings when it was my turn to help
him milk the cows. I loved rising up from

the darkness and coming quietly down
the stairs while the others were still sleeping.
I'd take a bowl from the cupboard, a spoon

from the drawer, and slip into the pantry
where he was already eating spoonfuls
of cornflakes covered with mashed strawberries

from our own strawberry fields forever.
Didn't talk much—except to mention how
good the strawberries tasted or the way

those clouds hung over the hay barn roof.
Simple—that's how we started up the day.

"Breakfast" by Joyce Sutphen from First Words. © Red Dragonfly Press, 20I0. 



by William W. Redding

Drawing can be a safe retreat
for those who come to know it.

For it is the key that releases the seeds of your mind,
and allows them to grow in your spirit.

But some know not of this subtle art,
and tend to overlook it.

As it's one thing to draw what you think,
it's another to actually do it.


William, my pew-mate at church
for his Mom is in the choir
is allegedly 13 or so
but is for sure an older soul....

and he just keeps growing

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Overdue; It's a way of life; Solar collecting; Pistils, stamens; Solomon of Missoula


My father would lift me
to the ceiling in his big hands
and ask, How's the weather up there?
And it was good, the weather
of being in his hands, his breath
of scotch and cigarettes, his face
smiling from the world below.
O daddy, was the lullaby I sang
back down to him as he stood on earth,
my great, white-shirted father, home
from work, his gold wristwatch
and wedding band gleaming
as he held me above him
for as long as he could,
before his strength failed
down there in the world I find myself
standing in tonight, my little boy
looking down from his flight
below the ceiling, cradled in my hands,
his eyes wide and already staring
into the distance beyond the man
asking him again and again,
How's the weather up there?

"Weather" by George Bilgere
Keillor's Writers Almanac 2/5/14
inspired this post to the SRN


Could be Kweesh



Home solar is up and collecting

From John Helt to the Raccoon:

Dear Family, Friends, Neighbors, Brother Sun and Sister Moon:

As of a few minutes ago, our solar power system is up and running and "making juice," even on a dark, cloudy morning.

Thanks to our many supportive neighbors (pass this along to any others if you know their email addresses), friends, Arch Electric and the Village of Richfield!

We meet with our landscaper next week to get ordered our various spring plantings for screening.

It was two years ago yesterday that my sunny mother, Margaret Juengling Helt died, so we dedicate this to her powerful memory.

Here comes the sun!

John and Cindy


The Christmas amaryllis shown previously
has done its thing and sits on the arboretum shelf
adding energy through its leaves via sunlight
passing through the skylight
and lo!

It appears in a family way.
I wonder what happens next?

I used to know when I assistant-taught the sex class
at Waukesha High School in the 1950s.


Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief

Blue landing lights make
nail holes in the dark.
A fine snow falls. We sit
on the tarmac taking on
the mail, quick freight,
trays of laboratory mice,
coffee and Danish for
the passengers.

Wherever we're going
is Monday morning.
Wherever we're coming from
is Mother's lap.
On the cloud-pack above, strewn
as loosely as parsnip
or celery seeds, lie
the souls of the unborn:

my children's children's
children and their father.
We gather speed for the last run
and lift off into the weather.

"Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief" by Maxine Kumin from Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief. © Penguin, 1989

A shot I once took
of a router here at raccoon hdqtrs
suggests a tarmac experience
of note/
 a day of flying rectangular saucers/

was suggested by today's W. Almanac poem


Missoula song-write
"They're writing songs of love
but not for me...."

[says black cat, center floor...]



My grand-daughter Grace Kari
im Missoula Montana
is a student and a writer of songs

and lives in a round house
with her band
Gerygone and Twig

Here she holds Solomon cat
about whom allegedly
no one writes love songs...

Solomon forgets this paean
done recently write for him:

OK, a class assignment
but kind of a love song.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pete Seeger RIP; Renewables; Day is done

Play by pasting in your browser:


Pete passed on this week.


Another old friend
Rev. John Helt of Colgate WI
sent this letter into the Journal-
Sentinel this week:


Doing our part on climate change

By John Helt
Jan. 29, 2014
·                      (0) COMMENTS
President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night offered a renewed call to action on climate change. The president put it bluntly: "Climate change is a fact." As he did in last year's message, Obama framed the issue in the context of a moral responsibility: This generation owes it to the next to reduce carbon pollution.
As a person of faith, I was gratified to hear this. I am very concerned about the effect of climate change on God's Creation, and on our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. I believe that as people of faith called to be stewards of Creation, we are obliged to act to protect our children's future.
The latest United Nations report on climate change issues a stark warning of "severe economic disruption" in addition to environmental catastrophes if we fail to reduce emissions for another 15 years. The next generation will have to resort to drastic measures to maintain the livability of the planet if we do not act now.
The recent holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a reminder of the power of a moral calling and how faith leaders can mobilize our country with spiritual and nonviolent tactics to address social injustice. That's why Interfaith Power & Light is organizing 1,500 congregations and 500,000 people of faith in a National Preach-In on Climate Change this Valentine's Day Weekend.
The theme of the Preach-In is "Doing our Part," and congregations all over the country are doing their part by using energy more efficiently, greening their facilities to help curb climate change and speaking out in favor of Environmental Protection Agency action to safeguard our climate.
Our church, for instance, installed an array of solar panels three years ago, which has reduced our utility cost for indoor electrical power to less than zero most months. (Yes, we get a credit rather than a bill!)
It is good news that the president seems to understand the urgency of the climate change issue, and that he is communicating it on a national stage. It is good news that the EPA is releasing first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants. It is good news that the United States recently brokered a side deal with China to phase out some of the most potent climate-warming industrial chemicals.
But this will not be enough. We need action from every sector: federal, state and local governments, as well as the private sector. We need a galvanization of the country, along the lines of the civil rights movement, and we all must do our part.
We often look for leadership from our government but fail to recognize that our leaders are looking back at us to inform their decisions. No president forces major social advancements by himself. Franklin D. Roosevelt understood that when he responded to entreaties from the labor leader A. Philip Randolph by agreeing and then saying, "Now go out and make me do it."
That's exactly what congregations all over America will be aiming to do in February: our part to show the president and Congress that we must act on climate change before it's too late.
Rev. John Helt is vice president of the board of WisconsinInterfaith Power & Light (


Play this, on your browser per above:


We three kings of orient are
bearing gifts we traverse afar
field and fountain
moor and mountain
following yonder star


and the remnants and next-year memorabilia
are being packed away
carried upstairs to the storeroom

Debi's manger scene is packed in its crate
and the Haitian Three Kings
that make an annual brief trip to the 1st Congregational
church altar are nested together and ready
for storage till next year.

This year, history department chair at Carroll
Prof. Kimberly Redding
incorporated Xeroxed copies of our Kings
bearing their gifts
in one of her stellar bulletin boards
in concert with Joan Kiser
and the raccoon failed to get a picture of that

So these old Plowshares-purchased
objets d'art
made from oil drumheads in Haiti
saw extra duty during the 2013 yuletide season


It is Kimberly's son William
who often sits next to me
in the Peanut Gallery at 9:30 AM
Sunday, 100 E. Broadway, downtown Waukesha
Come and see

We anticipate the next church pancake supper
in April this year.
William and I will be there.



... just a pinch of salt...