Saturday, June 14, 2014

What long claws you have; Gramma put it all in jars; Trees/Brooklyn/Waukesha; Color match-up; Poetry; Heltian coda

Nail trim needed

KD Cat is overdue at the humane society clinic
to have her monthly nail job.
But it's going to happen tomorrow
maybe as you read this
Saturday June 14th

This trip, KD will ride in a more secure cat carrier.
Brand new from Fleet Farm the nicely-appointed cage
will assure that she does not leap out as she's been able
to do with the old cardboard carrying box inherited from Mona.


'Canned goods' by Greg Brown

We heard deep-voiced Greg Brown the other night
on Prairie Home Companion radio.
We first got into him in the 70s.
A few miles further down the road he still 
sings a mean tune.
Voice is even deeper.

This one is an early recording.

Here's another: 


At Quarter to Five

I was feeling lonely so
I went outside to the wind
swept yard and beyond
that to the wind-tousled outer
yard and found where last
night in the moonlight we left
two sets of boot prints, when
you stopped on your way
through the darkness to bring a
lemon bar and a movie, and
beside ours the tracks of the
smallest thing with claws, which
must have followed sometime
later. And I chased its tiny prints
and our mud-wash indents to
the far back gate and through
the gate out to where the
land is still dirt and brush
and bushes and cow
pies, my hair pinned
to my head but still blowing,
blowing, and finally a hard
breath, and I could see
through lonely to the wide
open, long blue lines of sunset,
moonlit night, the airplanes
trailing one another
down to tarmac, all those
people landing home.

(Parenthetic:  As I proof this edition of the SRN
son Leland is winging his way to Calgary from Newark
 where he will catch a flight to Japan.

It's a mission trip.

He will study Japanese math techniques
for his teaching job at Harlem Village Academies

Here's a picture of an earlier mission trip 
to St Louis out of The Wauk. Cong. Church UCC
during which Lee re-confirmed his love of children.


"At Quarter to Five" by Angela Janda from Small Rooms with Gods. © Finishing Line Press, 2014. 


Writers Almanac cont'd

It's the birthday of the man who wrote the songs "I Get a Kick Out of You," "You're the Top," and "Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Love": Cole Porter, born in Peru, Indiana (1891). Most of his great songs were written within a 10-year period: between his first popular Broadway musical, Paris (1928)—his first musicals had been complete flops—and a terrible riding accident in 1937. Porter was at a party at the New York home of the Countess Edith di Zoppola when his horse rolled and crushed his legs. He claimed that he didn't realize how badly he was hurt and that while someone ran for help he finished up the lyrics to "You Never Know." But he was in fact seriously injured—the doctors insisted that his right leg be amputated, maybe his left as well. Porter refused. He preferred to be in intense pain than be missing a leg.
He lived with the pain for more than 20 years, and he continued to write songs, but never at the same rate of success as he had before his accident. In 1958, after 34 operations on his leg, he finally agreed to have the leg amputated. Porter never recovered from the trauma of the operation. He told friends, "I am only half a man now," and never wrote another song. He died in 1964 at the age of 73.

He wrote "I Hate Men" for his musical Kiss Me Kate (1948):

Of all the types of men I've met in our democracy,
I hate the most the athlete with his manner bold and brassy.
He may have hair upon his chest, but sister, so has Lassie!
Oh, I hate men!




I am currently rereading this retained 1943 novel from my mother's book collection.

The cover, from much handling, is a bit ragged as shown in the above scan.

This story is - among other things - a tear jerker.  Of it's era coming out in the middle of WW II

it spoke to the privations of struggling people, and became a best-seller

made into a movie in 1945, which at age 9 I saw after my soldier father

returned from Europe's indelible story of the Second war.

The metaphor of its title is of a junk tree that grows out of cracks in concrete

in Brooklyn and in other urban unlikely sites - even Waukesha WI - persisting against difficult odds.

It was known as THE TREE OF HEAVEN.

It was the perfect war-time reliever/escape, I remember.

Around year 2000 our then middle-school daughter took the book down and read it

as she did other books on our shelves...


It puts me in mind of

the foxglove plant currently thriving here at the Odd Fellows

planted at the whim of the resident Berg Mgmt gardener right where the courtyard

sidewalk meets the South Street main sidewalk.

It was put in the ground when this gardener and maintenance woman,

an Ireland expat named Fiona, a diminutive young lady with hell bent

in her eyes at times, a fast mover, decorated this corner of the downtown 

forcefully, as her will dictated.

So far nobody has plucked the pretty flower, and they better hadn't


The beautifiers, whether in downtown Waukesha or elsewhere
will not be deterred.   Break their windows, vomit in their doorways, etc.,

Bottom line, it matters not what...


CO LOR Match-up

for photo subjects
this opportunity presented itself:

Snapping pix about the house I laid my camera down
and had a sip of iced coffee from my very old BP gas station
 dashboard thermos.

There was a new Miracle Gro plant fertiizer box behind the cup
also on the equally old painted peach crate table.

I noted the green and gold colors on the fertiizer box
and the thermos cup were identical.  But as I also wanted
the P520 Nikon camera in the composition
I shot the picture on the very cheap cell camera in my pocket.

We've termed that tool the Lower Crustacean camera/phone.
Works fine enough for us. The picture quality comes out
via that downgraded means even sort of arty, unfocused.

The random (unplanned, unarranged) juxtapose
of the matching gold and green colors

Over the years and numerous 'michael-wavings'
the BP advertising on the cup has pretty much worn off.
I was able to scratch my name on the BP logo with my thumbnail.

The book behind the Nikon is Love in the Time of Cholera, GG Marquez.
Am about finished with the read, a good one.
Next will be an in-depth study guide for that book.

More photography

Exciting new cactus from the farmers market
seller, Cindy Lou, thrives in our NW light.

Baseball cap resembles a fish from the back.
The two rear vent eyelets rimmed in white.

Little finger clicker from the old downtown Milw. Puzzlebox.
Am anxious to show it to pew-mate William.
Push bottom and it clicks (croaks) and mouth opens and closes.


(Again, from Garrison Keillor's WRITERS ALMANAC)

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
"Crossing the Bar" by Lord Alfred Tennyson. Public Domain. 

It's the birthday of the playwright Ben Jonson (books by this author), born on this day in London, probably in 1572. His plays include Every Man in His Humour (1598), Volpone (1606), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fair (1614). A contemporary, friend, and rival of Shakespeare's, Jonson was a heavy drinker and a fighter, no "Gentle Will."

Jonson's father died before he was born, and his stepfather was a bricklayer, so after a good education, young Ben spent some time laying bricks and then went off and joined the army. The story goes that he ran to the front of the lines and challenged a random soldier to single combat, then killed him. He went back to London, where he got work as an actor. Apparently he wasn't a very good actor, but he was a good playwright. In 1597, he co-wrote a play called The Isle of Dogs, which got him in trouble with the government—it was too subversive, and he was thrown in jail for "leude and mutynous behavior." He was let out after a few months, but a year later, he killed a fellow actor named Gabriel Spenscer in a duel. He was arrested and he should have been hanged, but he pulled out a legal defense called "benefit of clergy"—since he could read the Bible in Latin, he got to go in front of a more lenient court, which rarely sentenced well-educated men. Instead, he got another stint in jail, and was branded on his thumb to remind him that he had almost been executed. In 1604, he co-wrote a play called Eastward Ho! that mocked Scotland—since James VI of Scotland had taken over the throne from Elizabeth, making fun of Scotland was not tolerated, and Jonson was once more thrown in jail and informed that his ears and nose would be cut off. This threat never materialized, and when he was released, he hosted a banquet with friends to celebrate yet another narrow escape.
Jonson's plays were more classically inspired than Shakespeare's, less dependent on bawdy jokes and flashy duels. Jonson made plenty of disparaging comments about Shakespeare. He complained that his fellow playwright had "small Latine, and less Greeke." And Jonson was probably alluding to Shakespeare, who did have a tendency to rip off plots from other people, when he wrote:

"Poor Poet-Ape, that would be thought our chief,
Whose works are e'en the frippery of wit,
From brokage is become so bold a thief,
As we, the robb'd, leave rage, and pity it.
At first he made low shifts, would pick and glean,
Buy the reversion of old plays; now grown
To a little wealth, and credit in the scene,
He takes up all, makes each man's wit his own :
And, told of this, he slights it. Tut, such crimes
The sluggish gaping auditor devours ;
He marks not whose 'twas first : and after-times
May judge it to be his, as well as ours.
Fool! as if half eyes will not know a fleece
From locks of wool, or shreds from the whole piece?"

Unlike Shakespeare, Jonson was known as a slow, meticulous writer. After Shakespeare's death, Jonson wrote: "I remember the players have often mentioned it as an honor to Shakespeare that in his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, would he had blotted a thousand. [...] I loved the man and do honor his memory on this side of idolatry, as much as any: he was indeed honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent phantasy, brave notions, and gentle expressions; wherein he flowed with that facility, that sometimes it was necessary he should be stopped."

Ben Jonson was famous for his ability to drink—it is said that when he converted from the Catholic Church to the Anglican Church in 1610, he downed the entire chalice of wine during his first communion. His bar of choice was the Mermaid Tavern in Cheapside, where he was the ringleader of a group of literary men. There are stories about the great debates and battles of wit that Jonson and Shakespeare had over their pints at the Mermaid, surrounded by the likes John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Fletcher, Sir Francis Bacon, and Francis Beaumont—but this is probably not true. More likely it was Jonson and some younger literary disciples who were regular patrons. After Jonson's death, the playwright Jasper Mayne wrote an ode, "To the Memory of Ben Jonson," and he wrote: "Such thy drought was, and so great thy thirst, / That all thy Playes were drawne at th' Mermaid first."


(Submitted by the Retired Rev. Helt)