Saturday, January 14, 2017

Active meditation; Taking down the tree; By trinketry, charmed; Maybe then I could drum like Dad; First 100 hours vigil; No snail to speak of; Bell signals


Taking Down the Tree
by Jane Kenyon

Listen Online

“Give me some light!” cries Hamlet’s
uncle midway through the murder
of Gonzago. “Light! Light!” cry scattering
courtesans. Here, as in Denmark,
it’s dark at four, and even the moon
shines with only half a heart.
The ornaments go down into the box:
the silver spaniel, My Darling
on its collar, from Mother’s childhood
in Illinois; the balsa jumping jack
my brother and I fought over,
pulling limb from limb. Mother
drew it together again with thread
while I watched, feeling depraved
at the age of ten.
With something more than caution
I handle them, and the lights, with their
tin star-shaped reflectors, brought along
from house to house, their pasteboard
toy suitcase increasingly flimsy.
Tick, tick, the desiccated needles drop.
By suppertime all that remains is the scent
of balsam fir. If it’s darkness
we’re having, let it be extravagant.

"Taking Down the Tree" by Jane Kenyon from Collected Poems. © Graywolf Press, 2005


By trinketry, charmed, I'm sure!

the 1940s and up
my mother Ruth and aunt Frances
and a lot of  other women across the land
wore trendy charm bracelets.

Dee advised they still are worn.
I remember enjoying playing with the charms
that had moving parts, like water wheels, ferris wheels,
bear traps, little lawn mowers, pliers, etc.

As the trend continued into the 1950s and 1960s
they seemed to faze-out by my experience;
the charms became intricater and intricater

and some lucky charmers had hefty bracelets
on their laden wrists
more and more of these trinkets
end-to-end and even overlapping in their linkages sometimes

and some were made of sterling Silver!
The better off braceleteers who wore fur coats
and fancy gloves had ALL Sterling charms
around their cocked wrists.

Don't notice, but please do.

For more info check the Wiki link:

As the Raccoon editor is known as a trinket lover
(ask son Leland about that)
I found myself in the 70s buying
a Mexican rosewood cross

encrusted on the front surface
with tiny copper charms
on topics seemingly unrelated
at least at first glance

tacked onto the cross with very small brads
also of copper.

A closer view shown below
how the craftsman must have shorn the
linkage bracelet fittings to allow for the
smoother brad cross mounting.

There would have been much work -
a lot of fine filing involved:

The Old Rugged Cross
On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross
The emblem of suff'ring and shame
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain
So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown
Oh, that old rugged Cross so despised by the world
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary
So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

Emerson Helt on Christmas drum
(drums a matter of time only)

Young Emerson Helt, grandson of John and Cindy Helt
found a St. Vinny's real snare drum under the tree.

Previous Emerson pix in the Raccoon:

Mom, Granny Helt and Emerson
(named after Granny's father)


First 100 Hour Vigil Milwaukee

Where: City Hall Rotunda
When: January 20th  Noon -1pm

"During the first 100 hours of the new US administration,
it's vital that people of faith show our love for the Earth,
and our commitment to people, planet, and communities. Around the country, people are organizing vigils - with diverse faith communities and people of good will - to show our care and commitment publicly.”  
Our local vigil is Noon City Hall Rotunda on the 20th!

Religious Leaders from the interfaith community will be present
to implore the new Administration:
Keep Good Faith On Our Climate Commitments

Green Faith and Interfaith Power & Light, as part of the People’s Climate Movement are encouraging these vigils.  


Ed. side note - Our incoming sage confers the title of over-rated on Meryl Streep.
This from the 'master' of self-over-ratedness.




In late November
we sent out twenty-two letters
each stamped with our mark:
'Send More Snail (SRN)'

Then we sat back to see how many would heed
the request.

Of the 22 letters
we got zero (0) replies
conforming to the snail request.

There were a few Email acknowledgments
per the preferred cheaper method of the day.

Nobody sends postage-stamp invested
mail anymore, it seems.

But wait a minute:
there is one since 1960 correspondent, Bob Heeschen
of St. Paul who still sends  snail.

Below is his latest here, with paper clippings
of items he found interesting.

Bob, who like me is eighty (80),
has a reverence for the postal service like mine, I think.

Ray S. Dix

(Below from our Raccoon archives)

The warnings of coming diminished postal service is sad news.

In my early days, the daily post office trip was a ceremony for my Grandfather Ray Dix.
When visiting him in Cedar Falls Iowa I would get to ride down to the mail 'temple' - to Ray it was that - in the family jitney, where Grandpa in his insurance man attire of white shirt, hat, tie and Union Central tie clip, and clean creased trousers would descend from the running board of his car with me in tow, at the post office. It was a columned structure Grandpa held in high reverence. So I thought, at least.

Grandpa would withdraw his P.O. box 'password' on his important looking pocket key chain he wore clipped to his waist. He would smilingly find the small brass key, insert it in the lock, slowly turn it, working the mystical mechanism, while looking significantly at me.

I would wonder what the important mail would be inside.

Grandpa would gather all of it up and without looking at it, take it in a bundle under his arm to drive it back home. Then he would carefully study each envelope before opening them at his desk in the big dining room at 2009 Clay Street.

He carefully, slowly handled his Union Central Life Insurance letter opener like a scalpel, sharp and sure. Each letter got the attention it deserved, for Grandpa was seriously at work there in his workplace, the dining room.

He had a glass-topped desk and a swivel chair. His shirt sleeves were worn with rubber bands around his elbows. He smoked a pipe almost all the time.

In the post-Depression years Grandpa was a hero to many, including Iowa farmers around Cedar Falls, for whom' he delivered the goods', the good news; he made his customers aware that they had insurance he had sold them that had cash value that could be borrowed-upon.

Checks would come to him via the post office temple and he would promptly deliver them personally. When I was down in Cedar Falls I got to ride with Grandpa on some of those check delivery visits to appreciative farmsteads. " Look, here comes Ray Dix down our drive! Maybe he got something in the mail!"

I was little, but I knew then my Grandpa was a life-saver.


Bell signals

Image from Tom  and Lenore Bentz' Xmas card this year

Bell Signals

The church bell lodged in ancient timbers
At the steepletop
Rung by rope knotted into a gigantic wooden pulley wheel
- mechanical advantage -
Strung down through air and pigeon leavings
Emerging cleanly in the vestibule   
A strong Sunday-dressed child can ring it

Doves lodged in ancient timbers
Flutter in and out through louvers
Chicken-wired but time-worn
Keeping their high watches over the town
From coved and linteled archways
Cooing mildly   feather-cuddling  silent

Generations of doves nestled
In sanctuary at this height
Lived with the sleeping giant
Awakened only on Sunday mornings to summon
The attention of the worshipers gathered below
An under-used instrument
Calling not because of fire, death,
Disaster or rebellion

Struck in a foreign foundry over a century ago
Freighted to this town to be hoisted aloft
To be rung sedately by Congregationalists
A ton of bronze lodged in ancient timbers
With peaceful quiet doves
Might be sounding greater attentions
 in times like these

Might be rung in shifts 24 hours a day
With all bells everywhere
Across the world ringing out   
its own ton of bronze
With thousands more might speak out
In mad clamor to the heavens
Our ancient dusty megaphone
Oiled for Sunday use only

Treasured mighty bell
Voice above us though out of our sight;
The news from The Holy Land
makes me think we should ring you
Until we lose consciousness


'Congo' steeple bell in Waukesha