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Some Poems

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I’ve had a couple of poems appear on line recently.

“Helpless” is about one of the difficulties of being a parent.  It’s a recent poem about something that happened many years ago.  You can see that it left an impression.  Oyster River Pages has published it:

https://www.oysterriverpages.com/helpless

“Midseason Report” is about fires in the western states.  It was written a couple of years ago, a season which seemed bad at the time, but wasn’t as bad as this year has been.  You will find the contents page for Route 7 Review at:

https://www.route7review.com/issue-5-2017

I’ve been noticing poems now and then which seem to fit our current situation, though they were written a few years ago.  I even have one of my own:

          Shaken

As a child in earthquake country
I knew the earth could shift
yet walked with confidence,
assured the fault did not lie
under the house.

When political tremors spilled
boxes into Boston harbor, an
Englishman’s table, set with tea
from Ceylon or India, fresh milk,
Caribbean sugar, did not tip.

New voices cried from far countries,
colonies.  In science, physics and
chemistry undermined foundations.
Causes widened like the Atlantic,
deepened into canyons.

Upheavals everywhere, I learn no
house is safe.  Leave silver locked
up, set teapots on tray tables ready
to be folded at the first
faint  rumble.

Two major earthquakes in Mexico recently. Political upheavals in Washington for months. Did I sense these were coming?  Of course not.

You can find the poem, and others that connect with it, in my book, Made and Remade (2014) available from me or through Word Tech Editions.  See Books page.

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Late Summer Garden

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As I have mentioned before, I like volunteers in the garden.  A case of nature doing its thing.  But sometimes they get out of hand.  Last year I saw some grass leaves coming up, but wasn’t sure what grass it was.  This year, only its second, it looked like this:

P1000979It’s the child of the largest grass plant I have, shown here in the background, and much too big for the space.  I had to pay someone to take it out.  But I didn’t waste the plumes.

P1000980An elegant, filmy, look.  They lasted several days.  I also had some  desert globemallow getting out of bounds, so I brought some branches of that in too.

P1000982This bouquet was more short-lived, but pleasing while it lasted (I am partial to orange).  The globemallow is a short-lived perennial, but it seeds avidly.  I have quite a spread of it, third and fourth generation, I think.  One of the volunteers decided to lean toward my study window, giving me a bit of bloom to enjoy from my desk.

P1000983It is different every day as the individual flowers fade and new ones open.  I like it when a little of my garden can come inside for a bit – or at least “lean in.”

Small Visitor

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I discovered a turtle in my yard.  I first found him by a wall, later trying to climb over a hose on the other side of the back yard.

P1000975One day he or she was in the driveway, so I carried the creature back inside the gate and left him/her by a wall, near green growing things, after I took a few pictures.  The markings on the back are lovely, but gave me no clue about the species.

turtle closeup

I thought he might have left, but saw him again a few days later -he crossed the yard again, and apparently come out to dry out a bit after rain.

No further sightings in over a week.  I like to think my back yard is a hospitable place.  I hope you enjoyed your stay, little one!

Recommendation: From Egos to Eden

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Van Ham Book 001Lee Van Ham’s From Egos to Eden is a big book about a very big topic: keeping earth livable for humanity.  If that turns your mind to issues of cutting back, doing without and judgmentalism, put them aside.  This book will guide you into another approach entirely.  It is about growing into broader consciousness, growing from ego control to a larger sense of self, entering – or continuing – a journey toward what Van Ham calls One-earth Living.

This is not a how-to book.  We each have our own journey to undertake.  There is a bit of deception in the title.  Absorbing the concepts in this book will set you on a rich journey toward Eden, but it can’t take you all the way.  That is up to you.

The idea of an inward/outward journey is some decades old.  I remember trying to lead a church peacemaking group in which I could not get others to understand why the program we were using called for ten minutes of silence before getting to the business of the meeting.  It made sense to me.  The idea that we must work on our own issues while we address those of the external world underlies From Egos to Eden.  To address that Van Ham uses Jungian terminology, revises old mythologies, and offers a number of cognitive maps.

We humans have a choice of working with our earth to meet the needs of all or destroying it to supply our wants.  The topic is urgent because the current state of society is leaning strongly toward the latter.

Last Chance to Submit

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The submissions period for our 2018 issue of Sin Fronteras Journal (#22) ends in one week, on Friday, June 30 (by 12:00 midnight, mountain time, to our email, or postmarked on June 30 for snail mail.

If you’ve been thinking about sending us something now is the time to act.

See the Submissions page at http://www.sinfronterasjournal.com for instructions on what and how.  We’ve seen some good material coming in, but we are eager for more.

Summertime

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The local tv station which we watch for the weather has been doing a countdown until summer.  Whoever decided summer starts with the solstice either lived in the north or was an astrologer who only went out at night.  That reckoning makes no sense in the southwestern desert.  School wound up in May and will begin again in August.  100 degree days are already appearing.

John Emerson Roberts took four months off, from early June to the first of October.   It was a point of honor for him that he returned to the farm each year.  In fact, he considered returning to the farm a cure for much of what was ailing society, including high prices.  In 1916 he said,

JERB. . . the farm is being made more unattractive to boys and girls by the reformers who would even prohibit billiard balls and bowling alleys.  We have to get down to the fundamental thing and have got to make the farm laborer’s life more attractive, as the experiment stations and agricultural universities are trying to do.

“Men and women must be persuaded to see that the only life in on the soil,” Roberts said.  But all he could promise was that “they will have the consciousness of living their own way.”

Roberts was able to live his own way by lecturing eight months of the year, and leaving town for four.  Kansas City must have been pretty uncomfortable in summer’s heat.  Who would relish getting dressed up for a lecture at 11:00 a.m. on a July Sunday morning?  It was good business to close for the season.

I write in comfort thanks to my swamp cooler.  Air conditioning has spoiled us. Yet even air-conditioned churches find that attendance, and therefore receipts, go down in the summer.

So much has, and so much has not, changed in 100 years.

Photo and Poem

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Actually, the poem came first.  The photo is an illustration.  It shows approximately the view through the window by my desk, which inspired the poem.

P1000959

Rest

Rock walls bound my back yard,
the gray of weathered wood
or a sensible suit, the no-color
of dust on the long disused.
At first, planting my garden,
I thought the walls dull, conceived
a plan to paint their flat stones
southwest yellow or Mexican red.

My limited skill prevented me
from adding such loud color.
The company of a young tree,
tall grasses, suits this border;
I’d have ruined a place of rest,
the calm of gray without pretense.

 

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