September Revisited II


No pictures this time.  I shared pictures from an afternoon reading I did for my new book soon after it happened in September (see “We Had A Party” posted September 28).  There was also an evening reading, which was not so well suited to photographs.  Instead, I got a poem out of it.

The poem is in a form developed by Allison Joseph. She calls it a sweetelle.  The form is ten lines of fourteen syllables each, with the first, fifth and tenth lines identical.


Thank you for this fine occasion to read from my new book
though this is a dark corner and the microphone will not
stay put.  I’m stalling in the hope that others will appear.
Vain hope, false promises; it’s past the time we should begin:
Thank you for this fine occasion to read from my new book.
But it’s not new to me.  More than a year in production
since I signed that contract.  No additions since.  Take a look
at the cover, another’s work.  Inside, it comes to this:
I’d like to introduce you to some friends from former years.
Thank you for this fine occasion to read from my new book.

At first, I thought the name “sweetelle” meant that the subject should be sweet – something I’m not very good at. It has since occurred to me that the name may have been chosen to point out that this is a form with repeated lines which is not to be confused with the “villa(i)nelle.”

I learned about this form through a post which Joseph mistakenly posted on her CRWROPPS list, and then explained. The acronym stands for Creative Writers Opportunities list, which can be found at: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/CRWROPPS-B. If you are a writer, especially a poet or short fiction writer, you will find this a great resource.


September Revisited I

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At the first cool spell in September I went out on a hike to see what the rains had done in the hills.  Yes, there was green.  And some wild flowers.  Then I got involved in my book readings.  It was over a month before I got the pictures transferred to the computer.  Then I forgot that I had done that.  Another month has gone by.  Here, at last are some views I found to share from that September hike.grassYes, there was grass along the trail.grass.sotolAnd thick growth as I climbed into the canyon.  There were lots of sotols.  These were not affected by the rains, they had bloomed in the spring and long since gone to seed, but I found one worthy of a close-up.sotolI was not up to a long hike, but it was pleasant to get closer to one of the Organ Mountain peaks.peakThere were flowers blooming, thought none were very showy.  If I went back this week, the grass would all be yellow and the flowers gone.

yellow flower

purple cropped



What is it that makes a sunrise so attractive? The ephemeral nature of it is no doubt part of it.  The clouds don’t stop moving so that their effect can be admired.11.15 sunrise

The difficulty of capturing a sunrise is surely part of the attraction. Painters are naturally interested in sunrise and sunset because the colors are so varied and hard to reproduce.  I can’t do a sunrise justice in a poem, because there aren’t enough names for all the variations in the color, and people don’t agree on the names there are.  Photography has its own complications of capturing the shifting light against darkness elsewhere.11.16 sunrise

In our household we are such creatures of the clock that we only notice the sunrise at a few brief periods of the year. The rest of the time we are up too early or too late.  The problem of being too late is obvious.  The problem of being too early is caused by my inability to put off getting to work – near a window through which the sunrise does not appear.

These photos were taken on two consecutive mornings―this past weekend. Two very different beginnings of two different days.  This morning there were no clouds at all to create any colors.

The Bad Guys


In case anyone imagines that I like everything and anything that will grow in my garden, I decided to devote a post to the nasty weeds I’d like to get rid of.  There are three.  P1000217

Nutgrass is a very attractive grass.  The deep green leaves are a contrast to most of the paler greens of the desert.  But it is terribly invasive, sending its roots deep and out in all directions.P1000218

Bermuda grass is known in many places, but wasn’t a problem where I lived in the east.  It too is attractive when it is young, and it can – almost – be kept under control as a lawn.  When it matures, however, it sends runners out, long and strong.  they appear spreading out over sidewalks looking for places to root.P1000216

Goathead, as the name may suggest, is the worst of all.  It is also the prettiest, with delicate leaves and a pretty little yellow flower.  Its seeds stick to everything, are a danger to bare feet, and can pierce through gardening gloves.  I may get lazy with nutgrass and Bermuda grass, but this plant I pull on sight.

I’ve recently realized that I’ve been taking more pictures than I’ve had time to post this fall.  This is a first step in correcting that oversight.

Who Eats What?


I have been working this week on hunger conditions around the world to use for publicity for a Hunger Sunday at church. There are huge quantities of data out there, but somehow they rarely answer the questions I ask.

Along the way I found some interesting facts about food crops. Do you know what the fourth largest – and number one non-grain product – is?  Potatoes.  Do you know which country is the largest potato producer in the world?  China.

I was interested in the basic grains, because I was trying to figure out who, where, eats how much of what. The top three crops are 3. rice, 2. wheat, 1. corn.

One can grow more rice than wheat per acre, but it takes a lot of water. Rice is the source of 20% (1/5th) of all calories consumed by humans. We can guess that a lot of this is in Asia, but don’t forget the popularity of rice and beans in Latin America!

Another stray fact from another source: Cambodians eat a lot of wheat bread along with their rice. It’s the influence of the French who once controlled the country.

Wheat in the Field

Wheat in the Field

Wheat is the leading source of vegetable protein for humans worldwide. It also takes up a lot of space – more than corn – partly because it can be grown in colder, drier places.

Corn is a staple food for the majority of sub-Saharan Africa. It is also, as we know, feeding cars as well as humans.  My source, being about the business side of crops, not the hunger issues, did not consider this a problem.

Even with the cars taking a share of the corn, there is enough food in the world to feed everyone; the problem is distribution. Finding out the end result – who gets how much of what to eat – has proven difficult.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-crops-that-feed-the-world-2011-9?op=1#ixzz3G5Lbl1wx