Oddments

In search of story


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January 18.20

Beware the gardener’s itch

to dig in firma terra

lest you be pruned and potted

along with the schefflera.

The gardener cannot help it,

her nails are far too clean,

so kitchen turns to hothouse,

mid-winter turns to green.

 

With more thanks to photographer S.W. Berg

and to indoor/outdoor gardener D.J. Berg

for this testimonial to gardeners’ winter fever.

 


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January 17.20

You are right, dear reader: you have seen this little sighing bird before. In my last post.

He has been with me in a singular way. Allow me to take you back to the late 1940s, when I was in kindergarten and my mother was lobbying the highly-respected (read: tyrannical) piano teacher in our area, who didn’t take students before they could read. I was not consulted.

Mom won. I couldn’t read but I started lessons, and I spent the next several years in tearful plea to be allowed to quit. I hated my lessons and I hated practicing. Mom said I could quit after ten years. I remember the moment because one remembers when one’s blood runs cold.

At that ten-year mark everything changed because I had my first Liszt étude: Gnomenreigen. It was the beginning of my suspicion that Liszt had fifteen fingers. Two years later, my next Liszt étude: Un Sospiro, The Sigh. I played it well. Not brilliantly, but well.

I had two dreams as a pianist: to play the original Rhapsody in Blue and to play La Campanella, The Bells, another Liszt étude. I never accomplished the first. I could only approximate the second. Alas.

But I think about the eloquence of those études. A sigh. The bells. They are there in those magical acrobatics. And I marvel at the transcendent power of a grey image, a D flat, and, yes, a tyrannical piano teacher.


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January 12.20

The greening of the lavender

along the garden border

in April welcomed cordially,

in January, out of order.

We’re doused with April showers,

winter coats hang limp in closets;

there’s dank insinuation

that such misplacement posits.

Winter April such as this

seems not at all auspicious;

gardeners grow no seedlings

but only more suspicious.

Winter can be bitter,

and gardeners hate the wait,

but they worry when the earth

seems to de-regulate.

Meanwhile, though, they slog around

amid the muddied swells,

rejoicing through a happy nose:

how good the wet earth smells!

 

 


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January 10.20

This, dear reader, is a photo of my muse, morphed once again into something elusive. The size of a turkey, in a tree full of air, she either stupidly thinks she is hiding or sadistically revels in my awareness of her.

That is, therefore, where I am: in a tree full of air. No words. Nothing to say. I’ve been stuck, wordless, for over a week. I’ve tried many times, here, there, and everywhere, to summon a thought, a word. My muse is out there peering at me through barren twigs, with a look that says “What are you going to do about it?” She knows I can’t fly so I can’t get to her to turn her upside-down and shake some words out of her.

Behind those bright black eyes swirl endless sparkling metaphors, marching feet of iambic pentameter, sentences woven of wordsilk like brilliant tapestry. And my rotten muse is keeping all that to herself.

 


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December 31.19

My new year’s wish for you

is handsomely portrayed

upon this rosy wall

in sprightly accolade:

may dancing pigs attend you,

adventures fill your cup,

may loved ones sit beside you

wherever you sip and sup,

may your plates be heaped with kindness,

your spirit taste no hurt,

may laughter season your days,

may there always be dessert.

.

Wishing you a very happy new year, dear reader,

with muse and chocolate ever near.

Thank you for all encouragement and enlightenment in 2019!

And special new year’s thanks also

to photographer S.W. Berg for this splendid wall!