Oddments

In search of story


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November 18.21: Coping

I’m lonely;

I’ll make me a world,

God said.

Now comes the echo,

in winter wind

— loneliest sound —

that lifts dead leaves

like empty chalices,

a last offering

before ice that freezes

even loneliness,

and the moldering carpet

woven by the wind

becomes blanket

for wiggly unseens.

And yet

I’m lonely

lingers:

each of us,

after all,

only one.

 

With thanks to James Weldon Johnson for his poem “The Creation,”

and to the anonymous student

in a high school speech meet many years ago

who put it in my head.

 


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November 16.21: Coping

I’d like to introduce you

to Basil P. Raccoon,

my resident philosopher,

inscrutable as rune.

Stoic and implacable,

frugal in his speech,

he’s ever thinking thoughts

beyond my humble reach.

The tilting of his head

seems question never ending,

whose answer seems to need

continual amending.

He isn’t one for talking;

I think that’s in his plan:

words cannot always teach

what quiet watching can.

 

 

To be exact, dear reader, this is Basil St. John Philip Raccoon, a gift from old friends Bill and Donna, and named after Philip St. John Basil Rathbone, but I couldn’t tell you why.

Basil Rathbone was a voice from my childhood, most especially in an oft-played recording (think 78 RPM) of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.” Later, I read “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” to tatters, and I think I always pictured Holmes as Rathbone’s character. There must be something in the raccoon’s aspect that called that to mind. The brain is weird — well, at least mine is.

As you can see from this daytime photo, November’s dark side is upon us and it’s time for candles in the windows. Basil approves. He is always looking for light in the dark.

 


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November 10.21: Coping

How it sizzles,

this maple,

brazen in the sunset,

each blazing leaf

a crackle

like the fire in a hearth

spitting embers,

bodaciously sassing the sun.

 

 

A note, dear reader: many years ago, oh, so many, I was advised never to use a series of sibilant sounds. Which, as you can tell, is a rule that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I thought of it as I wrote that last line and reveled in my rebellion. It sounds like a leaky tire, but I like it.

 

 


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October 11.21: Coping

In the worn path of the daily

I walked. Bedroom to kitchen,

like yesterday and the day before,

when,

in this moment of the ordinary,

something,

some clanging silence,

stopped me,

stopped my breath.

Under pallid sky

as tired leaves let go their holds

on life,

spring!

Four years have we lived together,

this lilac and I,

but never a flower

until now,

this discouraged, bleak Now.

What forced its bloom?

Anger? Fear? Despair?

Why spring

on the doorstep of winter?

Is this tender-petal’d spire

telling me that

maybe

I don’t know everything?

 

 


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September 26.21: Coping

When an autumn sky is at your feet

and the low grasses hum,

and the one of you

is the total sum,

and your bike,

faithful steed,

is all the car

you really need,

do you know

this moment’s rite,

this solitary watch,

to hold it tight?

 

 

Thanks yet again to photographer S.W. Berg.

 

 


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September 22.21: Coping

‘Fess up, dear reader!

You know it’s true;

you have the itch,

and I do too.

Impossible

with such a sky,

with cornhusk rustling

to ear and eye,

to deny temptations

that giant loom

to clamber up

and go Vroom-vroom!

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg

for this awesome portrait of autumn.

May this first day of a new season bring blessings!


9 Comments

September 17.21: Coping

September stands tall

between spring’s childhood

and winter’s dotage,

a bit round perhaps

with pumpkin paunch,

its brow gold-speckled,

but vital still.

One leaf, two leaves,

abacus of mortality,

drop

in quiet obedience

to the authority of time.

A cicada sings of ennui,

its sleepy notes sticking to

wet morning air

where August lingers.

 

 


12 Comments

September 15.21: Coping

CAN YOU READ, YOU NEANDERTHAL? IT’S A SCHOOL ZONE! 25 MPH SPEED LIMIT! I DON’T LIKE IT EITHER, YOU STUPID BOZO, BUT THAT’S THE WAY IT IS! GET A BRAIN AND GET OFF MY BUMPER, YOU MORON!!!

My blog subtitle is “Coping.” See how well I’m doing?

I’ve coped by blogging, gardening, cursing rabbits and geese and my muse, baking (and eating), housecleaning (seriously), painting walls, and everything in between.

Maybe it’s more accurate to say I’ve tried to cope.

My younger son says we are dealing with low-level trauma, and I like that way of putting it. This is not an annoyance or a mere bother; this is trauma and it is permeating our lives like ammonia fumes. We are all stressed. We are exhausted from being exhausted.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for me. I am becoming a name-caller. YOU DASH-DASHED PEA-BRAINED YOKEL WITH THE WET COUGH! WEAR A MASK! YES, YOU, YOU WITLESS CREEP! Even though this is yelled in my head, it’s not something I would have mind-yelled before. This worries me.

It can justly be argued that these people deserve to be yelled at, to be tarred and feathered, that there’s such a thing as too much tolerance, that if we don’t at least mind-yell we’ll implode. Nonetheless, I am not sure that my creeping impulse to commit mayhem is exactly coping. 

Some day my subtitle will change. I hope I will too.