Oddments

In search of story


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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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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!

 

 


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December 21.19

STOPPING BY A THOUGHT ON A SNOWY MORNING

People are weird.

Therefore, I, being people, am weird. Do you know, dear reader, how I sifted myself through the Venetian blinds, trying to get a good photo of this brilliant visitor? There are countless images of cardinals in the snow. Why, then, did I work so hard to photograph yet one more cardinal on one more snowy branch? Because at that moment it was MINE. A crimson splotch in a pristine cottony new-snow pouf, something wonderful — and fleeting — opposite MY window.

Maybe this is just one kind of weirdness. Maybe not everyone has the same intractable instinct to hold an image or a moment. Do we write or grab for the camera (or brush or wheel or dough scraper or needle and thread) because some of us have an invisible arm which must reach out to capture what we see and save it?

Maybe it isn’t what we see that compels. Maybe it’s what we feel when we see it. Maybe it’s the feeling we want to grab and hold.

Maybe it’s weird to wonder about it at all.

On the more practical side, my Venetian blinds got partially dusted.

 


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December 19.19

Language isn’t always words —

it’s far more complicated;

not everything in life

can be articulated.

That’s why the things of Christmas

assemble every year,

preserving time and place

we won’t let disappear.

Each family has a history,

hero, legend, fiend;

words fall short, but things

keep them evergreened.

 

There is nothing in this photo, dear reader, that doesn’t tell a story, including the chunk of mid-century furniture that belonged to my parents. Not everyone celebrates Christmas: I get that. But most people understand how things tell a story, and we probably all have at least one thing tucked away somewhere that says more than words alone can say.

For me to put into words everything said here would require an epic. There are things from my Grandma O’Hern’s house. From my sons’ childhoods. From my bachelor days. From friends, from family. Then to now.

Sometimes meaning is better told without words.


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December 8.19

The curtain may come down

on their soaring sounds,

their tearing, teasing

rhythms,

but the curtain also rises

on the future

they will be.

The baton

(magic wand),

the hands that sculpt sound

and send it into the world as music,

directors of the hormone-crazed,

prophets who see the good

and the hope —

God bless them, every one!

 

This was the final bow of my granddaughter’s high school Christmas program. It was wonderful, and one of the countless times I have given thanks for music teachers. What their ears have to go through! And what miracles are wrought! I am ever grateful to all teachers of all arts. STEM is good, but I think STEAM is better. I wish you the joy of music in your December, dear reader, whatever you are celebrating.

 


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November 26.19

The road to here

from distant there

is mapped as

greasy thoroughfare.

‘Mid stain and splotch,

old gizzard drip,

evolution in

encrypted scrip.

Notes to self

in mishmashed order

chase themselves

around the border,

not merely scrap,

timepiece instead,

the years piled up

like cubes of bread.

From my neatnik Mom

through freeform me

the family stuffing

legacy,

preserved in splat

of butter, sage,

for, I hope,

another age.

 

There was nothing like it: the smell on Thanksgiving morning. No, not coffee and bacon. Onion and celery and butter! Smells to float on. Dad would go to Mass and some years I went with him, but usually I stayed home to help. OK, so it should be “help.” I was very good at putting things away just before they were needed, and I was very good at reminding my mother how I disliked pumpkin pie. What a model child I was!

I hope your Thanksgiving memories are good ones, dear reader, and that, amid the bleakness of our times, we can give thanks for the things and people we know to be true and good.

I thank all of you who have stopped by my blog and left an encouraging word or like. Writing is ever on the edge of not-writing, and your kindnesses have kept me going many times.

A very happy Thanksgiving to you, dear reader!

If there is travel, may you and yours come and go in safety.