Oddments

In search of story


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June 15.21: Coping

The eye of the hare,

what jaundice hue,

therein hinted

a whole world view,

carrot-tinted,

gluttonous gleam,

taking measure

in pound and ream,

spying greens

and petals fair —

what was planted

no longer there.

A lesson life

has clearly taught:

know when your efforts

come to naught;

to try again is

laudable habit,

but not when competing

with the rabbit.

Let it go,

it wasn’t to be;

the garden this year

is plant cemetery.

 

Alas, dear reader, it seems not to be a year for a garden. Moss roses, daisies, marigolds, gauras, zinnias, lantana, even spiny rudbeckia — chomped. Dill? Parsley? In my dreams! What with the rabbits devouring my flowers and the cicadas dive-bombing me, I think this might be the summer I stay inside and clean my house. OK, you’re right: that’s not likely. But still I’m steamed.

 

More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg and to sculptor Jürgen Goetz, and to the rabbit that posed for Dürer’s drawing, thereby giving Goetz inspiration for his sculpture, glowering near Dürer’s house in Nürnberg. The gnarled hand under the hare is obviously the defeated gardener.

 


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June 12.21: Coping

What count today?

How many swings and swerves?

Is her language getting colorful?

Are we getting on her nerves?

Did you see my body slam?

Mid-forehead, perfect aim!

Well, I got her on her ear —

I love this summer game!

What sport her dodge and dip,

her crazed and darting eyes,

her twitch at our chorale

of razors in the skies.

I’ll race you to her head!

Come on! I double-dare!

The winner is the one

who gets tangled in her hair!

 

 


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June 4.21: Coping

Bassoonist in the pond,

tireless serenade,

accompanies the hours

from dawn through midnight shade.

In sunshine, gruff continuo

beneath the madrigal

of chirp and honk and buzz

in summer’s concert hall.

By moonlight, Shostakovich

in solo lullaby,

sandpaper to the ear,

yet weighty to the eye.

The fish in slow ballet,

the heron straight and still

attune themselves to tuneless

amphibian leaden trill.

Redundant though its song,

endless though it seems,

its hopeful constancy

all monotony redeems.

 

As you may recall, dear reader, frog song used to keep me awake,

and now it seems like an old comforter.

 

 


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June 2.21: Coping

I’m so little I can hide me

among the garden rocks,

I’m as welcome as a locust

and cute as chickenpox.

I wear a soft and furry coat

with cottontail behind,

but my heart is solid porcine

my ancestors all swine.

Chorus: Oh, engorgement!

I’m happy to my toes!

I’m coming for your garden

with a clover on my nose!

 

To be sung to the tune of “Oh, Susannah.”

With apologies for the foggy look:

I had to finagle a shot through the Venetian blinds again.

 


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May 22.21: Coping

Victor Herbert wrote songs for my parents’ generation, so I was raised with some of them. One, I think, he wrote especially for writers: “Ah, sweet mystery of life!”

Writers know the mystery of life is words. Mysteriously they come. Mysteriously they go. Who can understand?

I’ve been without words for a few weeks now. Total blank. Tabula rasa. Nada. Zip. I’ve started a few blog posts that were the undead of writing.

Meanwhile we’ve gone overnight from Too-Cold-To-Garden to Yikes-It’s-Suddenly-Summer-and-Get-Those-Plants-In-NOW! It’s been wonderful to take my dejected writer self to the dirt.

It used to be that digging in my dirt was about worms. Now it’s about cicadas. More, there’s a little bush in front festooned with their overcoats. Apparently a bunch of cicadas got together and decided to shed simultaneously, leaving their outsides dangling on my little shrub like so many crispy-looking ornaments. Ick.

That ghostly emptiness speaks to me. The writer is only an exoskeleton when she doesn’t have words, and the wind whistles through her as she dangles from some metaphorical shrub.

I know that my sadistic muse is nearby, smirking.

 


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May 9.21: Coping

The world’s a big place,

it can tucker you out

when you’re trying to figure

what it’s about.

That doesn’t change much

as we age through the years,

those grass blades of life

still up to our ears.

We still need a wing

for safe featherbed,

but sometimes we rest

on a memory instead.

 

I’m not a big fan of Mothers’ Day, dear reader. However, I am a fan of mothering because mothering gets us started in life.

There are many who are not biological mothers but are mothers nonetheless. I salute every one, and I wish a happy day to all who mother.

On a more (typical) curmudgeonly note: you know, dear reader, I hate these geese; I do not thrill to see another generation. It is only with pained reluctance I am forced to say this snoozing fuzzball is maybe a little bit cute.