Country Mountains

Country Mountains

Today is my 90th birthday. It might seem confusing since I have been celebrating
this birthday for several days now.

On Saturday, 19 of my family, across three
generations including four great-grandsons, took me out to Tequila Mockingbird for dinner.

Poetry or the lyrics of songs always accompany any occasion in this family of assorted creatives. Just now I pulled out a birthday folder of 2 poems and Lizzie’s comments following each.

 

I intended to share one poem by Pablo Neruda,
closely related to my own art,when I noticed Lizzie’s comment on the first poem:

The first line made me think of you and how often I say to

you that I long for you to fall in love with yourself, to

remember who you are in your startling beauty and passion.

I push this —and this poem made me realize there is no need

to push this. It happens. It happens. We find that love

when we find it — and until then —we are held in our knowing,

held in patient, loving arms, held in our troubled sleep —

held in our darkness — held in the mountains.”
………………………………………………………………………………..

Here is that first poem:

HERE IN THE MOUNTAINS

There is one memory deep inside you,
in the dark country of your life.
It is a small fire burning forever.

Even after all these years
of neglect
the embers of what you have
known rest contented
in their own warmth.

Here in the mountains,
tell me all the things
you have not loved.
Their shadows will tell you
they have not gone,
they became this night
from which you drew away in fear.

Though at the trail’s end,
your heart stammers
with grief and regret
in this
final night
you will lead down at last
and breathe again on the
small campfire of your
only becoming.

And draw about You
the immensity
of the black sky
which loves your fire’s
centrality.

The deep shadow
that forever
takes
you in its arms.

The low song
of the long
and patient night
that holds you
in your sleep

and stitches
faithfully
with that impossible light
the dark blanket
from which you were born.

……………DAVID WHYTE

Lizzie ended with ‘held in the mountains’, the mountains of memory
for us being the Catskill mountains in New York State.

I love the next to last stanza: ‘the low song of the long and patient
night that holds you in your sleep,’ —- recalling the sound sleep of
youth and memories of each annual trip up to the “country mountains”.

Thank you, one and all, who are sharing this journey with me.

with love …
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

Babes In Toyland

Winter Landscape, Valley of the Catskills by Charles Herbert Moore (1840-1930)

“…… Magical, merry JOYLAND…
once you pass its portals, you may never return again.”

The sounds of that music echo from my childhood.
New York’s November & December programs on stage
were standard fare in our home. My sister and I put on our white gloves,
carried our little purses, and boarded the train to Grand Central
for the magic of illusion, accompanied by the adults.

Dears, that was many moons ago, yet is this not the season
for the very young?

Who could have said it better than this:

“My heart of silk
is filled with lights
with lost bells,
with lilies and bees.
I will go very far,
farther than these mountains,
farther than the oceans,
way up near the stars,
to ask Christ the Lord
to give back to me
the soul I had as a child,
matured by fairy tales,
with its hat of feathers
and its wooden sword.”

……………..FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA.

Hearing those words, who could not reclaim that
simplicity of childhood, matured, indeed, as it has through
the years and tears and tears to the fabric of belief.

Yes, Tinker Belle, I believe!

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Antoinette/Toni

Delight

Again, I seem to be noticing simple delights more often than not. Such a wonderful story of my life – to be 98 and welcoming a sense of good luck and a lovely decrease in impatience!

Today’s haiku is a playful way of welcoming the sun after days of rain.

Love Always, Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

OCCASIONS

PAFA-Image-3
Woman Reading by a Window, 1905 Artist: Gari Melchers

To celebrate the return of the early sun is a kind of wonder.
What do we say to each other?

How about this:

“I wish for you that when you awake

You emulate the leaf and the bird;

That like them, touched with grace, you take

Note of the wind.  You have not heard

Its low-voiced billows yet, nor seen

( Lost in your less elated rest)

The empty light upon the green,

The leaves and tumbling birds that gave

The wind its due, and then redressed

That small excess, each bounding spray

A boat that dances on the wave,

A whip that tingles in the day.”

……………..DANIEL DAVIE, 1922-1995
from an Anthology of the Best Poetry Since 1900,
edited by Michael Schmidt

Very much like the view from my window this April morning.
Celebrate the day.

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

537 PAGES, CIRCA 1990

imageOnly 24 years ago, Contemporary Poetry was prolific with reference
to so much of the past.  Reading it today, I am amazed at the distance
we have traveled in our common understanding of our world, our hope
for change and growth…. even the sense of a direction needed through
which to carve a future.

However, I found a voice there I’d like to remember:

THE WAKING

Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair,
I wake to sleep , and take my waking slow.

Great nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady.  I should know.
What falls away is always.  And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by goIng where I have to go.”

………THEODORE ROETHKE, printed in the
Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry,
edited by J. D. McClatchy. 1990

Timeless, for sure.  And so it goes.

always love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

DELAYED GIFTS

Today we are on the eve of a new moon,
a little after 4 am tomorrow.
A time to wash my hair, shower until the water feels like rain,
and bask in freshness.

I knew Mary Oliver would have a word or two on that:

THE SWEETNESS OF DOGS

What do you say, Percy? I am thinking
of sitting out on the sand to watch
the moon rise.  It’s full tonight.
So we go

and the moon rises, so beautiful it
makes me shudder, makes me think about
time and space, make me take
measure of myself: one iota
pondering heaven.  thus we sit, myself

thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s
perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
it is to love the world.  Percy, meanwhile,
leans against me and gazes up into
my face.  As though I were just as wonderful
as the perfect moon.”

………..MARY OLIVER, in the book of poetry,
Dog Songs.

Back to the subject I chose: Delayed Gifts.
I received that poetry book at Christmas, 2013.
I read the last poem, a middle poem, loved it
and then the long winter of 2014 took over.

New moon or full moon, the words touch me
and I am grateful for this morning, for the idea
of me being one iota pondering heaven, and
how rich it is to love the world.

Oh, yes,

always with love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

photo

 

A GOOD OLDIE

Six years ago I shared this poem with you in October,’08.  Curious
that when I pulled this book out just now that I opened to it
without planning to. We were then looking at a winter coming, and now
we are looking at a Spring and Summer on the brink of being here.

That may sound like a declaration. Yes, it is.  When we have a sudden snow
on the last day of March, we have to put forward our requests clearly.

Here is such a request:

“may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
wherever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile”

……………………. e e cummings,
#53 from his book 100 Selected POEMS.

humbly submitted…

Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

Photo by Elizabeth Strazar
Photo by Elizabeth Strazar

 

WITHOUT WORDS

THIS MORNING I awoke from a boring dream!

Everything too easy in my dream, and I woke myself up to avoid a sense of having been there, done that.

When I turned on my computer email, I found Joe Riley’s poem for the day.
However, it was the picture accompanying that of an opening book against
a clearing sky that held me captive.  Took my breath away.

Here’s part of the poem entitled Words:

” The world does not need words.  It articulates itself
in sunlight, leaves, and shadows.

And one word transforms it into something less or other …

Yet the  stones remain less real to those who cannot
name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica.

To name is to know and remember.

The sunlight needs no praise piercing the rainclouds,
painting the rocks and leaves with light, then dissolving
each lucent droplet back into the clouds that engendered it.
The daylight needs no praise, and so we praise it always …
greater than ourselves and all the airy words we summon.”

…………….DANA GIOIA, from the book, Interrogations at Noon.

always love,
Mom/Mimi/Toni/Antoinette

the smell of salt air