Some things that you noticed today
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I thought it would be nice to have a place where people could post things they notice in any given day. You do not have to even post a complete sentence.
It is a fundamental exercise in observing and in expressing the poetry of life.
reflected by the table
as it dreams of reading
more than just the cover.
But the purposeful racks
hold them proudly and securely
except for one empty rack
rejoicing in a job well done:
another treasure claimed.
Yesterday I saw a hawk sitting on an electrical line that stretched across the road.
Today the leaves on the tulip tree outside my window were a thousand hawks mid-flight, wind-billowed wings, feint outlines, dark, swarming in the distance, never approaching, just hovering, there, circling, waiting as if I would come to them, floating, terrible and expectant.
The words "tulip tree" seem unbelievably tender to me today.
I like what you're doing on your blog. I think too much most of the time, and the type of post you've been doing on your blog has reminded me how much I love the physical world. They're so grounded and gentle.
Somewhere along the line, I quit writing poems to focus on fiction. I have always loved stories. I'm not a natural storyteller so I don't tell stories, I make them (I think I got this saying from Richard Ford).
I started my prose from my practice of writing poems, though. That is why the novel turned out to be so condensed.
I will try to find the poem that was a finalist (on one of my shelves, but where!) and post it if you're really interested.
As a reader, I share the feeling about prose poems seeming somehow lazy and squishy. They feel unfinished to me. Line breaks force the reader to slow down and pay attention to each line as a separate thought. Poetry is a medium of such brevity, I think it should demand that the reader pay close attention.
It's an interesting point you make about the prose poem speeding up the poem. I find most often that poems speed up when they're enjambed so that the line-breaks work against the syntactic flow, where a noun
reaches for its verb, etc.
I think you're right about the form lending itself to flatness, though. And this is likely what my problem is. I like a more vertically oriented line. But I also think the prose poems in Simic's The World Doesn't End, and poems like Forche's "The Colonel" are successful in ways that they might not be with line-breaks. The manipulation of white space can do a lot for the texture of a poem, and therefore influence mood in such a way that I'm more susceptible to being taken in. I think Whitman's long lines, and the big Whitmanic lines you see in C.K. Williams or David Kirby also show the variety of effects minimal margins can have.
Today I noticed the goldfinches hanging upside down from our sunflowers, picking ripe seed. Some are so heavy with seed they bend to the ground even as their brother-flowers reach skyward. They are not as sturdy as Jack's beanstalk, but much prettier.
I also noticed a box this morning, lonely in the middle of the street. I think it escaped the recycling truck. I wonder if it hoped for a better life, not understanding the risk of its impetuous action. I picked it up before a car could crush it, but it is heading back to a recycling bin.
Only one managed to get into the house when I opened the screen door to see my husband off to work. My son found it later, wobbling across the dining room table, apparently chilled by the indoor air conditioning. I gave it a swift and satisfying whack with my flyswatter.
He now sits outside in my trash can waiting for the garbage men to come haul him away.
Often poetry does read faster for me than prose. But, heavens, I am slow in whatever I read! Shakespeare's plays would be impossible, wouldn't they, without the wonderful way they are presented. The lines are such fun to read.
Can you imagine Pound's cantos as prose poems! Ack! Or Hart Crane's "Chaplinesque"? Yes, clearly there are times for white space and line breaks.
But sometimes, a condensed idea just wants to prose. Forche's "The Colonel"--great example.
PS: I will be going to Big Sur from Sept. 6-14 to teach creative writing workshops and may not be able to post here for a while. I am hoping everyone will carry on!
Your observation reminds me a bit of mine from earlier that I posted elsewhere:
When I was little
I went into a house my
father was building.
I rocked in a little
red rocking chair he had
made me. On the
back of the chair
my father had painted
my name. I rocked very
fast. As I rocked, I hit
an empty box with my
feet. Soon I felt a terrible
pain and saw a bee climbing
slowly down into the box.
I cried as my father put
chewing tobacco over the
poison. He told me the
bee would die now because
he had planted his stinger
in me. A wasp can sting over
and over and still live, he said,
but not bees. I thought of
the bee climbing into the
darkness of the box to die,
and I was glad.
This morning I saw bright red, ripe apples on my neighbor's tree. Earlier I watched as the tree got its leaves, then watched the blossoming and bees.
I can see the west neighbor's trees in his backyard from my bedroom window. My west neighbor does not like the squirrels that live in our area (another neighbor in the east direction feeds squirrels!).
My west neighbor sets a trap for squirrels in one of the other trees in his back yard. The squirrels come over the wires, down the branches, walk around the trap, shake their bushy tails, and walk back up the branches, and over the wires to home.
It is highly entertaining to watch.
v. fos·sicked, fos·sick·ing, fos·sicks Australian
1. To search for gold, especially by reworking washings or waste piles.
2. To rummage or search around, especially for a possible profit.
To search for by or as if by rummaging.
I noticed rain clouds as I walked out this evening. Thirty-one straight days of heat over 90 degrees bur it did not rain very much.
realise 'fossick' was a particularly Aussie term - it's in common use down here. Thanks for the info, xenchu.
Today I noticed that no one else on the road notices me when I drive in the city (NY). I'm sure I'm still here, because my heart was pounding pretty hard against my ribs when that SUV slid in front of me. Of course, I'm sure my hands had disappeared as they held the steering wheel in a death grip and I could no longer feel them. If I'm invisible, should I use my power for good...
55: You've given me something to think about.
I tend to have white dishes to better show the beauty of food.
Perhaps my favorite breakfast is plain yogurt mixed with cottage cheese and topped with fresh raspberries. It's served in a small, white bowl. Other family members, seeing this combination, come to a full stop, and say, "How pretty."
They don't care for the yogurt and cottage cheese combination, but we sometimes combine raspberries and chocolate with vanilla ice cream. Mixed together, the combination isn't quite as pretty, but it certainly is tasty.
After my audiologist appointment, I hurried over to my synagogue to pick up two bags of donated books. I offered to transport these to my local Friends of the Library used book store, an addicting place which not only loses me in its stacks but also recycles old books into money for library use.
Upon arriving home after my trip to the used book store, I noticed my original book was missing.
It's funny you say that. I've been so impressed with this thread that I've been using some of the ideas expressed here as starting points for creative writing exercises I've been doing just for fun with a close friend of mine. My friend is a great writer, and I'm trying to encourage her to write more. I'm not a writer, but I'm going to try some creative writing.
Here is the new beginning: http://theresawilliams.ourprofile.us/
When I was young, I lived for two and a half years in a quonset hut on Guam. Guam has a short rainy season followed by an extended dry season. I have seen it rain every day for more than two weeks running. The sound of the rain beating all over that quonset hut made it feel really cozy.
Ah, memories of rain, sights, and sounds!
When I was a child, our family sometimes camped in a historical log cabin. The roofing somehow over-lapped at the top, but looking up from a cot, one could see stars overhead, but it never rained inside.
Another camping stop was a cabin on a Gulf of Mexico island. Most of the walls were are least half screen with shutters that folded back. Afternoon rests with a breeze blowing through the screens
has to be one of the most pleasant sounds in the world.
Another camping spot was a family hunting lease in a pecan orchard. The fireflies flying among the trees was a delightful sight.
Sorry to hear about the crash, but the new beginning looks good.
That's the way I feel about things in general and computers in particular. They are fine and wonderful as long as they work, but when they crash, things can be very difficult for a while.
Thank you for starting this thread and this site.
My father was convinced my mother would die first. When he spoke to me about his will, I could see he was steeling himself for a deeply dreaded inevitability. Her family has a history of heart disease, whereas his heart just seemed to get stronger the more fatty sausage, fried bologna, etc. that he ate. But he died in 2002, and my mother is still chugging along quite well. She considers it her last gift to him.
Ah well, there is still time to learn how to use that thing on my steering wheel, what do you call it? A horn. I just noticed I have one. Hopefully it will prevent anyone from running into me the next time I turn invisible.
Theresa-I also enjoyed your website. The story about your mother is powerful.
Please tell us what the currawongs sound like. Their name sounds like something that would live in a rain forest. Are they common where you live?
This is the pied currawong, a bird which is found in forests in eastern Australia, including rainforests. Like some (but certainly not all) of our other native fauna, such as possums and scrub turkeys, they seem to thrive in suburbia and they are quite common here (I’m only 10 minutes from the centre of Brisbane, a city of around 1 million people). Their name reflects the sound they make: a musical ‘curra-wong’, or ‘curra-war-curra-wong’ when on the wing. Probably their name originated in one of the Aboriginal languages, although I’m not sure about that. Much of our flora is named with the Aboriginal names given to them by certain tribes, usually describing a feature or habit of the animal (there are many different Aboriginal languages). Pied currawongs are black birds, similar in size and appearance to a crow, with white tips on their tails, white patches on their undertail and also a white patch underwing. The musical sound they make somewhat belies their appearance - one would expect them to make a harsher sound, but perhaps that simply arises from the fact that they look like a crow. As they are common in the rainforest and sounds in the rainforest seem to be heightened, it always gives me a thrill to hear one calling as it reminds me of the joy and peace I find in being in the rainforest. We have areas of rainforest within a very short distance of Brisbane.
Today I experienced a thrill of pleasure as I felt the fallen jacaranda leaves crunching under my feet, anticipating imminent clouds of vivid lavendar blue scattered amongst the green. Spring is here!
We have rainforests here in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, too. Our rainforest birds are rather quiet. I love the silence and the mosses best, and the green light.
I wish I could say I did something grand and inspiring there, but I rolled over and cursed the night time construction crew working on the freeway which is outside my window.
Which had become a sunken rounded spot
Which had opened a hole as nice as any in Hobbiton
And is not the entrance to Wonderland
Is the work of a most industrious beast
Whose work ethic is better than the crews
Who dig up the streets around my neighborhood
I just hope the groundhog stays in the yard
And doesn't move closer to the house.
ground in the wet part of a ditch
#101: LOL! A new and unexplored side of butterflies!
industriousness of my neighbors who were already raking their lawns while I was just thinking about it.
#107 Lovely. I love those happy moments.
Today I enjoyed standing in the rain without an umbrella. I was waiting for my husband to pick me up at the university. All around me, people were walking about with umbrellas. It was a soft rain. I felt my hair respond, getting thicker and fuller. I have very curly hair which responds that way to humidity. I couldn't help but thinking that the umbrella people were missing out on something. The rain was very cool on my skin. It made me feel alive.
#111 I'm glad I'm not the only one!
Reminds me of a girlfriend I had once (who I've never gotten over and never will). We got together a few years ago (several years post-dating) in Boston, in the middle of a snowstorm. We were supposed to meet outside a coffee shop, and I was early, and she was late, and I was so nervous I stood outside in the snow chainsmoking until she arrived.
She was carrying an umbrella - I think only Koreans carry umbrellas in the snow, but there you go - and fussed over me, with my hair full of snowflakes. We had our coffee and went for a walk, and she kept trying to make me walk under the umbrella, and I kept trying to convince her that I was fine.
And I guess if I've ever loved anyone, I loved her.
#116--I know what you mean about NC. Sometimes it's uncomfortably warm, even at Thanksgiving. Getting any form of relief feels like a miracle.
Today I noticed that our oak tree has dropped a lot more acorns than I thought. The squirrels won't starve this winter.
We are simply destoying this earth!!!
The Lorax (Dr. Suess) was right!
It would be worse to have no trees, though. That would really send me into a state of Kirkegaardian despair. If only I could wave a wand and bring your trees back, Squeaky. We have too many office buildings in this world already.
We must shift our focus from what we are doing to the earth, to what we are doing to our home. If you tell someone they are destroying their home they may pay more attention.
The earth doesn't care whether we are here or not. It doesn't care if the oceans freeze and the clouds come crashing down in sheets of ice. It doesn't care if the whole thing burns and becomes a wasteland of rock with no atmosphere. The earth doesn't care. We are the ones who should care.
I know this was a cheap chance to make a point, but hey, I've noticed you take your shots when they present themselves.
I know I'm young yet, but when she does that, all I can do is wish I had a child.
I cannot know Him
Yet He is everything I know.
I cannot see Him
Yet He is everything I see.
I cannot hear Him
Yet He is everything I hear.
I cannot touch Him
Yet He is everything I touch.
I cannot taste Him
Yet He is everything I taste.
I cannot smell Him
Yet He is everything I smell.
I cannot be Him
Yet He is everything I am.
This reminds me much of the time I spent writing haiku...I hope this thread never ends.
i have been going to this one park near here for years, and a couple of October's back, I realized the pair of bald headed eagles that return each year not only return at around the same time each fall, but they also fly around at about the same time each day during their stay here. Yesterday, i got to watch the eagle fly close enough that i could take my binoculars off him and still see his eyes. Then he banked, turned west along the river, and floated on the breeze to his perch more than a quarter mile upstream. and, having seen him these past 4, now 5 octobers, i knew he'd be perched in that tree the next few hours, so i took my fill of watching him watch the river for a moment before turning back on the path and heading along my way.
or her eyes. i still can't tell which is which. but yeah, it's a great way to spend a few minutes over lunchtime.
Eagles - Hildegard of Bingen talks about eagles, too. I'll have to hunt up the vision where she mentions them, so I can get the image right.
I like it, your poem.
Sitting across the table from my grandfather, who's getting old enough that every time I see him may be the last time. He was staring at me - we have nearly the same eyes, clear and blue, mine a bit darker - but I was looking at him and thinking, "This is where I come from." And he stares and stares, and says, "Maria, you look..." and he stops, like he can't find the word. "You look like you're enjoying yourself." And it meant so much, more than he could have realized. He hit it right on. For the first time since I was little and he was holding me upside down so I could walk on the ceiling... I am enjoying myself.
Flying home, there is a short rainstorm and some turbulence. Then we come out of the clouds and I look out the window...a perfect circle rainbow shines huge and perfect in the sky. I tell the stranger next to me and he gasps, leaning over me to be able to see the full thing. In less than 60 seconds, it is gone without a trace. Incredible.
Villandry, I've never seen a circle rainbow, but that kind of experience is why I've always loved flying. Once, flying to Europe, we were over Greenland during daylight. I couldn't get enough of the jagged, gray, glacier-filled peaks; they were like no landscape I had ever seen before. And now these experiences are tinged with guilt over the amount of carbon the planes are putting into the atmosphere. In a weird way, it makes these experiences more precious.
I think at some point in everyone's life, they're told they ought to be President someday. A close friend of mine's father already informed me of this, so there's need for anyone else to tell me that I ought to be President.
As I grow older, the whole concept of "democracy" seems less and less appealing. Some of us really ought to be making as few choices as humanly possible.
...went for a walk this morning and there was a massive iguana on the grass beside the lake. It was shining silver in the morning sun and just as still as a statue. It was huge! and looked like a dragon. Cars were zipping by and I felt as if I were the only one who could see it.
The appearance of the engine light did not alarm me, but it did warn me of impending danger.
With my fuel gauge near empty and the engine light obnoxiously yellow, I pulled into a service station where none of the customers seemed aware of their surroundings. They were absorbed in their isolated reality - as if handcuffed to handheld devices like prisoners in a curious cocoon of communication.
I asked the attendant if he could help me. My cell phone then vibrated in my pocket, causing a quick jolt to my system. I motioned to him that I would be right with him. He smiled and nodded his head, knowingly.
Coffee and cell phones - he understood my addiction.
Then last night there were more flashing blues in my apartment complex as a different (i hope) thief abandoned a stolen car and took off on foot through the buildings.
Ahhh, there's nothing like increased crime levels to let you know Christmas is right around the corner.
Oh, do you have a jacranda tree that is blooming?
I love the canopy of those trees as well as their blooms.
To my regret, the jacaranda tree does not grow where I live.
We are approaching winter here, but as the weather people say, "We're in yo-yo format."
We have several days in the high 60's or low 70's, followed by a couple of days in the 20's and 30's, then we're back to the highs again.
Makes choosing clothing interesting!
My great aunt, who died a few years back, was president of the National Polka Society, and my summers as a child sparkled with polka parties.
At one of these parties, when I was two or three, there was a cousin - or second-cousin, or something, one of my mother's cousin's daughters - with the prettiest shoes. They were shiny red patent leather Mary Janes. My brother, who was usually my constant companion, was off learning shuffleboard from another cousin, so I spent the afternoon with this beautiful, wonderful, amazing big girl (she was perhaps six) with the bright red shoes. I begged my parents for shoes like that, and always loved looking at the photograph of us together. I wanted to be just like her.
What I didn't know then, but do know now, is that Jeannie was what's known as a "crack baby." Her mother died a few years later, in prison, of heroin withdrawl. Jeannie lives in a home for mentally retarded adults, and my grandparents get Christmas cards with pictures every year.
Jeannie doesn't look like the pretty girl with the red shoes anymore - and I would never, ever want to be "like her." But it's kind of nice, I think, that once, when I was little and didn't know any better, I did.
They spent a good five minutes surreptitiously picking up stones and putting them into their pockets, looking around, bending down, straightening up quickly. Finally their pockets were full, and they went into the driveway, looked over their shoulders, and then began throwing handfuls of stones at the dumpster.
It made a very satisfying PING! with every stone that hit it.
And then, I think, their parents came out of the shop downstairs and caught them at it.
Perhaps it was the contrast in my own eyes, coming from the green green of Florida. I am still wondering around in a daze... or maybe that's the lack of oxygen, altitude and all.
So a church on Main Street has a life-sized Nativity scene out (I'm protesting because the Wise Men and Baby Jesus are already in place, when they shouldn't be, but hell, we can't all be Catholic).
It's been snowing all day, and I was at the bank across the street from the church, and I swear I saw one of the Wise Men using a broom to wipe snow off of Mary.
In fact, of course, someone was just wiping snow off of the scene - and happened to have his hand in the exact right place so that, from where I was, it looked like the Wise Man's hand.
But man! I stared at that for a good minute trying to figure out how the statue was moving before the guy came into view!
What an amazing batch of things people are seeing!
but I did see the boys' lizards stacked up on top of each other, watching the cat watching them...
I saw all the paint colors swirl and mix and fade as they washed down the sink...
I did see The Wife walk in the front door, which is always a breath-taking and beautiful sight...
and I see more laundry in a basket I could swear I just emptied! Wait, that's not interesting, just par for the course...
The real trick would be to switch up the spells and have the basket always empty and the fridge always full (or my wallet, I'm not picky...)
The smell of the soap in the bathroom, when I washed my hands, called the poem Invictus to mind. I memorized the poem in the fifth grade and haven't thought much about it since - maybe my elementary school had the same hand soap?!
I ALWAYS count my chickens before they're hatched!
I applied for an ESL certification course in Krakow and my application has officially been approved! So now I just have to do an interview and then, Krakow Ho!
(I keep asking kitty if she wants to be Krakovian Cat. I don't think she understands.)
And once again I wonder why my brain can't come up with anything more interesting to dream about. (Although the barges that came later were pretty cool.)
I just thought that was a really nice way to compliment a story. And not just because it's my story, or because I'm nervous every time he gets near, or even because it's that good a story (it isn't, in my opinion).
Just in general. What an interesting way to put it. What a nice thing to say!
My language is not about designing words or even visual symbols for people to interpret. It is about being in a constant conversation with every aspect of my environment, reacting physically to all parts of my surroundings.
Far from being purposeless, the way that I move is an ongoing response to what is around me….The way I naturally think and respond to things looks and feels so different from standard concepts or even visualization that some people do not consider it thought at all. But it is a way of thinking in its own right.
In the end I want you to know that this has not been intended as a voyeuristic freak show where you get to look at the bizarre workings of the autistic mind. It is meant as a strong statement on the existence and value of many different kinds of thinking and interaction in the world….Only when the many shapes of personhood are recognized will justice and human rights be possible.
Which will make the birds & people happy.
Have fun in Krakow, Ambushed!
OBNOXIOUS birds. But I still love them.
Today I noticed immediately upon arriving at my cottage for a month's vacation, I am overcome with a deep sense of peace. Why can I not feel that at home the rest of the year?
The aspects of things that are most important because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something-because it is always before one's eyes.) The real foundations of his inquiry do not strike a person at all.-And this means to be struck by what, once seen, is most striking and most powerful. "Philosophical Investigations, #129