Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Wisest Man...

Well, dear hearts, here we are, back in the Happy Little Kingdom (where everybody's happy and the king is a queen, but the king is not in drag...)

Scotland is an amazing place, with a population of only 5 million, it has sent people all over the world. I'd guess, off hand that they are a close second to the Irish in that respect, especially to the North American Continent.

The main reason for the emigration, as with Ireland and certain parts of England, was the result of the greed, avarice (and incompetence) of the ruling classes (arrogance, avarice and incompetence defines the ruling class!)-- people who had lived on the land for centuries were dispossessed and kicked out to make way for "modern improvement" (sheep instead of grain).

The Scots were a bit lucky, as they were not pushed out by starvation, as the Irish, where potatoes and grain were sent to England (under armed guard) during the height of the Great Famine -- but unemployment and poverty can also be an incentive...

But let it be for the moment, here is an odd tale:

In St. Andrews, a lovely town between the Firths of Fourth and Tay on the East coast, just south of the ruins of the stone cathedrals, there is a passage down to the harbour. At the side of the passage, there is a small archway.

I was there for a few minutes and saw no one go through the archway. There is a reason:

It has been prophesied that when the "wisest man in the world" goes through
that small archway, it will collapse...

Ummn, this is a conundrum of
sorts. Assuming that I was the "wisest man", I would know that it would fall
down on me when I went under the archway -- therefore, being the "wisest man",
would I go under it...?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another Hiatus...

Dear hearts, I really had some deep shit feel-os-o-phee to lay on you which I have found in my research into the travails of the Third Galaxy -- however, time, chance and circumstance have snared me as they do all of us at times. Tomorrow, we fly to Scotland for a 10 day holiday, so youall will just have to wait, or, even better, find something useful to do instead of looking at silly blogs on the internet.

Whatever, peace to all of you who can remember what it is like and see you the beginning of August.

As a little snack, I leave you with a tidbit of the poetry of the late Helen C. Talmadge.

Moonlight Magic

There's a bit of magic
in the moonlight
on the lake
that beckons me
and urges me to take
steps into the future
on a path of liquid gold,
altho I know full well
that it would engulf me
enfold me.

There's a bit of magic
in the breeze upon
my face
that speaks of south sea islands
or some other far off place;
and the tom-toms of teen town
would be the beating jungle drums
and their guitars the liquid music
of far off
native strums.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Remembering Helen Talmadge

This is a picture of my Aunt Helen mentioned in my post on Sunday, who died 28 July. I am pretty sure this was taken when she graduated from high school and was validictorian.

As I told you before, she was an excellent poet and one thing I would have been most pleased with would have been able to have the opportunity to have become acquainted with her poetry in my early youth -- it was already in the early afternoon for me before I came to know and appreciate it. On the other hand, perhaps I shoudl be grateful that she could be a mother to me for about a year before my father remarried.

He work is generally of a subtle and well-crafted elegance which is easy to miss on the first reading - for example: Thrush and Meadow Lark

The thrush sings in the hawthorn tree,
proud of his nest and family.
"For us, our way is right;" says he,
"its's always right, it's right for me!"

Meadow larks nest upon the ground,
with weeds and grass growing all around.
"If hunters come, I'll pretend I'm doomed.
My nest will not, will not be found!"

But trees are felled by the woodsman's axe,
and hay is cut to pay the tax!
It's cut and piled in golden stacks
while mower grinds and binder clacks...

Now, for their nests, from dawn to dark,
grieve both the thrush and meadow lark.

With a drawing, it could fit in Blake's "Songs of Innocence and Experience".

My favorite is one that could measure with Emily Dickinson: Summer and Sunlight

I want a boat while there's
still summer and sunlight --
it's bright sails all afloat
in the soft summer breeze.

The boat must be little
for our lake is little --
it's shadowed and shaded
and it's sheltered by trees.

If I can't have a boat
that someone can ride in,
then I'll whittle one
from the dry bark of a tree.

To its mast I'll fasten
a bit of white paper
and I'll sit on the bank
while the wind blows it from me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Remembering Three Ladies and Three Mothers

I had three mothers before I was three years old.

The first, was my birth mother, Eunice. She died between when I was 1½ and two years old. Of what she died, I have never really known for sure. I neither know the actual date nor where she died. I'm sure of the year because it is on her gravestone - 1943. I know that she died in considerable pain, because my father wrote, not long before he died, that he had begged the doctors to give her something for her pain so that "that poor woman would not be flopping about like that".

It seems certain, that she was ill for some time before she died -- a year, a ½ year? -- I really don't know. But during her illness, I was sent to live with my grandfather, Charles Edward, and his wife, Amanda, then cared for me. My second mother, was also Charles Edward's second wife. His first wife (and my father's mother), Bonnie Helen, had died in childbirth when my dad was about five years old. My grandfather had later remarried this lovely Swedish lady who later was my second mother.

This is how I came to have a third mother: Amanda was a member of a religious sect that did not believe in medicine. She contracted a minor infection which, although treatable with medicine of the time did not respond well to either faith or will power. And so, she died the same year as my birth mother, perhaps a ½ year later. She is buried in Hobart to the right of Charles Edward and Eunice is buried a little further to his left.

I then lived alone for a short while with my grandfather who had little idea of what to do with a toddler my age as I have it on good authority, my cousin Keith, that he had tied a rope around me to keep me from wandering off.

My third mother was my father, Robin's oldest sister, Helen. I stayed with her for about a year, along with her husband, Warren and her three boys, Allen, Keith and Gene.

They had some difficulty with me in the beginning as I objected strongly to having my day clothes removed before being put to bed. As Keith relates it, it was Warren, who "knowing how to deal with wild animals", first had my clothes placed next to me on the bed, then at the end of the bed, on a chair and, finally put away for the night.

When I 3½ or four years old, my father remarried a woman I never really accepted as my mother. If it was because of her odd emotional coldness which later developed into madness or my own history, I can't say. Probably, as is usual, a combination of both along with other factors.

But the reason I am writing this today is that Helen, the last of my father's generation died recently, on the 28th of July around 2 AM in the nursing home in Ocala, Florida, where she had been living for the past decade. She would have been 99 early this Autumn.

My Aunt Helen was many things. She was a lady that is certain, a lady of quiet dignity, quite intelligent, somewhat reserved, very observant and an excellent poet -- ah, if I had only known of her poetry earlier! I was well past middle age, before I became acquainted with her work.

For a year, she was my mother. And now, a couple of days ago, almost two weeks after her passing, and it suddenly struck me with sharp pain how much I will miss her.

And that is why I wrote this tonight, to say farewell to and commemorate the memories of three ladies who were my mothers, but especially the last one.

Friday, July 11, 2008

On Being Alive This Eternal Moment

It is possible to sail against the wind, but it requires a certain skill and patient use of your ship's capability. You don't sail directly against the wind, but you sort of sidle up to it, tacking first this and then that way.

And thus it is with the truth. The truth is like a wind that blows from eternity to -- where? -- nobody knows...

An old friend asked me a question the other day that kind of took the wind out of my sails for a moment, so to speak. I had earlier written to him that it had been a most wonderful summer up to now in the Happy Little Kingdom and he wrote back, "How do you define a good summer?"

Indeed, what makes a summer day "good"? Ummn, yeah, what is it? The experience of a day as being good is what?

It's not blue skies -- although a good summer day needs some blue, it also needs some clouds to sort of help define the blue. It certainly doesn't have to be dry, a bit of rain is okay, as long as it doesn't drizzle all day long. One thing a great summer day needs is a morning with the sun playing with the clouds and the trees, revealing soft and delicate colors.

Bird song, of course, and the odd thing you happen to see -- like a fish heron being heckled by some seagulls, for what reason I have no idea and neither the heron nor the seagulls thought it worth the time or trouble to give me even a hint as to the reason for the altercation. The heron took the skydives with a certain stoic resignation and finally decided enough is enough, unfolded its wingspan and flapped away, followed by a small contingent of seagull hecklers.

Meanwhile, the morning sun played colors upon the clouds and blackbirds were singing their hearts' joy at being alive this brief yet eternal moment.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ah, The Smell of Snark on a Summer Morning...

Well, dear hearts, we just got back from a beautiful place in the Happy Little Kingdom where we flaked out for a week under very primitive conditions (ie, no Internet connections). Therefore, I was reduced to actually having to read printed newspapers...

They have a saying in Danish, "When it rains on the priest, it drips on the deacon." Anyway it applies on several levels with the Danish involvement with the Arrogant wars of aggression.

First, a handful of retired Danish ambassadors have gone public and said that the Danish foreign policy since 2001 has sucked in that it has left the traditional policy of seeking non-violent solutions to international disagreement and gone on a policy to match that of the Great Codpiece.

The Prime Minister here, of course, puked green that people with such close connections to the gov't should say something reality based.

Other than that, in an echo I suppose of Arrogant incompetence, in appears that the Danish commander in Afghanistan asked for transport helicopters and airplanes to help move his troops around in the Helman province where the Danes are stationed along with the Brits. The gov't, of course, sent 4 Fenec helicopters, which can only seat one passenger other than the pilot. After armor plate was put on the machines, the passenger can't weigh more than 75 kg.

The point is, the United State of Arrogance does not have exclusive rights on bullshit and incompetence.