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Sport climber
Jun 16, 2013 - 04:47pm PT
The sepulturero said that it was "the nature of his profession that his experience with death should be greater than for most and he said that while it was true that time heals bereavement it does so only at the cost of the slow extinction of those loved ones from the heartís memory which is the sole place of their abode then and now. Faces fade, voices dim. Seize them back, whispered the sepulturero. Speak with them. Call their names. Do this and do not let sorrow die for it is the sweetening of every gift."

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Jun 21, 2013 - 04:02pm PT
Wonderful, Anastasia.

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Jun 21, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
For the solstice, our anniversary, and for my father-in-law who always celebrated and noted it with my wife:

One Hundred White-sided Dolphins on a Summer Day


black, slick,
galloping in the pitch
of the waves, in the pearly

fields of the sea,
they leap toward us,
they rise, sparkling, and vanish, and rise sparkling,
they breathe little clouds of mist, they lift perpetual smile,

they slap their tails on the waves, grandmothers and grandfathers
enjoying the old jokes,
they circle around us,
they swim with us -


a hundred white-sided dolphins
on a summer day,
each one, as God himself
could not appear more acceptable

a hundred times,
in a body blue and black threading through
the sea foam,
and lifting himself up from the opened

tents of the waves on his fishtail,
to look
with the moon of his eye
into my heart,


and find there
pure, sudden, steep, sharp, painful
that falls -

I don't know - either
unbearable tons
or the pale, bearable hand
of salvation

on my neck,
lifting me
from the boat's plain plank seat
into the world's


unspeakable kindness.
It is my sixty-third summer on earth
and, for a moment, I have almost vanished
into the body of the dolphin,

into the moon-eye of God,
into the white fan that lies at the bottom of the sea
with everything
that ever was, or ever will be,

supple, wild, rising on flank or fishtail -
singing or whistling or breathing damply through blowhole
at top of head. Then, in our little boat, the dolphins suddenly gone,
we sailed on through the brisk, cheerful day.

~ Mary Oliver ~

(What Do We Know?)

Sport climber
Jun 21, 2013 - 04:32pm PT
"Going to Sleep"

Now that I am wearied of the day,
I will let the friendly, starry night
greet all my ardent desires
like a sleepy child.
Hands, stop all your work.
Brow, forget all your thinking.
All my senses now
yearn to sink into slumber.
And my unfettered soul
wishes to soar up freely
into night's magic sphere
to live there deeply and thousandfold.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - Vier Letzte Lieder - Beim Schlafengehen (Richard Strauss)

Trad climber
Jun 21, 2013 - 04:44pm PT
So shall all the couples three
Ever true in loving be;
With this field-dew consecrate,
Every fairy take his gait;
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace, with sweet peace;
And the owner of it blest
Ever shall in safety rest.
Trip away; make no stay;
Meet me all by break of day.

Midsummer Night's Dream
photo not found
Missing photo ID#307833
Saw pictured production of the play a week ago. Log Lady from Twin Peaks plays a Beatnik director as a load of Catholic school kids and staff escape to the forest in 1963.

Sport climber
Jun 23, 2013 - 04:56pm PT
Through the Woods One Summer Night...

Rolf WikstrŲm - FŚr Jag Lšmna NŚgra Blommor -
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jun 25, 2013 - 03:01am PT

Why pretend?
My heart is no longer on fire.
My passion, which once provided a serviceable fire to heat your cockles, has dwindled to embers.

A pressing cold now squeezes me.
I feel condensed, like ice gone awry.
I am at times a peninsula, surrounded by warm seas and watered by the monsoon of your concern, if not love.
Other times I am a glacier, connected to nothing, emanating from nothing, a gravitational freak.
I am oh-so-heavy, slick-as-snot, ultimately connected to nothing at all, just lying here, pressing my coldness against you.
I am rain and snow and ultimately, again, sublimely myself.
And next time the fire.
And again with more cold.
And temper me with more flame.
Then freeze my thoughts.
Then warm my passion.
Then make lemonade with the bits of my soul.
A non-stop cycle of fire and water.
Weight and watch.
Un-weight and feel.

So itís not emotion Iím trying to describe, but cold hard facts in reaction to your stimulus.
Or is this all to scientific?
Then Iíll just say, ďI donít love you now.Ē
Itís not a theory, dearie.
Itís just the facts and Iím weary.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jun 28, 2013 - 12:42pm PT
I'm thinking of Fletcher and his gang. I can't help myself.

Pancakes for Breakfast Redux

We had pancakes yesterday
We have pancakes every day
Dad just donít care what I say
I gotta have it his way

Sourdough this and buckwheat that
I just feed mine to the cat

I just fear something awful
Will he try to make a waffle?

Donít think Iím little dope
Iíd just like some cantaloupe


(apologies to Tommy DePaola)

Sport climber
Jun 28, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
Sofia Karlsson & Odd Nordstoga - Jag všntar... (I'm waiting...). Music/poetry from 1:51.

The poet: Dan Andersson from Finnskogen.

Sport climber
Jun 28, 2013 - 02:25pm PT
Strange Fruit

"I had always assumed that Billie Holiday composed the music and lyrics to "Strange Fruit". She did not. The song began life as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, a schoolteacher who was living in the Bronx and teaching English at the De Witt Clinton High School. Meeropol was motivated to write the poem after seeing a photograph of two black teenagers, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, who had been lynched in Marion, Indiana on August 7 1930. Their bodies were hanging limply from a tree. The image greatly disturbed him, and his poem opens with the following lines:

Southern trees bear a strange fruit

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root

Black body swinging in the Southern breeze

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Hoping to reach a wider audience, Meeropol set his poem to music, and the song "Strange Fruit" was first performed at a New York City Teachers Union meeting. It created an immediate stir.

According to figures kept by Alabama's Tuskegee Institute, between 1889 and 1940, 3,833 people were lynched in the US - the overwhelming majority of the victims being in the southern states, and black. The brutality of this mob "justice" invariably went unpunished, and when Meeropol was asked, in 1971, why he wrote the song, he replied: "Because I hate lynching and I hate injustice and I hate the people who perpetuate it." Those who heard "Strange Fruit" in the late 30s were shocked, for the true barbarity of southern violence was generally only discussed in black newspapers. To be introduced to such realities by a song was unprecedented, and was considered by many, including leftwing supporters of Meeropol, to be in poor taste.

At this time, 24-year-old Billie Holiday was headlining at a recently opened Greenwich Village nightclub called Cafe Society. It was the only integrated nightclub in New York City, and a place that advertised itself as "the wrong place for the Right people". The manager of the club, Barney Josephson, introduced Billie Holiday to Meeropol and his new song, which had an immediate impact on her. She decided to sing it at Cafe Society, where it was received with perfect, haunting silence. Soon she was closing her shows with the song. It was understood that only when the waiters had stopped serving, and the lights dimmed to a single spotlight, would she begin singing, with her eyes closed. Once she had finished, she would walk off stage and never return to take a bow.

The song was revolutionary - not only because of the explicit nature of the lyrics, but because it effectively reversed the black singer's relationship with a white audience. Traditionally, singers such as Billie Holiday were expected to entertain and to "serve" their audiences. With this song, however, Holiday found a means by which she could demand that the audience stop and listen to her, and she was able to force them to take on board something with which they were not comfortable. She often used the song as a hammer with which to beat what she perceived to be ignorant audiences, and her insistence on singing the song with such gravitas meant that she was not always safe while performing "Strange Fruit". Some members of her audience did not fully appreciate her treating them to this particular song when they had stepped out for the evening to hear "Fine and Mellow" and other cocktail-lounge ditties.

Holiday was keen to record "Strange Fruit" on her label, Columbia, but her producer, John Hammond, was concerned that the song was too political and he refused to allow her to go into the studio with it. But the singer would not back down. In April 1939, she recorded "Strange Fruit" for a specialty label, Commodore Records."
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 2, 2013 - 11:39pm PT
I look out my window watch her as she passes by
I say to myself I'm such a lucky guy
To have a girl like her is a dream come true
And of all the girls in New York she loves me true

It was just my imagination, once again
Running away with me
It was just my imagination
Running away with me

Soon we'll be married and raise a family
Two boys for you, what about two girls for me
I tell you I am just a fellow with a one track mind
Whatever it is I want baby I seek and I shall find

I'll tell ya
It was just my imagination, once again
Running away with me
It was just my imagination
Running away with me

Every night I hope and pray
"Dear lord, hear my plea
Don't ever let another take her love from me
Or I will surely die"

Her love is ecstasy
When her arms enfold me
I hear her tender rhapsody
But in reality, she doesn't even know... me
Credit: mouse from merced
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 10, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
Credit: mouse from merced
Old Friend

What he did for me Iíll never forget
What I did for him was simply a debt

His words rang true way back in the day
His guidance and care helped clear my way

That hard-to-tie knot that he taught me so well
Has saved me and others from going to hell

When I stepped on his rope he chewed me real good
Then he taught me to coil it just like I should

On rappel he looked up cuz he barely looked down
Nor on anyone---ranger, misfit or clown

Our friends were so cool and I was sorry to flee
The Camp 4 I knew back in seventy-three

His mellowness hardened and he soon grew so stern
Finished with climbing, it was carpentryís turn

He lives in the hills not very far away
Iíd stay up there gladly if he said OK

But the days we had then are different by far
We canít have them back by wishing a star

So Iím happy to have the memories I do
For soon thereíll be one where there used to be two

It's better to pay tribute to a live person anyday! We think too much of death. It doesn't think about us at all. Death has few friends, but it's not MY enemy. Fear is my friend, too.

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 10, 2013 - 09:04pm PT

If poems were written subjunctively...


If a clown came out of the woods,

a standard-looking clown with oversized

polka-dot clothes, floppy shoes,

a red, bulbous nose, and you saw him

on the edge of your property,

thereíd be nothing funny about that,

would there? A bear might be preferable,

especially if black and berry-driven.

And if this clown began waving his hands

with those big white gloves

that clowns wear, and you realized

he wanted your attention, had something

apparently urgent to tell you,

would you pivot and run from him,

or stay put, as my friend did, who seemed

to understand here was a clown

who didnít know where he was,

a clown without a context?

What could be sadder, my friend thought,

than a clown in need of a context?

If then the clown said to you

that he was on his way to a kidís

birthday party, his car had broken down,

and he needed a ride, would you give

him one? Or would the connection

between the comic and the appalling,

as it pertained to clowns, be suddenly so clear

that youíd be paralyzed by it?

And if you were the clown, and my friend

hesitated, as he did, would you make

a sad face, and with an enormous finger

wipe away an imaginary tear? How far

would you trust your art? I can tell you

it worked. Most of the guests had gone

when my friend and the clown drove up,

and the family was angry. But the clown

twisted a balloon into the shape of a bird

and gave it to the kid, who smiled,

let it rise to the ceiling. If you were the kid,

the birthday boy, what from then on

would be your relationship with disappointment?

With joy? Whom would you blame or extoll?

--Stephen A. Dunn in New Yorker
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 14, 2013 - 07:55am PT
Credit: mouse from merced
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Have a fine week, seekers!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 22, 2013 - 01:05am PT
Rock 'n' moon, way past noon in late July.  June woulda been better, b...
Rock 'n' moon, way past noon in late July. June woulda been better, but...
Credit: mouse from merced
Little rock.
Big rock.
Both Earthbound,
their many parts been underground.
Now is the time
for each to shine.
They only live so long.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Aug 4, 2013 - 11:04am PT
Let us sink then, you and I, when evening is spread out against the sky.--Jim Donini

Posted in March, 2010, by OUR LEADER.

Take me to your leader please
I'm kneeling on my kneeling knees

I need to have his blessing for
This little project, it's 5.4

May I place a big-ass bolt
No long fall, no sudden jolt

Just raise your hand, I'll do my best
Once I have been Donini blessed

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Aug 27, 2013 - 03:48am PT

Old yip-yipping coyote is saying to me how happy he is to be here

The smelly old tar weed sends me a message telling me I am home

The cobble-rocks rolling under my feet are each surprised by my tread

They will cover my body, perfume my grave, and serenade me later

Much later, I hope

Iíve not done with these up and down cone-shaped wonders

They are unique to themselves in their shapes

While sharing the same angle of repose

I shall repose among them myself when the time comes

Pushing up tumbleweed

Queen Selene will be in the sky half the time

I wonít be able to see her nor delight in her light

But the coyote will let me know she is passing in review

And greeting her cousin cobble-rocks with her silvery kiss

As they cover my worm chamber

Credit: mouse from merced

Trad climber
Aug 30, 2013 - 10:41am PT
My favorite living poet just died. RIP Seamus Heaney. Here's my favorite poem of his where The Troubles and his love for his mother collide.

Two Lorries by Seamus Heaney

It's raining on black coal and warm wet ashes.
There are tyre-marks in the yard, Agnew's old lorry
Has all its cribs down and Agnew the coalman
With his Belfast accent's sweet-talking my mother.
Would she ever go to a film in Magherafelt?
But it's raining and he still has half the load

To deliver farther on. This time the lode
Our coal came from was silk-black, so the ashes
Will be the silkiest white. The Magherafelt
(Via Toomebridge) bus goes by. The half-stripped lorry
With its emptied, folded coal-bags moves my mother:
The tasty ways of a leather-aproned coalman!

And films no less! The conceit of a coalman...
She goes back in and gets out the black lead
And emery paper, this nineteen-forties mother,
All business round her stove, half-wiping ashes
With a backhand from her cheek as the bolted lorry
Gets revved and turned and heads for Magherafelt

And the last delivery. Oh, Magherafelt!
Oh, dream of red plush and a city coalman
As time fastforwards and a different lorry
Groans into shot, up Broad Street, with a payload
That will blow the bus station to dust and ashes...
After that happened, I'd a vision of my mother,

A revenant on the bench where I would meet her
In that cold-floored waiting room in Magherafelt,
Her shopping bags full up with shovelled ashes.
Death walked out past her like a dust-faced coalman
Refolding body-bags, plying his load
Empty upon empty, in a flurry

Of motes and engine-revs, but which lorry
Was it now? Young Agnew's or that other,
Heavier, deadlier one, set to explode
In a time beyond her time in Magherafelt...
So tally bags and sweet-talk darkness, coalman,
Listen to the rain spit in new ashes

As you heft a load of dust that was Magherafelt,
Then reappear from your lorry as my mother's
Dreamboat coalman filmed in silk-white ashes.
The Lisa

Trad climber
Da Bronx, NY
Aug 30, 2013 - 10:48am PT
It is a sad loss for Ireland, and the world of poetry.
I love his translation of Beowulf.

Trad climber
Aug 30, 2013 - 11:55am PT
Here Heaney fashions himself as Orpheus with his new bride Eurydice in the London underground.

ďThe UndergroundĒ Ė Seamus Heaney

There we were in the vaulted tunnel running,
You in your going-away coat speeding ahead
And me, me then like a fleet god gaining
Upon you before you turned to a reed

Or some new white flower japped with crimson
As the coat flapped wild and button after button
Sprang off and fell in a trail
Between the Underground and the Albert Hall.

Honeymooning, moonlighting, late for the Proms,
Our echoes die in that corridor and now
I come as Hansel came on the moonlit stones
Retracing the path back, lifting the buttons

To end up in a draughty lamplit station
After the trains have gone, the wet track
Bared and tensed as I am, all attention
For your step following and damned if I look back.
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