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Sport climber
Oct 13, 2013 - 04:10pm PT
"And that which should accompany old age,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have, but in their stead
Curses, not loud but deep, mouth-honour, breath
Which the poor heart would fain deny and dare not."
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 13, 2013 - 06:30pm PT
Lyrics to Ballad Of Jack Frost :
Jack Frost came to town
Jack Frost took my girl away
He laid her in the ground
Tipped his hat and he was on his way
He's sure to take your loved one away
He roams from town to town
He wears a smile upon his face
Although his belly is fat
He's well respected for his charm and grace
He'll only lead your loved one away
He'll only take your pleasure away
Don't let him take your loved one away

--The Triffids

Ah, the breath of life!

Move that air, baby!

Sport climber
Oct 14, 2013 - 04:32pm PT
Arvo Pärt - Spiegel Im Spiegel
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 16, 2013 - 01:08pm PT
That vintage reel is taken on Market Street in San Francisco, just a few days prior to the big 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

Born Under Punches
Lyrics by David Byrne

"Take a look at these hands.
Take a look at these hands.
The hand speaks. The hand of a government man.
Well I'm a tumbler. Born under punches.
I'm so thin.

All I want is to breathe. I'm too thin.
Won't you breath with me?
Find a little space, so we move in-between. In-between it.
And keep one step ahead, of yourself.

Don't you miss it, don't you miss it.
Some 'a you people just about missed it! Last time to make plans!
Well I'm a tumbler...
I'm a Government Man."

I'm a temblor. Born thru no fault of my own.
I have cracks in my skin.
Won't you shake with me?--O. Tay

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Oct 16, 2013 - 02:48pm PT
Marlow, what a contrast between the two performances of The Moldau. The City of Prague orchestra is beautiful, with rhythm and tempo while the second, European Chamber Orchestra is dreadful, slow without continuity between the instrumental lines and with a sleeping conductor. A very good example for those who wonder what is the role of a conductor in such performance...

On the topic of poetry, I read this poem night before last at a memorial for Michael Ybarra, a friend, a climber and writer whose works you may have seen from time to time about climbing and extreme sports in the wall street journal. For me this is a touching poem.

by Mary Oliver

just now
moved through my heart
like the thinnest of blades
as that red-tail pumped
once with its great wings
and flew above the gray, cracked
rock wall.
It wasn't
about the bird, it was
something about the way
stone stays
mute and put, whatever
goes flashing by.
when I sit like this, quiet,
all the dreams of my blood
and all outrageous divisions of time
seem ready to leave,
to slide out of me.
Then, I imagine, I would never move.
By now
the hawk has flown five miles
at least,
dazzling whoever else has happened
to look up.
I was dazzled. But that
wasn't the knife.
It was the sheer, dense wall
of blind stone
without a pinch of hope
or a single unfulfilled desire
sponging up and reflecting,
so brilliantly,
as it has for centuries,
the sun's fire.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Oct 16, 2013 - 03:04pm PT
Two items:
Check out this beautiful artist Christine Sun Kim:

A fitting tribute to the great writer Albert Camus:

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 21, 2013 - 12:42am PT
I SAID, "I really like colorful sound."


I dream an inescapable dream
in which I take away from the country
the bridges and roads, the fences, the strung wires,
ourselves, all we have built and dug and hollowed out,
our flocks and herds, our droves of machines.
Construction of Trinity Dam, world's tallest earth-filled dam.  All yo...
Construction of Trinity Dam, world's tallest earth-filled dam. All you steelheads and salmon, kiss man's prideful butt.
Credit: mouse from merced

I restore then the wide-branching trees.
I see growing over the land and shading it
the great trunks and crowns of the first forest.
I am aware of the rattling of their branches,
the lichened channels of their bark, the saps
of the ground flowing upward to their darkness.
Like the afterimage of a light that only by not
looking can be seen. I glimpse the country as it was.
All its beings belong wholly to it. They flourish
in dying as in being born. It is the life of its deaths.
Blame it on cats.  I do.
Blame it on cats. I do.
Credit: mouse from merced

I must end, always, by replacing
our beginning there, ourselves and our blades,
the flowing in of history, putting back what I took away,
trying always with the same pain of foreknowledge
to build all that we have built, but destroy nothing.
Stihl your hearts.  Resist BS.
Stihl your hearts. Resist BS.
Credit: mouse from merced

My hands weakening, I feel on all sides blindness
growing in the land on its peering bulbous stalks.
I see that my mind is not good enough.
I see that I am eager to own the earth and to own men.
I find in my mouth a bitter taste of money,
a gaping syllable I can neither swallow nor spit out.
I see all that we have ruined in order to have, all
that was owned for a lifetime to be destroyed forever.

Where are the sleeps that escape such dreams?

--Wendell Berry

Ospreys nesting where it's "safe."
Ospreys nesting where it's "safe."
Credit: mouse from merced


Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Oct 21, 2013 - 01:14am PT
Please oh please sweet lord, save me.
Get me off this rock, and then you'll see!
Never will I climb so high, a ropeless length to touch the sky
Never on this rock will you find me.

Now I'm on the ground, I hope dear lord
You understand that when it's flat I'm bored!
I see the steep, can't help myself, and climb that ledge to another shelf,
And then I pray again to you my lord.

-NutAgain! before bedtime on 10/20/2013

Sport climber
Oct 21, 2013 - 03:18pm PT

Rose Et Noire - Le vin des amants (Charles Baudelaire)

Sport climber
Oct 22, 2013 - 02:42pm PT
"It grew colder and the night lay long before him. He kept moving, following in the darkness the naked chimes of rock blown bare of snow. The stars burned with a lidless fixity and they drew nearer in the night until toward dawn he was stumbling among the whinstones of the uttermost ridge to heaven, a barren range of rock so enfolded in that gaudy house that stars lay awash at his feet and migratory spalls of burning matter crossed constantly about him on their chartless reckonings. In the predawn light he made his way out upon the premontory and there received first of any creature in that country the warmth of the sun's ascending."

That's rigth, Mouse. Cormac McCarthy's BM.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 22, 2013 - 06:31pm PT
Pink and Black--Wine Lovers
par Doh! BeLayer

Today space is magnificent!
Without bridle or bit or spurs
Let us ride away on wine
To a divine, fairy-like heaven!
Like two angels who are tortured
By a relentless delirium,
Through the crystal blue of the morning!
Let us follow the far mirage
Gently balanced upon the wings
Of the intelligent whirlwind,
In a similar ecstasy,
My sister, floating side by side,
We'll flee without ever stopping
To the paradise of my dreams!

"Ahhhh, Goooo-mez!"--Morticia, in ecstasy

Marlow, that last post of yours is reminiscent of Blood Meridian by Cormac M, somehow---just trusting to memory.

Sport climber
Oct 24, 2013 - 05:24pm PT

"He got his blankets and spread them in the hay and he was sitting eating sardines out of a tin and watching the rain when a yellow dog rounded the side of the building and entered through the open door and stopped. It looked first at the horse. Then it swung its head and looked at him. It was an old dog gone gray about the muzzle and it was horribly crippled in its hindquarters and its head was askew someway on its body and it moved grotesquely. An arthritic and illjoined thing that crabbed sideways and sniffed at the floor to pick up the man’s scent and then raised its head and nudged the air with its nose and tried to sort him from the shadows with its milky half blind eyes.

Billy set the sardines carefully beside him. He could smell the thing in the damp. It stood there inside the door with the rain falling in the weeds and gravel behind it and it was wet and wretched and so scarred and broken that it might have been patched up out of parts of dogs by demented vivisectionists. It stood and then it shook itself in its grotesque fashion and hobbled moaning to the far corner of the room where it looked back and then turned three times and lay down.

He wiped the blade of the knife on his breeches leg and laid the knife across the tin and looked about. He pried a loose clod of mud from the wall and threw it. The dog made a strange moaning sound but it did not move.
Git, he shouted.
The dog moaned, it lay as before.
He swore softly and rose to his feet and cast about for a weapon. The horse looked at him and it looked at the dog. He crossed the room and went out in the rain and walked around the side of the building. When he came back he had in his fist a threefoot length of waterpipe and with it he advanced upon the dog. Go on, he shouted. Git.

The dog rose moaning and slouched away down the wall and limped out into the yard. When he turned to go back to his blankets it slank past him into the building again. He turned and ran at it with the pipe and it scrabbled away.

He followed it. Outside it had stopped at the edge of the road and it stood in the rain looking back. It had perhaps once been a hunting dog, perhaps left for dead in the mountains or by some highwayside. Repository of ten thousand indignities and the harbringer of God knew what. He bent and clawed up a handful of smallrocks from the gravel apron and slung them. The dog raised its misshapen head and howled weirdly. He advanced upon it and it set off up the road. He ran after it and threw more rocks and shouted at it and he slung the length of pipe. It went clanging and skittering up the road behind the dog and the dog howled again and began to run, hobbling brokenly on its twisted legs with the strange head agoggle on its neck. As it went it raised its mouth sideways and howled again with a terrible sound. Something not of this earth. As if some awful composite of grief had broke through from the preterite world. It tottered away up the road in the rain on its stricken legs and as it went it howled again and again in its heart’s despair until it was gone from sight and all sound in the night’s onset.

He woke in the white light of the desert noon and sat up in the ranksmelling blankets. The shadow of the bare wood windowsash stenciled onto the opposite wall began to pale and fade as he watched. As if a cloud were passing over the sun. He kicked out of the blankets and pulled on his boots and his hat and rose and walked out. The road was a pale gray in the light and the light was drawing away along the edges of the world. Small birds had wakened in the roadside desert bracken and begun to chitter and to flit about and out on the blacktop bands of tarantulas that had been crossing the road in the dark like landcrabs stood frozen at their articulations, arch as marionettes, testing with their measured octave tread the sudden jointed shadows of themselves beneath them.

He looked out down the road and he looked toward the fading light. Darkening shapes of cloud all along the northern rim. It had ceased raining in the night and a broken rainbow or watergall stood out on the desert in a dim neon bow and he looked again at the road which lay as before yet more dark and darkening still where it ran on to the east and where there was no sun and there was no dawn and when he looked again toward the north the light was drawing away faster and that noon in which he’d woke was now become an alien dusk and now an alien dark and the birds that flew had lighted and all had hushed once again in the bracken by the road.

He walked out. A cold wind was coming down off the mountains. It was shearing off the western slopes of the continent where the summer snow lay above the timberline and it was crossing through the high fir forests and among the poles of the aspens and it was sweeping over the desert plain below. It had ceased raining in the night and he walked out on the road and called for the dog. He called and called. Standing in that inexplicable darkness. Where there was no sound anywhere save only the wind. After a while he sat in the road. He took off his hat and placed it on the tarmac before him and he bowed his head and held his face in his hands and wept. He sat there for a long time and after a while the east did gray and after a while the right and godmade sun did rise, once again, for all and without distinction."

CMC, TC, p. 423-425
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 25, 2013 - 02:51am PT

Meanwhile, back at the crossing...

Credit: mouse from merced
Our Father, who art in heaven, hollow be thy log and thy dog, in the Sierra Madre as it is in heaven. Give us this day our ration of meat and forget how we have to screw one another to get it. It's all on YOU, dude.

Sport climber
Oct 25, 2013 - 12:43pm PT

"No, said Tobin. The gifts of the Almighty are weighed and parceled out in a scale peculiar to himself. It’s no fair accountin and I dont doubt but what he’d be the first to admit it and you put the query to him boldface.


The Almighty, the Almighty. The expriest shook his head. He glanced across the fire toward the judge. That great hairless thing. You wouldnt think to look at him that he could outdance the devil himself now would ye? God the man is a dancer, you’ll not take that away from him. And fiddle. He’s the greatest fiddler I ever heard and that’s an end on it. The greatest. He can cut a trail, shoot a rifle, ride a horse, track a deer. He’s been all over the world. Him and the governor they sat up till breakfast and it was Paris this and London that in five languages, you’d have give something to of heard them. The governor’s a learned man himself he is, but the judge . . .

The expriest shook his head. Oh it may be the Lord’s way of showin how little store he sets by the learned. Whatever could it mean to one who knows all? He’s an uncommon love for the common man and godly wisdom resides in the least of things so that it may well be that the voice of the Almighty speaks most profoundly in such beings as lives in silence themselves.

He watched the kid.
For let it go how it will, he said, God speaks in the least of creatures.

The kid thought him to mean birds or things that crawl but the expriest, watching, his head slightly cocked, said: No man is give leave of that voice.

The kid spat into the fire and bent to his work.
I aint heard no voice, he said.
When it stops, said Tobin, you’ll know you’ve heard it all your life.
Is that right?
The kid turned the leather in his lap. The expriest watched him.
At night, said Tobin, when the horses are grazing and the company is asleep, who hears them grazing?
Dont nobody hear them if they’re asleep.
Aye. And if they cease their grazing who is it that wakes?
Every man.
Aye, said the expriest. Every man.
The kid looked up. And the judge? Does the voice speak to him?
The judge, said Tobin. He didn’t answer.


In the afternoon he sat in the compound breaking ore samples with a hammer, the feldspar rich in red oxide of copper and native nuggets in whose organic lobations he purported to read news of the earth's origins, holding an extemporary lecture in geology to a small gathering who nodded and spat. A few would quote him scripture to confound his ordering up of eons out of the ancient chaos and other apostate supposings, the judge smiled.

Books lie, he said.

God dont lie.

No, said the judge. He does not. And these are his words.
He held up a chunk of rock.
He speaks in stones and trees, the bones of things.

The squatters in their rags nodded among themselves and were soon reckoning him correct, this man of learning, in all his speculations, and this the judge encoraged until they were right proselytes of the new order whereupon he laughed at them for fools.


Whatever exists, he said. Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.

He looked about at the dark forest in which they were bivouacked. He nodded toward the specimens he’d collected. These anonymous creatures, he said, may seem little or nothing in the world. Yet the smallest crumb can devour us. Any smallest thing beneath yon rock out of men’s knowing. Only nature can enslave man and only when the existence of each last entity is routed out and made to stand naked before him will be properly suzerain of the earth.

What’s a suzerain?

A keeper. A keeper or overlord.

Why not say keeper then?

Because he is a special kind of keeper. A suzerain rules even where there are other rulers. His authority countermands local judgements.

Toadvine spat.

The judge placed his hands on the ground. He looked at his inquisitor. This is my claim, he said. And yet everywhere upon it are pockets of autonomous life. Autonomous. In order for it to be mine nothing must be permitted to occur upon it save by my dispensation."


Sport climber
Oct 25, 2013 - 07:17pm PT
Credit: Allen Matthews
Hadrian's Tomb, Roma

Sport climber
Oct 26, 2013 - 03:33am PT

Seamus Heaney's last poem In a Field

In a Field

And there I was in the middle of a field,

The furrows once called "scores' still with their gloss,

The tractor with its hoisted plough just gone

Snarling at an unexpected speed

Out on the road. Last of the jobs,

The windings had been ploughed, furrows turned

Three ply or four round each of the four sides

Of the breathing land, to mark it off

And out. Within that boundary now

Step the fleshy earth and follow

The long healed footprints of one who arrived

From nowhere, unfamiliar and de-mobbed,

In buttoned khaki and buffed army boots,

Bruising the turned-up acres of our back field

To stumble from the windings' magic ring

And take me by a hand to lead me back

Through the same old gate into the yard

Where everyone has suddenly appeared,

All standing waiting.

As the Team's Head Brass, by Edward Thomas

As the team's head-brass flashed out on the turn

The lovers disappeared into the wood.

I sat among the boughs of the fallen elm

That strewed an angle of the fallow, and

Watched the plough narrowing a yellow square

Of charlock. Every time the horses turned

Instead of treading me down, the ploughman leaned

Upon the handles to say or ask a word,

About the weather, next about the war.

Scraping the share he faced towards the wood,

And screwed along the furrow till the brass flashed

Once more.

The blizzard felled the elm whose crest

I sat in, by a woodpecker's round hole,

The ploughman said. 'When will they take it away?'

'When the war's over.' So the talk began –

One minute and an interval of ten,

A minute more and the same interval.

'Have you been out?' 'No.' 'And don't want to, perhaps?'

'If I could only come back again, I should.

I could spare an arm. I shouldn't want to lose

A leg. If I should lose my head, why, so,

I should want nothing more. . . . Have many gone

From here?' 'Yes.' 'Many lost?' 'Yes: a good few.

Only two teams work on the farm this year.

One of my mates is dead. The second day

In France they killed him. It was back in March,

The very night of the blizzard, too. Now if

He had stayed here we should have moved the tree.'

'And I should not have sat here. Everything

Would have been different. For it would have been

Another world.' 'Ay, and a better, though

If we could see all all might seem good.' Then

The lovers came out of the wood again:

The horses started and for the last time

I watched the clods crumble and topple over

After the ploughshare and the stumbling team.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Oct 26, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
I climb the route to Cold Mountain,
The route to Cold Mountain that never ends.
The Valley is long and strewn with stones;
The stream is broad and filled with thick grass.
The slabs are slippery though no rain has fallen;
Piñons sigh but it isn't the wind.
Who can break from the snares of the world
And stand with me among the white clouds?


Sport climber
Oct 29, 2013 - 04:11pm PT

Dame Janet Baker - Strauss' Morgen

Sport climber
Oct 29, 2013 - 04:28pm PT

Wilfred Owen - Anthem for Doomed Youth

Sport climber
Oct 31, 2013 - 04:56pm PT
"Remember when you were young,
You shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes,
Like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire
Of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon,
You cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night,
And exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome
With random precision,
Rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
Come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!"
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