American Idyll

yes, the river knows

Monday, April 17, 2017

There Is A Saying Of The Paiutes

Kate Wolf: Brother Warrior

There is a saying
of the Paiutes
that no man
should go far
in the desert
who cannot sleep in
the shade of his arrows,
but one must know
the desert as well
as the Paiutes
to understand it.
In all that country,
moon-white and misty blue,
burnt red and fading ochre,
naked to the sky,
it is possible for a man
to travel far
without suffering much
if only he keeps
his head in cover;
two hands' breadth of shadow between him and the smiting sun.
So if he has a quiver full of feathered arrows, winged with three slips of eagle feathers, he sticks them in the sand by their points, cloudy points of obsidian flaked at the edges, and lies down with his head in the shadow. This is mere hunter's craft, but the saying goes deeper.
When a man goes into the big wilderness, it is to meet perils of many things, against which, if he carries it not in himself, there is no defense: against death and perversions and terrors of madness, the shade of his arrows.
Knowing all that the land does to humans, one would go fearsomely except that the chiefest of its operations is to rob one finally of all fear.
--Mary Austin

Swimming In A Bottomless Sea

Miles Davis: If I Were a Bell

We have been led to imagine
all sorts of things
infinitely more marvelous
than the imagining of poets
and dreamers of the past.
It shows that the imagination
of nature is far, far greater
than the imagination of man.
For instance, how much
more remarkable it is
for us all to be stuck--
half of us upside down--
by a mysterious attraction,
to a spinning ball that
has been swinging in space
for billions of years,
than to be carried on
the back of an elephant
supported on a tortoise
swimming in a bottomless sea.
--Richard Feynman **

fifteen minutes with **

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Down The Glen One Easter Morn

as down the glen one Easter morn
to a city fair rode I
there armed lines of marching men
in squadrons passed me by
no pipe did hum no battle drum
did sound its loud tattoo
but the Angelus Bell
o'er the Liffey's swell
rang out in the foggy dew

Clancy Brothers: Foggy Dew / Drums Under The Window / Easter 1916

the bravest fell
and the Requiem bell
rang mournfully and clear
for those who died
that Eastertide
in the springing of the year
while the world did gaze
in deep amaze
at those fearless men
but few
who bore the fight
that freedom's light
might shine through
the foggy dew

back through the glen
I rode again
and my heart
with grief was sore
for I parted then
with valiant men
whom I never shall see more
but to and fro
in my dreams I go
and I kneel and pray for you
for slavery fled
o you rebel dead
when you fell
in the foggy dew

Arcady / Frances Black: The Bold Fenian Men

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Nod to The Gods

Jake Trout and the Flounders: Time to Let It Fly

Roy: What Is The Golf Swing, by Roy McAvoy?
Well, I tend to think of the golf swing as a poem.
Romeo: Ooh, he's doing that poetry thing again.
Roy: The critical opening phrase of this poem will always be the grip.
The hands unite to form a single unit by the simple overlap of the little finger.
Molly: Right.
Roy: Lowly and slowly, the clubhead is led back, pulled into position not by the hands, but by the body, which turns away from the target, shifting weight to the right side without shifting balance. Tempo is everything; perfection unobtainable as the body coils down at the top of the swing. There's a slight hesitation. A little nod to the gods...
Molly: A, a nod to the gods?
Roy: Yeah, to the gods. That he is fallible. That perfection is unobtainable. And now the weight begins shifting back to the left pulled by the powers inside the earth, it's alive, this swing! A living sculpture and down through contact, always down, striking the ball crisply, with character. A tuning fork goes off in your loins. Such a pure feeling is the well-struck golf shot.
And then the follow through to finish. Always on line. The reverse C of the Golden Bear! The steel workers' power and brawn of Carl Sandburg's Arnold Palmer!
Romeo: Ohh, he's doing that Arnold Palmer thing.
Roy: And then the unfinished symphony of Roy McAvoy.
Molly: What's unfinished?
Roy: Well, I have a short follow-through. It has an unfinished look...
Molly: Why?
Roy: Well, some say it's the easiest way to play in the winds of west Texas...some say it's because I never finish anything in my life. You can decide. But the point is...every finishing position is unique. That's what the golf swing's about. It's about gaining control of your life and...letting go at the same time.
Molly: Jeez Louise.
Roy: There's only one other acceptable theory about how to hit the ball.
Molly: Oh, boy, well, I'm afraid to ask. What is it?
Roy: Grip it and rip it.
--Tin Cup

If you drink, don't drive.
Don't even putt.
--Dean Martin

Thursday, April 06, 2017

And The Wind Carried Them Away

Ramblin' Jack Elliott: Buffalo Skinner

Thou sawest
till that a stone
was cut out
without hands,
which smote the image
upon his feet
that were of iron and clay,
and brake them to pieces.
Then was the iron,
the clay, the brass,
the silver, and the gold,
broken to pieces together,
and became like the chaff
of the summer threshingfloors;
and the wind
carried them away,
that no place
was found for them:
and the stone
that smote the image
became a great mountain,
and filled the whole earth.
--Daniel 2:34-35

Ramblin' Jack Elliott: 912 Greens **

** did you ever stand and shiver
just because you were looking at a river?

Saturday, April 01, 2017

April Foolishness

Frank Sinatra: Fools Rush In

Peter Tosh: Fools Die (For Want of Wisdom)

All of us,
if we are of
reflective habit,
like and admire men
whose fundamental beliefs
differ radically
from our own.
But when a candidate
for public office
faces the voters
he does not face
men of sense;
he faces a mob of men
whose chief distinguishing
mark is the fact that
they are quite incapable
of weighing ideas, or even
of comprehending any
save the most elemental —
men whose whole thinking
is done in terms of emotion,
and whose dominant emotion
is dread of what they cannot understand.
So confronted, the candidate must either
bark with the pack or count himself lost.
All the odds are on
the man who is, intrinsically,
the most devious and mediocre —
the man who can most adeptly
disperse the notion
that his mind is a virtual vacuum.
The Presidency tends, year by year,
to go to such men.
As democracy is perfected,
the office represents,
more and more closely,
the inner soul of the people.
We move toward a lofty ideal.
On some great and glorious day
the plain folks of the land
will reach their heart's desire at last,
and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
--H.L. Mencken


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Earth Belongs To No One

Wall of Voodoo: Call of the West

The first man who,
having fenced off
a plot of land,
thought of saying,
This is mine
and found people
simple enough to
believe him
was the real founder
of civil society.
How many crimes,
wars, murders,
how many miseries
and horrors
might the human race
have been spared
by the one who,
upon pulling up the stakes
or filling in the ditch,
had shouted to his fellow men:
Beware of listening
to this imposter.
You are lost if you forget
the fruits of the earth belong to all
and that the earth belongs to no one.

--Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Discourse on Inequality

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Last Train Home

Pat Metheny: Last Train Home

The crucified planet Earth,
should it find a voice
and a sense of irony,
might now well say
of our abuse of it,
Forgive them, Father,
They know not what they do.

The irony would be
that we know what
we are doing.

When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
It is done.
People did not like it here.

--Kurt Vonnegut
A Man Without a Country

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Poking Up Over The Grocery Store


Laurie Anderson: Sharkey's Day


at the end

of the movie

they know that

they have to

find each other

but they ride off

in opposite directions

Laurie Anderson / William Burroughs: Sharkey's Night


Monday, March 20, 2017

But The Season Is Advancing

The first stars tremble as if shimmering in green water. Hours must pass before their glimmer hardens into the frozen glitter of diamonds. I shall have a long wait before I witness the soundless frolic of the shooting stars. In the profound darkness of certain nights I have seen the sky streaked with so many trailing sparks that it seemed to me a great gale must be blowing through the outer heavens. **

When I opened my eyes
I saw nothing but
the pool of nocturnal sky,
for I was lying on my back
with outstretched arms,
face to face with
that hatchery of stars.
Only half awake,
still unaware that
those depths were sky,
having no roof between
those depths and me,
no branches to screen them,
no root to cling to,
I was seized with vertigo
and felt myself
as if flung forth
and plunging downward
like a diver. **

WAVELIGHT from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

He is
not admiring
the colors
of the earth
and sky,
the marks
of the wind
on the sea,
the gilded clouds
of twilight;
they are
the objects
of his meditation. **

I know that mood. Three years of the desert taught it to me.
Something in one’s heart takes fright, not at the thought of growing old, not at feeling one’s youth used up in this mineral universe, but at the thought that far away the whole world is aging. The trees have brought forth their fruit; the grain has ripened in the fields; the women have bloomed in their loveliness. But the season is advancing and one must make haste; but the season is advancing and still one cannot leave; but the season is advancing ... and other men will glean the harvest.

--Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Wind, Sand and Stars **

Friday, March 17, 2017

Halfway There When The Rain Came Down

Arcady: The Rocks of Bawn

Van Morrison: Shenandoah

When I come out
on the road
of a morning,
when I have had
a night's sleep
and perhaps a breakfast,
and the sun lights a hill
on the distance,
a hill I know
I shall walk across
an hour or two thence,
and it is green
and silken to my eye,
and the clouds
have begun their slow,
fat rolling journey
across the sky,
no land in the world
can inspire such love
in a common man.
--Frank Delaney

Mundy / Sharon Shannon: Galway Girl

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