American Idyll

yes, the river knows

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Only Those Who Will Risk Going Too Far

Schubert: Symphony No. 8 (unfinished)

Only those
who will risk
going too far
can possibly
find out
how far
one can go.

--T.S. Eliot


Saturday, October 15, 2016

No Less Than The Trees And The Stars

Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own 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 cynical 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 dark 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 in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

--Max Ehrmann

Pau Casals: Bach ~~ Six Cello Suites

Sunday, October 09, 2016

I Really Love To Watch Them Roll

John Lennon: Watching the Wheels

people say i'm lazy
dreaming my life away
well they give me
all kinds of advice
designed to enlighten me
when i tell them
that i'm doing fine
watching shadows
on the wall
don't you miss
the big time boy,
you're no longer
on the ball?

i'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
i really love to watch them roll
no longer riding on the merry-go-round
i just had to let it go

--john lennon

John Lennon: Watching the Wheels (acoustic)

Friday, October 07, 2016

Throw My Ticket Out The Window

Gillian Welch / David Rawlings: Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You

You never know
what people
are capable of,
you have to wait,
give it time,
it's time that rules,
time is our
gambling partner
on the other side
of the table
and it holds
all the cards
of the deck
in its hand,
we have to guess
the winning cards
of life, our lives.
--José Saramago

Gillian Welch: (soundcheck) Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie


Monday, October 03, 2016

The Stone That Starts An Avalanche

Grateful Dead: Days Between ...2/28/93

Through Chance,
we are each
a ghost
to all the others,
and our only reality;
through Chance,
the huge hinge
of the world,
and a grain of dust;
the stone that
starts an avalanche,
the pebble whose
concentric circles
widen across the seas.

--Thomas Wolfe


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Not That The Story Need Be Long

Schubert: Symphony No. 5

Let me suggest
a theme for you:
to state to yourself
precisely and completely
what that walk
over the mountains
amounted to for you,
— returning to this essay
again and again,
until you are satisfied
that all that was important
in your experience
is in it.
Give this good reason
to yourself for having
gone over the mountains,
for mankind is ever
going over a mountain.
Don't suppose that
you can tell it precisely
the first dozen times you try, but at 'em again, especially when, after a sufficient pause, you suspect that you are touching the heart or summit of the matter, reiterate your blows there, and account for the mountain to yourself. Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.
--Henry David Thoreau
from a letter to Harrison Blake


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Rattlesnake Will Call You To The Dance

Kate Wolf: Medicine Wheel

It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age
of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch
of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season
of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,
we had everything
before us,
we had nothing before us,
we were all going
direct to Heaven,
we were all going
direct the other way –
in short, the period was
so far like the present period,
that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
--Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities

Kate Wolf: Like a River

Saturday, September 24, 2016

We All Come And Go Unknown

HEJIRA: a journey especially undertaken
to escape from a dangerous or undesirable situation

Joni Mitchell: Hejira


There is a whirlwind in southern Morocco, the aajej, against which the fellahin defend themselves with knives. There is the africo, which has at times reached into the city of Rome. The alm, a fall wind out of Yugoslavia. The arifi, also christened aref or rifi, which scorches with numerous tongues. These are permanent winds that live in the present tense.
There are other, less constant winds that change direction, that can knock down horse and rider and realign themselves anticlockwise. The bist roz leaps into Afghanistan for 170 days--burying villages. There is the hot, dry ghibli from Tunis, which rolls and rolls and produces a nervous condition. The haboob--a Sudan dust storm that dresses in bright yellow walls a thousand meters high and is followed by rain. The harmattan, which blows and eventually drowns itself into the Atlantic. Imbat, a sea breeze in North Africa. Some winds that just sigh towards the sky. Night dust storms that come with the cold. The khamsin, a dust in Egypt from March to May, named after the Arabic word for 'fifty,' blooming for fifty days--the ninth plague of Egypt. The datoo out of Gibraltar, which carries fragrance.
There is also the ------, the secret wind of the desert, whose name was erased by a king after his son died within it. And the nafhat--a blast out of Arabia. The mezzar-ifoullousen--a violent and cold southwesterly known to Berbers as 'that which plucks the fowls.' The beshabar, a black and dry northeasterly out of the Caucasus, 'black wind.' The Samiel from Turkey, 'poison and wind,' used often in battle. As well as the other 'poison winds,' the simoom, of North Africa, and the solano, whose dust plucks off rare petals, causing giddiness.
Other, private winds. Travelling along the ground like a flood. Blasting off paint, throwing down telephone poles, transporting stones and statue heads. The harmattan blows across the Sahara filled with red dust, dust as fire, as flour, entering and coagulating in the locks of rifles. Mariners called this red wind the 'sea of darkness.' Red sand fogs out of the Sahara were deposited as far north as Cornwall and Devon, producing showers of mud so great this was also mistaken for blood. 'Blood rains were widely reported in Portugal and Spain in 1901.'
There are always millions of tons of dust in the air, just as there are millions of cubes of air in the earth and more living flesh in the soil (worms, beetles, underground creatures) than there is grazing and existing on it. Herodotus records the death of various armies engulfed in the simoom who were never seen again. One nation was 'so enraged by this evil wind that they declared war on it and marched out in full battle array, only to be rapidly and completely interred.
--Michael Ondaatje

Joni Mitchell: Hejira...6/15/86

Monday, September 19, 2016

Watching The Moon Roll By

Gordon Lightfoot: The Watchman's Gone

if you find me
feeding daisies
please turn
my face
up to the sky
and leave me be
the moon roll by
whatever i was
you know it was
all because
i've been
on the town
the bullshit down

Gordon Lightfoot: In Concert...1972

Monday, September 12, 2016

Something Radiates

Counting Crows: Round Here

'round here
she's always
on my mind
'round here
(hey man)
i got lots of time
'round here
we're never
sent to bed early
and nobody
makes us wait
'round here
we stay up
very very
very very late

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Don't Ask Me If He'll Show

My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories.
I remember a time of chaos, ruined dreams, this wasted land.
But most of all, I remember the road warrior, the man we called Max.
To understand who he was we have to go back to the other time,
when the world was powered by the black fuel and the desert sprouted great cities of pipe and steel — gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all. Without fuel they were nothing. They'd built a house of straw. The thundering machines sputtered and stopped. Their leaders talked and talked and talked, but nothing could stem the avalanche. Their world crumbled. Cities exploded — a whirlwind of looting, a firestorm of fear. Men began to feed on men.
On the roads it was a white-line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to scavenge, brutal enough to pillage would survive. The gangs took over the highways, ready to wage war for a tank of juice, and in this maelstrom of decay ordinary men were battered and smashed — men like Max, the warrior Max. In the roar of an engine, he lost everything and became a shell of a man, a burnt-out desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past, a man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again.
--The Road Warrior
opening narration

Jackson Browne: Sing My Songs To Me ~~ For Everyman

This you know: the years travel fast, and time after time I done the tell. But this ain't onebody's tell. It's the tell of us all, and you've gotta listen and to 'member, 'cause what you hears today you gotta tell the newborn tomorrow. I's lookin' behind us now into history back. I sees those of us who got the luck and started the haul for home, and I 'members how it led us here and how we was heartful 'cause we seen what there once was. One look and we knewed we'd got it straight. Those what had gone before had the knowin' and the doin' of things beyond our reckonin' — even beyond our dreamin'. Time counts and keeps countin', and we knows now: finding the trick of what's been and lost ain't no easy ride, but that's our trek. We gotta travel it, and there ain't nobody knows where it's gonna lead. Still in all, every night we does the tell so that we 'member who we was and where we came from. But most of all we 'members the man who finded us, him that came a-salvage. And we lights the city, not just for him, but for all of them that are still out there. 'Cause we knows there'll come a night when they sees the distant light and they'll be comin' home.
--Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

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