AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

30 September 2018

Shinyribs, "Brokedown Palace"

Sit.

Rackham, Autumn Faerie Dancing on a Spider's Web, 1927


O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou mayst rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

“The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

William Blake

Magic.


Mozart's The Magic Flute premiered on this day in 1791.

Riccardi Muti conducts the Vienna Philharmonic  ...

Telemann, Quartet in G minor TWV 43:g1

Bolette Roed, recorder, Teodoro Baù, viola da gamba, Hager Hanana, cello, Komale Akakpo, hackbrett, and Dagmara Kapczyński, harpsichord ...

29 September 2018

Differently.

Emmylou Harris, "Goodnight Old World"

Emmylou Harris, "Boulder to Birmingham"

Excellent.

Excellent albums ...

Hail.

Norman Blake, "Ginseng Sullivan"



It's sandwich time.

Telemann, Paris Quartet in G major, TWV 43:G4

The Elephant Quartet, featuring Bolette Roed on recorder, perfroms the Légèrement ...

Happy birthday, Boucher.

Boucher, Pan and Syrinx, 1759


François Boucher was born on this day in 1703.

Great.

Pleasant.


If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.

Emmylou Harris, "Not Enough"

28 September 2018

Two.

Still.


Is it not possible that things we have felt with great intensity have an existence independent of our minds; are in fact still in existence?

Virginia Woolf

Excellent.

An excellent album ...

Duane Betts, "Taking Time"

HAPPY FRIDAY!

North.

Traversed.


Reading these stories, it's tempting to think that the arts to be learned are those of tracking, hunting, navigating, skills of survival and escape. Even in the everyday world of the present, an anxiety to survive manifests itself in cars and clothes for far more rugged occasions than those at hand, as though to express some sense of the toughness of things and of readiness to face them. But the real difficulties, the real arts of survival, seem to lie in more subtle realms. There, what's called for is a kind of resilience of the psyche, a readiness to deal with what comes next. These captives lay out in a stark and dramatic way what goes on in every life: the transitions whereby you cease to be who you were. Seldom is it as dramatic, but nevertheless, something of this journey between the near and the far goes on in every life. Sometimes an old photograph, an old friend, an old letter will remind you that you are not who you once were, for the person who dwelt among them, valued this, chose that, wrote thus, no longer exists. Without noticing it you have traversed a great distance; the strange has become familiar and the familiar if not strange at least awkward or uncomfortable, an outgrown garment.

Rebecca Solnit

Magic.


You see, Outsider child Curtis, there is a thing called Woods Magic that protects this wood from the curiosity of the outside world.  It is the thing that separates our kind from yours.  Every being in this forest has the Woods Magic running through their veins.  If one of your kind, an Outsider, was to find his way into these woods -- I think you charmingly refer to it as the "Impassable Wilderness" -- they would find themselves immediately and irretrievably caught in the Periphery Bind, a maze in which every turn is a dead end.  The forest becomes like a hall of mirrors, its image repeated in illusion into the horizon, you see, and at every turn one would find oneself exactly where one had started.  If you were lucky, the woods would spit you out somewhere back to the outside world, though it is just as likely that you would forever be lost, wandering the forest's infinite reflection until you either died or went mad.

Curtis slowly finished crunching the dandelion greens and swallowed them with a loud gulp.

"No, my sweet Curtis," the Governess said, thoughtfully toying with one of the eagle feathers pinned in her hair, "the only way you would have been able to cross the border and travel in these woods would be if you were born of the Magic yourself."

Curtis stared at the Governess, a chill running up his spine.

"Or," she continued, "if you you were accompanied by someone of Woods Magic."

The Dowager Governess looked directly into Curtis's eyes, the steel blue of her irises flashing in the light of the flickering fires, and smiled.

Colin Maloy, from Wildwood

Thank you, Addie.

Antipodean.


shambles this way
antipodean being
come full circle
sparks in darkness
lightning’s eternal return
flipped the ecliptic

Ronald Johnson

27 September 2018

Bruce Springsteen, "Better Days"

Yes, yes.

One.

Ket, Sunflowers in the Garden, 1927


No one knew the name of this day;
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid its face in light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.

The mind of the day draws no attention;
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.

Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.

So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.

John O’Donohue

Bad Co., "Running with the Pack"

Fly.


Don’t worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn’t matter.

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.

This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!

They derive
from a slow and powerful root
that we can’t see.

Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.

Rumi

Zeppelin.

Van Halen, "Hear About It Later"

300th.

Ex-Tiger (of course) and hurler of high-octane racing fuel, Max Scherzer has recorded his 300th strikeout this season ...

Cruises.

John Denver, "Thank God, I'm a Country Boy"

... when the sun's comin' up I got cakes on the griddle.



Thank you, Clayton.

Telemann, Concerto in E minor, TWV 52:e1

Anna Besson, traverse flute, Bolette Roed, recorder, and the Kore Orchestra perform the Presto ...

Rightful.


The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both Congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.

Abraham Lincoln

Wish.


A RIVER

God knows the law of life is death,
and you can feel it in your warbler neck,
your river-quick high stick wrist
at the end of day. But the trophies:
a goldfinch tearing up a pink thistle,
a magpie dipping her wing tips,
in a white cloud, an ouzel barreling
hip-high upstream with a warning.
You wish you had a river. To make
a river, it takes some mountains.
Some rain to watershed. You wish
you had a steady meadow and pink thistles
bobbing at the border for your horizons,
pale robins bouncing their good postures
in the spruce shadows. Instead, the law
of life comes for you like three men
and a car. In your dreams, you win them over
with your dreams: a goldfinch tearing up
a pink thistle. A magpie so slow
she knows how to keep death at bay,
she takes her time with argument
and hides her royal blue in black.
Shy as a blue grouse, nevertheless God
doesn’t forget his green mountains.
You wish you had a river.

John Poch

26 September 2018

Bach, Cello Suite No.1 in G major, BWV 1007

Bolette Roed performs the Prelude on recorder ...

Happy birthday, Eliot.


T.S. Eliot was born on this day in 1888.

The vast accumulations of knowledge—or at least of information—deposited by the nineteenth century have been responsible for an equally vast ignorance. When there is so much to be known, when there are so many fields of knowledge in which the same words are used with different meanings, when every one knows a little about a great many things, it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone to know whether he knows what he is talking about or not. And when we do not know, or when we do not know enough, we tend always to substitute emotions for thoughts.

T.S. Eliot

Excellent.

An excellent album ...

RUSH, "Natural Science"

Act.

We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.

Sirius Black

25 September 2018

Particular.


Gould was equally particular about his seat. In 1953, his father modified a folding bridge chair for him by sawing four inches off the bottom. While typical piano benches are 20 inches off the ground, Gould’s chair was only 14 inches from the ground, which gave him an entirely different physical relationship to the piano—and terrible posture. He traveled everywhere with the chair and it sat at one of his pianos when he was home. Some photos show Gould contentedly sitting on the chair with stuffing exploding from the upholstery. When the cushion finally gave way, Gould continued to use the chair, balancing on a single wooden cross bar.

Apparently, he was less particular about the rest of his furniture, which was reportedly secondhand and unremarkable. Since few photographs exist, his apartment can only be reconstituted in forensic fashion, piecing it together based on those few photographs and some anecdotes. The details of Gould’s living space illuminate his living strategies: how he coped, self-soothed and performed when no one was watching. When he was stuck in Israel using a piano that would not perform well for him, his remedy was to mentally transport himself back to suite 902. He explained: “… I sat in my car in the sand dune and decided to imagine myself back in my living room… and first of all to imagine the living room, which took some doing because I’d been away from it for three months at this point, and I tried to imagine where everything was in the room, then visualize the piano, and… this sounds ridiculously yogistic, I’d never done it before in precisely these terms or anything related to it in terms of precision… but so help me it worked.”

In photos, one room in the apartment looks like an archival storage area with stacks of unprocessed materials, but these piles are the result of a default position: a failure to clean, sort or discard. A photograph of this storage room shows a Grammy used as a paperweight that is half falling off the pile it anchors. His yellow legal pads, strewn throughout the apartment and found after he died, reflect Gould’s sense of interior order. Most of the pads’ contents are obsessive lists. He tracked various functions, maintaining lists related to the stock market, the food he ate, physical symptoms and future plans.

CONNECT

Vigorously.


Thank you, Jake.

Happy birthday, Rothko.

Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1969


Mark Rothko was born on this day in 1903.


The reason for my painting large canvases is that I want to be intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass.  This world of the imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn't something you command. 


Mark Rothko


Simon Schama's Power of Art: Mark Rothko ...


Bach, The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080

Richard Tognetti leads the Australian Chamber Orchestra, performing Contrapunctus 1-4 ...

Happy birthday, Borromini.

Borromini, Perspective Gallery, Palazzo Spada, 1633


Francesco Borromini was born on this day in 1599.

Anything.


Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
      Listen to the DON'TS
      Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT'S
      Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me-
      Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.

Shel Silverstein

Happy birthday, Gould.


Glenn Gould was born on this day in 1932.

The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but rather the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.

Glenn Gould

Bach, The Art of Fugue, Contrapunctus XIV ...

Joy.

24 September 2018

Now.

Bloch, Rising Moon, 1803


Barn’s burnt down —
now
I can see the moon.

Basho

Yet.


Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches of other lives–
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey, hanging
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning, feel like?

Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?

Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over the dark acorn of your heart!

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!

Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
continually?
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

Well, there is time left–
fields everywhere invite you into them.

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

To put one’s foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!

To set one’s foot in the door of death, and be overcome
with amazement!

To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine
god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,
nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the
present hour,
to the song falling out of the mockingbird’s pink mouth,
to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened

in the night

To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep.

Only last week I went out among the thorns and said
to the wild roses:
deny me not,
but suffer my devotion.
Then, all afternoon, I sat among them. Maybe

I even heard a curl or two of music, damp and rouge red,
hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!

A woman standing in the weeds.
A small boat flounders in the deep waves, and what’s coming next
is coming with its own heave and grace.

Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,
upon the immutable.
What more could one ask?

And I would touch the faces of the daises,
and I would bow down
to think about it.

That was then, which hasn’t ended yet.

Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,
I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean’s edge.

I climb, I backtrack.
I float.
I ramble my way home.

Mary Oliver

Monday.


Smell ya later, Monday ... nice try.

Typography.

Inhaled.

Wyeth, Pumpkin Hill, 1977


At no other time than autumn does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Paradise.


I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.

Jorge Luis Borges

Place.


I looked at all the trees and didn’t know what to do.

A box made out of leaves.
What else was in the woods? A heart, closing. Nevertheless.

Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else.
I kept my mind on the moon. Cold moon, long nights moon.

From the landscape: a sense of scale.
From the dead: a sense of scale.

I turned my back on the story. A sense of superiority.
Everything casts a shadow.

Your body told me in a dream it’s never been afraid of anything.

Richard Siken

Right.


The American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom (I love that name) has more HERE.

23 September 2018

Everywhere.


Looking up from the book, from the close, countable lines,
into the fulfilled night outside:
O how like stars the packed feelings scatter,
as if a bunch of wild
flowers were untied:

Youth of lightness, and inclining sway of the heavy,
and the reluctant bend of the tender—.
Everywhere desire to restore and nowhere any craving;
surfeit of world, and earth enough.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Bardolotry.


If you spend a lifetime reading and teaching and writing, I would think that the proper attitude to take toward Shakespeare, toward Dante, toward Cervantes, toward Geoffrey Chaucer, toward Tolstoy, toward Plato—the great figures—is indeed awe, wonder, gratitude, deep appreciation. I can't really understand any other stance in relation to them. I mean, they have formed our minds. And Hamlet is the most special of special cases. I've been accused of "bardolotry" so much that I've made a joke out of it. As I am something of a dinosaur, I've named myself Bloom Brontosaurus Bardolator. It's not such a bad thing to be.

Harold Bloom

Ink.

Thinking.


LANDSCAPE with FRUIT ROT and MILLIPEDE

I cut off my head and threw it in the sky. It turned
into birds. I called it thinking. The view from above—
untethered scrutiny. It helps to have an anchor
but your head is going somewhere anyway. It's a matter
of willpower. O little birds, you flap around and

make a mess of the milk-blue sky—all these ghosts
come streaming down and sometimes I wish I had
something else. A redemptive imagination, for
example. The life of the mind is a disappointment,
but remember what stands for what. We deduce

backward into first causes—stone in the pond of things,
splash splash—or we throw ourselves into the future.
We all move forward anyway. Ripples in all directions.
What is a ghost? Something dead that seems to be
alive. Something dead that doesn't know it's dead.

A painting, for instance. An abstraction. Cut off your
head, kid. For all the good it'll do ya. I glued my head back
on. All thoughts finish themselves eventually. I wish
it were true. Paint all the men you want but sooner or
later they go to ground and rot. The mind fights the

body and the body fights the land. It wants our bodies,
the landscape does, and everyone runs the risk of
being swallowed up. Can we love nature for what it
really is: predatory? We do not walk through a passive
landscape. The paint dries eventually. The bodies

decompose eventually. We collide with place, which
is another name for God, and limp away with a
permanent injury. Ask for a blessing? You can try,
but we will not remain unscathed. Flex your will
or abandon your will and let the world have its way

with you, or disappear and save everyone the bother
of a dark suit. Why live a life? Well, why are you
asking? I put on my best shirt because the painting
looked so bad. Color bleeds, so make it work for you.
Gravity pulls, so make it work for you. Rubbing

your feet at night or clutching your stomach in the
morning. It was illegible—no single line of sight,
too many angles of approach, smoke in the distance.
It made no sense. When you have nothing to say,
set something on fire. A blurry landscape is useless.

Richard Siken

Thank You, Jessica.

Tell.

Hawksmoor, Composite Section, Plan, and Elevation of 16-bay Dome, St. Paul's, 1693



If these stones could tell the story
of our joys and tears
they would sing ‘To God be glory!’
till the Lord appears:
walls and pillars, bell and tower,
tell your power through the years.

Reverend Christopher Idle

Lord Huron, "Meet Me in the Woods"



Thank You, Jessica.

Dreams.

van Strij, A Scholar, 1803


We all have so many functions, so many ways of existing. In my own vision of myself, I am a scholar who lives quietly, and pens his little tales, and dreams about a past that may or may not have existed. And that is true, as far as it goes.

Neil Gaiman

22 September 2018

Breathe.


Overflowing heavens of squandered stars
flame brilliantly above your troubles. Instead
of into your pillows, weep up toward them.
There, at the already weeping, at the ending visage,
slowly thinning out, ravishing
worldspace begins. Who will interrupt,
once you force your way there,
the current? No one. You may panic,
and fight that overwhelming course of stars
that streams toward you. Breathe.
Breathe the darkness of the earth and again
look up! Again. Lightly and facelessly
depths lean toward you from above. The serene
countenance dissolved in night makes room for yours.

Rainer Maria Rilke 

Wildness.

Chatham, November Evening, 2010


To AUTUMN

Come, pensive Autumn, with thy clouds and storms
And falling leaves and pastures lost to flowers;
A luscious charm hangs on thy faded forms,
More sweet than Summer in her loveliest hours,
Who in her blooming uniform of green
Delights with samely and continued joy:
But give me, Autumn, where thy hand hath been,
For there is wildness that can never cloy –
The russet hue of fields left bare, and all
The tints of leaves and blossoms ere they fall.
In thy dull days of clouds a pleasure comes,
Wild music softens in thy hollow winds;
And in thy fading woods a beauty blooms
That’s more than dear to melancholy minds.

John Clare

Excellent.

An excellent album ...

21 September 2018

Accustom.

Studio Rousseau, The Constellation Named Klimt, 2017


Unknowing before the heavens of my life
I stand in wonder.  O the great stars.
The rising and the going down.  How quiet.
As if I didn't exist.  Am I part?  Have I dismissed
the pure influence?  Do high and low tide
alternate in my blood according to this order?
I will cast off all wishes, all other links,
accustom my heart to its remotest space.  Better
it to live in the terror of its stars than
seemingly protected, soothed by something near.

Rainer Maria Rilke