"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

31 December 2011


On New Year's Eve I'm wrapped
in my habits, looking up to the TV
to see the red ball, the apple,
rise or fall, I forget which:
a poem on the cherry-wood table, a fire,
a blizzard, some whiskey, three
restless cats, and two sleeping dogs,
at home and making three gallons
of menudo for the revelers who'll
need it come tomorrow after amateur night:
about ten pounds of tripe, ancho,
molida, serrano, and chipotle pepper, cumin,
coriander, a few calves' or piglets' feet.
I don't wonder what is becoming
to the man already becoming.

- Jim Harrison, from "The Theory & Practice of Rivers"


Back in the old days this was one of the few good, solid bars, and there was an ex-pug who used to come in with a pet lion. He’d stand at the bar here and the lion would stand here beside him. He was a very nice lion with good manners – no growls or roars – but, as lions will, he occasionally shit on the floor. This, of course, had a rather adverse effect on the trade and, as politely as he could, Harry asked the ex-pug not to bring the lion around anymore. But the next day the pug was back with the lion, lion dropped another load, drinkers dispersed, Harry again made the request. The third day, same thing. Realizing it was do or die for poor Harry’s business, this time when the lion let go, I went over, picked up the pug, who had been a welterweight, carried him outside and threw him in the street. Then I came back and grabbed the lion’s mane and hustled him out of here. Out on the sidewalk, the lion gave me a look, but he went quietly.

- Ernest Hemingway

Chico Marx, "On the Beach in Bali Bali"


If the glass there in front of me astounds me more than all the glasses I've seen in painting, and if I even think that the greatest architectural wonder of the world couldn't affect me more than this glass, it's really not worth while going to the Indies to see some temple or other when I have as much and more right in front of me.

- Alberto Giacometti

Elizabeth Fraser & Jeff Buckley, "All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun"

My eyes are
A baptism
Oh I am filth
And sing her
To my face
Oh phantom elusive thing,

All flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there's no-one for you
But here is one,
All flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there's no-one for you
But here is one, here is one ... here is one

Aah, ooh...
One that can never be known
Either all drunk with the world at her feet
Or sober with no place to go

All flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there's no-one for you
But here is one,
All flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there's no-one for you
But here is one, here is one ... here is one

Aah, ooh ...
We could go ...
We can travel round
Fading farther from me
With your face in my window call

When will you weep for me
Sweet willow

It's ok to be angry
But not to hurt me
Your happiness, yes, yes, yes
Darling, darling,

All flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there's no-one for you
But here is one,
All flowers in time bend towards the sun
I know you say that there's no-one for you
But here is one, here is one... here is one

30 December 2011


God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.

― Karen Blixen


Wyeth, Braids (detail), 1979

It's endurance that we have. Ingrained in our culture is the patience to endure. Each day I stand here and look out my window and watch the seasons pass -- life coming, going, coming again. We live every day with this truth. We are the ones who learn to resist change least of all. Is that conservatism? To take comfort in endurance? To know that endurance is better than change? Change runs in circles, repeats itself. We are the rock; the wind blows one way and then another.

That is why Wyeth is our artist. He paints people who have learned this basic lesson in life: to endure. Criticss who claim that he paints only the sentimental past miss the point completely. He doesn't just paint the past, He paints endurance. He paints eternity. Or rather each painting shows an instant in time so utterly real it becomes eternal.

- Jenny Logsdon, from Gene Logsdon's Wyeth People


DeFontes, River Narrows #3, 2008

You have to know what you want to get. But when you know that, let it take you. And if it seems to take you off the track, don't hold back because that is instinctively where you want to be. And if you hold back and try to be always where you have been before, you will go dry.

- Gertrude Stein


Chatham, Winter Moonrise, 1995

Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.

- Thomas Merton

29 December 2011


To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be. It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.

― Rachel Carson


O'Keeffe, Bare Tree Trunks in Snow, 1925

Silence has many dimensions. It can be a regression and an escape, a loss of self, or it can be presence, awareness, unification, self-discovery. Negative silence blurs and confuses our identity, and we lapse into daydreams or diffuse anxieties. Positive silence pulls us together and makes us realize who we are, who we might be, and the distance between these two.

- Thomas Merton

Keep reminding me.


Homer, Summer Night, 1890

The stimulation of the senses is like the sea- it is in constant flux and motion- but a motion with an underlying rhythm. And the writer or artist, when in this peculiar state of reverie, rises up like a bird above the sea, periodically reflecting upon the ocean but consumed with his own contemplation. The vertical axis can also reach down below the surface, and that bird can penetrate the depths as well. Charles Olsen often referred to himself as a cormorant- the bird that finds its food in the depths of the sea.

This vertical axis above and below our everyday consciousness is where creativity finds freedom and the artist can tap into the dwelling place of images. There is a fundamental force to an image that comes from this place of reverie. It is like a dream, but rarely hindered by our own inherent inabilities. It is a purer place of renewal and vitality opening oneself up to an unknown, a visionary possibility. These are the images that take on an imaginary radiance and lyricism.

“The imagination will see only if it has visions. And it will have visions if it is educated through reveries before being educated by experience, if experience follows as confirmation of its reveries."

Read the rest at Attentive Equations.

Hildegard von Bingen, "O Vis Aeternitatis"

28 December 2011


this cold winter night
that old wooden-head Buddha
would make a nice fire

- Buson


There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are the very simplest things, and because it takes a man's life to know them, the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.

- Ernest Hemingway


Mortensen, Frick Park, 2009

What is lovlier than a creek or a riverine thicket?
Say it is an unknown benefactor who gave us
birds and Mozart, the mystery of trees and water
and all living things borrowing time.
Would I still love the creek if I lasted forever?

- Jim Harrison, from "Debtors"

J.S. Bach, Sonata No. 2 in D major, BWV 1028

Jordi Savall (viola da gamba) and Ton Koopman (harpsichord) perform ...


Karr, Sunset, 2011

Thanks, Jess!


The enduring challenge ... to separate truth from all its distractors.

Reflect on this for a while ...

Thank you, Jess.


Time will say nothing but I told you so ...

- W. H. Auden

27 December 2011

Colin Hay, "I'll Leave The Light On"


ParkeHarrison, Windwriting, 1998

Nature which governs the whole will soon change all things which you see, and out of their substance will make other things and again other things... in order that the world may be ever new.

- Marcus Aurelius

In The Evening

Oh, whatever that your days may bring
No use hiding in a corner, 'cause that won't change a thing
If you're dancing in the doldrums,
One day soon, it's got to stop,
You're the master of the off-chance
When you don't expect a lot


Why do I read?
I just can't help myself.
I read to learn and to grow, to laugh and to be motivated.
I read to understand things I've never been exposed to.
I read when I'm crabby, when I've just said monumentally dumb things to the people I love.
I read for strength to help me when I feel broken, discouraged, and afraid.
I read when I'm angry at the whole world.
I read when everything is going right.
I read to find hope.
I read because I'm made up not just of skin and bones, of sights, feelings, and a deep need for chocolate, but I'm also made up of words.
Words describe my thoughts and what's hidden in my heart.
Words are alive--when I've found a story that I love, I read it again and again, like playing a favorite song over and over.
Reading isn't passive--I enter the story with the characters, breathe their air,feel their frustrations, scream at them to stop when they're about to do something stupid, cry with them, laugh with them.
Reading for me, is spending time with a friend.
A book is a friend.
You can never have too many.

- Gary Paulsen

I have a poster in my classroom with a Paulsen quote that reads, "Read like a wolf eats." I like that approach.

This great writer's site is here.

26 December 2011


Got some ice time today. It felt good.

Van Morrison, "That's Entrainment"

You by the countryside
Oh you when you reach the sky
You and you're climbing up that hill
Well you when we're listening to the little whippoorwill

You when the sun goes down
You in the evening, in the morning when the sun comes round
You with your ballerina dance
Well you put me back in a trance

David Francey, "Grateful"


Love in the dark a sightless kiss
The tending to the emptiness
Love as blind as love can be
We are grateful to receive

The morning light, each other’s eyes
The hollow heart at each goodbye
Love that brings us to our knees
We are grateful to receive

Love that warms a heart of stone
Love that lives on love alone
Love in all its ecstasy
We are grateful to receive

Love in all its frailty
Love as strong as love can be
We say thank you, yes and please
We are grateful to receive

- David Francey


Judith Reeve on journal writing ...

Reverie and intuition when joined to sensory observation release, what many artist have called, the waking dream. This waking dream, this deep sense of reverie melded to our inmost feelings, produces the “creative insight”. I find that when I am in the act of painting my mind wanders in and out of my subject and puts me into a state of reverie and in this state many insights come to me- ones specific to what I’m painting presently but also those images that are seeking form and have yet to be manifested. I also receive intuitions about my work in general or my personal relationship to the world.

This waking dream not only produces the creative insight but allows “images” that are unsought for to present themselves. The Sufi masters described this waking dream as the “isthmus” to the imaginal world of images. This image appears with such force and conviction that one becomes compelled to manifest it. This inner compulsion cannot be ignored. It eats away at the artist until the work comes to fruition.

So much passes before our eyes and is lost. One cannot “hold” it and look at it keenly because we have not developed the capacity through these two forms of observation to seize it(either insight or image). Keeping a journal is a method that aides in both the inner and outer observation necessary to be a creative individual. What seems at times to be unimportant later reveals itself to be significant. It is these threads of “significances”, when joined together, that act as a map. I like to think of the artist as a cartographer mapping his own myth that is at once himself as well as a microcosm of the” soul of the world” as Carl Jung called it.

Read the rest at Attentive Equations.


In Rilke’s, Elegies, he expresses the purpose of his work, “… Everywhere transience is plunging into the depths of Being… It is our task to imprint this temporary, perishable earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its essence can rise again, “invisibly”, inside us.” Again he says,” … oh to say them more intensely than the Things themselves ever dreamed of existing.” ( Elegies) To take the visible world and allow it to dwell inside of us and then to transform that world and those things in the most intense way and re-imagine them again is the work of the artist. The image becomes the process whereby the visible world finds its equivalent within our being. In this way the transient visible world is re-imagined through the artist and becomes a transformative force. Rilke, like Emerson, expresses the transcendent nature of all things. Emerson in his essay Nature states the purpose of, “… visual art: striking the viewer so deeply, with such authority, the merely personal is obliterated. Something like an archetypal self is evoked.”

It is easy to ignore the incredible Beauty of all things. “The purpose of art is to express the good, the true and the beautiful” as Dostoevsky expressed it. But Solzhenitsyn believed that possibly only beauty will remain. The artist’s job is to praise and declare again the inherent value of all things and to say it again with intensity.

“O tell us, Poet, what you do? – I praise.

But the dark, the deadly, the desperate ways,

How do you endure them- how bear them?-

I praise.

Rilke, "Padraic Colum," 1945

Read the rest at Judith Reeve's site, Attentive Equations.


Reeve, Milkweed, undated

Art when really understood is the province of every human being. It is simply a question of doing things, anything, well. It is not an outside, extra thing.

When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressing creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens and opens ways for a better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it, and shows there are still more pages possible.

- Robert Henri


Wyeth, Karl, 1948

The harvesters were always sharpening their blades. That is the whole secret of hand work, you know. It's no job at all if you have a really sharp blade. But a lazy man don't like hand work because it's too hard because he's too lazy to keep his blade sharp. But I suppose if there weren't any lazy men, we'd never have gotten tractors, would we?

- Karl Kuerner, from Wyeth People

More on Karl Keuerner here (what a window!).

Thanks, Jess! I love the book!

24 December 2011




Execupundit goes yard ...

Study yourself. It will be a life-long course. Don't let admirable long-term plans keep your focus so heavily on the horizon so that you trip over the immediate. Always know how much time you have. Count on a project taking at least three times longer than you originally planned. Don't be too quick to forgive yourself but be able to do so. Avoid haters. Try to have a good laugh at least once a day. Never quell on bad experiences. Move on from them. Become a gourmet of life's beauty. Don't rush; speed is often over-rated. Learn something unusual once a month. Look for the story behind the story. Recognize that "No" often has an expiration date. If something is too easy, there is a reason and it's usually not good news. Elude the cheap fashions of our times. Search for great people who are not celebrities and never confuse greatness with celebrity. Craft a philosophy. Don't assume that societal progress is ordained. Chop back the jungle every day. Know the symptoms of inertia. Watch out for once-impressive programs that have become skeletons in new suits. Never take your future for granted. Relax as seriously as you work. Cultivate courage and kindness. Be noble.

23 December 2011


Westhoff, Rilke, 1902

The terrible thing about Art is that the further you progress in it the more it saddles you with the extreme, the all-but-impossible. One does not achieve a degree of inwardness and then stay there. Seeking must be repeatedly be risked. Vulnerability must be risked.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

"Learning by heart" is something specific to poetry. That process itself comments upon how singularly embodied (taken deep into one's being) reading poetry is or can be. Poetry is the form of writing most like music, and not because in its debilitated forms it depends on rhymes and the predictable rhythms that come with rhymes. That Rilke is now read so relatively widely and enthusiastically in English is a testament to Dante's "motion of spirit" and the willingness of some of Rilke's translators to embrace that. Rilke's focus is not authoritative "truth." That is far too static. Rather, it is motion toward truth, a quest for the real with all the ambiguity such a word implies.

- Stephanie Dowrick, from In the Company of Rilke

22 December 2011

Hans Christian Andersen, "The Little Fir Tree"

“This evening,” they all exclaimed, “how bright it will be!” “Oh, that the evening were come,” thought the tree, “and the tapers lighted! then I shall know what else is going to happen. Will the trees of the forest come to see me? I wonder if the sparrows will peep in at the windows as they fly? shall I grow faster here, and keep on all these ornaments summer and winter?” But guessing was of very little use; it made his bark ache, and this pain is as bad for a slender fir-tree, as headache is for us. At last the tapers were lighted, and then what a glistening blaze of light the tree presented! It trembled so with joy in all its branches, that one of the candles fell among the green leaves and burnt some of them. “Help! help!” exclaimed the young ladies, but there was no danger, for they quickly extinguished the fire. After this, the tree tried not to tremble at all, though the fire frightened him; he was so anxious not to hurt any of the beautiful ornaments, even while their brilliancy dazzled him. And now the folding doors were thrown open, and a troop of children rushed in as if they intended to upset the tree; they were followed more silently by their elders. For a moment the little ones stood silent with astonishment, and then they shouted for joy, till the room rang, and they danced merrily round the tree, while one present after another was taken from it.

Read the rest here.

Thank you, Zoë!


Some stunning photos from a study of light in Hagia Sophia done by Thomas Whittemore’s team in 1948.

Do yourself a favor and see the rest at The Robert L. Van Nice Collection.


‎We press forward.
But this march of time --
consider it a glimpse
of what endures.

All that hurries will
soon enough be over,
because what lingers
is what consecrates us.

O, young ones, don't waste
your courage on speed
or squander it in flight.

Everything is at rest:
darkness and light,
blossom and book.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Headed home.

20 December 2011


Wyeth, Long Limb, 1999

There's a quote from Hamlet that is my guide... He tells the players not to exaggerate but to hold a mirror up to nature. Don't overdo it, don't underdo it. Do it just on the line.

- Andrew Wyeth

19 December 2011


Shishkin, Forest Reserve Pine Grove, 1881

We are free to find our own way
Over rocks – through the trees –
Where there are no trails. The ridge and the forest
Present themselves to our eyes and feet
Which decide for themselves
In their old learned wisdom of doing
Where the wild will take us. We have
Been here before. It’s more intimate somehow
Than walking the paths that lay out some route
That you stick to,
All paths are possible, many will work,
Being blocked is its own kind of pleasure,
Getting through is a joy, the side-trips
And detours show down logs and flowers,
The deer paths straight up, the squirrel tracks
Across, the outcroppings lead us on over.
Resting on treetrunks,
Stepping out on the bedrock, angling and eyeing...

- Gary Snyder, from "Off The Trail"

18 December 2011


Thirty years ago ... now.

"Under My Thumb"


"Honky Tonk Women"


Homer, Mink Pond, 1891

Only the swimming haunted his dreams, all other sports had been discarded. Perhaps swimming was dancing in the water, he thought. To swim under lily pads seeing their green slender stalks wavering as you passed, to swim under upraised logs, past schools of sunfish and bluegills, to swim through reed beds past wriggling water snakes and miniature turtles, to swim in small lakes, big lakes, Lake Michigan, to swim in small farm ponds, creeks, giant rivers where one was easily swept along easily by the current …

- Jim Harrison, from "The Man Who Gave Up His Name"

17 December 2011

Harry Connick, Jr., "The Very Thought of You"

The very thought of you and I forget to do
The little ordinary things that everyone ought to do
I'm living in a kind of daydream
I'm happy as a king
And foolish though it may seem
Why to me that's everything

The mere idea of you, the longing here for you
You'll never know how slow the moments go till I'm near to you
I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you, my love

I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It's just the thought of you
The very thought of you, my love

- Ray Noble


Now this same angel came up to the Servant brightly, and said that God had sent him down to him, to bring him heavenly joys amid his sufferings; adding that he must cast off all his sorrows from his mind and bear them company, and that he must also dance with them in heavenly fashion. Then they drew the Servant by the hand into the dance, and the youth began a joyous song about the infant Jesus, which runs thus: 'In dulci jubilo!'

- Henrich Suso

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen performing Christmas Carols from the past 1,000 years ...

Part 1

Part 2


van Gogh, Starry Night (detail), 1889

The purpose of art is the gradual lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.

- Glenn Gould

Rest In Peace, Cesária Évora.

Cesária Évora died today in her native Cape Verde.

My friend Veerle introduced me to Cesária Évora while we were working together at Katzinger's Delicatessen. She exposed me to a great deal of the beauty in the world that otherwise I would have never known. Cesária Évora was one of those beauties.

I remember deep winter mornings, while we stacked rye bread, cared for cheeses, and organized cured meats, listening to the tranquil, warming sounds and stories that Veerle brought with her and that eminated from her like a perfume. Many remain with me, but Cesária has become a musical and spiritual standby that carries me whenever I need to go to "that place."

Thank you, my friend, and thank you, Cesária Évora, for the blessing of your art.

Cesária Évora, "Sodade'


People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom. It is not the freedom of the dictator, who enforces his own will on the world, but the freedom of the artist, who has no will, who is free of will. The pleasure of the true dreamer does not lie in the substance of the dream, but in this: that there things happen without any interference from his side, and altogether outside his control. Great landscapes create themselves, long splendid views, rich and delicate colours, roads, houses, which he has never seen or heard of.

- Karen Blixen

Happy Birthday, Rodgers.

Bad Company frontman, Paul Rodgers, was born on this date in 1949.

"Can't Get Enough"

"Deal With The Preacher"

"Movin' On"



The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep.

- Marc Chagall


Keeping a journal has taught me that there is not so much new in your life as you sometimes think. When you re-read your journal you find out that your latest discovery is something you already found out five years ago. Still, it is true that one penetrates deeper and deeper into the same ideas and the same experiences.

- Thomas Merton


A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish.

- W. H. Auden

16 December 2011

Happy Birthday, Beethoven.

Ludwig von Beethoven was born on this date in 1770.

Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us, and never stop learning.

- Ludwig van Beethoven

Glenn Gould performs Beethoven's 15 Variations and Fugue, Op. 35

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton


14 December 2011

Happy Birthday, Drew & Zoë!!!

Drew and Zoë Firchau were born on this date at 10:11 and 10:12 in the morning in 2002.

What if the point of life has nothing to do with the creation of an ever-expanding region of control? What if the point is not to keep at bay all those people, beings, objects and emotions that we so needlessly fear? What if the point instead is to let go of that control? What if the point of life, the primary reason for existence, is to lie naked with your lover in a shady grove of trees? What if the point is to taste each other's sweat and feel the delicate pressure of finger on chest, thigh on thigh, lip on cheek? What if the point is to stop, then, in your slow movements together, and listen to the birdsong, to watch the dragonflies hover, to look at your lover's face, then up at the undersides of leaves moving together in the breeze? What if the point is to invite these others into your movement, to bring trees, wind, grass, dragonflies into your family and in so doing abandon any attempt to control them? What if the point all along has been to get along, to relate, to experience things on their own terms? What if the point is to feel joy when joyous, love when loving, anger when angry, thoughtful when full of thought? What if the point from the beginning has been to simply be?

- Derrick Jensen, from A Language Older Than Words

11 December 2011

Happy Birthday, Harrison.

Jim Harrison was born on this date in 1937.

We are parts. What part are you now?
The shit of the world has to be taken
care of every day. You have to choose
your part after you take care of the shit.
I’ve chosen birds and fish, the creatures
whose logic I wish to learn and live.

- Jim Harrison, from”Brutish”


I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets. And you are yours. Our secrets are human secrets, and our trusting each other enough to share them with each other has much to do with the secret of what it means to be human.

- Frederick Buechner

10 December 2011

Neville Brothers, "Yellow Moon"


Hasegawa, Beautiful Early Evening, 2002

... and your very flesh shall be a great poem.

- Walt Whitman, from the preface to Leaves of Grass


Sonnet IV

You will recall that whimsical gorge
where pulsating aromas climbed up,
an occasional bird cloaked in water
and slowness: its winter feathers.

You will recall those gifts from the earth;
irascible scents, earth made of gold,
weeds in the thicket and mad roots,
sorcerous sword-like thorns.

You will recall the bough you brought,
a bough of shadows and silent water,
a bough like a foam-covered stone.

That time was like never, and like always.
We go there, where nothing waits
and we find everything it is waiting for.

- Pablo Neruda

09 December 2011


The last eclipse of 2011 will be a total lunar eclipse on December 10. Depending on where you live on Earth’s globe, the eclipse will happen either before dawn or that evening. Much of North America will be in a position to watch the eclipse of the full moon before sunrise on Saturday, December 10.

Read the rest at Earth & Sky.


If there is nothing you can share with other people, try to be close to Things. Things will not abandon you. The nights are still there, and the winds that move through the trees and across many lands. Everything in the world of Things and animals is filled with being, of which you are part.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

08 December 2011


Chagall, Poet Reclining, 1915

Let me come to be still in your silence
And let me talk to you with your silence
That is bright as a lamp
Simple, as a ring
You are like the night
With its stillness and constellations
Your silence is that of a star
As remote and candid

I like for you to be still
It is as though you are absent
Distant and full of sorrow
So you would've died
One word then, One smile is enough
And I'm happy;
Happy that it's not true

- Pablo Neruda, from "I Like For You To Be Still"

Chopin, Nocturne In E-Flat, Op. 9, No. 2; Sergei Rachmaninov performs ...

Alison Krauss & Yo-Yo Ma, "The Wexford Carol"

As a kid I remember lying beneath the Christmas Tree, squinting up through the lit branches, listening to Mom play this on the piano ...


All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even.
Watch it sprout.

A mind like compost.

- Gary Snyder