"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 October 2017



Two things I did on Hallows Night:—
Made my house April-clear;
Left open wide my door
To the ghosts of the year.

Then one came in. Across the room
It stood up long and fair—
The ghost that was myself—
And gave me stare for stare.

Lizette Woodworth Reese

The Specials, "Ghost Town"


Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow.

William Blake


It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn’t so much wilderness around you couldn’t see the town. But on the other hand there wasn’t so much town you couldn’t see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. And full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. And the town was full of…


And it was the afternoon of Halloween.

And all the houses shut against a cool wind.

And the town was full of cold sunlight.

But suddenly, the day was gone.

Night came out from under each tree and spread.

Behind the doors of all the houses there was a scurry of mouse feet, muted cries, flickerings of light …

The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats.

Ray Bradbury, From The Halloween Tree



When we were still twerps, we could manage rather heroic views of ourselves. I grew up in northern Michigan in the 1940s and the landscape held everything a nascent sportsman could wish except the talent to take advantage of it. The simple fact that you had to develop fishing and hunting abilities can be discouraging to a youngster who has a vaunted idea of his potentialities revolving around 10-point bucks and 5-pound brown trout, especially when he’s catching smallish bluegills and perch and the single arrow shot from his 20-pound-pull bow on an early August morning fell about 50 yards short of the buck across the gully. My father taught me well but in rare moments of absolute honesty, I am still struck by the wide variance of my imagination’s vision of a sporting venture and what actually happens. I suspect this is partly due to the fact that I’m a novelist and my livelihood is my imagination, which is as uncontrollable as a 4-month-old English pointer. The key idea is always “not what I expected” when I flip back and forth in the sporting pages of my journals ...


Eric Clapton, "Me and the Devil Blues"


Technique is the proof of your seriousness.

Wallace Stevens


Stanley, Halloween Scare, 1935


I have no area of expertise in life except my imagination.

Jim Harrison


Millet, Dandelions, 1868

There is a certain tone in the things that matter, an architecture of delayed light or slow sounds from long ago. Fragments for the after-silence, the sorting of a garden. Things in their essence. Spiritual forms, an invisible geometry of objects that gives strength to us through music ... whispered petitions to show us the way or to destroy us completely. Every word a last word. Every sound a revenant.

Herbert Pföstl

ACϟDC, "Highway to Hell"

No stop signs, speed limit
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it
Nobody's gonna mess me around


Happy Hallowe'en! Be careful out there, kiddos!


Poortvliet, Robin in a Thicket, 1979

I'm a poet and we tend to err on the side that life is more than it appears rather than less.

Jim Harrison



This morning

two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing
the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing
better to do
than listen.
I mean this
In Greece,
a long time ago,
an old couple
opened their door
to two strangers
who were,
it soon appeared,
not men at all,
but gods.
It is my favorite story--
how the old couple
had almost nothing to give
but their willingness
to be attentive--
but for this alone
the gods loved them
and blessed them--
when they rose
out of their mortal bodies,
like a million particles of water
from a fountain,
the light
swept into all the corners
of the cottage,
and the old couple,
shaken with understanding,
bowed down--
but still they asked for nothing
but the difficult life
which they had already.
And the gods smiled, as they vanished,
clapping t heir great wings.
Wherever it was
I was supposed to be
this morning--
whatever it was I said
I would be doing--
I was standing
at the edge of the field--
I was hurrying
through my own soul,
opening its dark doors--
I was leaning out;
I was listening.

Mary Oliver

29 October 2017

Jackson Browne, "That Girl Could Sing"


Now Jerry lived with his grandparents, and they were always early to bed. Indeed, by ten o'clock they were both snoring loudly, while Jerry would be tucked up in the little attic dreaming of the gallows and hanging Mr. Rash. Jerry was troubled a good deal by dreams; but upon this particular night they were more than usually violent; whether owing to the great excitement caused by the coming of the King's men, or due to the extra doses of rum that the youngster had indulged in, who can say. He dreamt that he was out on the Marsh chasing the schoolmaster: that was all very well, quite a pleasant dream to young Jerk and not at all a nightmare, but unfortunately there were things chasing Jerry as well, and the nearer he seemed to get to the flying schoolmaster the nearer got the things behind him. There was no doubt at all in the dreamer's mind as to what they were, for they were the Marsh devils that he had heard about from infancy, the very demon riders that old Sennacherib Pepper was credited with having seen. He glanced over his shoulder and saw them pounding after him, grim riders on most ghastly steeds. The noise of the hoofs got nearer and nearer, and run as he would, he felt that he would never reach the schoolmaster before he himself was caught by the demons. Then in the dream the schoolmaster turned round, and Jerk with a scream saw that what he had been chasing was no longer the schoolmaster but the devil himself. So there he was between the demon riders and the very old gentleman that Doctor Syn preached about on Sundays. Now, although Jerry was no coward, he was not quite proof against such a shock as this, so he just uttered the most appalling scream and fell into a ditch that had suddenly appeared before him. The fall into the ditch was very hard, so hard, indeed, that the sleeper awoke to find that he was sitting on the floor with the bedclothes on top of him. But he was still uncertain whether or no he was awake, for although he rubbed his eyes exceedingly hard he could still hear the pounding hoofs of the demon horses, and they were coming nearer. He rubbed his eyes again, twisted his fingers into his ears, and listened. Yes, there was really no mistaking it, there were horses coming along the road before the house, and he was certain in his mind that they were the phantoms of his dream. So he went to the casement and looked out. Prepared for a surprise he certainly was, but not such a terrible one as he got. Along the road at a gallop went a score or so of horsemen: that they were not of this world was very easy to see, for there was moonlight shining from their faces and from the faces of the horses as well.

The riders were fantastically dressed in black, and wore queer tall hats the like of which Jerry had only seen in ghost books. They were fine riders, too, for they seemed to the terrified boy actually to grow out of their horses. Jerry noticed, too, that there were long streamers of black flying from the harness. The curious light that shone upon the riders made it possible for Jerry to see their faces, which were entirely diabolical, for one and all were laughing as they rode. They were going at a good pace, so that as soon as they appeared, just so sudden did they go, and although Jerk opened the casement and hung out of the window, the mist had entirely swallowed the riders up, although he could still hear the distant noise of their horses. It sounded as if one of them was coming back. Yes, he was sure of it! So he very quickly shut the window again. The clatter of hoofs got louder, and presently Jerk, through the pane, caught sight of a rider trotting out of the mist.

Russelll Thorndyke, from Dr. Syn, The Smuggler of Romney Marsh

Weiss, Partita in G Minor

Nigel North plays the Sarabande ...


La Thangue, Shaking Down the Cider Apples, 1899


Pale amber sunlight falls across
The reddening October trees,
That hardly sway before a breeze
As soft as summer: summer's loss
Seems little, dear! on days like these.

Let misty autumn be our part!
The twilight of the year is sweet:
Where shadow and the darkness meet
Our love, a twilight of the heart
Eludes a little time's deceit.

Are we not better and at home
In dreamful Autumn, we who deem
No harvest joy is worth a dream?
A little while and night shall come,
A little while, then, let us dream.

Beyond the pearled horizons lie
Winter and night: awaiting these
We garner this poor hour of ease,
Until love turn from us and die
Beneath the drear November trees.

Ernest Dowson

Weiss, Presto

Bernhard Hofstötter, lute ...

26 October 2017


Out I went into the meadow,
Where the moon was shining brightly,
And the oak-tree’s lengthening shadows
On the sloping sward did lean;
For I longed to see the goblins,
And the dainty-footed fairies,
And the gnomes, who dwell in caverns,
But come forth on Halloween.
“All the spirits, good and evil,
Fay and pixie, witch and wizard,
On this night will sure be stirring,"
Thought I, as I walked along;
“And if Puck, the merry wanderer,
Or her majesty, Titania,
Or that Mab who teases housewives
If their housewifery be wrong,

Should but condescend to meet me”—
But my thoughts took sudden parting,
For I saw, a few feet from me,
Standing in the moonlight there,
A quaint, roguish little figure,
And I knew ‘twas Puck, the trickster,
By the twinkle of his bright eyes
Underneath his shaggy hair.

Yet I felt no fear of Robin,
Salutation brief he uttered,
Laughed and touched me on the shoulder,
And we lightly walked away;
And I found that I was smaller,
For the grasses brushed my elbows,
And the asters seemed like oak-trees,
With their trunks so tall and gray.

Swiftly as the wind we traveled,
Till we came unto a garden,
Bright within a gloomy forest,
Like a gem within the mine;
And I saw, as we grew nearer,
That the flowers so blue and golden
Were but little men and women,
Who amongst the green did shine.

But ‘twas marvelous the resemblance
Their bright figures bore to blossoms,
As they smiled, and danced, and courtesied,
Clad in yellow, pink and blue;
That fair dame, my eyes were certain,
Who among them moved so proudly,
Was my moss-rose, while her ear-rings
Sparkled like the morning dew.

Here, too, danced my pinks and pansies,
Smiling, gayly, as they used to
When, like beaux bedecked and merry,
They disported in the sun;
There, with meek eyes, walked a lily,
While the violets and snow-drops
Tripped it with the lordly tulips:
Truant blossoms, every one.

Then spoke Robin to me, wondering:
“These blithe fairies are the spirits
Of the flowers which all the summer
Bloom beneath its tender sky;
When they feel the frosty fingers
Of the autumn closing round them,
They forsake their earthborn dwellings,
Which to earth return and die,

“As befits things which are mortal.
But these spirits, who are deathless,
Care not for the frosty autumn,
Nor the winter long and keen;
But, from field, and wood, and garden,
When their summer’s tasks are finished,
Gather here for dance and music,
As of old, on Halloween.”

Long, with Puck, I watched the revels,
Till the gray light of the morning
Dimmed the luster of Orion,
Starry sentry overhead;
And the fairies, at that warning,
Ceased their riot, and the brightness
Faded from the lonely forest,
And I knew that they had fled.

Ah, it ne’er can be forgotten,
This strange night I learned the secret—
That within each flower a busy
Fairy lives and works unseen
Seldom is ‘t to mortals granted
To behold the elves and pixies,
To behold the merry spirits,
Who come forth on Halloween.

Arthur Peterson




Now in the blessed days of more and less
when the news about time is that each day

there is less of it I know none of that
as I walk out through the early garden

only the day and I are here with no
before or after and the dew looks up.
without a number or a present age

W.S. Merwin

25 October 2017

The Psychedelic Furs, "Sister Europe"


Sixty six times have these eyes beheld the changing scenes of autumn.
I have said enough about moonlight, ask me no more.
Only listen to the voice of pines and cedars when no wind stirs.



Tohaku, Pine Trees, 1608


In the blue night
frost haze, the sky glows
with the moon
pine tree tops
bend snow-blue, fade
into sky, frost, starlight.
The creak of boots.
Rabbit tracks, deer tracks,
what do we know.

Gary Snyder

Look closely ... HERE.


That is my window. I
just awoke so gently.
I thought, I'm floating.
How far does my life reach,
and where does the night begin?

I could think that everything
around me is me;
like the transparent depth of a crystal,
darkened and mute.

I think I could bring the stars
inside of me, so large
does my heart seem; so very much
does it want to let go of him

whom I have perhaps begun
to love, perhaps to hold.
So strange, so uncharted
does my fate appear.

Who am I who lies here
under this endless sky,
as the sweet scent of a meadow,
moving back and forth,

at once calling out and anxious,
that someone might hear my call,
destined to vanish
in another.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Happy birthday, Strauss.

Johann Strauss was born on this day in 1825.

"Artist's Life," Op. 316, performed by the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Seiji Ozawa ...

Ssssssssstones, "Happy"

Keith sings it, Ronnie brings it ...


Always do more than is expected of you.

General George S. Patton

Patton and the Third Army, a 1960 documentary narrated by Walter Cronkite ...

Robert Plant, "Carry Fire"

Seth Lakeman, viola, Skin Tyson, guitar ...

24 October 2017


Grimshaw, A Moonlit Walk, 1873


In the evening, when you seem to have definitely resolved to stay home, have put on your housecoat, are sitting at a lighted table after dinner and have undertaken some type of worker game, after the completion of which you usually go to sleep; when there is unfriendly weather outside which makes staying home a foregone conclusion; when you have already been sitting at the table so long that to go out would cause general astonishment; when additionally the stairwell is dark and the front door locked; and when despite all this you stand up in a moment of sudden discomfort, change your coat, immediately appear dressed for the street, explain that you must go out, and after a short goodbye, actually do it, believing, depending on the haste with which you slam the apartment door, to have left more or less anger behind you; when you find yourself on the street again, with limbs that respond with special mobility to the unexpected freedom you have obtained for them; when through this one decision you feel all ability to decide gathered in you; when you recognize with greater than accustomed significance that you have more power than you need to bring about the most rapid change easily and to bear it; and when you walk into the long streets this way — then you have completely stepped out of your family for the evening, and they dissolve into non-existence, while you yourself, thoroughly strong, outlined in black, slapping the back of your thigh, raise yourself to your true form.

Everything is amplified even further when you visit a friend at this time of night to see how he is doing.

Franz Kafka