"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 May 2022

Happy Birthday, Bonham

John Bonham was born on this day in 1948.

"The Ocean" ...


Big Ben went into operation on this day in 1859.

C-SPAN's tour presented by Deputy Manager of the Palace of Westminster, Brian O'Boyle.

Jered Owens' animated inner-workings ...

Thanks, Mum.


Coming soon from ESPN's E:60, Unrivaled: Red Wings v. Avalanche ...


The continued euphony of "bird-haunted branches" ...

Dvorák: Serenades for Strings and Winds
Wiener Philharmoniker and Myung Whun Chung

Respighi: The Birds
Chamber Orchestra of New York, Salvatore di Vittorio

Brahms: Waltzes Op. 39; Waltzes Op. 52; Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann
Berlin Philharmonic, Karin Lechner

Erik Satie: 7 Gnossiennes
Olivia Belli

English Spring
Hallé, Sir Mark Elder

The original collection is here.

Elgar, Nursery Suite

Eileen Gilligan performs "The Serious Doll" ...

Happy Birthday, Whitman

This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

Walt Whitman, born on this day in 1819.

30 May 2022


To remind all Americans of the importance of remembering those who sacrificed for 
their freedom and what it means to be an American.

To provide Americans throughout the world the opportunity to join this expression of gratitude, in an act of unity.

To make Memorial Day relevant, especially to younger Americans.


Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time. A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, "just the best darn kids in the world." Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life. Well, they didn't volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization. And how they must have wished, in all the ugliness that war brings, that no other generation of young men to follow would have to undergo that same experience.

As we honor their memory today, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will every have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice.

Earlier today, with the music that we have heard and that of our National Anthem -- I can't claim to know the words of all the national anthems in the world, but I don't know of any other that ends with a question and a challenge as ours does: Does that flag still wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

President Ronald Reagan, from his Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery, 31 May 1982

Human League, "Don't You Want Me"

Glenn Tilbrook covers ...

I love it when a cover is better than the original.


The Bunnymen released one of their most underrated albums, Heaven Up Here, on this day in 1981.

"Turquoise Days" ...
Put your faith in those
Crimson nights
Set sail in those
Turquoise days

Heady days.


Member of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, Master Gunnery Sergeant Peter Wilson performs the National Anthem ...


I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.

Yet, we must try to honor them -- not for their sake alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice.

Our first obligation to them and ourselves is plain enough: the United States and the freedom for which it stands, the freedom for which they died, must endure and prosper. Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply. It has a cost; it imposes a burden. And just as they whom we commemorate were willing to sacrifice, so too must we -- in a less final, less heroic way -- be willing to give of ourselves ...

The willingness of some to give their lives so that others might live never fails to evoke in us a sense of wonder and mystery. One gets that feeling here on this hallowed ground, and I have known that same poignant feeling as I looked out across the rows of white crosses and Stars of David in Europe, in the Philippines, and the military cemeteries here in our own land. Each one marks the resting place of an American hero and, in my lifetime, the heroes of World War I, the Doughboys, the GI's of World War II or Korea or Vietnam. They span several generations of young Americans, all different and yet all alike, like the markers above their resting places, all alike in a truly meaningful way.

Winston Churchill said of those he knew in World War II they seemed to be the only young men who could laugh and fight at the same time. A great general in that war called them our secret weapon, "just the best darn kids in the world." Each died for a cause he considered more important than his own life. Well, they didn't volunteer to die; they volunteered to defend values for which men have always been willing to die if need be, the values which make up what we call civilization. And how they must have wished, in all the ugliness that war brings, that no other generation of young men to follow would have to undergo that same experience.

As we honor their memory, let us pledge that their lives, their sacrifices, their valor shall be justified and remembered for as long as God gives life to this nation. And let us also pledge to do our utmost to carry out what must have been their wish: that no other generation of young men will every have to share their experiences and repeat their sacrifice.

President Ronald Reagan, from his Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery, 31 May 1982

29 May 2022


Poco released Rose of Cimarron on this day on 1976.

The title cut ...

Depeche Mode, "World in My Eyes"



Sail on, sail on, thou fearless bark —
Where’er blows the welcome wind,
It cannot lead to scenes more dark,
More sad than those we leave behind.
Each wave that passes seems to say,
“Though death beneath our smile may be,
Less cold we are, less false than they,
Whose smiling wreck’d thy hopes and thee.”

Sail on, sail on — through endless space —
Through calm — through tempest — stop no more:
The stormiest sea’s a resting-place
To him who leaves such hearts on shore.
Or — if some desert land we meet,
Where never yet false-hearted men
Profaned a world, that else were sweet —
Then rest thee, bark, but not till then.

Thomas Moore

Andy Fletcher, Rest in Peace

Andy Fletcher has passed.

"Enjoy the Silence" ...

Alan White, Rest in Peace

Alan White has passed.

"Hold On", with Yes ...


A excellent documentary ...


From Chesterton's "The Ethics of Elfland" ...
In fairyland there had been a real law; a law that could be broken, for the definition of a law is something that can be broken. But the machinery of this cosmic prison was something that could not be broken; for we ourselves were only a part of its machinery. We were either unable to do things or we were destined to do them. The idea of the mystical condition quite disappeared; one can neither have the firmness of keeping laws nor the fun of breaking them. The largeness of this universe had nothing of that freshness and airy outbreak which we have praised in the universe of the poet. This modern universe is literally an empire; that is, it was vast, but it is not free. One went into larger and larger windowless rooms, rooms big with Babylonian perspective; but one never found the smallest window or a whisper of outer air.

Their infernal parallels seemed to expand with distance; but for me all good things come to a point, swords for instance. So finding the boast of the big cosmos so unsatisfactory to my emotions I began to argue about it a little; and I soon found that the whole attitude was even shallower than could have been expected. According to these people the cosmos was one thing since it had one unbroken rule. Only (they would say) while it is one thing it is also the only thing there is. Why, then, should one worry particularly to call it large? There is nothing to compare it with. It would be just as sensible to call it small. A man may say, “I like this vast cosmos, with its throng of stars and its crowd of varied creatures.” But if it comes to that why should not a man say, “I like this cosy little cosmos, with its decent number of stars and as neat a provision of live stock as I wish to see”? One is as good as the other; they are both mere sentiments. It is mere sentiment to rejoice that the sun is larger than the earth; it is quite as sane a sentiment to rejoice that the sun is no larger than it is. A man chooses to have an emotion about the largeness of the world; why should he not choose to have an emotion about its smallness?

It happened that I had that emotion. When one is fond of anything one addresses it by diminutives, even if it is an elephant or a life-guardsman. The reason is, that anything, however huge, that can be conceived of as complete, can be conceived of as small. If military moustaches did not suggest a sword or tusks a tail, then the object would be vast because it would be immeasurable. But the moment you can imagine a guardsman you can imagine a small guardsman. The moment you really see an elephant you can call it “Tiny.” If you can make a statue of a thing you can make a statuette of it. These people professed that the universe was one coherent thing; but they were not fond of the universe. But I was frightfully fond of the universe and wanted to address it by a diminutive. I often did so; and it never seemed to mind. Actually and in truth I did feel that these dim dogmas of vitality were better expressed by calling the world small than by calling it large. For about infinity there was a sort of carelessness which was the reverse of the fierce and pious care which I felt touching the pricelessness and the peril of life. They showed only a dreary waste; but I felt a sort of sacred thrift. For economy is far more romantic than extravagance. To them stars were an unending income of halfpence; but I felt about the golden sun and the silver moon as a schoolboy feels if he has one sovereign and one shilling.

These subconscious convictions are best hit off by the colour and tone of certain tales. Thus I have said that stories of magic alone can express my sense that life is not only a pleasure but a kind of eccentric privilege. I may express this other feeling of cosmic cosiness by allusion to another book always read in boyhood, “Robinson Crusoe,” which I read about this time, and which owes its eternal vivacity to the fact that it celebrates the poetry of limits, nay, even the wild romance of prudence. Crusoe is a man on a small rock with a few comforts just snatched from the sea: the best thing in the book is simply the list of things saved from the wreck. The greatest of poems is an inventory. Every kitchen tool becomes ideal because Crusoe might have dropped it in the sea. It is a good exercise, in empty or ugly hours of the day, to look at anything, the coal-scuttle or the book-case, and think how happy one could be to have brought it out of the sinking ship on to the solitary island. But it is a better exercise still to remember how all things have had this hair-breadth escape: everything has been saved from a wreck. Every man has had one horrible adventure: as a hidden untimely birth he had not been, as infants that never see the light. Men spoke much in my boyhood of restricted or ruined men of genius: and it was common to say that many a man was a Great Might-Have-Been. To me it is a more solid and startling fact that any man in the street is a Great Might-Not-Have-Been.


Viktoria Mullova performs the Largo from Bach's Violin Sonata No.3 in C major, BWV 1005 and Clara Schumann's Romanze No. 1, Andante molto in D-flat major ...


Happy Birthday, Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton was born on this day in 1874.


I cut a staff in a churchyard copse,
I clad myself in ragged things,
I set a feather in my cap
That fell out of an angel’s wings.

I filled my wallet with white stones,
I took three foxgloves in my hand,
I slung my shoes across my back,
And so I went to fairyland.

But lo, within that ancient place
Science had reared her iron crown,
And the great cloud of steam went up
That telleth where she takes a town.

But cowled with smoke and starred with lamps,
That strange land’s light was still its own;
The word that witched the woods and hills
Spoke in the iron and the stone.

Not Nature’s hand had ever curved
That mute unearthly porter’s spine.
Like sleeping dragon’s sudden eyes
The signals leered along the line.

The chimneys thronging crooked or straight
Were fingers signalling the sky;
The dog that strayed across the street
Seemed four-legged by monstrosity.

‘In vain,’ I cried, ‘though you too touch
The new time’s desecrating hand,
Through all the noises of a town
I hear the heart of fairyland.’

I read the name above a door,
Then through my spirit pealed and passed:
‘This is the town of thine own home,
And thou hast looked on it at last.’

G.K. Chesterton

28 May 2022

Pink Floyd, "Learning to Fly"

Ohio Stadium, on this night in 1988 ...
A soul in tension that's learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
Can't keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I

Thank you, Hannelore.

27 May 2022

Supertramp, "From Now On"

Sometimes I slowly drift away
From all the dull routine
That's with me every day
A fantasy will come to me
Diamonds are what I really need
Think I'll rob a store, escape the law
And live in Italy ...


19 May 2022


If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

18 May 2022

Happy Birthday, Strait

George Strait was born on this day in 1952.

"Codigo" ...


Unknown, Greenwich Pensioner Saluting Bust of Nelson, 1905

History, of all the literary productions, is the most important, pleasing, and instructive, as it is the record of the manners and customs of nations, with their religion and policy, and all their relative transactions.  It also represents to us the actions of all of those who have made themselves conspicuous on the theatre of the world.  In short, everything calculated to interest us in life is contained in history.

George Watson, from A Narrative of the Adventures of a Greenwich Pensioner Written by Himself, 1827


Whoever you are: step out of doors tonight,
Out of the room that lets you feel secure.
Infinity is open to your sight.

Whoever you are.

With eyes that have forgotten how to see
From viewing things already too well-known,
Lift up into the dark a huge, black tree
And put it in the heavens: tall, alone.

And you have made the world and all you see.

It ripens like the words still in your mouth.

And when at last you comprehend its truth,
Then close your eyes and gently set it free.

Rainer Maria Rilke



Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you’ll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun above the mountain’s head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! ‘tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless—
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

William Wordsworth

17 May 2022

Ssssssssstones, "Hey Negrita"


It's not necessary to go to great lengths listing the sins committed by Trader Joe's, one need only understand that they created and package for sale blueberry vanilla goat cheese ...
We were about 45 minutes in when my daughter started to pull on my shirt because she wanted to whisper something to me. I went down to her level and she put her hand to my ear so that everyone around us couldn't hear what she was saying. "Mom, they are going to think you are crazy. You are asking way too many questions!" I busted out laughing and had to tell the manager what she said.

His reply was, "Well that's good because you are in good company. We are all a little crazy here." This is foodie's paradise and talking passionately about food is completely NORMAL.

We were at the register for a solid 20 minutes! All of the cashiers started giving me their feedback.... products they were sure I couldn't live without.

Stop it

Whole Foods is worse.

Thanks, Kurt.

Happy Birthday, Satie

An artist must regulate his life.  Here is a time-table of my daily acts. I rise at 7.18; am inspired from 10.23 to 11.47. I lunch at 12.11 and leave the table at 12.14. A healthy ride on horse-back round my domain follows from 1.19 pm to 2.53 pm. Another bout of inspiration from 3.12 to 4.7 pm. From 5 to 6.47 pm various occupations (fencing, reflection, immobility, visits, contemplation, dexterity, natation, etc.)

Dinner is served at 7.16 and finished at 7.20 pm. From 8.9 to 9.59 pm symphonic readings (out loud). I go to bed regularly at 10.37 pm. Once a week (on Tuesdays) I awake with a start at 3.14 am.

My only nourishment consists of food that is white: eggs, sugar, shredded bones, the fat of dead animals, veal, salt, coco-nuts, chicken cooked in white water, mouldy fruit, rice, turnips, sausages in camphor, pastry, cheese (white varieties), cotton salad, and certain kinds of fish (without their skin). I boil my wine and drink it cold mixed with the juice of the Fuschia. I have a good appetite but never talk when eating for fear of strangling myself.

I breathe carefully (a little at a time) and dance very rarely. When walking I hold my ribs and look steadily behind me.

My expression is very serious; when I laugh it is unintentional, and I always apologise very politely.

I sleep with only one eye closed, very profoundly. My bed is round with a hole in it for my head to go through. Every hour a servant takes my temperature and gives me another.

Erik Satie, born on this day in 1866.

Evan Price, violin, Rob Reich, accordion, Jason Vanderford, guitar, and Seth Ford-Young, bass, perform Gnossienne No.1 ...

Paul Weller, "Sea Spray"

16 May 2022


The Spud-oisie released Freedom of Choice on this day in 1980.

"Planet Earth" 
People go insane, fly around in planes
Pray that it won't rain, drive around in cars
Get drunk in local bars, dream of being stars ...


Happy Hour: a depressing comment on the rest of the day and a victory for the most limited Dionysian view of human nature.

John Ralston Saul



The great storms
are behind you now.
Back then, you didn’t ask
why you were born, where
you came from, or where you were going–
you were part of the storm,
the fire.

But you can find a way to live
in everyday life as well,
in our ordinary grey days:
plant your potatoes, rake leaves,
clear away the brush.
There is so much to ponder in this world
that one life is not enough.
After you’re done with your tasks,
you can fry up some bacon
and read Chinese poetry.
Old Laërtes hacked back the brambles
and hoed the earth around his fig trees,
letting the heroes battle it out at Troy.

Olav H. Hauge

Grieg, Holberg Suite, Op. 40

The Camerata Nordica String Orchestra performs ...


The squalling cat and the squeaking mouse,
The howling dog by the door of the house,
The bat that lies in bed at noon,
All love to be out by the light of the moon.

Robert Louis Stevenson

14 May 2022

Paul Weller, "As You Lean into the Light"


AC⚡DC forever changed music when they released their first album on this day 1976.

Here's the title cut ...


An excellent album ...

The Style Council, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"


World service bulletin
From the nightshift D.J.
To all wavebands on Earth
Reconnoiter on the kilohertz

This tune is going out to Marconi
To all corners of the globe
There ain't no hut in the Serengeti
Where my wavelengths do not probe ...

Clash rules, but any Strummer solo album is better than their entire catalog.

It's sandwich time.


Modigliani, Portrait of Jeune, 1913

I want to be a tuneswept fiddle string that feels the master melody, and snaps.

Amedeo Modigliani


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

Jorge Luis Borges

Thank you, Kurt.


Difford & Tillbrook, "Up the Junction"

Jerry Douglas & Tommy Emmanuel, "Halfway Home"

Olivia Belli, "Sol Novo"

With Luca Mengoni, violin, and Federico Perpich, cello ...



An excellent album ...

12 May 2022


Well, I just got back been gone too long
Wasn't my idea, didn't pull the trigger
Oh, I but I'm just so glad
I'm just so glad to be back home ...

08 May 2022

07 May 2022

Happy Birthday, Prince

Prairie Prince was born on this day in 1950.

With The New Cars, "Not Tonight" ...

R.E.M., "Life and How to Live It"


Constable, The Cornfield, 1825


Come, Queen of Months! in company
With all thy merry mistrelsy: —
The restless cuckoo, absent long,
And twittering swallows' chimney-song;
With hedgerow crickets' notes, that run
From every bank that fronts the sun;
And swarthy bees, about the grass,
That stop with every bloom they pass,
And every minute, every hour,
Keep teazing weeds that wear a flower;
And Toil, and Childhood's humming joys!
For there is music in the noise
When village children, wild for sport,
In school-time's leisure, ever short,
Alternate catch the bounding ball;
Or run along the church-yard wall,
Capp'd with rude figured slabs, whose claims
In time's bad memory have no names;
Or race around the nooky church;
Or raise loud echoes in the porch;
Throw pebbles o'er the weather-cock,
Viewing with jealous eyes the clock;
Or leap o'er grave-stones' leaning heights,
Uncheck'd by melancholy sights,
Though green grass swells in many a heap
Where kin, and friends, and parents sleep.
They think not, in their jovial cry,
The time will come, when they shall lie
As lowly and as still as they;
While other boys above them play,
Heedless, as they are now, to know
The unconscious dust that lies below.
The driving boy, beside his team,
Of May-month's beauty now will dream,
And cock his hat, and turn his eye
On flower, and tree, and deepening sky;
And oft burst loud in fits of song,
And whistle as he reels along;
Cracking his whip in starts of joy —
A happy, dirty, driving boy.
The youth, who leaves his corner stool
Betimes for neighbouring village-school,
Where, as a mark to guide him right,
The church spire's all the way in sight,
With cheerings from his parents given,
Beneath the joyous smiles of Heaven
Saunters, with many an idle stand,
With satchel swinging in his hand,
And gazes, as he passes by,
On every thing that meets his eye.
Young lambs seem tempting him to play,
Dancing and bleating in his way;
With trembling tails and pointed ears
They follow him, and lose their fears;
He smiles upon their sunny faces,
And fain would join their happy races.
The birds, that sing on bush and tree,
Seem chirping for his company; —
And all — in fancy's idle whim —
Seem keeping holiday, but him.
He lolls upon each resting stile,
To see the fields so sweetly smile —
To see the wheat grow green and long;
And lists the weeder's toiling song,
Or short note of the changing thrush
Above him in the white-thorn bush,
That o'er the leaning stile bends low
Its blooming mockery of snow.

Each hedge is cover'd thick with green;
And where the hedger late hath been,
Young tender shoots begin to grow
From out the mossy stumps below.

But woodmen still on Spring intrude,
And thin the shadow's solitude;
With sharpen'd axes felling down
The oak-trees budding into brown,
Which, as they crash upon the ground,
A crowd of labourers gather round.
These, mixing 'mong the shadows dark,
Rip off the crackling, staining bark;

Depriving yearly, when they come,
The green woodpecker of his home,
Who early in the Spring began,
Far from the sight of troubling man,
To bore his round holes in each tree
In fancy's sweet security;
Now, startled by the woodman's noise,
He wakes from all his dreary joys.
The blue-bells too, that thickly bloom
Where man was never known to come;

And stooping lilies of the valley,
That love with shades and dews to dally,
And bending droop on slender threads,
With broad hood-leaves above their heads,
Like white-robed maids, in summer hours,
Beneath umbrellas shunning showers; —
These, from the bark-men's crushing treads,
Oft perish in their blooming beds.
Stripp'd of its boughs and bark, in white
The trunk shines in the mellow light
Beneath the green surviving trees,
That wave above it in the breeze,
And, waking whispers, slowly bend,
As if they mourn'd their fallen friend.
Each morning, now, the weeders meet
To cut the thistle from the wheat,
And ruin, in the sunny hours,
Full many a wild weed with its flowers; —
Corn-poppies, that in crimson dwell,
Call'd " Head-achs, " from their sickly smell;
And charlocks, yellow as the sun,
That o'er the May-fields quickly run;
And " Iron-weed, " content to share
The meanest spot that Spring can spare —
E'en roads, where danger hourly comes,
Are not without its purple blooms,
Whose leaves, with threat'ning thistles round
Thick set, that have no strength to wound,
Shrink into childhood's eager hold
Like hair; and, with its eye of gold
And scarlet-starry points of flowers,
Pimpernel, dreading nights and showers,
Oft call'd " the Shepherd's Weather-glass, "
That sleeps till suns have dried the grass,
Then wakes, and spreads its creeping bloom
Till clouds with threatening shadows come —
Then close it shuts to sleep again:
Which weeders see, and talk of rain;
And boys, that mark them shut so soon,
Call " John that goes to bed at noon: "
And fumitory too — a name
That Superstition holds to fame —
Whose red and purple mottled flowers
Are cropp'd by maids in weeding hours,
To boil in water, milk, and whey,
For washes on a holiday,
To make their beauty fair and sleek,
And scare the tan from Summer's cheek;
And simple small " Forget-me-not, "
Eyed with a pin's-head yellow spot
I' the middle of its tender blue,
That gains from poets notice due: —
These flowers, that toil by crowds destroys,
Robbing them of their lowly joys,
Had met the May with hopes as sweet
As those her suns in gardens meet;
And oft the dame will feel inclined,
As Childhood's memory comes to mind,
To turn her hook away, and spare
The blooms it loved to gather there!
— Now young girls whisper things of love,
And from the old dames' hearing move;
Oft making " love-knots " in the shade,
Of blue-green oat or wheaten blade;
Or, trying simple charms and spells
Which rural Superstition tells,
They pull the little blossom threads
From out the knotweed's button heads,
And put the husk, with many a smile,
In their white bosoms for a while, —
Then, if they guess aright the swain
Their loves' sweet fancies try to gain,
'Tis said, that ere it lies an hour,
'Twill blossom with a second flower,
And from their bosom's handkerchief
Bloom as it ne'er had lost a leaf.
— But signs appear that token wet,
While they are 'neath the bushes met;
The girls are glad with hopes of play,
And harp upon the holiday: —
A high blue bird is seen to swim
Along the wheat, when skies grow dim
With clouds; slow as the gales of Spring
In motion, with dark-shadow'd wing
Beneath the coming storm he sails:
And lonely chirp the wheat-hid quails,
That come to live with Spring again,
But leave when Summer browns the grain;
They start the young girl's joys afloat,
With " wet my foot " — their yearly note: —
So fancy doth the sound explain,
And oft it proves a sign of rain!
The thresher, dull as winter days,
And lost to all that Spring displays,
Still 'mid his barn-dust forced to stand,
Swings round his flail with weary hand;
While o'er his head shades thickly creep,
That hide the blinking owl asleep,
And bats, in cobweb-corners bred,
Sharing till night their murky bed.
The sunshine trickles on the floor
Through ev'ry crevice of the door:
This makes his barn, where shadows dwell,
As irksome as a prisoner's cell;
And, whilst he seeks his daily meal,
As school-boys from their task will steal,
So will he stand with fond delay
To see the daisy in his way,
Or wild weeds flowering on the wall; —
For these to memory still recall
The joys, the sports that come with Spring, —
The twirling top, the marble ring,
The jingling halfpence hustled up
At pitch and toss, the eager stoop
To pick up heads , the smuggled plays
'Neath hovels upon sabbath-days, —
The sitting down, when school was o'er,
Upon the threshold of the door,
Picking from mallows, sport to please,
Each crumpled seed he call'd a cheese,
And hunting from the stack-yard sod
The stinking henbane's belted pod,
By youth's warm fancies sweetly led
To christen them his loaves of bread.
He sees, while rocking down the street
With weary hands and crimpling feet,
Young children at the self-same games,
And hears the self-same boyish names
Still floating on each happy tongue:
Touch'd with the simple scene so strong,
Tears almost start, and many a sigh
Regrets the happiness gone by;
Thus, in sweet Nature's holiday,
His heart is sad while all is gay.
How lovely now are lanes and balks,
For lovers in their Sunday-walks!
The daisy and the butter-cup —
For which the laughing children stoop
A hundred times throughout the day,
In their rude romping Summer play —
So thickly now the pasture crowd,
In a gold and silver sheeted cloud,
As if the drops of April showers
Had woo'd the sun, and changed to flowers.
The brook resumes her Summer dresses,
Purling 'neath grass and water-cresses,
And mint and flagleaf, swording high
Their blooms to the unheeding eye;

The Summer tracks about its brink
Are fresh again where cattle drink;
And on its sunny bank the swain
Stretches his idle length again;
While all that lives enjoys the birth
Of frolic Summer's laughing mirth.

John Clare

R.E.M., "Perfect Circle"


van Gogh, View of Arles, April, 1889

I would very much like, and am working towards this, to put things in my studio that will remind me when I see them each morning of this or that outdoors. So that I immediately know what to do with the day - and immediately take pleasure in something, or have the feeling: I must still go here or there sometime. 

Vincent van Gogh


Beethoven premiered his Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125, on this day in 1824.

Giovanni Antonini conducts the Kammerorchester Basel and Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir, featuring Regula Mühlemann, soprano, Marie Claude Chappuis, mezzo-soprano, Maximilian Schmitt, tenor, and Thomas E. Bauer, baritone ...


Vuillard, Square Berlioz Place Vintimille, 1915

Who speaks of art speaks of poetry. There is not art without a poetic aim.

Edouard Vuillard

Happy Birthday, Brahms

Torggler, Johannes Brahms, 1872

Johannes Brahms was born on this day in 1833.

Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45, Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Choir, and Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, with soloists Barbara Bonney and Bryn Terfel ...

05 May 2022


"Hang care!" exclaimed he. "This is a delicious evening; the wine has a finer relish here than in the house, and the song is more exciting and melodious under the tranquil sky than in the close room, where the sound is stifled. Come, let us have a bacchanalian chant—let us, with old Sir Toby, make the welkin dance and rouse the night-owl with a catch! I am right merry. Pass the bottle, and tune your voices—a catch, a catch! The lights will be here anon."

Charles Ollier, from "The Haunted Manor-House of Paddington" 

For best results, listen to this ... Pretenders, "Tattooed Love Boys"

The euphony transformed me and inundated my soul in a roguish countenance, the likes of which I had know well in younger days. Such impishness soon drove out the complaints of the day. 

Umberto Limongiello

The Jam, "Set the House Ablaze"

Something you said set the house ablaze
It is called indoctrination
And it happens on all levels
But it has nothing to do with equality
It has nothing to do with democracy
And though it professes to
It has nothing to do with humanity
It is cold, hard and mechanical ...


Unknown, Thomas Paine, 1792

That men mean distinct and separate things when they speak of constitutions and of governments, is evident; or why are those terms distinctly and separately used? A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution, is power without a right.

All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must either be delegated or assumed. There are no other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.

Thomas Paine, from The Rights of Man, "On Constitutions"

Happy Birthday, Mac

Ian McCulloch was born on this day in 1959.

Echo and The Bunnymen: Lay Down Thy Raincoat and Groove, Albert Hall, 1983 ...

Robin Guthrie, "Monument"


James George on awareness ...
What I’m coming to lately is an end-of-life conviction that there is more to consciousness than what is produced in my little head, or yours. Both of us have the capacity, at times, mysteriously, to get beyond whatever this small consciousness is doing and telling us. When we are able, when we are sufficiently still and relaxed—letting it happen, not doing it—we can receive a resonance from a greater consciousness.

Many spiritual masters I’ve known, and also eminent scientists like Carl Jung, echo this belief. Just before Jung died, the BBC managed to interview him. And he was free enough at that stage of his life to say things without looking over his shoulder and worrying about his scientific reputation. He said: “Man cannot stand a meaningless life. Something in us sees around corners, knows beyond time and space, so may continue in that state after our physical death. Those who fear death as the End, die soon. Those who think they will go on, die old.”

Fear is constricting. In fact, so are all those self-concerns for one’s reputation, for one’s ideas, even for what the next association is telling me. For example, am I just thinking of what I should say to you now? Or am I open to something that could be quite new, that is not really coming so much from me as from this source consciousness that many traditions have called “I”? I’m referring to the consciousness that manages to see what things are, what I am, and to not get caught in the next reaction or judgment or association—because all of these are functions; and consciousness is not a function.

In the environmental movement that I’ve been part of for thirty years, I’ve been saying that the problem is not just in our technology or in our corporate system, but inside ourselves. What has to change more radically is my whole attitude to nature, from one of domination to an attitude of stewardship. It’s a hard sell these days, though the need for such a radical change has been laid out in all of the great traditions.

When we talk about the need for a less self-centered attitude or for waking up, it’s a change of consciousness, a change of mind from an identified mind that is just presenting its next automatic association—and assuming it can control our entire life that way—to a mind that is still and open and able to receive something from this greater mind that Carl Jung was invoking earlier. Like you, I am searching for who I am, and by now I know that I am not going to find an answer in my functional machinery, ticking away automatically, but in my essential mind, just aware attention, watching.

As the Dalai Lama has been pointing out in recent years, the Tibetan language has two words for these two very different kinds of “mind”: The ordinary automatic mind that they call Sem; and this other receptive stillness, which has no judgments, no associations, that they call Rigpa and translate as awareness. It’s a beautiful statement in a few sentences of what has previously been a very secret Tibetan practice called dzogchen, closely allied to what Gurdjieff and others have taught as the wordless way of being totally present now, in this moment.

We’re all designed with this possibility. But what is obstructing the realization of that human potential ... it’s me. This narcissistic preoccupation with my story, my difficulty, which always has a kind of negative touch to it because I am complaining about what is wrong with me either physically or mentally. And the quiet, impartial, impersonal mind, consciousness, with which I could be connected, is blocked by that.

It is so important to understand awareness as a connector to something greater than me, to my source, really. My presence is the doorway to that, even at the moment that I acknowledge that I don’t know who I am and I see my lack of presence. But that is the beginning of a real wish for it, a wish to be.