Friday, September 15, 2006

Another View of Time

How does time pass so quickly?

Did the ancients wonder about the passage of time?

Where did yesterday go?

Capture the yesterdays in words, but be careful—don't fall into nostalgia. clock

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rocks in Repose


Is this a picture of real rocks or a photo of an artist depicting rocks? Illusion or reality? Reality or illusion?

In preparation for the coming year I've stepped into gear. After reading Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose I opted to take her reading list to heart.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa's book Roshomon threw me right into the complex relationship of reality and illusion. Akutagawa is aware of the "precarious balance of illusion and reality."

Savor Akutagawa's sentence: "His appearance caused no more ripple of unrest than a drop of water in the Japan Sea."

I've now moved on to Donald Barthelme's Sixty Stories. His stories turn reality into a suspended trapeze artist. I fell in love with the beginning of his story 'Game'. "Shotwell keeps the jacks and the rubber ball in his attache case and will not allow me to play with them..."

Prose arranges her list alphabetically so I'm set for months.

My Bible Study group selected Amos and Hosea for the fall. To prepare for this I've selected Abraham J. Heschel's book The Prophets as additional reading. My own theology keeps expanding. It's a symphony with parts. How can there be an exclusive path? Heschel says that when he marched in 1965 from Selma to Montgomery, "I felt my legs were praying."

When I stood in front of these rocks I felt that I stood on Holy Ground.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Just because I just read someone's words about the books they read as a child, I remembered some of my favorite books from childhood. Several years ago I wrote this poem to celebrate The Book of Marvels.

Richard Halburton's Book of Marvels

these marvels surpassed Superman
flying over Gotham, hands stretched out,
catching thermals, staring down --
eyes drilling through reinforced concrete
these marvels required a flying carpet,
a passport beyond the fire escape
a bus beyond the last stop where the city--exhausted stops
beyond the red yo yo going around the world on a twisted Egyptian string
and over the last tree on one hundred seventy-sixth street
At night I dreamed of Tibet before I found Tibet on a map
I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on foot
the year before I lay on Jones Beach and my ears burned till they bled
While walking to the end of my street I visualized Mongolia
and Sphinx burning up in the desert
On Saturday the movie theatre showed a double feature
Even an afternoon of two features and two serials
where the heroine is about to die until the following week
couldn't compare to the Great Wall
When the heat sent people outside
and fire hydrants turned into spouting whales
I traveled on a donkey down Bright Angel trail and bathed in the Colorado
No one I knew went farther than the mountains for the summer
Ellen's father took his family to another state and I envied her
I lay my hand on the Book of Marvels, inhaled the footsteps
and vowed to walk up Mt Fuji
vowed to be intrepid


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Another View

Isn't everything a matter of perspective? I stood on a bridge, looked down and noticed the pattern. Perhaps someone who understood marine biology, or someone who imagined swimming in this water, or someone in a rush—well, they might see something else.

Today I took part in a water communion . Each participant brought in a small vial of water. People wrote comments about their water—where it came from and why it had meaning. As we walked up and added water to the bowl, the minister read one of the writings. I poured my Maine water out and heard about a stream in West Virginia. All the waters joined together. Streams and brooks in Vermont washed up on the shore of Puget Sound, water from a backyard dripped into the rain-forest water. The quiet water from a sleepy pond joined a tumultuous wave.

I imagined a chorus of voices, a choir of languages, a symphony of blending.