Saturday, March 27, 2010

Norman, M, and E.E.

Norman Friedman started Spring.  M now is the editor of Spring.  E.E. Cummings wrote this ever-lifting poem about Spring:

in Just-
spring      when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles      far      and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far        and        wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and


balloonMan    whistles

(Complete Poems 27)                  

We still have, in our neighborhood, an ice cream truck that comes around.  The ice cream man who dishes out our ice cream cones is almost always happy-looking and humming to the tune from his little truck.  Or else we are so glad to see him again after the long winter, we see him happy and humming.  E.E. must have had a balloon vendor come around each spring to his boyhood neighborhood of Cambridge Massachusetts.

Norman Friedman has given friends and friends of poetry exceedingly many treats:  thankstohim.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

thankyou Dylan Thomas

Is there any line in English poetry that better heralds spring than this line from Dylan Thomas:
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age;
Every spring, again this spring, this line comes to me.  Thankyou Dylan Thomas.  Here is the entire poem, whose title is the same as the line above.

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

crocuses, spring

Monday, March 15, 2010


daffodils in field

These daffodils are up before the daffodils outside are.  That is because I hung this painting Saturday at an exhibition space.  The painting is up; the daffodils are showing!  Outdoors the daffodils are only stubby shoots.  Each day now, more show themselves coming through.  Funny looking (and what a funny painting they'd make):  still, these stubs are mood-brightening!

The painting here is oil on canvas, quite large for me: 30 x 40 inches.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

returning geese

si bi luo yan

Four leaves of bamboo painted in such a way that they are said to be luo  yan, "like a wild goose alighting."  This is an instruction to painting students, on a page in The Mustard Seed Manual of Painting, in the chapter on Bamboo.  Each time I practice this arrangement, the wild goose/bamboo leaves look different:  sometimes pensive, sometimes free, sometimes a bit gangly!  We have returning geese in our skies every day now, and we can hear their honking above us often before we even see them.  Oh wonderful reunions.

Emerging from
the regions of the moon--
the first wild geese

(Hatsukari ya
tsuki no soba yori

I came across this haiku, by Miura Chora (1729 - 1780), in a 1995 exhibition book entitled HAIGA by Stephen Addiss.  A haiga, a haiku-painting, by Chora was on the same page with the haiku.  It is lovely, three black geese.  I hope that you and I see this haiga (again) and more of Chora's work someday.