Saturday, April 16, 2016

Rare Awakening

Calm as a rock, sharp as a blade,
Straight as a ray, high as a hawk
Sane as the day, hard as a jade.
Rare is this state, deep as a loch.

Complex the night, artful the dreams
Crumpled the limbs, pillows astray
All night a fight, jungle of beams
Out on the rims, can’t get away.

Some mornings come like lightning strikes.
They wake me clean, a curtain ripped.
A cymbal- drum, a ruptured dyke.
All black turns green, a slammed-shut crypt.

And then…

Calm as a rock, sharp as a blade.
As if all night I’d only prayed.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

♫ Tender is the Steak ♪♫

One of the subjects on which I often muse when walking Katie—officially Canis lupus familiaris, in pop language “dog” or “beagle”—is the pure fact that, in this avowedly materialistic age we live so intensely inside vast structures of purely mental character in which the physical, material, is almost entirely invisible. Just imagine a picture of a commodities market, say trading in Corn Futures. The Internet will display, first and foremost, forbiddingly complex statistical tables or people working two phones and three screens while frantically waving what look like third arms. But after the trading is done (selling things not even planted), months and month later, machines will harvest and store actual kernels of corn with all the “real” action far in the past—but frantic trading still embracing what has not yet been put into the ground—and may not be if the future’s prices are too low.

Yes. The steak may well be tender if the cattle eat aggressively-priced corn. But what about that popular 1983 song—“Tender is the Night”? How can the night be tender? And what is a pretender? Is a pretender “hard”? Well, hard work will give us some insight. Tender comes from tendere in Latin, meaning “to stretch.” The pretender is a person who stretches out before he manages to touch some object. He is a “before-stretcher.” And if he is a wanna-be king, thus one reaching for kingship before any legitimate reasons for that action have been firmly established, he is a Pretender to the Throne.

So the steak has been stretched; fibers have been severed; therefore it is softer, easier to chew. A tender night, presumably, has been stretched out too. Consequently short summer nights do not qualify but December nights are tender indeed. Or am I just whistling Dixie?

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Medium: Snow and Shadow

As every year, so this year too, the subject of April arises now that the month has made its appearance, introducing itself with a reasonably-sized snow storm in its earliest days. Rain and snow have alternated since. Yesterday’s rain turned into snow as the (invisible) sun was setting and the roofs visible from our living room turned white. It was a late night. We woke up late and, glancing out the window, saw a little sketch of our gazebo drawn quite spontaneously by the ultimate artist of our local environment, the Sun. Gazebo sketched in Snow and Shadow. The April arguments always turn on whether or not Winter is really over. No, Brigitte, Spring is only here de jure, not in fact, and outside our premature yellow daffodil is bending its head in sorrow. But the sky is bright.