Friday, July 09, 2010

Hull Down on the Trail of Rapture

Speaking of restless hearts...

—Richard Hovey

I am fevered with the sunset,
I am fretful with the bay,
For the wander-thirst is on me
And my soul is in Cathay.

There’s a schooner in the offing,
With her top-sails shot with fire,
And my heart has gone aboard her
For the Islands of Desire.

I must forth again tomorrow!
With the sunset I must be,
Hull down on the trail of rapture
In the wonder of the sea.


Be sure to check out Kel Munger's article in Sacramento News & Review this week on Sacramento’s Indigo Moor:

Looking for workshops, both online and otherwise? Molly Fisk is starting some new ones next week: or

Thanks to today’s contributors (Michelle Kunert, Carl Schwartz, Pat Pashby and Joyce Odam, who will be reading at the Tiger's Eye reading next Monday at Sac. Poetry Center), plus I’ve thrown in a few poems that are on the traditional side in their styles and idioms and rhythms. It never hurts to get back to the music of poetry. Don’t be shy about writing in “feet” and/or using rhymes—ye’ll be all the better for it!


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Here we go again:
Another new roster of candidates.

Each advertises that they have the ultimate
answer for our runaway concerns,
collectively sharing all the fine qualities
of competing brands of disposable diapers.

None will overcome the rash left by
prior administrative neglect,
by the fact that one size does not fit all,
nor by the reality that a fresh stack of diapers,
like a gilded box of the fanciest candles,
will not shed new light on perpetual problems.

The time has come to change the system!
From this day forward we should mandate
that all candidates for high public office
first prove themselves worthy by
successfully managing a sewer control district
for at least four years, before we entrust them
with managing our money, lives, safety,
and everything else dear.

In the meantime, we get to vote
for the cleanest diaper
to mop up our mess.


—Edna St. Vincent Millay

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.


—John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea’s face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.


"Sorry, 'The Shape of my Heart' right now is square... "
—Josh Groban apologizing to Sting and audience about
technical difficulties with the song

Why did all those in the world named Jude
get the coolest Beatles song
Yeah, you know—they get the "Na Na Na HEY JUDE”,
I get the dumb, "Michelle ma belle" one
Worse, I get the men who sing to me
with their bad, out-of-tune renditions
as if they were hitting on me with it
even while I'm otherwise doing my work.
Rather than swear back at them in French
I wish I could find a tough guy with that name who was
fed up like Johnny Cash's "Boy Named Sue”—
"Hey shut up, my name is Michelle too,
and don't think of repeating that song again!"
or else they’d get smacked between the eyes.

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

he walks away
no longer committed to vestments
woven with golden threads,
altered to fit the Hand of God . . .

caught in a labyrinth of ambivalence
of unspoken expectations,
of subtle pressures,
seeking the arms of compassion . . .


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

beating at life,
which feels your futile blows
as tiny irritations and
beats back.



Former "Royal Chicano Air Force" member Esteban Villa
plays and sings José Montoya's songs at
The Book Collector on July 7th.
"...And once I thought I wouldn't make it past 37,
which is the average age a [chicano] farm worker reaches,"
explained Villa, who is now 80 years old.
(Photo and Caption by Michelle Kunert)