Friday, July 08, 2011

Sudden Fits Of Madness

The greatest treasures

Of discovery

Are found

In life

—Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

I’m going down the Oregon trail
where you can’t follow, except
as I fling every so often strews
of Oregon blueberries behind,
the ones I’m not eating. But if you’re
coming be fast, so’s the Oregon
bluebirds don’t erase me. This
thought overtook me today waking

to a California sky courtesy of Oregon,
with dawn clouds making sheer
little pats of raw silk stained
blueberry by the sun-still-under
celeste music. Now I’m listening
to brass music, the CD of the concert
we five played to decent applause,
and, even better, patched up
in places in the studio. Just as well

not to have to bear too much Eliot
reality: we sound good boosted!
And now it’s Arcangelo Corelli playing
longbow music in the Pacific Northwest,
music like a deep bow from the waist,
yet the Raglan Baroque players remind
us, it’s basically just fiddling. Just!


—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

To sit by a lugubrious river
imitating it
on an ongoing basis
would sate and satisfy
my existence
to a major extent.

Bring a book
on Vonnegut
or on the hybridization of vines
the tang of vinegar—
all would serve equally

even the distant thunder
of a sudden but tantalizing
shower of non hail
just clear
acid and acrid free
water from the late afternoon sky
would be a minute miracle
all its special solo own.


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

it was a hot day
we played tennis
bouncing the ball
back and forth
to each other
too hot to play
still we bounced the ball
back and forth
till we were too tired
to bounce the ball
to each other
so we stopped playing
we drooped off the court
dragging our racquets
behind us, too hot to play


—Patricia Hickerson

it rolls slowly across the court
tennis ball rolls slowly
still rolling
rolling slowly
under the net
across the court
tennis ball rolls slowly
picks it up
with the edge of her racquet
slowly rolling tennis ball
steps into her racquet
slowly she pops it up in the air
tennis ball drops to turf
she has caught the tennis ball
in her racquet
up in the air, then down it goes
onto the turf
the slowly rolling tennis ball



arrives Sunday morning
riding on her daddy’s shoulder—
tiny hands, puppet-like,
reach out for anyone passing by.

Wide-eyed, unblinking,
she stares at the sunlight
filtered through stained glass windows,
her sounds, gurgles and bubbles,
like angels humming.

Curled up in a receiving blanket
she doses off—
missing the sermon of the day.

—Patricia Pashby, Sacramento


—C. Piper, Napa

We know first hand
the wasteland of the moon
is deadly cold or hot
and drier than old bones;
and know from probes
shot off the Cape
the sun's a hell
of flaming vapor;
and a train from close
beside the track,
it bearing down all sound
and whistle blowing
banshee screams of death,
is fear we know
first hand.

But somehow sitting here
nearby to you,
the August air,
your perfumed hair,
and that old rock of moon
reflecting back the sun's
sweet heat and light,
a train whistle wailing in the gloaming
like the prophet of a better life –
it takes us past all that we know
or ever can.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Rabindranath Tagore

If you did not give me love
Why paint the dawn sky with such song
Why thread garlands of stars
Why make a field of flowers my bed
Why does the south wind whisper secrets in my ear?
If you did not give poetry to my soul
Why does the sky stare like that on my face
And why do sudden fits of madness grip my heart?
I set sail upon seas whose shores I know not.

(Jodi prem dilena praney)
Translated by Sunetra Gupta, from "Devotional Songs", in The Essential Tagore, Belknap Press, 2011


—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors who are talking about the Small Joys of life—everything from tennis to babies in church to (always) Mother Nature. And thanks to Tom Goff for today's LittleNip. Tom writes: Just wanted to pass this along, thought it might be suitable for remembering David Milnor [the fine poet who we posted yesterday, thanks to Janet Pantoja]. Sad to hear about David Milnor['s passing]. He had a direct, accessible, friendly yet formal music about him, and the cello poems capture his quality of song.


I dream in hues

Of poppy gold

And lupine blue

—Ronald Edwin Lane