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Where Words Fails

via Where Words Fail

Thank you to Misifusa for this wonderful post.

I have not posted for some time. This seemed like a good way to begin again, afresh. When I was growing up, we listened to a wide variety of music, including Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald. I thought it was the norm and grew into a die-hard blues fan, attending concerts by Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, and King Biscuit when they traveled to Canada.

As an adult, I saw BB King, John Mayall, Etta James, Ruthie Foster, Taj Mahal, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and others. An American friend told me this was not the norm in the US. He did not have the same opportunities to see these performers as I did or, if he did, it was long after they were in their primes.

The Hans Christian Anderson quote fits well “where words fail, music speaks”. Music breaks down barriers without realizing they are coming down. As a Canadian, I had freedoms I took-for-granted, like the music I listened to and the concerts I attended. When I taught, I played a wide variety of music each morning. It ranged from the blues to jazz to country to folk to old rock and to more contemporary music. Students enjoyed it and it surprised them when they heard me play old Johnny Cash, the blues, and rock-a-billy.

Music is colour-blind or, better yet, music is blind to colour.

I like this particular John Lee Hooker song, which I first heard in the early 1970’s. George Thorogood plays it in most of his concerts in tribute to John Lee. Enjoy.

 

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“The Good Samaritan” by French artist Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)

Photo post by @georgebost.

Source: “The Good Samaritan” by French artist Maximilien Luce (1858-1941)

I enjoy this parable. It should raise questions about what I do for others and how, when I do right , my life is enriched. It is a spiritual richeness that can make each day Christmas, rather than one day a year.

Several years ago, I heard a sermon that explained how the first two people who passed by may have felt they had to do so based on their understanding of certain laws. The Samaritan did not feel he was and stopped to care for someone in need.

ON HOW TO PICK AND EAT POEMS

Phyllis Cole-Dai wrote this wonderful poem that offers so much advice about how to live life more fully. When I stand still and just am in the moment, it is there that I can live most fully. Poems grow there and, just like finding something wonderful in nature, we can bow to it as we read it and let it soak in.

Stop whatever it is you’re doing.
Come down from the attic.
Grab a bucket or a basket and head for light.
That’s where the best poems grow, and in the dappled dark.

Go slow. Watch out for thorns and bears.
When you find a good bush, bow to it, or take off your shoes.
Then pluck. This poem. That poem. Any poem.
It should come off the stem easy, just a little tickle.
No need to sniff first, judge the color, test the firmness.
You’ll only know it’s ripe if you taste.

So put a poem upon your lips. Chew its pulp.
Let its juice spill over your tongue.
Let your reading of it teach you
what sort of creature you are
and the nature of the ground you walk upon.
Bring your whole life out loud to this one poem.
Eating one poem can save you, if you’re hungry enough.

When birds and deer beat you to your favorite patch,
smile at their familiar appetite, and ramble on.
Somewhere another crop waits for harvest.
And if your eye should ever light upon a cluster of poems
hanging on a single stem, cup your hand around them
and pull, without greed or clinging.
Some will slip off in your palm.
None will go to waste.

Take those you adore poem-picking when you can,
even to the wild and hidden places.
Reach into brambles for their sake,
stain your skin some shade of red or blue,
mash words against your teeth, for love.
And always leave some poems within easy reach
for the next picker, in kinship with the unknown.

If you ever carry away more than you need,
go on home to your kitchen, and make good jam.
No need to rush, the poems will keep.
Some will even taste better with age,
a rich batch of preserves.

Store up jars and jars of jam. Plenty for friends.
Plenty for the long, howling winter. Plenty for strangers.
Plenty for all the bread in this broken world.

An Appalachian Wedding

This is my first post since getting back at it. It has been a great few months. I did not go far from my computer, but my efforts focused on dissertation writing. That is off the table for about a month as the committee members read and offer feedback. When that is done, I hope to be into research.

Thomas Berry was a Catholic priest and environmentalist who wrote the book The Dream of the Earth. He approached his environmentalism in a very holistic manner, incorporating a variety of traditions: Judeo-Christian, Eastern philosophies, and Indigenous people.

I feel that many people have moved away from the holistic relationship they subjectively and objectively engage in the world/ universe. We are not separate but part of a complex dynamic that is always incomplete and unpredictable.

Look up at the sky
the heavens so blue
the sun so radiant
the clouds so playful
the soaring raptors
woodland creatures
meadows in bloom
rivers singing their
way to the sea
wolfsong on the land
whalesong in the sea
celebration everywhere
wild, riotous
immense as a monsoon
lifting an ocean of joy
then spilling it down over
the Appalachian landscape
drenching us all
in a deluge of delight
as we open our arms and
rush toward each other
all of us moved by that vast
compassionate curve
that brings all things together
in intimate celebration
celebration that is
the universe itself.

Kiss the Earth

Kiss the Earth.

I will let you read the lovely poem by Thich Nhat Hanh which is at the link.

When we step gently, it is like kissing the earth with our feet and thanking it for supporting it.

When we live in each moment in peace, the peace radiates out from us.

When we touch each other with kindness, the world is a better space.

The Coffee Shop

I spend time in the local coffee shops, read, and write. I did a lot of my blogging in that venue; however this summer I rearranged my schedule and blog at home. I notice a gentle energy in these settings and in a busy world it is a place to take time and just be.

The coffee shop;

Misnamed I think–

I sip tea

I try just be present.

We gather;

It is about talk–

A communal space,

Congregate and converse.

Companionship’s richness;

Found in quality

I cannot assign a number

It is a fool’s errand.

It is in laughter,

The reminiscing,

The sharing,

We find ourselves.

I Believe in All That Has Never Yet Been Spoken

I am getting back into a groove after my first full week home. I let things flow a bit this week. Rilke suggested letting go or not contriving in this poem. When I don’t over plan, I find I am more open and accept the flow of things much like the beginner’s mind of a child. Watching children engrossed in play is a reminder that can happen for me as an adult and, as it does, the river widens and flows in every widening channels. Life becomes somehow larger, but not in an explainable way.

Posting images of our trip through Glacier National Park is believing in all that has never yet been spoken. Nature allows me to speak without using words. It is a palette of creation which speaks without speaking and shares without words. It just is and teaches through its presence.

The role of sabbath is to rest on the swelling and ebbing currents and rest in each moment. Perhaps, as I do, I take an expanded mind and soul into next week.

I believe in all that has never been spoken.

I want to free what waits within me

so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear

without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,

but this is what I need to say.

May what I do flow from me like a river,

no forcing and no holding back,

the way it is with children.

Then in those swelling and ebbing currents,

these deepening tides moving out, returning,

I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels

into the open sea.

 

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