Poetry Month concludes in one day

The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart
Deborah Digges (printed posthumously)

The wind blows
through the doors of my heart.
It scatters my sheet music
that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys.
Now the notes stripped, black butterflies,
flattened against the screens.
The wind through my heart
blows all my candles out.
In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy.
From the mantle smashes birds' nests, teacups
full of stars as the wind winds round,
a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows
or is blown through my rooms of my heart
that shatters the windows,
rakes the bedsheets as though someone
had just made love. And my dresses
they are lifted like brides come to rest
on the bedstead, crucifixes,
dresses tangled in trees in the rooms
of my heart. To save them
I've thrown flowers to fields,
so that someone would pick them up
and know where they came from.
Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains.
Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother's trousseau.
It is not for me to say what is this wind
or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart.
Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead
the wind does not blow. Nor the basement, no wheezing,
no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair.
It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil.
But we will never lie down again.


Books: How did I miss it?

I caught the French Lieutenant's Wife on Public Broadcasting several days ago, the 2nd bit but missed the introduction.  It caused me to look up the leading actors and of course John Fowles.

One of the books that captured my imagination was Fowles, "The Magus," and although I've read most of his other books, I always thought this was his masterpiece and one of two handfuls of lifetime memorable reads.

Yet I missed that Fowles had passed away in 2005.  He was nearly 80 when he died yet I thought of him as very young, always young.

Strange, when I think of Fowles, I also think of A. S. Byatt, also on in years, and also a writer I always think of as university age.  But of course she's more than 70.

And it is in August I shall be getting another year closer to her age.


on Healing


Bee Therapy


This sign might inspire me!

Rabbit Girl, Baby and Zoe IFJM update

We are in the car, abandoned by Zoe, who is writing her articles, and has already missed her deadline.

But we are patient and we are drawing in the little journal Zoe gave us before she went off to the computer.

It may get too cold for us in the car as the temperature has dropped and the weather forecast is for lots of rain and even a snow shower.

I sure hope Zoe isn't so distracted she forgets about us.


Poetry Month: Jack Gilbert: Searching for Pittsburgh

Searching for Pittsburgh
 - Jack Gilbert
The fox pushes softly, blindly through me at night,
between the liver and the stomach. Comes to the heart
and hesitates. Considers and then goes around it.
Trying to escape the mildness of our violent world.
Goes deeper, searching for what remains of Pittsburgh
in me. The rusting mills sprawled gigantically
along three rivers. The authority of them.
The gritty alleys where we played every evening were
stained pink by the inferno always surging in the sky,
as though Christ and the Father were still fashioning
the Earth. Locomotives driving through the cold rain,
lordly and bestial in their strength. Massive water
flowing morning and night throughout a city
girded with ninety bridges. Sumptuous-shouldered,
sleek-thighed, obstinate and majestic, unquenchable.
All grip and flood, mighty sucking and deep-rooted grace.
A city of brick and tired wood. Ox and sovereign spirit.
Primitive Pittsburgh. Winter month after month telling
of death. The beauty forcing us as much as harshness.
Our spirits forged in that wilderness, our minds forged
by the heart. Making together a consequence of America.
The fox watched me build my Pittsburgh again and again.
In Paris afternoons on Buttes-Chaumont. On Greek islands
with their fields of stone. In beds with women, sometimes,
amid their gentleness. Now the fox will live in our ruined
house. My tomatoes grow ripe among weeds and the sound
of water. In this happy place my serious heart has made.


Pen Review: Lamy Nexx, Lime Green

At first sight, I liked how this pen looked--sleek, good colouring and felt good in the hand.  It started up slower than my other Lamy pens, both the Safari and the Al-Star, but when it warmed up, it wrote as beautifully and as reliably.

Writing samples, not comparisons, on Blick drawing book

Close up of Lamy Nexx mid-section

Lamy Nexx, Lime Green, EF nib, closed

Writing sample, Lamy Nexx, EF nib

Comparing one Lamy to another, the Nexx is about one quarter inch shorter than the Lamy Al-Star but the diameter of the pen itself is probably similar.

Lamy Al Star, left, Lamy Nexx, right

While most of the Lamy pens are fun to use, reliable and attractive, the Lamy Nexx has a younger, YA look that should appeal to both the old (like me) and the younger set.  It is also a fountain pen that would make a great gift (graduations are coming up) or given as an introductory fountain pen to a new user.

It takes the standard converter that fits in Lamy Safaris and Al-Stars, and that the nib is totally interchangeable.  It is a click rather than a twist cap and as I have been alternating fountain pens, I realize how much easier and perhaps nicer it is to have that feature in a pen one uses on the go--and go the Lamy Nexx has done.

Several other reviews here and here.

(This pen was provided by LamyUSA for review).

Early Flowers, via New York Times

I found it fascinating to read in the New York Times that when Walden documented early blooming flowers in the 1850 in Concord, MA (USA) many of these flowers didn't bloom until May. 

Since his documentation this has changed by more than one month.


Rabbit Girl and Zoe go to Pittsburgh, Part II

Blick's, as it is more fondly called, was not crowded.  The layout of the store is not unlike the one in New York City, and has one level not two.  Three sales people were on the floor, and before I left the store more than an hour and half later, I had interacted with each of them.

Janet Stepura, the manager, helped Zoe chose paper for bookbinding, while they exchanged binding techniques and discussed bookbinders.   By the time we left, we were over-budget but happy, happy, happy with the new supplies.

But we didn't get into the car and drive away.  Instead we went next door to the A1 Japanese Steakhouse and had a sushi lunch.  It was delicious, but neither Zoe or me could eat it all and we had it wrapped to go.

I particularly liked the miso soup and that green stuff they wrap the rolls in---yummy.  While Zoe drove, I occasionally sneaked into the bag and nibbled what Zoe told me was kelp.

We planned to head to Harrisburg, get some shut eye and stay at a moderate priced hotel, but instead we just kept driving.  Before we knew it, 11 hours had gone by, the sun had gone down and we were just one hour from Pittsburgh.

Poetry Month

I would be remiss to neglect and omit the fact that April is Poetry Month, and in my email box comes each day a poem from Knopf--a gesture they inaugurated many years ago and continue.

Today's poem is:

- Mary Kinzie from Drift

If compelled
to give it up
I would lift
as leaves do
from the tree
and feel the floating
thread of my thought
blown out
beyond itself
               line loose
               on the water
than air


Sketchbook: Red-shouldered Hawk Territory

Vickie Henderson has published a most remarkable sketchbook of her sketches and journal pages of the red-shouldered hawk through its nesting season.

I first encountered Vickie Henderson on Cathy Johnson's Sketching in Nature blog, and have followed Vickie's blog and sketchbook ever since.

I hesitated buying the sketchbook, but then I decided it was a must have for personal reasons: I love hawks, all species, and I wanted to see Vickie's work on paper and not on the computer screen.  It was a wise decision.  The book is beautifully done--both the sketches and the printing itself.

Check Vickie's work and you'll be impressed not only with her skill but the number of bird species she spies in her native Tennessee.

Film: Jerusalem

Jerusalem | Filmed in Imax 3D from JerusalemTheMovie on Vimeo.


Rabbit Girl and Zoe go to Pittsburgh, Part I

Zoe packed the car slowly and alone. She didn't call Joey to help on Sunday and she wouldn't let me help either.  She was determined to be self-reliant.  When the sun came up the next morning, we were ready.

We left at half eight on Monday, 2 April after checking our close up the house list, lowered the heat and took out the trash.

WJFF, the local community radio was broadcasting Amy Goodman's "Democracy Today."  We were low on petrol and the odometre read "82,966."

Zoe had already decided we, or rather she wanted an adventure and we headed Southwest instead of taking our usual route across the State.  It was Allentown we were making for, a city we had never been to and had no idea just how big it is.

Before Noon we arrived and quickly got lost.  Lost meant we saw more of Allentown than we intended, but it was a good lost not a bad one, and several of the streets and communities were fascinating.

Moravian Church, founded 1747 via Wikapedia

One in particular looked almost like Albany, New York, and was extremely upscale with beautiful shops and lovely old world homes.  I think it was actually the borough of Emmaus (PA).

Finally with guidance from a fella who pumped petrol in the Honda at Friedman's Service (Bethlehem) we were pointed in the right direction.  Before we knew it we were at Dick Blick's.


The Sun Rises

I'm leaping just like Dr. Beverly Crusher did, in Star Trek: The Next Generation, not knowing whether there is another dimension. 

I started making inquiries about submitting some fiction.

Gates McFadden as Beverly Crusher, via Wikipedia

I ordered a sample copy of the Sun Magazine today, one of the journals that was recommended not by P&W but rather by MH and RF in Pittsburgh.


Bookworm: Jeanette Winterson

If you want to hear a terrific literary interview, check out KCRW's Bookworm broadcast interview with Jeanette Winterson.

I enjoyed it so much I am trying to buy it and listen again.  "Why be happy when you can be normal," Winterson's biography, sounds like an A+ read.


Stillman and Birn in State College (PA)

When I left home I didn't go directly to Pittsburgh.  Instead I took an adventurous detour to Allentown to check out Dick Blick's store.

What a grand adventure, to be reported on later.  However, they did not have all the supplies I had on my wish list.

Coming back I took a different but my familiar route by way of State College.  I got into town early, had a marvelous Indian buffet lunch at Kaarma (120 East Beaver Street) and checked out Uncle Eli's, State College's art store.

And yes, they had Stillman & Birn on display front and center.  I bought me a small Alpha like the one I have nearly finished.