Earth Day

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Earth Day
by Jane Yolen

I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Each blade of grass,
Each honey tree,
Each bit of mud,
And stick and stone
Is blood and muscle,
Skin and bone.

And just as I
Need every bit
Of me to make
My body fit,
So Earth needs
Grass and stone and tree
And things that grow here
Naturally.

That’s why we
Celebrate this day.
That’s why across
The world we say:
As long as life,
As dear, as free,
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.

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Earth’s temple services

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Laddawan and her sister Maliporn

A Poem for Earth

She said: “I named him Earth because he was everything to me.”

He screamed a million times. She gave him a million kisses.

He never said a word.

He went into shock a million times. She held him and gave him hugs

a million times.

He never said a word.

She said: “I named him Earth because he was everything to me.”

He smiled at her a million times. She smiled at him a million times.

He never said a word.

She said: “I named him Earth because he was everything to me.

He was everything to me.”

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Laney Yarber, Laddawan, me and Joe, Laney’s son.

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Some of our friends.

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Distilled Wisdom

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A landscape painting from the Tang Era. 

No road to happiness or sorrow.–Chinese proverb.

Silly boys in time become silly old men.–Chinese proverb.

“I heard” is good. “I saw” is better.–Chinese proverb.

Water and words, easy to pour, impossible to recover.–Chinese proverb.

The house with an old grandparent harbors a jewel.–Chinese proverb.

You own ten fingers are unequaled.–Chinese proverb.

Before you beat the dog, learn his master’s name.–Chinese proverb.

Pleasures are shallow, sorrows are deep.–Chinese proverb.

One dog barks at a shadow, a hundred bark at his sound.–Chinese proverb.

Do not open a shop, unless you like to smile.–Chinese proverb.

Many a good face under a ragged hat.–Chinese proverb.

Rivers and mountains may change, human nature never.–Chinese proverb.

A bad word whispered will echo a hundred miles.–Chinese proverb.

Easier to rule a nation than a son.–Chinese proverb.

Without sorrows no one becomes a saint.–Chinese proverb.

Learning is treasure no thief can touch.–Chinese proverb.

While you are bargaining conceal your coin.–Chinese proverb.

Great doubts, deep wisdom. Small doubts, little wisdom.–Chinese proverb.

Cheat the earth…earth will cheat you.–Chinese proverb.

 


On this day 200 years ago, Henry David Thoreau was born.

 

WaldenThoreau spent two years, two months and two days in a cabin near Walden Pond where he wrote Walden. He spent a little over two years at the cabin, and used one year, the four seasons, as a metaphor for growth in Nature and in human nature. He was urged on in his inner pursuits by Ralph Waldo Emerson, his neighbor, who was firing up the emergent, new American imagination. Walden was Thoreau’s personal attempt at spiritual enlightenment and a flag for self-reliance in the search for inner growth and peace. Again, I have to say the book that opens up Walden like no other is Stanley Cavell’s Senses of Walden, which really should be read before reading Walden.

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Thoreau’s notebook journal from Nov. 11, 1858.


Dylan’s Nobel Prize Speech

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Here’s Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize speech, which is a peek at his inspirations, entanglements and bondings and the power of stories to convey word pictures of the world. I was surprised he barely  mentioned poetry.


Plurality By Louis MacNeice

Plurality

By Louis MacNeice

It is patent to the eye that cannot face the sun
The smug philosophers lie who say the world is one;
World is other and other, world is here and there,
Parmenides would smother life for lack of air
Precluding birth and death; his crystal never breaks—
No movement and no breath, no progress nor mistakes,
Nothing begins or ends, no one loves or fights,
All your foes are friends and all your days are nights
And all the roads lead round and are not roads at all
And the soul… Click here for this wonderful poem…

NPG P1676; (Frederick) Louis MacNeice by Rollie McKenna

by Rollie McKenna, bromide print, 1954


Ralph Ellison’s Faux Haiku

Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison’s friend, remembers a short poem, which I will call a haiku, from their days as students together: Murray recalls the author of Invisible Man as the smartest-dressed upperclassman at Tuskegee.  Murray was impressed that Ellison always seemed to check out the best books in the library, and he presented a “nascent elegance” in his two-tone shoes, bow tie, contrasting slacks, and whatever else the best haberdasher in Oklahoma had to offer.

Ralph Ellison In Harlem

“I even remember the poetry Ralph wrote,” Murray said:

“‘Death is nothing, / Life is nothing, / How beautiful these two nothings!’ “