Thursday, August 31, 2006

Poetry Thursday

The words of the day this week are all about poetry. Here are the words so far this week:

epopee (EP-uh-pee) noun Epic poetry or an epic poem.[From Greek epopoiia, from epos (song) + poiein (to make).]

palinode (PAL-uh-noad) noun A poem in which the author retracts something said in an earlier poem.[From Greek palinoidia, from palin (again) + oide (song).]
The example is from the purple cow poem's author.

monody (MON-uh-dee) noun 1. A poem in which the poet laments someone's death. 2. A piece of music in which a single melodic line predominates.[From Greek monoidos (singing alone), from mono- (one) + (oide) song.]

epithalamion (ep-uh-thuh-LAY-mee-on), also epithalamium, noun A poem or song in honor of a bride and bridegroom.[From Greek epi- (upon) + thalamus (bridal chamber).]

I don't think I've heard any of those recently! Think of all the words out there that you don't know, all the words that have been forgotten from disuse, never learned or passed on. Kind of sad really. But the language marches on, waiting for no word left by the roadside.

But what really caught my eye was this great quote about poets:

"The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness. -Christopher Morley, writer (1890-1957)

I think that is spot on. I know when I write a poem I have to let my brain get into an unusually open state that I don't normally let myself be in. It seems dangerous, this state of grace(?) or near madness?
Not daring to go near madness' door today, I'll share this poem about August, on the last day of August, (can you smell Autumn yet?!)

Algernon Charles Swinburne

There were four red apples on the bough,
Half gold half red, that one might know
The blood was ripe inside the core;
The colour of the leaves was more
Like stems of yellow corn that grow
Through all the gold June meadow's floor

The warm smell of the fruit was good
To feed on, and the split green wood,
With all its bearded lips and stains
Of mosses in the cloven veins,
Most pleasant, if on lay or stood
In sunshine or in happy rains.

There were four apples on the tree,
Red stained through gold, that all might see
The sun went warm from core to rind;
The green leaves made the summer blind
In that soft place they kept for me
With golden apples shut behind.

The leaves caught gold across the sun,
And where the bluest air begun
Thirsted for song to help the heat;
As I to feel my lady's feet
Draw close before the day were done
Both lips grew dry with dreams of it.

In the mute August afternoon
They trembled to some undertune
Of music in the silver air;
Great pleasure was it to be there
Till green turned duskier and the moon
Coloured the corn-sheaves like gold hair.

That August time it was delight
To watch the red moons wane to white
'Twixt grey seamed stems of apple-trees;
A sense of heavy harmonies
Grew on the growth of patient night,
More sweet than shapen music is.

But some three hours before the moon
The air, still eager from the noon,
Flagged after heat, not wholly dead;
Against the stem I leant my head;
The colour soothed me like a tune,
Green leaves all round the gold and red.

I lay there till the warm smell grew
More sharp, when flecks of yellow dew
Between the round ripe leaves that blurred
The rind with stain and wet; I heard
A wind that blew and breathed and blew,
Too weak to alter its one word.

The wet leaves next the gentle fruit
Felt smoother, and the brown tree-root
Felt the mould warmer: I too felt
(As water feels the slow gold melt
Right through it when the day burns mute)
The peace of time wherein love dwelt.

There were four apples on the tree,
Gold stained on red that all might see
The sweet blood filled them to the core:
The colour of her hair is more
Like stems of fair faint gold, that be
Mown from the harvest's middle floor.

Back to Work!

Enough of the reminiscing over vacations! Back to work! School is in session once more, so from 8am to 2pm I'm working in my studio.

Here is what I was working on all day yesterday. It is now done! Which is a very good thing as it is due today for an exhibit named "Doing small Things". Now to find my camera battery recharger so I can take a finished picture to submit....

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Now that is Some Central Park

Ahhh, the beautiful and famous Central Park. What a fabulous place, I could have stayed here all day. The people were gathered doing all sorts of things, jump roping, dancing, drum playing, a big saxophone band, very exciting and fun. This fountain and its' stonework was really inspiring to me. Check out some of these detail shots. Applique' patterns perhaps anyone??

A bird catching a fish.

The curling bit at the top reminds me of the Elvish decorations in Lord of the Rings Trilogy movies...

I love the depth in these images, and all the grape imagery. All these images speak of BOUNTY, and Harvest and Abundance.

Bees, buzz, buzz. Oh, and a treat, someone left mini Hershey bars. No I didn't take one, just in case they were laced with some "big city" extra.

The details of this one are really excellent. The twigs in the nest stand out for me.

Then there were the flagpole toppers, more LOTR Elves at work? Would make an excellent "celtic bias" type of quilt design. I also was thinking of adapting it to a quilting design, if I ever actually plan anything ahead that is!

What's this? A gondola in the lake? Where are we? Venice all of a sudden?

Here is Sheep Meadow. I loved how open the view was from here, no buildings crowding in. It was fun to see all the real city folk playing. I told the boys that this seemed like all the apartment dweller's front lawn, where they can all hang out. We talked to one funny guy who was flying a kite on his bicycle. He would come up to the top of the rock hill we were on and then zoom down across the grass, getting his red dragon kite airborne. He had a boom box duct taped to the handlebars playing some good 80's hair rock (snerk). What a bonus rant we heard from him, about the cops not letting him doing his bike/kite flying without bugging him,etc. Pretty funny encounter.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Self Portrait Challenge - Psychology of Enclosed Spaces

For the last week of Self Portrait Challenge "enclosed spaces" here is a picture that won't make sense at first, but read on please.....
I know this doesn't seem at first glance like an enclosed space, and physically it isn't at all.
But in the giant empty space of the huge registry hall of Ellis Island, I felt the residue of the press of all those bodies, all hoping, all desperate to get into America, and off of Ellis Island. I could feel my ancestors presence too, which is why I'm smiling. And yes that is my handsome husband Marc next to me. Dear Son #2 took this photo.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Visit to Lily Dale

One of the day trips we took out of Buffalo, NY was about an hour away to Lilydale. A community of Spiritualists. My in-laws have been many times and came with us to show us around. It was very peaceful, except for the gaggle of Red Hat ladies!

I'll call this picture "Lines of communication are open in Lilydale, NY."

Beautiful plantings of lilies as you would expect in a place named after the flower.

Of course, you could buy a lily plant to take home with you. This gazebo smelled heavenly (if you like the scent of lilies that is).

All the lilies lined up, I wished I could have bought some, but didn't think they'd like the flight back to California. You can see some of the nice little homes in this community. They were pretty reasonably priced according to the couple of "For Sale" signs we saw. One of the rules to live in this community you have to be a member of the Spiritualist assembly that is there.

Thought I'd try some closeup lily pics. I was pretty pleased with how these came out.

I like the shadows in this picture. The color seems unnatural and the overly shiny petals make them look fake sometimes!

A visitor to the all red lily.

Isn't this a nice view? So quiet and peaceful here.

I loved the mature trees, especially this willow.

Another view of the lake.

A submerged walkway. If it was hot, you could walk right off into the lake to cool off.

A closeup of the willow, a very welcoming tree. I gave it a hug and it hugged me back.

What does this say to you? I saw eyes, definitely eyes!

The Forest Temple, where #1 son and I were both selected out of the audience for "readings" by the several Spiritualist readers. Very interesting and entertaining. It seemed that my paternal grandfather and his sister came through, my great aunt to me, and Zach's great grandfather to him. I believed it a little more readily than he did. I found the whole experience to be a bit dissonant, as there is definitely a strong belief held by the readers and healers which I absolutely can understand and support, but this is juxtaposed with the showmanship that they need to use to keep the crowd entertained. I think maybe a private reading would be a lot different.
Anyways, we throughly enjoyed ourselves in Lilydale, a very peaceful place with good food and ice cream, and a lake to swim in.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Today is the 16th anniversary of Stevie Ray Vaughan's untimely death in a helicopter crash. I've been listening to his music all day and again am struck by what a loss the music world suffered by losing him so early. He was only 36! All the superlatives in the world apply to his guitarmanship, songwriting, performing. He held his own in concerts with guitar legends such as Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, and Albert King. I continue to admire him for overcoming his addictions and continuing to make music the main thing in his life.
I only saw him perform live just once, in a concert with Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana in December of 1989, the year before he died. Each guitarist played their own set and then all jammed together at the end. Amazing. I'm so glad that I had the chance to hear his music in person, it was one of my most favorite concerts ever.

"Alpine Valley, In the Middle of the Night
Six Strings Down, on the Heaven-Bound Flight
Got a Pick, A Strap. Guitar on his back
Ain't Gonna Cut The Angels No Slack
Heaven Done Called Another Blues Stringer Back Home."
-Jimmie Vaughan (Stevie's brother on The Tribute to SRV)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Final Word

Geez mom, are you done taking pictures of gravestones yet??

A poem for Poetry Thursday inspired by the picture capturing the experience above.

The Final Word
by Julie Zaccone Stiller

How long do we have to stay here?
When will you be done?
Do you know we've been here forever?
Why does this take you so long?

As much time as it takes.
I'll be done when I'm done.
The people underneath us have been here closer to forever.
It takes me so long because I'm looking at the details.

Tick Tock
Time's Relative is Impatience
Slowing to our own tempo.
Moving to our own beat.

The Final Word is Mom's today
We'll leave when I'm done
Til' then you'll wait
At least until I'm gone....

Graveyard Details

A yew in the graveyard of Trinity.

Pigeon Luv.

Dear Son #1 objecting to *more* pictures and me, enjoying the cool stone in the graveyard.

I was captivated by the carvings on the headstones. The expressions on the angels are priceless.

A skull with wings? An angel with a skull head? I don't know, but I'm going to make a carved stamp out of this image for my Day of the Dead/Samhain/Halloween card this year!

Almost the same angel, but slightly different face.

The font on this one is lovely, too bad the stone was coming apart, guess nothing is forever...

A Sun angel, or at least that's how I interpreted it..

There was a group of preschoolers running around in the graveyard, they were drawing with chalk on the pathways and generally having fun. At first I was a bit shocked that they were allowed to do this, but then I thought, maybe the dead buried here are happy to hear the sounds of children. They weren't climbing on the headstones or anything. Also, parks are kinda far apart in the city, kids need green spaces.

This angel and the symbols around it first caught my notice and then I read the entire inscription which is so wonderful, I'll type it out here:
Here lies the Body of Mr. WILLIAM BRADFORD
Printer, who departed this life May 23,
1759, Aged 92 Years. He was born in
Leicefherfhire, in Old England, in 1660
and came over to America in 1682 before
the City of Philadelphia was laid out. He
was Printer to this Government for upwards
of 50 Years, and being quite worn out
with Old age and labour, he left this
mortal State in the lively Hopes of a
bleffed Immortality.

Reader, reflect how foon you'll quit this Stage,
You'll find but few atain to fuch an Age,
Life's full of Pain, Lo, here's a Place of Reft,
Prepare to meet your GOD, then you are bleft.

(some f's are presumably s's)

Love the carven draperies, and the word SACRED.

What do you think of this symbol? Masonic related perhaps?? Isn't this marble beautifully aged?

Outdoors at Trinity

Back to Trinity Church for a look around outside, it was so cool and peaceful outside, very quiet with Wall St. right across the street, I love the framing of the trees on this picture.

A neighbor building, that had some stylistic touches that echoed some of the Trinity details. That seems respectful when you are building so close to a sacred place in a city, do we still do that or is it just old-fashioned or quaint?

Detail of one of the windows, see the little faces holding up the pediment? This picture was taken through Alex's monocular (bought on Canal St.) held up to my camera, pretty cool zoom effect huh?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Visiting Trinity Church

Trinity Church Steeple, for a long time this was the tallest thing on Manhattan island, but all the surrounding building were eventually much taller. At least some of them tried to echo some of the design elements of this really old church.

The Trinity Root sculpture is the first thing we saw in the churchyard.

Trinity Root explanation, the statue is cast from the actual root of a tree that was in St. Paul's Chapel churchyard, destroyed by debris on 9/11.

A beautiful quiet church inside, a real respite from the hustle bustle of Wall Street which is right outside.

The eagle lectern, I guess to signify the connection between the founding of the USA and Trinity Church.

A beautiful madonna and child, I always am drawn to this image and this particular one was too lovely to not take a picture of. I especially like the shadows in this picture.

Tomorrow I'll show you the cool stuff in the graveyard of Trinity.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

3 in the Attic

3 in the attic, this was my two sons and I, in their Great Aunt's attic in Buffalo. This is one of the places where my dear husband played with his siblings. I don't always like attics better than basements, but this one had all kinds of interesting nooks and crannies to play in. This one counts as a SelfPortrait documenting self portraits in enclosed spaces. I felt okay here since my family was with me. Silly me riding in all those elevators and subway cars in NYC and I forgot to do a self portrait, guess I was REALLY on vacation.
I left the crazy red eyes on myself because I thought it made me look more like a mouse peeking out of a mouse hole doorway. And I left the crazy expression on oldest son's face so you can see why I'm looking forward to school starting next week, aieeeeeee.

Enclosed Spaces

Does this count as an Enclosed Space? Yup, yeah, you betcha, The Lincoln Tunnel, on our exit from Manhattan. It doesn't count as a Self Portrait for the challenge though, since I'm not in it. Still a cool picture I think. Would make a good basis for an abstracted quilt design, hmmmmm.