Saturday, February 2, 2013

all day i hear the noise of waters

All day I hear the noise of waters
Making moan,
Sad as the sea-bird is when, going
Forth alone,
He hears the winds cry to the water's

The grey winds, the cold winds are blowing
Where I go.
I hear the noise of many waters
Far below.
All day, all night, I hear them flowing
To and fro.

James Joyce (2 february 1882 - 1941)  novelist & poet

today is the 8th annual brigid poetry festival!

to mark the feast of brigid  many in the cyberhood celebrate the day with a giant cyber poetry slam!

in terms of the seasonal calendar february 2nd is the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.   this fact explains why so many traditions single out this date (or period)  february 2nd is also referred to as imbolc, candlemas, or groundhog day.
as today is  the birthday of james joyce - i thought a poem by joyce seemed fitting.

i can't believe i found this this vid of all day i hear the noise of waters -  i love to hear joyce,  often i find he's so much more accessible when i hear his words than when i (try) to read them - this probably explains why i'm such a bloomsday freak. bloomsday celebrations may be the only way i will ever finish ulysses. i can't count how many attempts i've made to read ulysses on my own. 

photo:  lake erie,  31 january 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

northern sky

Solitude is a way to defend the spirit against the murderous din of our materialism.

Thomas Merton (31 january 1915 - 1968)  mystic, monk, poet,  photographer

northern sky from nick drake's 1970 album bryter layter

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

simple gifts

It's strange how the simple things in life go on while we become more difficult. 

Richard Brautigan (30 january 1935 -1984) poet, novelist & short story writer

that richard brautigan he always had a way to write plain and unravel life's complexity!

for decades one of my absolute favorite songs has been the shaker hymn simple gifts.  whenever i start feeling overwhelmed and i start becoming more difficult,  i turn to the lyrics of this pure and simple song for a bit of strength and clarity. 

the song was written and composed in 1848 by the shaker elder joseph brackett. outside of shaker communities the song was virtually unknown for almost a century - then in 1944 aaron copland used the tune for the score of ballet appalachian spring.  since copland's shout out for the tune and song - the song has been covered widely, new verses have been written, in 1963 the tune was even borrowed and adapted by english songwriter sydney carter for his song lord of the dance.

although i knew judy collins covered the song, until today i never saw this video!  wow, look how young judy is and her hair, well  it is so short - so unlike the image of judy collins emblazoned in my mind's eye!

according to the info accompanying the youtube posting:  
Judy Collins sings "Simple Gifts" for the February 1963 TV broadcast of Dinner with the President, the 50th anniversary celebration of B'nai B'rith in Washington, D.C. President Kennedy received a Democratic Legacy Award and spoke during the broadcast. Several years later, Judy recorded "Simple Gifts" for her 1970 Whales and Nightingales album.

photo: detail of a mural celebrating the legacy and diverse community of slavic village, a neighborhood located in southeast cleveland.   november 2012

Sunday, January 27, 2013

the sidewinder sleeps tonight

Extending a hand to those in trouble, rescuing the dying, and helping the injured is a form of humanitarianism, unrelated to love of country or people. Do not demean the value of life; it commands a broader, more equal dignity.
 Ai Weiwei (b. 1957) artist and activist

today for sculpture sunday we find three works of chinese artist and activist ai weiwei - i snapped this pics when i  visited his show according to what currently being exhibited at the hirshhorn museum of art in washington dc.    the exhibit quite frankly blew me away with its scope, humanity, and at times outrageousness.

i was reminded of my visit the other day while listening to a terrific story on the exhibit which aired on npr - you can listen to the story and see more photos of weiwei's work by clicking HERE.

the exhibit will be on view at the hirshhorn until february 24th, then it will be heading to indianapolis, toronto, miami, and brooklyn - catch it if you can,  it is powerful and provocative.

photos of works: top - snake ceiling  on may 12th 2008 a powerful earthquake hit sichuan china.  approximately 90,000 people went missing.  many of the victims were school children and the children's backpacks were strew all over the quake zone. in this piece packs of various sizes are used to form a snake and are "laid out as a  requiem for the souls of those who perished in the disaster." 

middle: he xie - words for river crabs and also a homophone for harmonious - a word which is used in communist  party slogan "toward a harmonious society" - this piece can be considered a work of protest and satire.  in response to chinese government censorship -which includes shutting down internet sites, the demolition of weiwei's studio, and general acts of governmental censorship and censure - weiwei twitted to "invite guests to a feast of 10,000 river crabs in protest of the government's control of information."

bottom:  didn't snap the gallery sign and can't locate my exhibit catalog at the moment - will have to get back to you with the name for this sculptural installation.  it is quite large and lends itself to lots of interactive play.

i thought perhaps a song that somehow had something to do with snakes would be good for today's song of the day. first thing that came to mind was r.e.m.'s 1992 song the sidewinder sleeps tonight.


by the way we are just a couple weeks away to the official beginning of the chinese year of the snake.  according to this site (where you can click and read more about the meaning of the year of the snake): 
2013 is the year of the black Snake begins on February 10th shortly after the New moon in Aquarius, the humanitarian of the zodiac. This 2013 year of Snake is meant for steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for you to achieve what you set out to create. The Snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 Animal Signs. It is the enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.

Friday, January 25, 2013

the ploughman poet

Some hae meat and canna eat, 
And some wad eat that want it, 
But we hae meat and we can eat, 
And sae the Lord be thankit. 

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796)  poet & lyricist
selkirk grace

january 25th is almost over and i almost missed thinking about rabbie burns  - the bard of scotland.  tonight is burns night,  all over the world people gather together to celebrate the life and legend of scotland's favorite son.  once again i blew it in terms of finding a local burns celebration to attend- maybe next year.

this fall i visited scotland and conducted my own mini burns pilgrimage.

the first night spent in scotland my traveling companions and i had our own burns night of sorts.

although we didn't sing or recite burns ode to a haggis, we did partake of the great chieftain of the pudding race.  below  shows f and i enjoying our share of the haggis we ordered at a lovely little restaurant called the oak tree in balmaha on the banks of loch lomond.

prior to going to scotland, i would have never predicted i would have tried it not to mention actually like it.   every scot i spoke with said they loved it - and you know what they say "when in rome"....or in this case "when in scotland."

the entire time we were in scotland, i was constantly on the look out for burns related sights - which i confess did drive my friends a bit crazy, but they were most gracious and indulged my passion for all things rabbie on more than one occasion.

today's photos show include snaps of a couple sites of interest to burns-a-philes (or whatever is the word for burns aficionados). the top photo i intended to have as this week's wall wednesday post (but i'm still not back into the groove of blogging).  the wall is an artistic rendering of a few of burns poems (including my favorite to a mouse).

the mural can be found in a small garden park across the street from the burns house which is seen in the second photo.  this house was the last home burns lived in and can be found in dumfries, scotland which coincidentally is also the home of his final resting place - both of his final resting places as a matter of fact which can be seen in the last two photos.

the story of robert burns - in under 3 minutes this animated short encapsulates the life and legend of scottish bard robert burns.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013



I hope every woman in this country, whether they agree with Roe or they disagree with Roe, whether they themselves would make one decision or another, will come together and say: Pro-choice means that the Government respects the individual, and isn't that really what our country is all about?
Barbara Boxer (b.1940) u.s. senator from california

today is the 40th anniversary of roe v wade - a most important date for the rights of u.s. women.

as long as women have been getting pregnant, women have also sought to end pregnancies. this is a fact.

The international community has recognized that unsafe abortion is a major threat to women's health. By liberalizing restrictive abortion laws and investing in abortion safety, governments can save the lives of tens of thousands of women every year. History has shown that women worldwide, when faced with unwanted pregnancy, seek abortions regardless of the legality of the procedure. Many have no choice but to undergo abortions performed by unqualified practitioners in unhygienic settings. About one-third of the women who have abortions performed under these circumstances experience complications that pose major risks to their lives and health. 

if you are against abortion, don't have one.

pictures: from the mouse's archives, taken at the 1989 march for women's equality and women's lives, washington dc

Sunday, January 13, 2013

big love

I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or violent, or whatever is necessary. I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.
Claes Oldenburg (b. january 1929) sculptor

today's sculptures are by american artist claes oldenburg.  his sculptures never fail to delight me,   it is easy to distinguish  an oldenburg work,  they are typically huge replicas of everyday items.  

the three way plug can be found outside of the allen memorial art museum in nearby oberlin.  

the apple core is in the sculpture meadow at kentuck knob, the name of the usonian house designed by frank lloyd wright located in pennsylvania's laurel highland region.

downtown cleveland is graced with an oldenburg sculpture - a giant free stamp.

the sculpture is located in willard park near cleveland's city hall.  the park is a popular spot for political rallies and gatherings and fittingly  the sculpture becomes a focal point of activity as seen below.

lindsay buckingham preforming an acoustic version of his song big love. the song was first  appeared on  fleetwood mac 1987 album tango in the night.