DREAM OF THE MOUNTAIN

I wake up between 5:30 and 6:00 every morning. Old habits are hard to break.

But right before waking this morning I had a great little dream.

I was at this huge outdoor conference right after sunrise. Apparently it was some kind of business conference. There were thousands of people milling about and many had brought their kids with them.

Suddenly a guy walks up to me (I know the guy in real life, and like me he owns his own company) and says, “Jack, let me show you something!”

Then he shows me this (what is to me anyway) small and barely visible spot of oil and dirt on the back of the collar of his wife’s dress. Actually it was mostly on the tag on her dress with just a small smudge on her collar. Then he begins to bitch and complain and fuss about how all the kids running around are mucking everything up and that no one (dry-cleaners for instance) can get or keep anything clean or nice. He’s going to be giving a speech today and he’s really ticked off about others seeing a spot on his gal’s dress that unless I had come up behind is wife and examined her dress closely I doubt I’d have ever seen (and I’m pretty observant – just by nature). Assuming I could have seen it past her hair. Not that I’d have cared if I’d have seen it anyway. It’s was just a little oil and dirt. I’d have just thought that maybe someone had spilled something on her or that more likely maybe her make-up or hair was too oily.

He then asks my opinion on the matter and I tell him, “Well, that kinda thing happens in real life ya know. I mean that’s the way it works, ain’t it?” And I walk off to head back to wherever I’m supposed to be going.

On the way this whole gaggle of little kids (I’d say they were between 7 and 10 years old and mostly boys but some little girls too) run up to me and encircle me. So I stop. One little towheaded boy says to me, “Hey mister, where ya going and what are you doing today?”

So I tell em, “Well, I gotta go to a buncha seminars and talks and lectures and I’ve gotta teach a class later today too.”

They all look at each other kinda disappointed like and the towhead goes, “Ohh…”

So I say, “Why? What are you guys doing worthwhile today?

And they say that they are going to go “hiking and shoot the bow and play and explore and swim in the lake and that there is a mountain they wanna climb.”

So I think on it for about a half-second and say to them, “Well, screw all this then! Let me go get in my play clothes and I’m coming with you guys. You seem like you actually know what you’re doing.”

And all the kids screamed, “Yay!”

Then I went and got in my jeans and grabbed my gear and booted up like a boss and right before I woke up I was headed with them towards that mountain they wanted to climb.

It was a nice dream, sure enough.

By the way, anyone who really knows me knows that that is exactly what I’d be most likely to do…

 

 

HALCYON EVENINGS

Sitting in the living room listening to a series of old radio plays from the 40s and 50s broadcast by a local radio station every Sunday evening. So far I’ve listened to The Third Man (I also recently recorded Welles Third Man film and I look forward to rewatching it),  The Adventures of Superman (he was breaking up a gang of real estate racketeers attempting to bomb the Daily Planet for bad publicity), and some old cereal commercials and old radio commercials for the Navy. Absolutely delightful.

Radio plays are to me a far better exercise for the mind and the imagination than television, for you have to reconstruct the action and scenery for yourself from rather shallow and quick narrative descriptions and scant dialogue. It’s a shame TV has killed all of that for the vast majority of people. Though I’m a throwback I guess because I still listen to old radio plays, to shortwave radio, to CB channels, and to HAM radio. And I still regularly scan the police and emergency and air and military bands as well. Of course.

But evenings like this, with beautiful, clear weather, and crisp, uninterrupted broadcasts remind me of being a kid and hanging around my great uncle as he worked the communication bands at the rescue squad or monitored his police channels for calls or listened to old radio plays or the HAM radio.

And to top it all off since we have a beautifully bright Hunter’s Moon I think that as soon as these broadcasts finish up I’ll take my telescope outside and watch the moon awhile.

Good night folks.

Have a great evening.

THE GLORY AND THE DREAM

Ethan, I see our Lord…”

Damn. The finale of Penny Dreadful was incredibly good. Like a Greek Tragedy.

And once again Dorian Gray was declaimed, by himself, the most depraved and degenerate character of them all (and he always has been), and John Clare (Frankenstein’s Monster) proven the most humane and human of them all. By far.

Though finally Frankenstein himself, and Chandler, both came close…

I hope this is not the end of that show (the world needs more of that kind of thing), but if it is, it could have concluded no better.

So goodnight my friends, and I leave you with Wordsworth, and with an ode on the Imitations of Immortality. 

(By the way, we also need more poetry of this calibre. Far more.)

Our world is far too much with modern and superficial self-indulgence.

 

 

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell’d in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream. 5
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

The rainbow comes and goes, 10
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair; 15
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath pass’d away a glory from the earth.

Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound 20
As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep; 25
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea 30
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday;—
Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy 35
Shepherd-boy!

Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival, 40
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
O evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,
This sweet May-morning, 45
And the children are culling
On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:— 50
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
—But there’s a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look’d upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet 55
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, 60
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 65
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, 70
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended; 75
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a mother’s mind, 80
And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her Inmate Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came. 85

Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!
See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,
With light upon him from his father’s eyes! 90
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learnèd art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral; 95
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long 100
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his ‘humorous stage’
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age, 105
That Life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.

Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thy soul’s immensity; 110
Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,—
Mighty prophet! Seer blest! 115
On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the Day, a master o’er a slave, 120
A presence which is not to be put by;
To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed without the sense or sight
Of day or the warm light,
A place of thought where we in waiting lie; 125
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might
Of heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife? 130
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!

O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live, 135
That nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benediction: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest— 140
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:—
Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise; 145
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realized, 150
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may, 155
Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,
Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake, 160
To perish never:
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy! 165
Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither, 170
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

Then sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound! 175
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright 180
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind; 185
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death, 190
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish’d one delight 195
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripp’d lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
Is lovely yet; 200
The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live, 205
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

ONE DAY I’LL ESCAPE

ONE DAY I’LL ESCAPE

I kinda wish the internet did not so much exist
And then I wouldn’t Work on it or in its ranks enlist
But it does, oh how it does, and so I plod along
Wasting all this Living time with silly, versey songs

I wait and wait the web to thread its way to where I go
So I can make it larger still, these spiders all aglow
I often wonder where it ends – I know it’s pointless though
To kick so hard against these pricks – just dinner and a show

These monkeys screeching, slinging shit, getting nothing else
Yet if you sling it back at them whatever does it help?
The cages rattle, shake, and roll, and still what does it change?
A sinking ship’s a sinking ship, the deck chairs rearranged,

Oh look, it’s here, the site I seek, aren’t I a lucky lad?
Now I go to Work on this, I guess I should be glad!
Though it’s not real, I know that see, the world outside awaits
Then why am I, still at this place, just to cut my bait?

I don’t know, we’ve made this world, now getting out’s too late
But still I dream of better things and one day I’ll escape,
And come that day, that brilliant day, the dead webs all dispersed
I’ll be free to Live again and roam the wand’ring Earth…

WHY?

The other day, after she completed her homeschooling studies, my youngest daughter walked into my office and said, “Dad, why doesn’t everyone use the Oxford Comma?”

I laughed out loud.

“I have no idea,” I replied.

“Well they should. It would make what they say and write so much easier to understand,” she said emphatically.

“I couldn’t agree more, my dear.”

Then she left.

LOL.