March 1st, 2006

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Good Morning!!

I wake early, though I am not necessarily perky in this moment, but I feel energy beginning to mobilize as I move gently into the day.

I am reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's book on Lincoln, "Team of Rivals." It is a wonderful book, but it is hard to read it and not feel saddened by the lack of ethics and rhetoric in politics today. There is Lincoln, and there, is the following. I know you have probably seen these statements before, but I place them here as a reminder of the contrast of the leaders and politicans of Lincoln's time, and now.


"The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country."
- George W. Bush

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
- George W. Bush

"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'."
- George W. Bush

"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."
- George W. Bush

"The future will be better tomorrow." George W.. Bush

"We're going to have the best educated American people in the world."
- George W. Bush

"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."
- George W. Bush

"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe We are a part of Europe."
- George W. Bus

"Public speaking is very easy."
- George W. Bush

"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls."
- George W. Bush

"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
- George W.. Bush

"For NASA, space is still a high priority."
- George W. Bush

"It's time for the human race to enter the solar system."
- George W. Bush

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
- George W. Bush

"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children."
- George W. Bush
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March 1st -

I suddenly realize it is March 1st, and that seems very exciting, as though it is May Day, except it isn't, so I check out Wikipedia, to see just what there is to celebrate on March 1st. Well, hold your horses, and feed them some hay, because here it is.

Seasons beginning March 1
In Denmark, spring begins on March 1, while in Australia autumn begins on March 1. Meterological spring in the Northern Hemisphere, also begins on March 1, as meterological autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, also begins on March 1.

So, it seems today, we can celebrate not only the first day of spring, but also, the first day of autumn. It is a hokey-pokey kind of day. Just imagine spring and autumn; put them in and out, and shake them all about. It works for me.

Wikipedia continues with this piece of information I did not know.

Year Beginning March 1
If one begins each year on March 1, then each date will have the same day number in this year, regardless of whether it is a leap year or not (e.g. December 25 is always day 300). This is due to the fact that the Gregorian and Julian calendars are based on the old Roman Calendar, which had March 1 as the first day of the year. The addition of the leap day of February 29 (which is what causes the days of leap years to fall on different day numbers) is a continuation of the February placement of the old Roman calendar's Mensis Intercalaris (a shortened extra month inserted to bring the 355 day long calendar into rough alignment with the seasons).


So, it seems we can also celebrate today as New Years Day! I look out and see the hills, trees, and sky as new. Yes, today, feels like a new year to me!! Happy New Years, Spring, and Autumn to You!!
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Perking up -

Here is my morning poem that perked me right up.


What a Photo Can Do

A sunset of Ixtapa this morning
pulls me out of my lounge
like the sun a lizard, or snake.

My head begins to turn,
as I sense with my tongue.
Where is heat, a mammal, food?
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Ash Wednesday!!

Jane reminds me it is Ash Wednesday. She writes her poem today standing in line to get tickets to MOMA in NY. She wants us to do our noon writing as she is there, in front of a certain painting she will describe to me. We are writing very short poems, because she is using her Blackberry, so here is another "wee Blackberry poem."

Jane's Morning Poem:


A poem from line:
Ash Wednesday crosses on some foreheads
Italian, Aussie, Japanese
An old man strokes the hair of his wife
The line to see art is so long it goes out the door and down the street. It's just a Wednesday morning.

--------------------------
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reflecting -

Now, that I realize it is Ash Wednesday, a day to reflect, I reflect on my ten year old niece Katy wanting to grow out her hair to donate to Locks of Love. "I'm going to dedicate it to you, so that you'll feel better soon." I think of Jan offering her hair to me for a wig. I sit with the meals, gifts, and care, given and received, the blessings surrounding me, as the clouds dip into a dance with the trees.
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Finland -

Since Steve is on his way to Finland, I check it out on-line. From Virtual Finland, I learn this:

"Generally speaking, Finland is a country where considerable weight is attached to the spoken word — words are chosen carefully and for the purpose of delivering a message. Indeed, there are very few other culture-specific considerations that visitors need be aware of. Finns place great value on words, which is reflected in the tendency to say little and avoid ‘unnecessary’ small talk. As the Chinese proverb puts it, “Your speech should be better than silence, if not, be silent.”"


I like that. I suggest checking out the slides of the Aurora Borealis on Virtual Finland. Amazing! They say everyone should see them once in their lifetime. I agree. Whether viewed as fox tails stirring up snow, spirits playing football, or the sun meeting the earth, they are magnificent.
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MOMA in New York!

Jane heads to MOMA and asks me what I want to see. I go on-line to see what’s there right now, as she roams about. She comes upon “The House of Spiritual Retreat,” built by Emilio Ambasz. He originally imagined a site, and then, designed "A House of Spiritual Retreat" for the imaginary site. Amazingly, he one day saw the site he imagined, and built his spiritual retreat house there. It was built in 2004, “on a hilly, arid landscape outside of Seville." It sounds absolutely amazing, and the creation of it is an inspiration to bring what we create in our mind’e eye to light and life. Ambasz imagined a site, and, then, he found it.

I ask Jane to check out Van Gogh’s "The Olive Trees," and she does. I am looking at it on-line, caught on the cloud, as she is engrossed in the painting, the river, trees, brush strokes, dimension, and color. I send her an e-card of the painting to welcome her home. I’m talking to Jane in New York, and Steve calls from New York. His plane has set down, and off, he soon will go, and tomorrow Jane will come home. The world is small.

Our museums in the Bay area open at 9:30. The MOMA in New York doesn’t open until 10:30. Thus, there are long lines to enter. The new Tate in London has long hours, viewing itself as a gathering spot. If we want to integrate art more fully into our lives, as we should, since it heals, then, museums need to be accessible. I vote for longer hours. Jane and I are going to try and write about MOMA today. We’ll see what comes.
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Yoshio Taniguchi -

Yoshio Taniguchi is the architect of the renovated MOMA in NYC. When approached, Taniguchi said, ‘If you raise really a lot of money, I will make the architecture disappear.’ It seems he has. The building has received favorable reviews, and Jane was impressed with the openness of the space, the feel.

I am struck by how we try and hang a poem in just the same way, like a picture, that invites one in and out of it, and in and out of oneself. The structure of the poem should be invisible, while the intention and feeling are clear. The poet makes a space, not too intimidating, rather cozy, in fact, with rugs and chairs, and then, the poet takes them away, so you can see what also is there. At least, that is how it feels to me in the moment. As though a magic rug is offered; the flight is begun, and then, you realize the rug is no longer there, and you are still up in the air.
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Thoughts on "pain" and suffering -

Again, it has come up, and again, I would like to say that my "pain" is no worst than your pain. Pain is not something that can be judged or compared. Some of you may be suffering more over my illness than I am myself. It is how each of us takes in what happens to us, and processes it. Each one of you has something in your life right now that is causing suffering, and yes, it is how we "meet" it, and yes, it hurts. There is pain and suffering, and I suffer, and so, do you. Do not compare my suffering to yours. Do not lessen your own pain. Feel what you feel and know we meet in the place of deepest feeling, that place where joy and sorrow meet as One!!
Take care, each one of you! Take care, and honor and feel your own pain. As you feel mine, I feel yours. There, we share.
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Ash Wednesday poem by T. S. Eliot

Candice sends this. What a conclusion to this day!


Ash-Wednesday

by T S Eliot


I

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there
is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

II

Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree
In the cool of the day, having fed to sateity
On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been
contained
In the hollow round of my skull. And God said
Shall these bones live? shall these
Bones live? And that which had been contained
In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:
Because of the goodness of this Lady
And because of her loveliness, and because
She honours the Virgin in meditation,
We shine with brightness. And I who am here dissembled

Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love
To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the
gourd.
It is this which recovers
My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible
portions
Which the leopards reject. The Lady is withdrawn
In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.
Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfulness.
There is no life in them. As I am forgotten
And would be forgotten, so I would forget
Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose. And God said
Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only
The wind will listen. And the bones sang chirping
With the burden of the grasshopper, saying

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and
shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to
each other,
Under a tree in the cool of the day, with the blessing
of sand,
Forgetting themselves and each other, united
In the quiet of the desert. This is the land which ye
Shall divide by lot. And neither division nor unity
Matters. This is the land. We have our inheritance.

III

At the first turning of the second stair
I turned and saw below
The same shape twisted on the banister
Under the vapour in the fetid air
Struggling with the devil of the stairs who wears
The deceitul face of hope and of despair.

At the second turning of the second stair
I left them twisting, turning below;
There were no more faces and the stair was dark,
Damp, jagged, like an old man's mouth drivelling,
beyond repair,
Or the toothed gullet of an aged shark.

At the first turning of the third stair
Was a slotted window bellied like the figs's fruit
And beyond the hawthorn blossom and a pasture scene
The broadbacked figure drest in blue and green
Enchanted the maytime with an antique flute.
Blown hair is sweet, brown hair over the mouth blown,
Lilac and brown hair;
Distraction, music of the flute, stops and steps of
the mind over the third stair,
Fading, fading; strength beyond hope and despair
Climbing the third stair.

Lord, I am not worthy
Lord, I am not worthy
but speak the word only.

IV

Who walked between the violet and the violet
Who walked between
The various ranks of varied green
Going in white and blue, in Mary's colour,
Talking of trivial things
In ignorance and knowledge of eternal dolour
Who moved among the others as they walked,
Who then made strong the fountains and made fresh the
springs

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
In blue of larkspur, blue of Mary's colour,
Sovegna vos

Here are the years that walk between, bearing
Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring
One who moves in the time between sleep and waking,
wearing

White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.

The silent sister veiled in white and blue
Between the yews, behind the garden god,
Whose flute is breathless, bent her head and signed
but spoke no word

But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Redeem the time, redeem the dream
The token of the word unheard, unspoken

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

And after this our exile

V

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence
Not on the sea or on the islands, not
On the mainland, in the desert or the rain land,
For those who walk in darkness
Both in the day time and in the night time
The right time and the right place are not here
No place of grace for those who avoid the face
No time to rejoice for those who walk among noise and
deny the voice

Will the veiled sister pray for
Those who walk in darkness, who chose thee and oppose
thee,
Those who are torn on the horn between season and
season, time and time, between
Hour and hour, word and word, power and power, those
who wait
In darkness? Will the veiled sister pray
For children at the gate
Who will not go away and cannot pray:
Pray for those who chose and oppose

O my people, what have I done unto thee.

Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
And are terrified and cannot surrender
And affirm before the world and deny between the rocks

In the last desert before the last blue rocks
The desert in the garden the garden in the desert
Of drouth, spitting from the mouth the withered
apple-seed.

O my people.

VI

Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these
things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth
This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between
blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the
yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and
reply.

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain,
spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

`Ash-Wednesday', from Collected Poems 1909-1962 by T S
Eliot, © T S Eliot 1963, reproduced by permission of
the publishers Faber & Faber Limited.