Thursday, November 13, 2014

Quaint Sayings of Uncle Jeff: On Regret

Uncle Jeff ruminated on thoughts and themes from sorrow to happiness at the turn of the last century. His niece Iva noted nine such sayings. As a young woman of 26 in 1929, Iva was determined to collect and write down the quaint sayings of her Uncle Jeff for posterity's sake. She wrote down his homespun adages within the pages of her second-hand copy of Three Centuries of American Poetry and Prose.

Uncle Jeff had this to say about regret...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Chapbook — We Trooped into the Countryside

We trooped into countryside,
walking behind tanks like children
trailing parents to a scene of petty
wrong. I was more exhausted
than I can say; I was tired of shots
and the substitute of guns for
the soundings of the sky and handsome
forks of gold like those back home
where storms are welcome to the eye.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Prayer for a Friend

Remembering Charles Longstreet (1947-2013) on the day of his birth.

Prayer For A Friend,
A Father
Oh Great Universe,
Our Creator,
We return your gift to us,
Our brother, our father,
our friend,
And thank you
For his presence
among us,
The love
and the life
that flowed through him.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Poem that inspired the title "Gone With the Wind"

A Roman poem written before the birth of Christ, inspired the title of a 19th century English poem that contained a line that was the inspiration for the title of an American classic novel of the 20th century.

The poem that inspired the title to Margaret Mitchell's 1936 classic Civil War romance novel Gone With the Wind comes from a line in a poem written by the tragic poet Ernest Dowson.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Good lord, grief. I’ve forgotten
to do my calthestics again.

My aesthetics are bundled,
bridled by the bunch, by the wing

of a wren. Take me down a peg.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Poetry in Motion Pictures: Dylan Thomas in Interstellar

Poetry has been making appearances in movies since the advent of motion pictures. Sometimes as a cameo (Yeats in No Country for Old Men), other times as a central plot point (Whitman in Dead Poets Society) and poems inspire titles of films (Dowson in Days of Wine and Roses).

A much talked about film in the waning weeks of 2014 that uses poetry to add textures and layers to a film is Christopher Nolan's blockbuster Interstellar.

The movie, set in a bleak near future, makes use of Dylan Thomas' Do not go gentle into that good night. Sections of the poem are recited throughout the three-hour film by Professor Brand, portrayed by Michael Caine.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


‘Meek-teka-see-wahdl’ or ‘Meek-teka-kee-wadl’, in Aztec mythology she guards over the bones of the dead.

She brews fruit on open flame,
calling souls of vanished loved ones;
gurgling marigolds and cockscomb
fill a dark room’s altar,
copal incense burning sweet
and thick encasing the air.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Life and Death

Ofrenda por la niña Marisol Nola.

On the road to El Aguacate
the dead sleep
next to their abuelos and primos.
A baby gone too soon,
A life lived a century ago,
watched over by Guadalupe,
under a palm tree,
next to a mountain of stone and sand
to warm them in their graves.