Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Dainty Down Feather Stuck Atop Toe Region of Bismuth Pink Christmas Sock, Found on a Quiet Evening

For some reason, the image of a tiny feather stuck to my giant pink sock reminded me of a certain poem by Billy Collins:

Reading An Anthology Of Chinese Poems Of The Sung Dynasty, I Pause To Admire The Length And Clarity Of Their Titles
It seems these poets have nothing
up their ample sleeves
they turn over so many cards so early,
telling us before the first line
whether it is wet or dry,
night or day, the season the man is standing in,
even how much he has had to drink.

Maybe it is autumn and he is looking at a sparrow.
Maybe it is snowing on a town with a beautiful name.

"Viewing Peonies at the Temple of Good Fortune
on a Cloudy Afternoon" is one of Sun Tung Po's.
"Dipping Water from the River and Simmering Tea"
is another one, or just
"On a Boat, Awake at Night."

And Lu Yu takes the simple rice cake with
"In a Boat on a Summer Evening
I Heard the Cry of a Waterbird.
It Was Very Sad and Seemed To Be Saying
My Woman Is Cruel--Moved, I Wrote This Poem."

There is no iron turnstile to push against here
as with headings like "Vortex on a String,"
"The Horn of Neurosis," or whatever.
No confusingly inscribed welcome mat to puzzle over.

Instead, "I Walk Out on a Summer Morning
to the Sound of Birds and a Waterfall"
is a beaded curtain brushing over my shoulders.

And "Ten Days of Spring Rain Have Kept Me Indoors"
is a servant who shows me into the room
where a poet with a thin beard
is sitting on a mat with a jug of wine
whispering something about clouds and cold wind,
about sickness and the loss of friends.

How easy he has made it for me to enter here,
to sit down in a corner,
cross my legs like his, and listen.
                                    --Billy Collins

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas! (From L.B. and Me!)

L.B. visiting with Mouse and Oatmeal Owl #1.

All of us in House are a bit sick with sniffles and upset stomachs,
but L.B. is keeping us entertained with his shenanigans. 

He has am immune system of...of...fluff?...
It works! 

I shall wash and mend his trousers when I am feeling better. 

Until then, I will listen to Handel's Messiah and eat Jello!

Merry Christmas!

Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op.44

I was supposed to be looking up music for my chamber group, but I got a bit sidetracked...

Here is the first movement of one of my favorite piano quintets. 

I love the dialog between cello and viola.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Oh Annie Dillard and Her Cats...

As I read Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I remember just how much I miss Virginia. 

I walked to this dock every day. It was not my dock, but I liked to pretend it was.
I am not a true Virginian since I was not born in Virginia. 
My neighbor Cornelia always reminded us non-Virginians of this fact. 
She is a true Virginian, but her husband is not.
He's from Mississippi, I think,
except he calls it "Missuhs-sippeh".

(Or was it Louisiana?) 

"But no hard feelings, honey."
That's what Cornelia would always say,
in addition to other not so repeatable phrases.

I love that lady.
She'll tell you whether or not your Whiskey Cream has enough whiskey in it.
(It usually won't have enough.)

I am glad Annie Dillard always had a cat no matter where she lived,
whether in Puget Sound or Virginia...

When Hannabee and I lived in Virginia, we asked God to send us a cat. 
And He did.
Courtesy of A.O.
He was a very handsome cat. 
I am sure he did the things any other cat might do,
like kill birds or eat bugs,
or pretend you don't exist until you feed him.

Maybe he was a mercenary cat,
or maybe he was just hungry.

Either way, he was another living creature who could soothe our lonely hearts in a way that trees and bodies of water could not.
I still miss Virginia, 
and I miss the rivers and trees,
and especially the Cat. 

But I am glad to live near friends and family again,
even if there are no rivers,
or quite as many trees in Southern California.

My family is here,
and my cats are here.
Someday I will learn to call this city my home.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Thought

Courtesy of dear C.Larsen

I wonder if the trees feel sad when all the students go home. 
Campus is left so still and quiet.

Maybe the trees feel relieved. 
Maybe they are introverted trees.

I will visit them each during my morning walk,
Each Liquid Amber, Ash, and Pepper Tree,
Especially the Pepper Tree.
And then,
                         I will go home,
                         And leave them to their silent reverie. 

Friday, 9 December 2011


Today I found this photo of L.B.:

How did he manage to make ride up and down in my desk lamp?

(I wondered.)

Then I found this photo:

Sneaky Little Bear.

(Revenge for not getting to ride Vacuum last week.)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


L.B. is out adventuring this week.
L.B. ist im Ausland. 
Proof that I am studying.

He chose a First-Class Pocket for his travels.

L.B. mit A.S. 

They make a jolly pair. 
L.B. sent word to me this morning:


"I am well."
(I am learning the language of The Paw.)

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Comfortable and Quiet Day...And Trousers.

My house is terribly messy right now. Little Bear suggested that the mess was brought by last night's windstorm. I think that is his way of politely agreeing that yes, the house is terribly messy right now. 
I took the hint.
To remedy the terribly messy situation, Little Bear and I made Grand Plans for Afternoon House Cleaning. 

(Little Bear just wanted to ride the vacuum.) 

As happens with most Grand Plans for Afternoon House Cleaning, our plan...did not take place. 
My reasons involved pain killers and general loopiness. Little Bear's reasons involved Trousers. (Why? I do not know.)
We did manage to spend a very comfortable and quiet afternoon doing all manner of comfortable and quiet activities. 

He and I compiled a list of every jolly and comfortable thing we did today.
It was a good day.

Here is our list:
-Eating Noodles and Soup
-Blanket Nest on Green Couch
-Exploring Green Couch (L.B.)
-Sleeping on Green Couch (Me)
-Eating Hot Fudge Sundaes Before Supper
-Cooking Sweet Potato Hash and Scrambled Eggs
-More Sleeping (Me)
-Smiling and Generally Looking Happy (L.B.)
-Bath with Bubbles (Me)
-Somersaults (L.B.)
-Using More Spoons and Forks Than Normal (Me and L.B.)
-Not Washing Spoons and Forks After Use (Me...and L.B.)

Little Bear wrote a short composition about today and asked to share it with the general public. 
My edits/notes are italicized.

"Every Trouser Wearing Day is a Good Day. [Does he mean every day that wears trousers? I would like to see this.] Although I was bitterly disappointed to not ride The Great Machine, I was comforted by the knowledge that my Trousers would remain intact and safe. [Reference to a past occasion when his trousers were caught in the vacuum? Definitely before he took up residence in my house.] Almost crushed by sleeping beast on Green Couch. [Thanks, L.B.] Enjoyed pudding before supper, and was amused that supper consisted of orange and yellow foods. Splendid choice of colours. Reminiscent of a sunset and appropriate for evening. All in all a satisfactory day."