Song writing with dead poets

For those of you with kids, who’s the one performer from your youth that your children cannot bear to listen to?

This mild mannered Scot drove my two children bonkers. His name is Donovan Leitch but in the mid sixties and early seventies he was known merely as Donovan. His song, “The Tinker and the Crab” gave me the idea for this blog’s tagline “Saying Nothing in Particular.”

On the windy beach the sun is shining through with
Weather fair
White horses riding on the seas pasture onto the
Sand
Over the Dunes came a travelling man
Sack on back
Wild flowers in his hand
Old rusty cans, pebbles ‘bedded in the sand stand
And stare
Scratching his beard through the grass he steered
His sandy shoe
Disappearing in the dips pondering and wandering
Along
Nice as you please comes the travelling man
Drinking a bottle of milk in his hand
Speaking to no one in particular but happily

Down where young gulls dance driftwood lying drying
For the fire
Yellow beak and sleek now the gulls are crying
Flying higher
Out from the sea came a little green Crab
Taking the Sun the morning being very drab

Old rusty cans, pebbles ‘bedded in the sand stand
And stare

The Tinker and the Crab

In the days of superstar rock performers with their entourages and groupies, Donovan seemed downright approachable. The shy boy in class who wrote poetry and played the flute. Indeed, he once stopped a concert to kiss a shy, awkward teen who was a friend of mine. It was the thrill of her lifetime.

His songs often didn’t make a lot of sense. They were strings of images which many critics felt contained an undercurrent of weirdness. Ancient civilizations rising from the bottom of the ocean, witches taking over the streets, hurdy gurdy men selling their deadly wares. Perhaps that’s why my children threatened to jump from the back seat of the car to their deaths if I played one of his CDs.

But I loved the other worlds he created on his self-described quest. Especially when he teamed up with another writer of weirdness, Edgar Allan Poe.

Enjoy! Unless, like my children, you find Donovan a bit too weird!

To Old Friends

Old friends,
when pressed to share,
report they are wellish with no longing to embellish.
Not fine, nor swell,
Just wellish.

Oars still in the water,
although no longer rowing upstream.
Coffee in the morning,
always with cream.
Sunday crosswords and trips to the store,
why has bathing become such a chore?

But … we can still tie our shoes
and no longer care about the weight
we should lose.
Bring on the chocolate, chips, and booze!
The day is still upon us all,
though we be only wellish,
with no longing to embellish.

PK who generally runs from the Evil Walker finally checking it out.

Adventures in Rehab

Only someone who has had to spend two months using a walker can understand the excitement of graduating to a cane. Don’t get me wrong — today’s walker is an engineering marvel. They not only fold in seconds for car rides but can be flipped into service at the blink of an eye. But contrary to what I thought, people do not put tennis balls on the back support legs in an attempt to make a fashion statement. The rubber feet the walkers come with will wear out, fall off, scratch floors, etc. Definitely replace them with tennis balls asap.

Of course my first cane will be one of those medically approved jobbers and I will have to prove to the therapist that I know how to use it correctly. (Who knew there was a right way and a wrong way to use a cane? Ah, the things you learn in rehab!) But once I’ve mastered that skill, I’m moving onto the posh canes. Maybe I’ll even get one that serves a purpose other than to steady my pace.

Nanny McPhee’s walking stick was magic although not at all fancy-looking by design!
The knob on John Hammond’s cane (Jurassic Park) contained a mosquito with dinosaur DNA.
Charlie Chaplin used a cane which was actually an Irish fighting stick known as a Shillelagh.

I’m not a magic nanny, a mad scientist or a fighting Irishman. The only writer I can think of who used a cane was Oscar Wilde.

His cane contains his initials and the number of the prison cell where he spend time for indecency. The harshness of the prison exasperated his already fragile health.

Oh dear. All these canes have a back story or a purpose. What shall mine be? Gored by a rhino during a safari? Fell off the cliff while climbing Everest? Certainly it can’t be tripped over my own feet and face planted on a slate floor! That hardly warrants a fancy walking stick now does it?

*** Photos are from Bing Images

Mrs. Gilfoyle’s Awful Apple Pies

The other day — being trapped inside by the weather —I watched the movie The Banshees of Inisherin. I’d tried to watch it once before because I like banshees. Especially Irish banshees. However I didn’t get very far because, as I’ve mentioned, I generally watch movies while I’m doing something else and if the characters in the movie are speaking in another language, say an Irish Brogue that’s thicker than mashed potatoes, I can’t always keep up and I drift onto something else.

But I’ve had at least two people tell me it’s a good flick and so I gave it another go.

First off: It’s not an easy movie to watch. Two men who have presumably known each other for a long time are at a crossroads. One of them is a fiddler who lives in a seaside cottage with his dog. The other (a younger man) lives up the hill from him with his sister and various farm animals. In the beginning of the movie, the fiddler has had an epiphany. The younger man is taking up time he needs to write the tune that is going to make him immortal.

I won’t tell you what happens in case you haven’t seen the movie but the story reminded me of Mrs. Gilfoyle, a lady who lived across the street from us when I was in second grade with her husband, Professor Gilfoyle, a colleague of my father’s. They had no children and so Mrs. Gilfoyle loved for me to come over and play dress up with her. She’d watch from her living room window as I arrived home and then would run over to fetch me. My mother had two toddlers and so was more than happy to loan me out. We’d generally “play” in the Gilfoyle’s basement where there were several trunks full of vintage clothes, shoes, and jewelry — including several tiaras which Mrs. Gilfoyle liked to wear on her “princess days.”

Every weekend Mrs. Gilfoyle baked all her neighbors a pie. Generally an apple pie. And every weekend the neighbors all said thank you very much and ate their pies. None of them had the heart to tell her that she needed to bake the pies for a whole lot longer than she did. They were raw and doughy and the apples were from a struggling tree in her backyard (orchards don’t fare well in the high desert where we lived).

In the third grade we moved to a house a couple of miles away and thereafter saw the Gilfoyles very rarely. I’m sure that made my parents very happy. Mrs. Gilfoyle was a six year old in a middle aged body and it was kind of creepy that she was married to a man with a PhD. No one said anything, of course, because in those days you just didn’t. But we all wondered.

Most of us are raised to put up with the Mrs. Gilfoyles of the world, aren’t we? Even though we may have better things to do on a weekend than gag down their raw pie dough and listen to their childish prattle, we do so anyway. However, should the artist be expected to participate in such social niceties or does art demand that he reject them? That was my take away. Of course, I may have completely misunderstood the movie! If you know the producers, don’t tell them that their movie reminded me of Mrs. Gilfoyle’s awful pies. I don’t want certain bloody objects thrown against my door.

No rain today but it’s awfully cold out there! Brrrrr.

Time to sleep

Here in California we’ve got storms lined up for at least the rest of the month and so it’s time to hibernate.

Someone’s happy the rain gauge is full!

So far we’re okay but many streets in our small town are blocked by mudslides and creeks are overflowing. In other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, trees are down, wharves have been washed away and coastal areas are flooded.

Still haven’t put away the Christmas tree, such that it is.

Yes, this is supposed to be a cat! Looks more like a bear cub, doesn’t it?

I’m still attempting to draw on those days when walking around is too painful. This poor little kitty also has a sore leg. I’m with you, Stormy, hanging on for dear life.

I rarely showcase other bloggers because you’re all wonderful but I did particularly enjoy Snow’s photos from Finland where they know how to enjoy the winter. Boy could I go for a sauna today!

The cure for cancer is more cancer …

If I had to categorize 2022 I would have to say it was a year during which very little made sense.

The year started out with such beautiful weather (at least here in California) that I found myself lured onto a Pickleball court by supposed friends. If you insist on following the rules, as my friends did, this game makes no sense at all. Don’t go in the kitchen unless … only hit the ball if it bounces unless …. Ah heck. It’s a nice day. Let’s get an ice cream cone and chat!

In February the unthinkable happened. Russia invaded Ukraine. Why Putin is still in power doesn’t make any sense. Why so many Republicans (or should I call them Trumplicans?) are opposed to stopping him doesn’t make any sense either. It’s certainly not the Republican party of my father and grandparents, that’s for sure.

April and May I took a lot of walks around town. My excuse — to check out murals that were popping up on the sides of buildings and on utility boxes and watch the artists at work. Now that, made sense.

In June we drove down to visit family in San Diego and took a side trip Santa Catalina Island. On the island, electric golf carts have taken the place of cars. Now that makes sense. As do the many ceramic murals around the town.

July’s highlight has always been our small town parade. This year it was marred by a mass shooting at another small town parade. Of course, it wasn’t the only mass shooting this year. According to the NRA, the solution to gun violence is more guns. That’s like saying the cure for cancer is more cancer. Does that make sense to you?

In August, for only the second time in six years, Drimia Maritima re-emerged. This time with a child! Because it first blossomed after my mother’s death, seeing it gives me hope that death is not the ending. Doesn’t make any sense I know.

In October we published Duke Miller’s fourth book, Willem Dafoe Comes to Town. Miller writes brutally about things in this world that make no sense but he does so beautifully.

November I was glued to the television watching the election results when I sprung from the chair to check on the laundry. Too late I realized that my left leg had completely fallen asleep. Next thing I knew I was sprawled out across the floor. There went our holiday plans.

As to whether next year will make sense or not, I do not know. Let’s hope so!

And so it was Christmas

I guess I’m lucky in that my parents never made a big deal out of holidays or birthdays and so I generally approach them with lowered expectations. There was a time when my children were young that I went a little crazy during the holidays with the baking and the decorating and the quest for the perfect gifts and stocking stuffers and generally spent Christmas day exhausted and sick with whatever crud was going around. This year I had to cancel all plans to attend family events and “stay off my feet” per doctor’s orders. And so I’ve been reading and watching television a lot more than usual.

I can’t just watch television. I have to be doing something else. The above head was sculpted from a fifty pound block of clay probably while binging on Masterpiece Theater. However my wrists gave out a few years back. When Michelangelo’s wrists gave out, he had an army of assistants. Alas I only have the cat. And so this year I went back to sketching.

My first was an attempt at a digital Christmas card. For inspiration I used an old photo taken by my father which always seemed to capture the magic of childhood.

But it seemed a little dark for Christmas so I added some color.

Whoops – the little girl doesn’t look too happy, does she? I decided she didn’t like babysitting and so I gave her a peacock only the damn thing jumped onto her head. Then I found a glittery glue stick one of the grand kids left behind and went a little crazy.

That’s supposed to be a strawberry ice cream cone she’s holding but the glue and glitter came out in a blob and bubble and made quite a mess. Ah well, that was Christmas for me. But … it could have been worse. My original holiday plans were to fly home from San Diego today via a Southwest Airlines jet!

On to 2023, God help us one and all. We’re gonna need it.

Fallen

Suddenly they all fell,

hitting the roof of the car like shattered bones,

slipping down the windshield and

getting trapped in the wipers,

helpless like me.

Suddenly they all fell,

swirling in one last do-si-do

blowing past the dog-walkers and bicyclists before

falling into piles in the gutter,

helpless just like me.

No way to start the season

Election day I tripped and fell over onto a slate floor. Chipped the right kneecap and sprained the left ankle. Luckily I still had my mother’s walker. And so now I hobble about the house trying not to put too much weight on either of my legs.

In order to spend as little time as possible on my feet, I’ve moved my base of operations out to the kitchen. Toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and condition, towels and washcloths, computer and iPhone. Kleenex, Nuprin and … other crap. It’s not the most comfortable room in the house. No big comfy sofa and it’s on the shady side of the house. Brrr. But that’s where the food it. I was bedridden once with double pneumonia and my dear sweet hubby decided that meant I didn’t need any food or drink. And he couldn’t hear my cries because the kitchen is on the opposite end of the house.

I meant to post this link on Veteran’s Day. My friend Duke Miller’s latest collection of prose poems. He’s a veteran of unknown wars whose victims aren’t often counted. I edited the book and designed the cover. Click here to win a copy.

Anyway, I will miss long shuffles through the falling leaves. But I might actually get to my long list of TBRs.