22 January 2016

Fragment Friday - Winter Poetry

Winter on the windswept plains.

Winter Stars
By Sara Teasdale

I went out at night alone;
 The young blood flowing beyond the sea
Seemed to have drenched my spirit’s wings—
 I bore my sorrow heavily.

But when I lifted up my head
 From shadows shaken on the snow,
I saw Orion in the east
 Burn steadily as long ago.

From windows in my father’s house,
 Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,
I watched Orion as a girl
 Above another city’s lights.

Years go, dreams go, and youth goes too,
 The world’s heart breaks beneath its wars,
All things are changed, save in the east
 The faithful beauty of the stars.

Source: Flame and Shadow (1920)

In the Winter of My Thirty-Eighth Year
by W.S. Merwin

It sounds unconvincing to say When I was young
Though I have long wondered what it would be like
To be me now
No older at all it seems from here
As far from myself as ever

Walking in fog and rain and seeing nothing
I imagine all the clocks have died in the night
Now no one is looking I could choose my age
It would be younger I suppose so I am older
It is there at hand I could take it
Except for the things I think I would do differently
They keep coming between they are what I am
They have taught me little I did not know when I was young

There is nothing wrong with my age now probably
It is how I have come to it
Like a thing I kept putting off as I did my youth

There is nothing the matter with speech
Just because it lent itself
To my uses

Of course there is nothing the matter with the stars
It is my emptiness among them
While they drift farther away in the invisible morning

W. S. Merwin, "In the Winter of my Thirty-Eighth Year" Copyright © 1993 by W.S. Merwin,

Source: The Second Four Books of Poems: The Moving Target The Lice The Carriers of Ladders Writings to an Unfinished Accompaniment (Copper Canyon Press

15 January 2016

Background Music

Hot off the loom! Rainbow scarf - 10 dent, 65 x 12 inches (without fringe), KP Felici yarn both warp and weft.

I've been thinking a lot about music of late. What I listen to, new music, old music, background music. I just finished weaving a scarf on the big loom, it took me several days. I found I could get in the 'zone' with the right background music and not look up until my back reminded me it was time for a break. I think I need to keep track in my weaving logbook of which music went with which scarf - although I mostly can remember, the scarf brings the music back. For the riotous rainbow scarf above, I felt the urge to listen to John Denver. Don't laugh, but songs like Rocky Mountain High and Calypso made the scarf speed along. (Must be the rainbow) I also listened to American Folk music on this scarf - antique songs like Old Dan Tucker, Rock Island Line, and Erie Canal (Which I remember singing in elementary school).

A previous scarf was done to a punk rock band, another to an alternative band. It's a mystery to me which music will work with which project. I also listen to music while warping my loom, an hour to two hour process. Sometimes it sets the stage for what I'll listen to while weaving. Other times, not so much. I can't write to music, though, I need silence and the thoughts in my head for that, with no competition.

I seem to be stuck in the past of late when it comes to music - I'm listening to artists that started out in the '60's and '70's and are still performing today. One straddles the lines between folk, jazz, country, blues and rock. Maybe that's why I like listening to him. It's taking me a lot to come out of my comfort zone. I listen to the same folk artists, same metal band, same alternative bands, same punk rock. I was recently introduced to a bluesy country band and was actually tempted to buy their album. Unheard of! Usually I wait until my old favorites come out with a new album before I buy any music. I'm on the verge of doing something new. Not sure what to make of that...

So how does music inhabit your life?  Do you do certain tasks to music? Selected music or the radio? (I must confess here I haven't listened to the radio in over two years. Not much musical selection in Wyoming.)  Is there a band or artist I'm missing out on? I'll give most anything a try - except pop country. I do draw the line there. What say you?

08 January 2016

Fragment Friday - The Fragmented Edition

"These aren't the seeds you're looking for..."

Like little birds at the feeder, thoughts keep rolling around in my head.

Non-spoilery thoughts about Star Wars The Force Awakens. I liked it. I want to see it again. Maybe twice. I like the new characters. And the old characters. How come I can't find a Rey action figure? I need one.

Why is it the beginning of January I get bombarded by mail with subscription offers for all kinds of arts and crafts magazines - except the one I want? I know who sold my name, thanks to the way it appears on the mail. Today I recycled six offers for magazines I'm not really interested in, even at the "special one time low price offer". I did keep the Poets & Writers one, though.

Speaking of magazines, how do I decide to parcel out my literary journal funds this year? Do I buy new-to-me subscriptions? Re-subscribe to the ones I liked last year? There are so many worthy Lit Journals out there, it's hard to choose. What are your must have journals? Literary or otherwise.

If there was a way of physically blowing up iTunes, I would do it. They make it hard to burn an album, then the CD doesn't play in my car. I've listened to the one in my car so much, I can play the guitar and piano notes in my head at work all day long. Having recently been pointed in the way of a new artist, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats, I wonder what else I'm missing by not wandering YouTube more often. Suggestions?

And finally, what are some good soups or stews for the winter? We recently tried an African stew with sweet potatoes, chicken, peanut butter and spices. I liked it, but the other half grumbled. Not his taste. I have potatoes, split peas, chicken, ham hocks, beans, and frozen veggies in stock. Not wanting to make ham and bean soup again, but... it's easy. Any out of the rut recipes out there?

01 January 2016

Fragment Friday - New Year

Happy New Year from the Periphery! Hope yours was wonderful. Making any plans for the new year? Mountains to be climbed? Books to be read? Things to be conquered? The Cosmic Corgis wish you well.