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Thursday, September 21, 2006

October's aphorisms

will be
on the subject
of "poets
& poetry."

I imagine that they will be a bit more ruthless than the "fat people & tourists" aphorisms of September--fewer soap bubbles and hunters with popguns. I am quite willing to be tough about my own major concerns.

Skip down to the 19th for the previous batch of aphorisms.

Next week I'll finish up this series with Cooperstown tourist maxims that feature small boys with baseball bats, howler monkey parents, and general mayhem... We are not quite as civilized as we used to be in these parts, despite the ameliorating effects of Opera, the Fenimore Museum, and other local culture spots.

Lately I've had an increase in visitors but a decrease in comments, and it has been suggested via a number of amusing emails that nobody wants to be a Fat People! Or person. Or anything like that. As a Southerner, I am riddled with guilt any time I am tactless, or any time that I might possibly be tactless or may have been seen as tactless, etc. etc. and so interminably on. It's my genetic burden. I am usually quite tactful, but was driven on to the topic by the Imp of the Perverse, and I had a dratted good time, too.

In the interests of a peaceable Palace, perhaps we should resolve to lose 10 lbs. and go on to poetry. We can safely laugh at poets, because there are so few of them out there, right?

Or perhaps not. Maybe we are all poets.

We shall see.

Here is more Jeffery Beam,

Shedding the Old Self

In silence's adored and silkened embrace
I shed my body its skin a fragrant
papershell a narcissus
I shed it again and again
under the old motherly moon
I shed it in dreaming's womb
and always it remains the same
wrinkled and smooth

Soft body of sunflowers
body of iris blue and yellow body
you taste and smell of olives
and geraniums
With the strength of stones
you settle on the earth

And I shed you
like light on a mountain
under the sea
or a robe fresh woven
falling gracefully to the ground


The charming Boutique de Poésie, photograph taken in the town of in the town of St. Pierre d'Oléron, France, is courtesy of: and Ulrik De Wachter of Landskouter, Flanders, Belgium (website:


  1. I am excited about your new theme for October.

    I used to never read descriptive things about fat people because I fear getting uncontrollably fat, because you know I have to have my buttermilk biscuits and gravy with a side of sausage and hash-browns! Southern breakfasts are the best of the worst.

    And to add fat tourist is even more terrifying. I want to be beautiful when I travel, and I normally even get some new clothes. My mom was very rooted in 1950 attitude about traveling, you must look good and take new clothes.

    So, I read through the fear.

    All the farmers here have been saying early fall, but I didn't want to be disappointed so I thought little about it till I saw one of those Charlotte web looking spiders, a sure sign that fall is on its way.

    Its great that you put a poem on here. I have not read any poetry in a while.

  2. Fat, spiders, and poems. What great topics...

    Notice that I restrained myself from taking pictures of Cooperstown tourists--not even that lovely lunar man in the enormous pale green shirt that I saw the other day... Yes, life seems to ricochet from baby fat to middle age spread.

    My mother always had--still has--an enormous garden, so her cooking put more stress on freshness. Of course, I ate only raw food when I was little.

    I have a poem about orb-weaver spiders in my LSU book. Something about them filling up the yard and a woman falling asleep... eggs ... dreams of an insect king ... wasn't that it?

    Yawn. Must go.

    Oh, almost forgot. Jeffery Beam is a very special poet. And person. He mentioned today that he wrote that poem when he was 18 or 19.

  3. Jeffrey's poem is wonderful, thank you for sharing.
    I look forward with trepidation to your aphorisms on poets and poetry, but remain uneaten by the bear, who has gone further up the mountains.
    (and I note the magic entry word verification at this moment has a hog in it, and a prescription: rx q hog. Of course the letters are squished together. Do you suppose qhogs are fat, touristy pigs? Or abbreviated clams? )

  4. Ms. J the mysterious poet-bookseller has survived the depredations of the bear! Very good. Perhaps he will go have a long winter's nap and go tear up somebody else's house in spring.

    Ah, well--you can take them with a grain of salt. Aphorisms are said to be true, but my early experience says that they're not, or at least not for all times and all places and all people. Then again, not much is.

    Oh, you should put a poem in the comments next month!

    Definitely a sick quohog. Don't eat it. They're dangerous.

    I've been getting words in mine, too. I'm trying to figure out if this is a new, subliminal form of advertising, but so far nothing makes much sense.

  5. Love that poem - amazing talent to write that at such a young age.

    Poetry and poets - a very rich vein I should think. Looking forward to what you make of this.

    I also find spiders quite fascinating, especially the ones that make long web tunnels and wait at the bottom to pounce.

  6. Spiders would be a good topic. We have some giant Yankee spiders that rush down the chimney and dance on the dining room floor at 3:00 a.m., something that made my hair stand on end when I discovered it--up late, reading proofs.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.