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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Until later--

It's a good time to be quiet and dream, though I haven't left yet--not quite. The storm is almost behind us, though the sleet and ice and rain have gone on too long.

Last week a village boy died in an accident, and more than a third of our population turned out for the funeral. This week brought the sorrow at Blacksburg. I've been surprised to find that far-flung friends of mine knew some among the murdered. The world's web is so large, so small.

And we humans are such fragile little flies, dancing our dance in the streaming sunshine and the starlight that comes so far to be with us. How tragic to lose teachers in their prime, to lose our beautiful young women and men--even the murderer, a boy wandering in a maze of evil. He let go of Hawthorne's "magnetic chain of humanity."

So let's kiss our children, and hold fast to the "magnetic chain." How often that phrase comes to mind. Dear Hawthorne, what a reservoir of grief and spirit and beauty you are!

I go off to my fishing soon. Wish me luck, will you? The shining pools at Yaddo are quiet and still. Perhaps I'll come home with silver minnows, or a fish like a metal rapier, or a bouncing great whale...

I won't be posting again until I return. Perhaps spring will come by then. Pax tecum.

Here's something small and old, but a favorite lyric of mine--from somewhere in medieval England:

Westron wind, when wilt thou blow,
The small rain down can rain?
Christ, if my love were in my arms
And I in my bed again!


Circles of water courtesy of Hilde Vanstraelen of Hasselt, Belgium and


  1. Beautiful, universal thoughts, Marly.
    It's comforting, makes one serene...reading other's similar thoughts in such horror situatuions.
    You are so right re kissing our children. And our partners families friends.
    Everything IS fragile bit ther's also a wonderful strength lurking..

  2. The picture of a young angelic Marly in tears in the British Museum at the awesome Assyrians is appealing! (Not appalling but rather heart rending)

    I have just given Blue Genes a hard time over on her blog with reference to guns etc. but at the end of the day we are "poor players who strut and fret" and must do our very best in the time we have left.

    Also polished off 3 glasses of a rather good bottle of red wine left over from my Birthday."She who must be obeyed" is away so my son and I are enjoying a couple of days of freedom!

  3. oh Marly, you are such a good writer and sincere. I teared up when I read your post.

  4. jan & susanna--

    Thanks; it's hard to say more, isn't it? I'll come visit you two when I get back again!


    I wonder what my mice will do while I'm away! Enjoy that Birthday Bottle. My husband's birthday is today, and I must go stash the leftovers from the feast. It's 9:00 and they're still on the table, following a scavenger hunt for presents.

    "Must do our very best in the time we have left": iambic pentameter with two anapestic substitutions? That sounds like Tolkien to my ear. Tolkien stirred with Shakespeare and a bottle of red wine is strong drink!

    Ah, you have been to Mount Shang if you know that I wept to see the astonishing, overpowering Assyrians. Youth is such a wondrous, painful thing. "Youth's a stuff will not endure." There's a bit of Shakespeare for you in return.

  5. Thank you, Marly, for these words...and for finding that image to post with them. the storm, i hope...i wish...has passed.

    Here's hoping spring comes very soon, and is generous to all.

    Wishing you, and The Pot Boy, a blessed string of days. Already anticipating word of your return and stories from your adventures,
    your friendly zephyr

  6. Wow, it's already Wednesday where you are!

    Come back with some good fish stories, please.

  7. zephyr,

    When shall I travel back? Lemme see... How does one tell time to a zephyr?

    Whan Zephyrus eke with his swete breath

    Inspired hath in every holt and heath the tendre croppes,

    And the yonge sonne hath in the Ram his halfe course i-runne,

    And smalle fowles machen melodye

    That slapen all the nicht with open eye

    (Thus pricketh hem nature in her corages)

    Than longen folk to go on pilgrimages.

    How about that?


    Because it is always 2:00 a.m. in the Palace, we are always behind or ahead or just right but running to stay in place, like one of Alice's Queens.

    Fish stories! I like that.

  8. Marly, I think it is probably what we call a “learnt response” as when children come up with something astonishing! As you say, it is not an original “Robert”!

    Is it still snowing with you? Hope the birthday went well.

  9. Buona fortuna, dear Marly.

  10. amanda,

    It's lovely to have a wish from over the sea! I hope all is well, as well as well can be--and if not that, I hope it is good enough.


    I have been puzzling over what that quote was that sounded so much like what you wrote: must do our very best in the time we have left. And I felt sure you had Tolkien along with the Shakespeare...

    Gandalf talks about the rise of the Shadow:

    ‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo.

    “‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’”

    It's not the same, but I think that's the echo. Or maybe it's St. Paul, talking about making "the most of our time," because "the days are evil." That mix of striving and limitation and evil days is in both.

    So I think you can claim it as your own. You just have good influences.

    In vino veritas!

  11. in the words of my young nephews:
    "That Chaucer guy is cool!"

    i don't think i've ever read The Canterbury Tales...and when i look it up, i spend all day following the fascinating trail of all the annotations, forgetting to attempt to stick to the story! At any rate...thanks for posting this bit...i'm liking my name more and more!

  12. zephyr,

    My favorite way is to get into the sheer swing of the thing and read it out loud. Haven't done that in years. Maybe I should do it again soon.

  13. Ya know, if you were on Wordpress, the posts would actually appear at whatever time you set. Pretty nifty, eh? Then you could truly be the Mistress of Time.

  14. Dave,

    Now that's enticing!

    Maybe when I get back, I'll get you to show me how to add Wordpress.

  15. Happy fishing, dear Marly!


  16. Well written, dear Marly.
    T'was a sad, sad day indeed. Let's pray for a better tomorrow.
    May you catch silver, gold and silver-gold fish from the beginning until The End of your writing journey ~
    "May peace, understanding, and love for mankind stand guard at the gate of your heart and watch over your writing hand today and always."
    Have a wonderful time and do take care.
    Always a writer,
    Eileen St. Lauren

  17. mb & Eileen,

    Thanks for the fishing-wishes!

    À bientôt--

  18. Of course I was weaned on Macbeth, the play Conrad sad was not his best I think! but as for the other, no I think it a hotchpotch of learnt responses as I say. The bluebells are out in force and I hope they will be as poppies are to soldiers; "lest we forget" our young die too.

  19. There always comes a silence, then a wanderer who missed the news, in its immediate or wind-whispered form.

    One walks slowly in the wake of destruction, and notices that voices sound different. Condolences, though honest, are flat, hollow, lacking timbre as they bounce off fallen trunks and tumbled walls and broken lives.

    And so we turn to, we call upon the poets. We beseech them to spin magic and illusions, reaching around, behind, through, and inside to find the shiny copper phrase. Distract us and dazzle us as you twist and weave the fabric of not only our language, but our shared experience on this ball of dirt.

    And when the trick is played through, when the act comes to a close, the reveal will catch sliver of light. In that moment of tiny brilliance, all remember that the sun is still behind the storm clouds after all.

    I don't know what compels me to write like this around here.

  20. Hello to Robert and Annie and sundry from Yaddo--

    That's very odd, Annie. I just had a character refer to the planet as "a ball of dirt." Uncanny. I keep thinking that there's a ghost in my room, too.

    You can keep leaving me messages, though I won't answer very often while I'm away... I will check, eventually.

  21. Yes, but you have the benefit of email notification! (or at least the option thereof).

    I'm just behind my little computer screen hitting "Refresh" every couple hours. ;)

    Not really.

    Bon weekend, and other days until you post again!

  22. Hey Marly,

    I hope you get everything done that you need to. I didn't post this week either, because of being very busy with things at school. But, I am posting tonight.

    The news this week was so sad. For all the families involved.

  23. Embarrassment of riches here, post and comments ( Annie's stands out)
    I love that 'westron wynde' lyric, have you heard Taverner's(the Elizabethan one) Western Wind Mass based on the melody?
    Good fishing, perhaps it will be Taliesin's salmon you catch?

  24. hope you are having fun! I thought about you today.

  25. Lucy,

    I have a good bit of Taverner, but not that one--I ought to, I think! Yes, Annie is the bedazzled poster...


    There you are again, and so down to earth this time. You'll have to be shiny and enraptured again!

    b. q.,

    I hope all continues well with you and yours--so complicated of late.


    All is very well here, and very interesting! Anon--

  26. Oh, I posted and there is Susanna. What timing you have... Hello! Hope all is well down there in Alabama, Susanna

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Now, Susanna, why did you remove that post? I'll have to go read the copy again... Perhaps you felt guilty for rousing the ghost of Nathaniel Hawthorne to summon me forth! I am sure that he would be an exceptionally beautiful and poetic sort of ghost.

    All is very well with me. I am getting a great deal of work done, and enjoying three meals a day with writers and painters or artist doing "works on paper," many from New York City, and a few from Germany and Spain. We have one composer and a conceptual artist, as well. In the evenings we have readings or an open studio or something else, and it is all very enjoyable. Evidently this is an unusually pleasant group--so I have been told. Several days ago we toured the mansion, which is not open until mid-May.

    Yes, I am ignoring the internet. I don't have it in my cottage, so I just check my mail once a day. I'm afraid the Palace is almost completely packed up, as even the Pot Boy has gone on the razzle and is even now rattling around some bright beach resort or other.

  29. Ah how wonderful that you havet the opportunity to create. That is very marvelous. I do hate it that the Pot Boy is off on holiday though, I find him very amusing. I have not yet created the tea cozy, but am thinking of that as a project this week. Maybe in velvets. One shall see.

    Happy creating.

  30. Sprung loose from the working whirled for a bit, and Yay For You!

    Skimmed the comments, and am smiling at your wonderful circle of smart friends and uncommontators.

    Back soon, in tiny bits, and then (barring more madness) in healthy happy chunks of time after mid-May.

  31. b. q.--

    Though I can't be responsible for the Pot Boy, I am sure that anyone who stopped by would want to see that velvet cozy atop your bean!


    See you then! We're having lots of open studios and readings--and I even had a drawing lesson... But mostly I am getting a lot of work done.

  32. And while you've been off dreaming, and your flowers are bursting through the ice, I have counted you in my 5 Thinking Bloggers (and had I not, Lori would have; you would not have escaped). Check my blog (or hers) for more info.

  33. Is it amazing what some people will do to roust one!

    Thank you, jarvenpa (and Lori, too.)

  34. I passed all my stuff and all papers are turned in!

    I'm going to be a masers degree holder and sure to solve all the worlds problems now :)

  35. Like I said, look what some people will do to get a response! You became a Master!

    Trala, hurrah, and much confetti, Susanna!

    I do have one or two little problems here (mice? ratty? mole?) that I need solved.

  36. Mice, rat, mole.

    How about a nice cat. They seem to take care of such things at the palace in the grove. In fact I haven't seen a whole mouse in a bit. Pieces of one that the outside cat brings up in exchange for milk and cat food, but no whole ones. With 5 cats about, no rodents dare approach the palace. The great cat knights see to that.

  37. I put up some cute cemetary stroll pictures, one with my corset and hoop skirt. Its so hot it would turn a gay man bi....! ;o)

  38. b. q.,

    A cat would have been nicer!

    Miss Susanna of Alabama,

    I am on r-e-t-r-e-a-t! Honestly, the things people do--it's very entertaining. I shall stop by for a flying visit.

  39. oo... sorry I forgot you were on retreat.

    sending good thoughts your way for smart quick writing! I just know you are going to have a great streak today.

  40. Hey Marly,

    I've finally got my link to you up and working. AND I've drawn you a rooster that is posted on my site. Just drop in sometime and see it. Don't bother to post if you are busy, just check him out.

  41. Susanna & blog queen--

    Hello to both of you!

    b. q., will do--

    Chickens Loom Large, after all. Note to come later on.

  42. Fwomp!

    Boy, that Costa Rican investment sounds good! I'll have to check with Clendon. I hear he's back, though not in good shape. Very dark, that man...

  43. 4 June 2007

    After the storm, my mind cleared.

    And a high wind arose and blew the tropics north.

    running quartz crystals through a blender.

    sand through your engines.

    bubbles in your bays.

    estuaries reaching out toward forbidden seas...

    sand through your eyes.

    5 June 2007

    Calm as baby's breath

    as peaceful as the storm's eye

    Clouds spread and drawn with rough strokes of stratospheric winds

    a warm and windy tropical day.

    7 June 2007

    Black water at dusk.

    Lighting on the horizon.

    Warm winds coming in across the darkening waters.

    A flash of white wings as an egret takes flight.

    And Thunder like God clearing his throat.

    8 June 2007

    Morning star in the still of the clear, dark waters.

    a sky as clear eyed as a young girl.

    bruised and tattered storm remnants limp off in the gathering light.

    9 June 2007

    Tickled her fancy.

    giggling all the day long.

    pretty good for a Saturday.

    Clouds on the lake floating aimlessly by.

    She smiled big--grinned really.


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.