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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Sun and Moon etc.

Sun and Moon.
Taken near the side door by Michael.


After returning from a six-day jaunt in West Virginia (and a bit of Virginia), where we pondered retirement possibilities for the still-distant future and met up with Progeny no. 3, I have been rather lukewarm about all things social media-ish and the blog. Also lazy about submitting anything.... and the only new publications are print-on-paper, so nothing to report and link to online.

Nevertheless, here I be!


You might like to read Aaron Belz's piece on Norm MacDonald at Front Porch Republic, HERE. Twain, comedy, manner-of-telling, death-mindedness, and more.
Norm Macdonald: You know, I think about my deathbed a lot.
Vulture: What do you think about it?
Macdonald: I think I never should have purchased a deathbed in the first place.


And I'm grateful to Paul Pastor for mentioning me along with some fancy names in a brand new interview from Michael Wright's Still Life newsletter.  Several mentions there could make me big-headed were it not for my Southern ancestors, who squashed humility into me when I was but a wee aspiring child poet. Suggestion: how about you read the interview and then (later this fall) go and buy his upcoming book, Bower Lodge, forthcoming from Fernwood Press?

More WV

If you're ever in Lewisburg, WV, don't forget to eat dinner at Stardust! What else did I find out in the Virginias? Well, I still like Lexington and Shepherdstown and Harpers Ferry. And Bolivar and Charles Town are lovely. Also rambled around at Grandview in the New River Gorge National Park.

And just to bring up the tone, here's George Washington's bathtub from Berkeley Springs, WV... Actually most of it doesn't show--looks a bit like a watery stone grave. Just a tad creepy. Sadly, the presidential site turns out to be a fake--he did hang out in one of the stone tubs at the not-all-that-sizzling hot springs, but we don't really have his personal slot in stone. Be sure and bring a big ole bottle if you go to the state park, and maybe even your swimsuit.


  1. Surely there's a difference between poetic structure and poetic intent. Religious intermediaries (priests, pastors, chaplains, etc) have a job to do and as I understand things it's to save souls. If they thought that poetic form might help them with this grave task they are free to adapt it to their work. They don't. Mainly because poetic intent explores mystery and other indirect matters which might interfere with the need to be clear about the joys of heaven. It's another reason why humour - which can be a great communicator - is rarely to be found in sermons. Preachers who are "wild at the eye" would tend to be labelled as weird and passed by.

    1. That is a very post-Reformation view of the business! I would suggest that it is, in fact, quite a low Protestant view, suggesting a one-and-done idea of salvation.

      As someone who was a member of the Anglican Communion for 33 years, I have to say that I was called on as a poet to write many things--even hymns--and do lots of presentations and talks of various sorts, as were friends who are visual artists. So I haven't experienced church as a place alien to truth and beauty in poetic form.

      Of late, I've been attending an Orthodox (Western Rite) mission church, where I don't think your description of purpose would fit at all. I believe the Orthodox would talk about things like the healing of the person and passions, the experiencing of not the essence but the radiant energies of God, the growth into likeness of Christ, the patristic writings and handed-down tradition, each person as a living icon, grace as the very life and self-revelation of God, salvation as a real union with God and a participation in divine and life-giving energies. For the Orthodox, liturgy is a deep plunge into a beautiful and mystical representation of mysteries.

      Probably it's the difference between Americans and Brits, but I don't think that I've ever heard a sermon that did not have light touches and humor. I think that may well be a trait of Americans. I don't picture an Eastern Orthodox service in Moscow as having touches of Slavic humor, haha!

      However, I sympathize with your comment overall because what we call the church has been splintering into many fragments for a very long time, and many denominations and sudden, self-proclaimed churches do serve up a sort of thin gruel that can't really feed people in mind, body, and spirit. Also, many years ago I felt what it was like to be wholly turned off by various churches and just not that interested.

    2. God may reduce you on Judgment Day to tears of shame, reciting by heart the poems you would have written, had your life been good. --W. H. Auden

  2. Sounds like a wonderful trip! We're just 25 miles downriver of Harpers Ferry, so the next time you're in the area, please feel free to pop down for lunch. Our little town will make Cooperstown feel like Manhattan....

    1. Oh, I didn't even think about how close Maryland is, and that you are somewhere there... Yes, I will!


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.