Friday, April 29, 2011


I'm breaking all of my blogging rules on this post. I try to maintain a professional non-personal veneer. But - cute girls in Easter outfits. Abigail is almost seven and Maklyla is twoish - three in August.

You can tell they are cousins, and Abby is the leader - maybe even downright bossy. However, Makyla trundles along behind her.

And now - drumroll - an original poem inspired by Easter Sunday:


she followed her older cousin

six year old wise leader knew to

dash, grab, fill her basket

younger two year old stumbled

on unmown grass

plastic eggs beckoned

chubby fingers clutched a purple sphere

she waved it, delighted

something rattled

pried open to behold a penny

enraptured, she stood

filmy cloud of white dress

billowed, blonde hair windblown

studied her find, ignored entreaties to

seek more

satisfied with her prizes

Joanne Faries

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wilderness Wonder

I call San Saba the "wilderness" because we drive forever down a gravel road, and the chance of a snake encounter is high. Plus the cows keep staring at me. It's far more fun to exaggerate, and I can imagine pioneers on horseback plucking cactus needles from body parts and cursing.

National Poetry Month is almost over, but it's been amusing to match pictures and words. I have not included my own poetry. If it's published on a blog, then most journals consider it "previously published" and will not accept it. Thus, you've expanded your mind here with others' words.

For one that comes into the wilderness with a pencil to sketch or sing, a thousand come with an ax or rifle - Henry David Thoreau

The Morning is Full - Pablo Neruda

The morning is full of storm

in the heart of summer

The clouds travel like white handkerchiefs of good bye,

the wind, traveling, waving them in its hands

The numberless heart of the wind

beating above our loving silence

Orchestral and divine, resounding among the trees

like a language full of wars and songs

Wind that bears off the dead leaves with a quick raid

and deflects the pulsing arrows of the birds

Wind that topples her in a wave without spray

and substance without weight, and leaning fires

Her mass of kisses breaks and sinks

assailed in the door of the summer's wind

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Weekend Wilderness

Two Saturdays ago, the day was spent in Tahoe. Eight thousand feet elevation at spots, snow, and twenty seven degrees. This Saturday was spent in San Saba, Texas at Ray's aunt's place. Hill country, ninety degrees, and wind gusts had to be fifty miles per hour. Her place is rugged and not for the faint of heart.Pat is a modern day pioneer (at least in this city gal's eyes).

Her newly built pergola, rough hewn cedar, affords a splendid view of mesquite, cactus, and wild terrain. In this silent serene wilderness the weary can gain a heart - bath in perfect peace - John Muir. Sure, he was talking about California redwoods, but any view like this picture applies.

Spring time and cactus is in bloom. The bright yellow leaps out from the dry hardscrabble land. It's too, too dry. The Texas drought is extreme and it's only April.

Away, away, from men and town,

To the wild wood and the downs -

To the silent wilderness

Where the soul need not repress

Its music - Percy B. Shelley

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Poetic Bowling Banter

Bowling and National Poetry Month - what do they have in common? Well, at the National Bowling Center in Reno, sixty lanes filled with teams of five men possessed an energy and rhythm, plus a certain pacing and flow that seemed poetic. Colorful shirts and language abounded as balls rumbled down lanes to strike pins with a resounding thwack. Or clunk, depending on the shot.

Most sorts of diversion in men, children, and other animals are an imitation of fighting - Jonathan Swift.

Bowling has its own language, too - in the pocket, leave the ten pin, spares, and strikes. The lanes have an oil pattern which dictate the shot. It's like haiku versus a sonnet versus free verse.

The one nice thing about sports is that they prove men do have emotions and are not afraid to show them. - Jane O'Reilly.

Based on this picture the night before tournament play, Ray was saving himself for the BIG game.

Enough about bowling. Here's outdoor poetry, atop Heavenly in South Tahoe.

I'd call this shot a Perfect Game

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Plethora of Potential

Ray and I don't miss Fort Worth's Main Street Arts Festival. Despite crazy April winds, artists display their work and bare their souls for throngs of revelers. This year I touched, but did not buy, gorgeous wood pieces. The grains, the rich depth, make my knees weak. Then there's glasswork - I admire glass blowers. Combine heat and vision, color and clarity, and you've got lightning in a bottle. Then there's photography - the magic viewpoint of the artist. Newcomer Clifton Henri captured my heart with his simple snapshots of everyday life. Brenda Benson's illuminated glass glistened. Mimi Damrauer's textile collages invited a second look.
Variety abounded. Jennifer Cavan's paintings had a folk bent. Audrey Heller's photographs were shot with a touch of whimsy. Charles Strain's bronzes were massive in appeal.
Stephanie Swift shoots pictures of buildings, signs, and pieces of history before they disappear. And finally, Firehammer Studios mixed media lends gravitas to our world. If I win the lottery, I'd be a better patron of the arts. At present, I attend the Arts Festival and admire the variety and talent of hundreds of visionaries. Oh, and a juggling act by the Checkerboard Guy was hilarious - fun street entertainment.

Finally, we opted for Jake's Hamburgers. Tasty meal and great service. Fort Worth, Texas knows how to put on a spring show.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tempting Tahoe

Ray and I enjoyed a weekend in Tahoe, thanks to his bowling tournament in Reno. (The poetry of bowling shall be explored in another post). You know folks, snow is gorgeous when you don't have to shovel it. We rode the gondola in Heavenly, South Lake Tahoe, up to the observation deck and it was magic. I've been celebrating National Poetry Month, and I'm going to let these pictures speak volumes. Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand - Plato I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world - Walt Whitman The great poet is always a seer, seeing less with the eyes of the body than he does with the eyes of the mind - Oscar Wilde Blissfully cold. We smile from a top the world.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April Love

A Map of Love by Donald Justice

Your face more than others' faces

Maps the half remembered places

I have come to while I slept -

Continents a dream had kept

Secret from all waking folk

Till to your face I awoke

And remembered then the shore,

And the dark interior.

The More Loving One - W.H. Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well

That, for all they care,

I can go to hell

But on earth indifference is the least

We have to dread from man or beast

How should we like it were we stars to burn

With a passion for us we could not return?

If equal affection cannot be,

Let the other more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am

Of stars that do not give a damn

I cannot, now I see them, say

I missed one terribly all day

Were all stars to disappear or die

I should learn to look at an empty sky

And feel its total dark sublime

Though this might take me a little time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Anti-Cork Dorks

The Fort Worth Museum of Science sponsors a PUBlic Knowledge program designed for adults at a local venue (i.e. the Capital Bar on Morton Street - very cool patio). Kudos to them for an adult event. We met Tuesday, April 5, for a discussion by Brock Wagner, the founder of Saint Arnold Brewery Company ( They are based in Houston, and last year brewed 31,000 barrels of ales and lagers. Their maximum capacity in the new facility is 100,000 barrels. After that, Mr. Wagner said, "It wouldn't be fun. We'd have to have meetings and organization, and that would be boring." Mr.Wagner began as a home brewer in his dorm at Rice University. In 1994, he established Saint Arnold and is now one of the top fifty craft breweries in the United States. He discussed the history of beer, various components of beer, and the key to Moveable Yeast. The science of beer craftmanship offered a whole other language. Hence this post. He referred to wine afficionados as "Cork Dorks". I liked that terminology. There were a lot of question and answers. The world of home brewing is vast, and this writer was impressed by the attendance, the questions, and the passion for beer. Thanks to the Fort Worth Museum of Science for an enlightening evening on a local patio. The weather was spectacular. Alas, the beer was not free.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April Outward

This brilliant splash of color is tucked amongst bushes on the side of the house. This is a weird perspective. I'm standing on the sidewalk, taking the picture from above the azalea. Like spring in Texas, the loveliness is fleeting. Poetry begins ... when we look from the center outward - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Another April by James Merrill

The panes flash, tremble with your ghostly passage

Through them, an x-ray sheerness billowing, and I have risen

But cannot speak, remembering only that one was meant

To rise and not to speak. Young storm, this house is yours.

Let your eye darken, your rain come, the candle reeling

Deep in what still reflects control itself and me.

Daybreak's great gray rust-veined irises humble and proud

Along your path will have laid their foreheads in the dust.

A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom - Robert Frost

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April 2nd and Ninety Degrees

April is National Poetry Month. Our April Fool's Day in Bedford, Texas blossomed into summer with Opening Day of Ranger's baseball and the first pitch a balmy (!) ninety degrees. Let's see what poet Edna St.Vincent Millay had to say about April.

To what purpose, April do you return again?

Beauty is not enough

You can no longer quiet me with the redness

of little leaves opening stickily

I know what I know.

The sun is hot on my neck as I observe

The spikes of the crocus

The smell of the earth is good

It is apparent that there is no death.

But what does that signify?

Not only under ground are the brains of men

Eaten by maggots

Life in itself

Is nothing.

An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs

It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,


Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

A Little Madness in the Spring - Emily Dickinson

A little Madness in the Spring

Is wholesome even for the King

But God be with the Clown -

Who ponders this tremendous scene -

This whole Experiment of Green -

As if it were his own!

I shall ponder with you the madness of spring (and in Edna's case the decision to use the word maggots in her poem) as I rest my weary bones (from garden projects) in a patio chair.