Friday Night Poetry Blogging

The Conjugation of the Paramecium
~ Muriel Rukeyser

This has nothing
to do with

The species
is continued
as so many are
(among the smaller creatures)
by fission

(and this species
is very small
next in order to
the amoeba, the beginning one)

The paramecium
achieves, then,
by dividing

But when
the paramecium
desires renewal
strength another joy
this is what
the paramecium does:

The paramecium
lies down beside
another paramecium

Slowly inexplicably
the exchange
takes place
in which
some bits
of the nucleus of each
are exchanged

for some bits
of the nucleus
of the other

This is called
the conjugation of the paramecium.


I have been having — and I think that you will all know what I mean — a Bad Week.

A Really Bad Week.

An aching tooth, and it takes days to connect with your dentist, traveling way oversees, to get a referral. A person at work who always makes problems and decides that now is the time to make a really, really big problem. Prescriptions gone awry, a new car temp tag that expires before the new one comes in and a dealer who won’t call you back. An order of new sheets that never arrives. A Really Bad Week. A cash transfer that takes more work than it should have taken. Some passwords that need fixing. Forgetting your antibiotics just when they’re beginning to have an effect. (OK, even I can see how these are all First World Problems.)

But I have also been having a Really Good Week.

An endodontist who is clearly a kindred soul and a true healer. Catching up with a Druid. A surprisingly strong ally at work. An almost immediate improvement in response to a drug. A beloved, long-term friend who hugs you, senses that you’ve gotten healthier, and feeds you wonderful late-Summer food. My Bit of Earth mellowing under the short, almost-Autumn sun. G/Son slipping into third grade and pitching baseball w/o a hitch. My wonderful paralegal supporting my work. My memory of the scent of pine at Falling Water.

May it be so for you.



Everyone has their place — the place that if they suddenly disappeared, you’d know you could surely find them there. For an Audubon member, you would find them, binoculars and field guide in had, in a Glacier Park meadow that resembles a Claude Monet painting with bursts of yellow, green, and white, and is filled with the rushing sound of spring run-off.

* * *

[O]f all the places that are mine, if I could choose just one, my choice would be the cabin. No, not “a” cabin or “my” cabin. “The one and only cabin.

* * *

My cabin is a real cabin, with old, rough logs coated with fading mustard yellow paint. An aged, slightly squeaky water pump stands on the porch, and a tire swing hangs like an old rubber noose from one of the nearby trees. I have been swinging on that old tire ever since I could walk. The cabin has been a permanent fixture in my life.

* * *

When I’m at the cabin, I can enjoy the pure sweet sound of nothing but the rush of the creek and the constant twangy thwack of the antiquated screen door soaring back into its frame, despite the hollers of “Don’t slam the screen door!” The cabin is a place where, no matter what is happening at that time, you can be freed from it. At the cabin, I can detach myself from whatever is weighing me down. At the cabin, peace can become a blissful reality.

~ Meredith Stolte, in whitefish review, vol. 5, issue 2, Winter 2011/2012

There’s a lovely Irish word — tenelach — that means the relationship that you can have a with land, air, and water. A deep connection that allows you to listen to the song of the Earth. Ms. Stolte’s essay hints at a tenelach.

To develop a tenelach, you have to be open to having that kind of relationship, even when you know that, like any relationship, you’ll have to take the bitter with the sweet. Sometimes, the song that the Earth is singing is a dirge.

At Bravely Be, Tracy writes:

In an unpublished manuscript, Aldo Leopold, credited as forbearer of the modern environmental movement, simply, but eloquently states, “There are two things that interest me: the relation of people to each other and the relation of people to land.”

Standing on his shoulders and those of many others, I can say that there are three things that interest me: the relation of people to each other, the relation of people to land, and the relation of people to themselves.

I do not know what the future holds, except that either we will co-create a sustainable human culture or we will not. I also know that what we do now influences what happens next and that the past and future are only concepts. Therefore, this moment is what matters most to me. I take care of the future by taking care of here and now. This is simple, but not easy. The mysterious animated spark of life is always whole and here and now. So while I care deeply about the future, it is only the present that I have access to and must consistently tend.

What do you do to consistently tend your relationship with place here, now, in the present? What songs are you hearing?

Picture found here.

Freedom for the Picts

So it’s on, now, for Scotland. It’s on for one people to break away from the 1%ers who’ve driven the UK into “austerity,” beginning with the nasty grocer’s daughter, and continuing to the present day. Sometimes, a poet can unite a people. Robbie Burns slipped between the veils in 1796, but his poems have been inspiring the Higlanders — and those who love freedom — ever since.

A man’s a man, as he rather sexistly said, for a’ that.

Monday at the Movies

I have the usual feminist love/hate relationship with most comic book superheroes.

I’ve always been drawn to some of the “minor” characters and recently stumbled across Arrow (aka The Green Arrow) on Netflix. (Not getting cable means that I’m often a year or so behind everyone else.)

I’m liking this series for its lefty emphasis; the “bad guys” are more often than not the 1%ers or those who want to be. The Arrow shows up to confront them with the line: “[Insert name], you have failed this city!” I like the connection to a specific landbase and the idea that being a greedy jerk is a way of showing yourself to be a failure. And, of course, the story line is an interesting re-telling of the Robin Hood tale — also a story involved with a landbase.

Sunday Ballet Blogging

Freedom for the Caledonii

My head knows enough to know that I don’t know what I’d need to know to make any kind of rational statement about whether or not Scotland should vote for independence from England.

But my skin, my bones, and my heretic heart are hoping so hard for separation.