Saturday, December 25, 2004
Thank-You Note
by Judith Viorst

I wanted small pierced earrings (gold).
You gave me slippers (grey).
My mother said that she would scold
Unless I wrote to say
How much I liked them.

Not much.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

- posted by Allie @ 10:09 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Thursday, December 23, 2004

From the Animators Posted by Hello

- posted by -g @ 8:43 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

The Country

I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice

might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.

Who could sleep that night?
Who could whisk away the thought
of the one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe

behind the floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match
between the needles of his teeth?
Who could not see him rounding a corner,

the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,
the sudden flare, and the creature
for one bright, shining moment
suddenly thrust ahead of his time?

now a fire-starter, now a torch-bearer
in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid
illuminating some ancient night.
Who could fail to notice,

lit up in the blazing insulation,
the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces
of his fellow mice, one-time inhabitants
of what once was your house in the country?

?Billy Collins

- posted by -g @ 11:02 AM | | 0 rocks in pond

Fish & Bird
Interprété par Tom Waits

They bought a round for the sailor
And they heard his tale
Of a world that was so far away
And a song that we'd never heard
A song of a little bird
That fell in love with a whale
He said, 'You cannot live in the ocean'
And she said to him'You never can live in the sky'
But the ocean is filled with tears
And the sea turns into a mirror
There's a whale in the moon when it's clear
And a bird on the tide

Please don't cry
Let me dry your eyes

So tell me that you will wait for me
Hold me in your arms
I promise we never will part
I'll never sail back to the time
But I'll always pretend you're mine
Though I know that we both must part
You can live in my heart

Please don't cry
Let me dry your eyes

And tell me that you will wait for me
Hold me in your arms
I promise we never will part
I'll never sail back to the time
But I'll always pretend that you're mine
I know that we both must part
You can live in my heart

- posted by -g @ 9:15 AM | | 0 rocks in pond

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
For Emily

The Language
The desire for truth is confronted with poems, with tales written by you long ago. And then you are ashamed, because it was all sheer myth. Neither did any of it happen, nor did you feel the feelings contained therein. The language itself unfurled its velvet yarn in order to cover what, without it, would equal nothing. -Czeslaw Milosz

There seems to be a bit of drama hanging about. I was walking alone in the woods recently. The sounds were amazing. I was so cold that the most prominent sound was my shaking body. After tuning that out, other sounds became more apparent. I think it was the dead mouse that triggered it. Seeing the dead mouse tangled in dry leaves and not partially eaten in any way made me wonder about its arrival just to the left of my path. It made me think that walking with someone beside me or in front of me or behind me would qualify my steps, my direction, my meaning and mood. Really, the path I was walking was quite familiar, but not the same - never the same. My most meaningful, meditative and astonishing walks were the solitary ones. The time of day, the position of the sun, the weather all play a part, to be sure, but the talk is what destroys it all. Quiet perspective is not likely with a companion other than the voice of God in your Spirit. Other voices are loud. His is quiet. After the thinking subsides from images and memories that have been talked out, reflection and surprise set in - this is triggered by the most mundane rock, weed, bird, tree or mouse hidden in dry leaves. The delicacy of both sound and silence are lost to walkers. The walker alone becomes these.

I was confronted with self today. It came in a post card from Emily Stetzer who is loving people in El Salvador right now. I hope I am not out of place to share her questions with you, as well as what they did to me. The post card said - it read:

dear mister graf,

how do you balance being
honest and being honorable?

being true to yourself and
being true to your word?

in peace and turmoil,

emily joy
I was a bit disturbed at the first and second reading of this. I hold Emily in high regard and know her to be a deeply insightful and spiritual person. I was concerned that maybe God told her something about me and I was getting a direct chastisement from my maker. I wondered whom Emily had been conversing with and what I had done now? After being awakened from my self-centeredness by two lovely friends, I re-read the card to mean that perhaps Emily was in need of direction. I, of course, have no direction to give, but I do have stories and a good deal of non-answers - so here is my feeble attempt, and I am sure that Emily and I will welcome any additional insight and input to this little problem from any and all Holy and well meaning spirits who happen upon this verbal spillage.

The first story I think of is found in Genesis. Jacob works seven years for a wife by the name of Rachael. He is given Leah instead and must work seven more years for Rachael. He did this and counted the time as nothing because of love. Words were given and taken back. Justification was given and accepted. What suffering must be had for truth and the desire of our hearts? What are the desires of our hearts? These are individual questions that cannot be answered universally. This makes me wonder: Who would not want purity of heart? I know purity of heart to be the very essence of willing one thing. What do you will? Will it make you pure in heart? The second story is about a man who got drunk and had his legs run over by a horse drawn carriage. You can read about it in the archives.

So, this is the beginning of my thinking, and more is sure to come. I have very little information to address Emily's questions in a detailed and personal manner. I have my own balance to find, and I am sure that other humans cannot intentionally help me and expect me to receive it gladly. I think Emily's questions were rhetorical and therefore not needing answers, only stories and love. Of course there is Ann's voice going off in my head again: "Just tell me what you are trying to say and stop being so convoluted about it."
It is my way of using many words to tell you that I do not know. It is my way of saying love. You can always turn off the monitor. That is not such a bad thing now and then. A walk in the woods may be just what is needed right now.

- posted by -g @ 5:10 AM | | 0 rocks in pond

Saturday, December 18, 2004
Groucho Glasses by Allie Schwartz

- posted by Allie @ 11:49 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Seven By Ann Graf

There are six of us who live in this house, my husband and I and our four children. There are seven in this house who use the upstairs bathroom. The aforementioned six splash water all over up there, leave wet towels, hair, particles of dead skin, slices of toenails and fingernails and assorted germy globs of toothpaste lying around. Number seven recently left a leg in my towel. As I was to discover a day later, number seven has enough legs that losing one could hardly be cause for alarm, at least no alarm to him or herself. It has caused a certain amount of alarm to me and to the two girls who use this bathroom in the middle of the night.

I used the bathroom a few days ago, washed my hands and turned to the left to wipe them on my yellow towel hanging on the back of the door. I noticed what I thought was a hair peeking out around the side of the towel, a black hair about one and a half inches long. I was about to pluck it off into the garbage and got within inches of doing so when a sudden chill spread down my spine. This supposed hair was a bit too straight and upon closer inspection, jointed. I gingerly pushed the door open with my foot and eased past the towel, hands moist, but not from the washing I had just given them. I went all the way down to the basement and asked my husband to come up and have a look. As far as I knew, there could be a body and tens of matching legs on the other side of that towel and I wasn't going to be the one to deal with it.

My husband came up and took a look, no anxiety at all evident in his manner. He flipped back the towel to reveal just the one leg and the ensuing release of air from all three females now gathered whistled through the hallway, followed by a chorus of, "Ewww, gross!" I looked carefully at the leg before my husband removed it with a tissue. How in the world did it get there? And more importantly, where the hell was the rest of it? I remembered that old joke, "What's worse than finding a worm in your apple? Finding half a worm!" I was soon to find out.

The next evening before bed, I was sitting in the bathroom doing, well, you know, and sort of staring at the green and white tiles beneath my feet when the answer came to me in a flash. A flash of brownish black that raced out from beneath my feet to the right, along the threshold of the door and off into the old blue shag carpet of the hallway. It ran toward the outside wall behind the large piece of homemade furniture that used to serve as a diaper table and was now a catch-all for shoes, toilet paper, and assorted other essentials that wouldn't fit in our tiny bathroom. The resultant chill was much larger and far reaching this time, not just my spine, but my entire body froze in horror. I managed to finish what I had been doing and with bare toes curled into tight balls I ran myself into our bedroom and got my husband out of bed to hunt it down and kill it.

The vacuum was still in the hallway from the girls' afternoon attempt at cleaning their room so he plugged it in and went at it. He did the general area in front of the bathroom door and then yanked the storage unit thing away from the wall without the slightest hesitation. I jumped back and then cautiously leaned over to look behind it. There was a lot of junk back there that had fallen down over the years, a few legos, a pencil and a candy wrapper which he reached down to pick up with his bare hands, imagine! He then ran the vacuum over the revealed carpet and used the attached crevice tool to get right along the wall. This part was rather enjoyable to watch, my husband cleaning and using the crevice tool and all. Wow. I almost forgot my fear, but then he asked me to come near and help him move the furniture back against the wall. I quickly snapped out of my reverie and gingerly approached on my little curled up toes and we lifted the piece back into place, exactly matching up the pressure marks in the carpet with the furniture legs.

I wanted to leave the light on in the bathroom all night, but my husband snapped it off and grumbled back to bed. I followed him quickly, figuring he had just cut a trail through the carpet that had scared off anything nearby and I should follow as closely as possible. I lay there in the dark, trying not to think about anything in particular, especially my bladder, which through all this excitement had filled up again faster than usual. No way was I going in there! I waited as long as I could, and after about ten minutes, made my way back into the hallway, turned on the hall light and went downstairs to the small half bath outside the boys' bedroom. I would do this once more before dawn, in between tortured dreams of centipedes. I saw centipedes on our bedroom walls, groups of centipedes coming out of the outlets, streaming across the carpeting and entering from outside through the open window above my desk. There really is an open window above my desk and this fact began to concern me during my waking moments. I could not get up to close it because I would have to walk on our carpet to do so, and my anxious body was hot enough already that the breeze coming in through this window was much needed.

I finally rolled out of bed the next day around 9am when my father stopped over to pick up his hedge trimmer that I had borrowed weeks ago and never returned. My husband had taken all the kids somewhere and let me sleep. I felt rather groggy and sleepy, but managed to fish the hedge trimmer out of the garage, explaining my tense evening and lack of sleep, embarrassed to be found still in bed at so late an hour. My father just listened and smiled.

- posted by -g @ 1:04 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Friday, December 17, 2004
I've been pondering this question for a while now:

There are certain acts which I recognise clearly as unjust - war is the most obvious example of these. And I consider it unconditionally wrong to go to war; in my ideal world problems would be worked out, of course, nonviolently. Yet the present world is far from ideal, and there are obviously situations in which war is expedient. For example: when Europe was poised on the brink of the Second World War, Hitler was making aggressive, military, expansionist moves into neighboring countries, and Britain and France refused to take any action to confront or stop him. So would military action to confront this threat have been right on their part? Or would it have been just as unjustified as Hitler's original actions were?

- posted by Eva @ 8:50 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Friday, December 10, 2004
Who is grading this, and who is it for?

A mother passing by her daughter's bedroom was astonished to see the bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then she saw an envelope propped up prominently on the center of the bed. It was addressed, "Mom." With the worst premonition, she opened the envelope and read the letter with trembling hands:

Dear Mom,

It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elopewith my new boyfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Dad and you. I've been finding real passion with Ahmed and he is so nice-even with all his piercings, tattoos, beard, and his motorcycle clothes. But it's not onlythe passion mom, I'm pregnant and Ahmed said that we will be very happy. He already owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. He wants to have many more children with me and that's now one of my dreams too. Ahmed taught me that marihuana doesn't really hurt anyone and we'll be growing it for us and trading it with his friends for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we'll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Ahmed can get better; he sure deserves it!!

Don't worry Mom, I'm 15 years old now and I know how to take care of myself. Some day I'm sure we'll be back to visit so you can get to know your grandchildren.

Your daughter,


PS: Mom, none of the above is true. I'm over at the neighbor's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than my report card that's in my desk center drawer. I love you!

Call when it is safe for me to come home.

You can all come home now.

- posted by -g @ 10:37 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Thursday, December 09, 2004
I thought this was beautiful, so I give it to you.....

My Enemy

Deep below the murky waters, where the air and ground is hotter
Under the earth where God has freed all those who were a slave
There reigns a lonely being, who harnesses souls and stops them from fleeing
Where souls cry in pain for not seeing, seeing what their soul, could save.

There he lies, slowly burning, while the good deeds he is spurning
He tortures those who try to make each breath ones worth breathing
Throwing them in a raging fire, stripping their blood like a vampire
Forcing them to wear singed attire, with nothing that, their souls are sheathing.

Each man, woman, friend and foe, carries a dark and charred halo
They are whipped with the pain that they forced upon the weakening breasts of others
There are no words to describe his sin, sin that comes from deep within
And wears those who feel it, cold and thin. Pouring death until their lives are smothered.

Death and sin must not prevail, and torture will not our hearts impale.
If we all turn our face away from those things made by Him
Refrain from dealing with acts of pain, rendering your mind inane
Follow those things simple and plain that will make peace within you, swim.

Pray and save those lost in strife, and you'll be presented with eternal life
Live in the light that God has for each person set before them all
Stay away from his shadow, but make sure that goodness you follow
Save yourself from eternity's limbo, And make the devil to his knees fall.

- posted by Amanda @ 10:15 PM | | 0 rocks in pond

Friday, December 03, 2004
A Poetic Word From A Jay Loomis
Who Now Resides
in Manhattan

I marveled at the setting sun just the other day
that glowing hotpinkandred globe in the sky
on the western horizon
perched in the treetops across the bay

the wind was whipping up the waves
so strong I had to steady myself to find firm footing from gust to gust
But the sun had my full attention...

when I wasn't distracted by the reverberating reflection of so many other colors
splashed across the sky staining the clouds
in light saturated shadows

Then the leafless trees
pure branches
poking through to touch the friendly fireball

And there were birds flying
flung about like puppets
not flapping
their wings strained to be still in the midst of such
powerfully manifest invisible force
and still able to stay afloat in the invisible sea
air the fluid flowing
like the Mississippi river and and wild Atlantic water at the same time

What a place to be, and see, and feel, and hear, and smell, and even taste the
salt sea in the spray all around me... concentrating and relaxing... observing...
receiving and giving glory (wordless) to the ONE

- posted by -g @ 6:18 AM | | 0 rocks in pond

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