Some place, some day.

Thoughts on the movie La La Land – It was La La Land until there was Moonlight.

There are dreamers and doers and if I could be but one, I suppose I’d rather dream of things to be when I leave Oz. To go some day to some place I long to go, might just spoil the dream.

img_3255

Far away, there is a cabin on the lake I long to go. I will someday but will it be too late?

Loin, il y a une cabane sur le lac que j’ai envie d’y aller. Je vais un jour, mais sera-t-il trop tard?

Final thoughts

blue summer dreams
dragonflies in the sun
my page is empty

© Lize Bard writes a blog which I follow @ https://wandererhaiku.wordpress.com/

dragonfly-2

That is a sad parting thought for 2016. I would prefer:

dreams of golden summer days
iridescent dragonflies fluttering in the air
my notebook is empty
until I pick up my pen again

Of course, that is not strictly Haiku, and it is wordy. Haiku should be a poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, evoking an emotional image of the natural world.

golden summer days
iridescent butterflies
my mind is empty

Matsuo Basho is the recognized Japanese master of the haiku and here is his poem to a frog jumping into an old pond:

古池
蛙飛び込む
水の音

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya,
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into)
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)

Many are the English translations, so let me throw my hat into the ring:

In an ancient pond
A frog plunges in – kerplop
One hears water’s sound

Sometimes it is nice to be a frog sitting on the bank and a dragonfly comes by, gulp, that’s a snack, and you want to jump in the water so you don’t have to share.

 

 

Three thoughts

Three thoughts came to me – a poem, some verse, and an axiom.

oxen

Is it possible?
I ask
To step outside one’s self
Sans eyes, ears, touch, mouth
And be someone or something else
A leaf fluttering high above in a tree
Water flowing below over a rock
A bird in flight
Looking down at me
I ask myself,
But who then is there to reply?

To exist is nothing. To be happy we must struggle against the odds – to “pull our cart out of the mud,” and move forward while others remain impassively stuck and railing against the mindless elements that have placed them where they are. Move on. For it is only from a distance that we can see truly who we are. The only remaining question is whether we shall do this with the help of friends or by ourselves.

No matter how bad it is it can always be worse, said the cynic. And Pandora replied, you dope, there is always hope.

1-water-falls
Crabtree Falls, North Carolina at off mile marker 339 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Money

candlelights

Money

Sing a song of sixpence,
A penny for your thoughts
Two bits if you give a damn
Money doesn’t matter
Even to a wealthy king like Croesus
All his gold could not buy a cup of water
Baked on a pyre,
Burned with a fire
By the Persian Cyrus

Here I am a rich man
Standing outside St. Peter’s gate
Banging on the door, waiting to enter
Yelling and telling anyone who will listen,
Let me in, I am a rich man
Inside, I hear voices of the angels,
Saying, soft as a prayer,
In a heavenly choir
Sing a song of sixpence,
A penny for your thoughts
Two bits if you give a damn,

Now, take your money to hell

Back in the Saddle Again

Years pass.

All fades to shades of what once was and now is nothing but a distant memory. Now, I am thinking back to college and the friends I knew. The times were good because all was new.

 

I’ve been wondering if you wondered where I’ve been. Well, I’ve been here and there, mostly there, but now I am back, back in the saddle again.

Back in the saddle

I don’t suppose I have much new to add.

Just remember, no matter how much time passes between our meetings, no matter what takes place in the meantime, some things we can never assign to the trashcan, memories are like embers in the fireplace, and there is always a spark to rekindle the flame.

But I will leave you with Gene Autry’s lyrics from Back in the Saddle Again. Take from them what you will. Better yet, add something to the pot, like passing travelers did on the trail.

I`m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again

Ridin` the range once more
Totin` my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again

Whoopi-ty-aye-oh
Rockin` to and fro
Back in the saddle again
Whoopi-ty-aye-yay
I go my way
Back in the saddle again

I`m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again

Ridin` the range once more
Totin` my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again

Whoopi-ty-aye-oh

Rockin` to and fro

Back in the saddle again

Whoopi-ty-aye-yay

I go my way

Back in the saddle again

The first woman elected

Oz is not political. Not because he doesn’t have a point of view. It is just that Oz knows that everyone has their mind made up about things and even if they don’t they want to figure things out on their own. Will Rogers, our neighbor from Oklahoma, said this, “There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it’s not a tie, for we couldn’t go through with this thing again.”

One might as well hang on to their own ‘two cents’ and save it for the beer.

Still, it is a remarkable day for American politics. Hillary Rodham Clinton was nominated by the Democratic Party as the first female candidate from a major party for president of the United States.

The Brits will point out that they did it before us. They even had a queen or two. So too, the Germans did it, the Indians did it and Pakistanis did it. Even the Russians did it with Catherine and she was Great. And the Hawaiians did it with grace and style.

And all of these female leaders seem to have been quite good. Now to wait and see if we do it.

 

Susanna-Dora-Salter
Susanna “Dora” Salter

That got Oz thinking about Susanna Madora Salter of Argonia, Kansas.  She was ‘Dora’ to  family and friends and she lived to be one hundred and one (1860 – 1961). She was the first woman elected mayor and the first woman elected to a political office in the United States. It was international news in 1887 when it happened, and it wouldn’t have happened had the foolish men of Argonia not intended it as a prank.

Dora was head of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in Argonia. Tired of drunken men coming home to their wives and families, she tried to put a little common sense into effect. Twenty-seven year old Dora, wife and mother, and the wise women of Argonia drew up a list of sober candidates for office. It was a short list. When the guys in the back room heard this, they decided to pull a quick one and substituted Susanna as a candidate for mayor. There were 98 votes cast of whom 20 were women. Dora got 78 votes. The twenty drunken men who put Dora up, promptly retired to the back room to drink and commiserate.

Read about it.

She acted as mayor for a year. The year was uneventful except for the flurry of national and international reporters who came to interview the first female political figure in the United States. Dora acted in a dignified manner and showed up the doubters and naysayers. When the year was over she went back to being a mother.

Kansas hasn’t forgotten her accomplishment. Her home at the corner of Garfield and Osage Streets in Argonia is listed on the historic register.

Read more about it.

 

Directions to Argonia via Mapquest and Garfield and Osage Streets.

Coming and going – the diary of Abbie Bright

eight-stagecoach-poster
stagecoach

They came to Kansas, at first by horse or on foot, then by wagon or by stage coach for the trains had not yet laid their tracks. They followed the deer and the bison. They followed the rivers to virgin lands and felled the trees and plowed the earth. And they waited. Waited for the rain to nourish the crops.The summer nights were hot and winter cold. They slept fitfully in sod homes or cabins made of wood, fearful of what the next day would bring, a prairie fire, a hail storm or tornado, a cloud of grasshoppers which could blanket the earth and consume all their hard work.

The Native Americans who had lived on the prairies for untold millennia saw their coming and knew too soon that their days and the days of the buffalo would soon end. Those that came made promises they didn’t keep and the Indians were tricked, cajoled, and forced to give up their lands and leave.

abbie-bright-portrait
Abbie Bright

From the east they came and some stayed and some did not. They came, bright eyed, full of confidence, looking forward to a better future. Nature did not always make it easy. Prairie fires, grasshoppers, and drought took its toll, and even the simple unexpected accident of a careless rider might cost a life, but the most unrelenting challenge was illness that came in the night and stole a life.

matilda-poster.jpg
Still they came and labored and conquered. Those that lived buried their dead and looked to a better day.

_____________________

The Kansas Historical Society has preserved the Diary of Abbie Bright. In 1870, she came to Kansas from Danville, Pennsylvania to visit her brother Phillip who had taken up a claim near Clearwater in Sdegwick County, Kansas.

The diary makes for good reading.

Here is a short excerpt from July of 1871.

July 2 — Last evening I saw a deer leap over the sand hills. A shower is coming, we need rain badly. The boys brought more wild plums. They are nice, not like the wild plums East. They are more like our tame red plums.

[July] 3rd — I had expected to spend the 4th at home. Saw Jake to day, and he says there is to be a picnic down at the old Indian Encampment, and all the neighborhood is invited. Mr. Smith is coming for me ct. Baked in a.m. Good bread. How Philip enjoys it. Called at Roses [Ross’] this p.m. Mr. R [oss] gave me a snake rattle with 10 buttons, It must have been a big snake. Mosquitos so bad I must stop.

[July] 4th –The glorious fourth, not a cloud in the sky. Mr. Smith came for me with a two horse wagon, and we took other women along on the way. There were two dozen there counting the children. Five or six bachelors, I the only single woman — the rest married folks and children.

Of course they teas me. They think I am an old maid. 22 and not married. Girls marry so young out here.

As I have no stove — they had sent me word not to do any baking. Mrs. Rose [Ross], Mrs. Lane and Mrs. Springer [Summers] had all baked a plenty. Then we had canned fruit, lemonadade — coffee and roast meats. A swing for the children, gay conversation for the elders

I am tired this evening. Philip did not go to the picnic.

The Diary of Abbie Bright

Abbie took out a claim on 160 acres but did not stay but returned to her her other brother’s home in Iowa, where she settled down and married. Phillip moved on from Clearwater to Texas and then to Arizona. He was murdered for his money.

The digitized diary of Abbie Bright
 

Something pure and fresh

flower-blue
Enzian, Gentian flower

As the wanderer descends from the mountains and brings not a handful of earth, and nothing is spoken, but a new word, pure like the yellow and blue trumpet-shaped Alpen flower.

Are we, perhaps here only to say: house, bridge, spring, gate, jug, fruit tree, window, – at most: column, tower…. But to say, to understand, oh to say so, as things themselves never meant to be said. Is this secretive list not our concealed earth, when lovers are forced, that thus in the word’s expression, each and every one is thrilled?

 

Translation, as my teacher says, is the conversion of the image to the word three times. First, from the writer’s imagination to the written word, second into a new language, and third, by the reader who sounds the words anew.

It is not an easy task. It is fraught with false steps.

Is our protagonist a traveler or wanderer? Do we know the Enzian as the bright blue flower? Does the place, Hange des Bergrands matter? Are the words pressed upon the lovers or do the lovers in their passion press for understanding? Nouns, verbs, and adjectives all take on a meaning that is not always entirely clear.

Still we must try, and, I suppose as Rainer Maria Rilke does here in his
The Ninth Elegy come up with something pure and fresh as a mountain flower.

 

Bringt doch der Wanderer auch vom Hange des Bergrands nicht eine Hand voll Erde ins Tal, die Allen unsägliche, sondern ein erworbenes Wort, reines, den gelben und blaun Enzian. Sind wir vielleicht hier, um zu sagen: Haus, Brücke, Brunnen, Tor, Krug, Obstbaum, Fenster, – höchstens: Säule, Turm…. aber zu sagen, verstehs, oh zu sagen so, wie selber die Dinge niemals innig meinten zu sein. Ist nicht die heimliche List dieser verschwiegenen Erde, wenn sie die Liebenden drängt, daß sich in ihrem Gefühl jedes und jedes entzückt?

Like a candle without wax

candle_black

My dear fellow:

Like a candle out of wax, or a
Wick that’s gone wet and my last friend won’t lend me a match.
Like a squirrel on a branch that can’t hold up on a tree,
About to be chopped.
My dear fellow…
Once I had a dream, now,
I am a condemned man at the end of his rope,
Like a lion in a cage,
Without hope,
With nowhere to go and no one to help.
So what,
What do I do?