"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Poetry of time

A tattoo of time on the arm of one of my favorite students, Lauren Vargas, taken at coffee this holiday season. This is living poetry.

The touch of a pen on paper sends messages both ways.

When you paint a copy of art, 
you begin to understand what the artist went through in creation.
Is this true in writing? In music?

Age means your feet hurt after walking on brick streets for hours.

How do you cheat age?
  • Make love to a beautiful woman
  • Exercise and eat well
  • Spend money on grandchildren
  • Play ring a-round-the-Rosie with grandchildren
  • Read
  • Travel someplace new
  • Watch the backyard birds


When bad things happen--the antidotes:
Do something good to reassure yourself of humanity.
Remember your loves.
Watch children have fun.

I find much poetry depressing.
It stretches the mind.
I keep wondering how did the poets write it.
I'd like to be inside their heads. 
But then the words come from inside their souls.

My bare footprints vanish 
when the next wave washes up on the beach
Be sure to feel the sand 
between your toes
 and enjoy your footprint.
A woman's delicate
 barefoot print
 in wet sand
 breathes of mystery and sex

Maybe writing poetry is a child of being
 alone
…and in love

I must write to be who I am.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Four hawks at year's end

"Hawks do not share," wrote Hemingway in A Moveable Feast of Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of Scott Fitzgerald.
I thought about those words this week when three hawks in three days crossed my paths, but then I came home to study another one, carved of wood just inside my doorway.
The first three hawks were wild red tails, and their appearances within a mile of the house could not have been coincidence, now that I think about it. I was walking in the almost vacant woods of Hafer Park in the afternoon, when the first one spooked me as I rounded a bend.  It launched from an oak tree behind a cedar tree, and I saw the broad tail as its long wings lifted it up. I must have interrupted dinner, as it disappeared into other distant trees, away from my sight.
As I was driving home from work the second day amid light traffic, another hawk swooped from the trees in Hafer Park, landed in the middle of four-lane Bryant Ave. 50 yards ahead of me. Its talons grasped a recently road-killed squirrel, and in seconds its powerful grey wings grabbed the air, lifting it to safety and dinner.
Yesterday I was rounding another bend in the park, and I saw the tips of grey wings lifting up out of the creek bottom, 100 feet ahead. I was downwind and watched the raptor perch on a bridge railing. I just stopped and watched as it turned its almost red breast into the warming sun and sat. Moving gingerly between the trees, I got to within about 25 feet. Without camera, I just watched, silently,  before moving on. I figured it had snared a mouse down by the water and had finished dinner. I didn't want to interrupt.
No, I thought, they don't share food or company, though they've adapted to urban growth better perhaps than humans. They're quiet predators who literally earn their living every day. I'm glad they're present so close to home, in the trees of a suburban park.
When I walked in the door, I saw the  sculpture of the red tail from Indian artist Earl Eder I bought a few years ago in Santa Fe. It's remarkable for they way the bird matches the grain of the wood. But this bird shares with me, and now I know the others do too--a spirit of being free and aware of the little things in life.
I thought about those hawks, walking in the park again today, of how their spirits, their sharing awakened this almost dormant blog and the end of another year.
Hafer Park--The path to the spirit of hawks