Tuesday, February 9, 2010

oh, yes

there are worse things than
being alone
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it's too late
and there's nothing worse
too late.

a Charles Bukowski poem


The warm comforting snuggly blankety smell of people when they have just wokened up and have chinky eyes and messed up hair and sleepy slow kind smiles....

Afterwards, is this softness lost because the shells and masks and armours are put in place to meet the day?

* * * * * * * * *

Are sunflower farmers happier people than potato farmers? Would seeing the blazing yellow big round smiling faces of them flowers every day make you feel more smiley, than if you just saw plain brown and green?

* * * * * * * * *

Old student, beloved child, growing up: "I still remember you saying that the more you study , the more humble as a person you are. Reading has been a passion and has shaped my personality a lot. I am a lot more patient and quiet guy unlike earlier days."


Harry: The things I thought were real
are shadows,
and the real
Are what I thought were private shadows.
O that awful privacy of the insane mind!

'The Family Reunion'

A Hand

".........I shall
Through month and year
Stitch up the rags
And will unlearn
The evident way.

The pain-dense tracks
Dark in the mist
Will see snow fall.
I will retaste

The tang of day,
The ceased belief
That paths exist
Outside this grief."

Vikram Seth


At the orphanage, the little girl comes to sit on my lap as always. The person-in-charge tells her to move away, though I protest, she says that the kid is too "touchy". Then the little girl slowly comes and sits at my feet when we are talking grown-up talk. I scratch her head while I continue talking, and draw her closer, while keeping up the conversation so that the lady does not notice. The little girl is content.

Touch. We need it like air. Especially children who have no fathers and mothers and loving arms always waiting to enfold them, the security of shoulders that were created just so that they can always rest their heads.


Prometheus, the creator of humans, feels sorry for them as they shiver through cold winter nights. He steals fire from the gods and gives it to mankind. And so he incurs the terrible wrath of Zeus, who punishes him to be tied to a rock on the top of Mount Caucasus, where an eagle comes to eat his liver every night. The next morning the liver grows back again, so that his torment is eternal.

In the repeated returnings of our suffering, we repay our debt to Prometheus, by reliving in small ways what he suffered for 30 long years...

Flight. Fear.

“It was in America that horses first roamed. A million years before the birth of man, they grazed the vast plains of wiry grass and crossed to other continents over bridges of rock soon severed by retreating ice. They first knew man as the hunted knows the hunter, for long before he saw them as a means to killing other beasts, man killed them for their meat.

Paintings on the walls of caves showed how. Lions and bears would turn and fight and that was the moment men speared them. But the horse was a creature of flight not fight and, with a simple deadly logic, the hunter used flight to destroy it. Whole herds were driven hurtling headlong to their deaths from the tops of cliffs. Deposits of their broken bones bore testimony. And though later he came pretending friendship, the alliance with man would ever be but fragile, for the fear he'd struck into their hearts was too deep to be dislodged.

Since the Neolithic moment when first a horse was haltered, there were those among men who understood this.

They would see into the creature's soul and soothe the wounds they found there. For secrets uttered softly into pricked and troubled ears, these men were known as Whisperers.”

‘The Horse Whisperer’
Nicholas Evans


"...The only time he remembered his father happy during this time was in the spring when for three days they drove the cattle up to the summer pastures. His mother, Frank, and Rosie came too and the five of them would ride all day and sleep out under the stars.

"If only you could make now last forever," Frank said on one of those nights while they lay on their backs watching a huge half-moon roar up out of the dark shoulders of the mountain. Frank was eleven and not by nature a philosopher. They had all lain still, thinking about this for a while. Somewhere, a long way off, a coyote called.

"I guess that 's all forever is." his father replied. "Just one long trail of nows. And I guess all you can do is try and live one now at a time without getting too worked up about the last now or the next now."

It seemed to Tom as good a recipe for life as he'd yet heard."

'The Horse Whisperer'
Nicholas Evans

Don't Let Me Pass

'Hold Me Fast. Don't Let Me Pass' - a short story by Alice Munro, Canadian writer of fabulous long short stories, addictive like old sofas you keep snuggling back into.

In the story, this old tough lady who runs a farm all by herself, sings an ancient Scottish ballad to her visitor Hazel. About this young man captured by fairies, who desperately wants to get back to being human. He meets a girl who grows to like him, but he is a prisoner of the fairies.

He tells her of the only way the fairies will set him free - someone who loves him must embrace him, and hold on to him tightly while the fairies keep changing him into horrible things one after the other. If she can hold on to him through all this without losing her faith or her love, until all their tricks are exhausted, then they will let him go.

And so the song goes - "Hold me fast, don't let me pass..."

And she does.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Would it surprise you to learn
that years beyond your longest winter
you still get letters from your bank, your old
philanthropies, cold flakes drifting
through the mail-slot with your name?

Though it's been a long time since your face
interrupted the light in my door-frame,
and the last tremblings of your voice
have drained from my telephone wire,
from the lists of the likely, your name
is not missing. It circles in the shadow-world
of the machines, a wind-blown ghost.

For generosity
will be exalted, and good credit
outlasts death. Caribbean cruises, recipes,
low-interest loans. For you who asked
so much of life, who lived acutely
even in duress, the brimming world
awaits your signature.

Cancer and heart disease
are still counting on you for a cure.
B'nai Brith numbers you among the blessed.
They miss you. They want you back.

"Posthumous" by Jean Nordhaus, from Innocence

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