"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday Salon---April 2nd---Poetry edition

April is National Poetry month. This Sunday Salon is dedicated to poetry and beauty and simplicity it brings into my life.
Hello Lilian Willow, and Noah, the oak tree I have hugged and kissed every first day of spring for the last thirty years. And in reply its thousand of leaves tremble! What a life is ours! Doesn’t anybody in the world anymore want to get up in the middle of the night and sing?---Mary Oliver, "Upstream".
Weather: Sunny, with blue skies, for the moment, a respite from the nearly continual rain. I know the feeling that Mary Oliver, my favorite poet, expresses about wanting to celebrate nature when it seems like everyone else just wants to focus on themselves.
The whole wing of the airport hushed...tilting our heads up.---Ellen Bass, "Gate C22".
Heading to New York for Spring Break: Tonight we are taking the red-eye from Sea-Tac to Newark, heading to New York to see our daughter.  The poem, "Gate C22" by Ellen Bass is a favorite poem and it is so irresistible. It tells the story of a couple who reunite at the airport and "kiss and kiss and kiss," so much so that everyone quiets down in the terminal watching the holy reunion. We obviously won't kiss and kiss Carly, but we will likely hug and hug, another happy reunion.
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice
---Mary Oliver, "The Journey"
Still conflicted about retirement this year: No one is telling me I HAVE to retire but a lot of people are telling me I should. I STILL don't know what I want to do, which is really an answer in itself. I love Mary Oliver's poem, "The Journey", which advises the reader to heed the inner voices. I am trying to listen to these.

I sing the body electric,... 
The exquisite realization of health; 
O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul, 
O I say now these are the soul!---Walt Whitman, "I Sing the Body Electric"

Ah-h-h---I had a pedicure yesterday and it felt so good. Everything about it, especially the hot wax and the leg massage, was invigorating. The thought ran through my head that this must have been what Walt Whitman meant when he wrote the poem, "I Sing the Body Electric", since every nerve cell seemed to be stimulated and calmed at the same time. It felt like a celebration of my body.

The Lord is my light and my salvation---whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life---of whom shall I be afraid?---Psalm 27:1

Lenten exercise: This year for Lent I decided to pray a Psalm every day. Lest you think I am either amazing or bragging, I am six days behind my schedule. So I am definitely not amazing. It has been harder than I thought it would be because it seems like many of the psalms, many more than I thought before I started, are variations on, "See those guys over there? They are my enemies. Go get 'em God." That is not exactly what I think of when I think of prayer. The psalm I prayed today, Psalm 27, was a good one which spoke to me of comfort and protection.

Last Night as I was sleeping, 
I dreamt---marvelous error!---
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart...Antonio Machado, "Last Night As I Was Dreaming"

Lenten theme: The theme of the sermon series at our church these weeks leading up to Easter have been about the elements: water, fire, earth, and wind. Gary, our pastor, has got us searching out references in the Bible on the elements and how they were used to explain concepts to the people living during those days. Today's theme was fire. It might be a stretch, but I adore this poem by Antonio Machado, and it seemed to match today's theme of fire.

I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books, 
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,,, 
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter, 
such and so many blinding bright lights,, ,
splashing all over the pages
in a million bits and pieces
all of which were words, words, words,
and each of which were alive forever
in its own delight and glory and oddity and light.

---Dylan Thomas, "Notes on the Art of Poetry"

Books completed this week (Does it surprise you I found a poem about reading? Ha!)

  • Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow---I read this after I came upon it during inventory in the library. It is really a fascinating story. Print.
  • All Better Now by Mary Wing Smith---a memoir about a girl whose life was saved by a car accident because it helped doctors discover a huge brain tumor. I also bumped into this book during inventory. Print.
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi---a book club selection that I finished late. Very good. Click the hyperlink for my review. Audio.
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo---I've been dawdling thorugh this book since February. The story of a transgender youth. I read it for my Read All YMA challenge. It won the Schneider Family Book Award this past year. Print.
Currently reading:
  • Upstream: Essays by Mary Oliver---love it. She is just sharing little thoughts on her life and inspirations for her poetry.  10%, Print.
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman---this popular book is for an upcoming book club. One gal suggested it because everyone in her other club loved it. While another club member who had read it said she didn't care for it. I am somewhere in the middle, neutral. 50%, audio.
  • Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener---my Classics Club Spin book. 35%, print. 
I keep collecting books I know
I’ll never, never read;
My wife and daughter tell me so,

And yet I never heed.---Robert William Service, "Book Lover"

Purging my TBR pile. This week I spent a little bit of time purging book titles off my Goodreads To-Read list. Every time someone mentions a book they like and think I should read I add the title to this list. It was up to over 65 titles, many added as long ago as 2011. Many I couldn't remember why I added or who suggested I might like the book. I purge the list down to 50 titles, which is still a lot. And I made a little pledge to myself that I am not "allowed" new titles without either reading a book off the list, or purging another title. We'll see how long that lasts. When I found this poem, "Book Lover" by Robert William Service, I could totally relate to buying books I know I will never read. Oh dear.

Let me conclude this blog post with one more question by Mary Oliver, from "The Summer Day". I hope you have a answer for yourself. Enjoy reading some poetry this month!

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” 


  1. Yes to poetry! Poetry Month should be every month.

  2. Glad to see I'm not the only blogger who has poetry on the brain this month! I haven't read poetry in a while so I was at a loss as to what to read, but you have given me a good starting point.

    You seem to use your Goodreads TBR shelf the same way I use mine. However, your definition of "a lot" is different than mine. I currently have 394 titles on my TBR list! The only reason that doesn't bother me is because I don't actually OWN all those books. I don't have many books in my house, so I feel free to let my TBR wish list grow wildly. I can always cull titles later, right?

  3. Great quotes! Have a wonderful visit with Carly!!

  4. Have a great time in NY City! Retirement. That's a tough one since you like doing what you're doing. If you aren't sure, then keep on working! I also read If I Was Your Girl this week and thought it was fantastic!

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  6. Nice how you incorporated the poetry into this poetry and good poems too. I especially love Whitman and Oliver.

  7. I definitely need to get & read a book by Mary Oliver. Which is her best? Have fun on your NYC visit!

  8. My library did A Man Called Ove for book club a couple of months ago, and everyone actually loved it. I've only seen the movie so far which was excellent, by the way, but I think I will have to try the book. :)


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