Friday, August 29, 2014

One Is Not Necessarily Discord on Earth

Agi sent me the above for my birthday. Jim made me a cascade for my birthday. And again, icymi, my favorite present of all. Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes and attention at an attention-slut for his birthday! It's just what he wanted!

Hey, it's Charlie Parker's birthday today too (besides Thom Gunn's). Playlist via Hamster, who knows jazz much more that I do, from a few years ago.


Thom Gunn

The blue jay scuffling in the bushes follows
Some hidden purpose, and the gust of birds
That spurts across the field, the wheeling swallows,
Has nested in the trees and undergrowth.
Seeking their instinct, or their poise, or both,
One moves with an uncertain violence
Under the dust thrown by a baffled sense
Or the dull thunder of approximate words.

On motorcycles, up the road, they come:
Small, black, as flies hanging in heat, the Boys,
Until the distance throws them forth, their hum
Bulges to thunder held by calf and thigh.
In goggles, donned impersonality,
In gleaming jackets trophied with the dust,
They strap in doubt – by hiding it, robust –
And almost hear a meaning in their noise.

Exact conclusion of their hardiness
Has no shape yet, but from known whereabouts
They ride, direction where the tyres press.
They scare a flight of birds across the field:
Much that is natural, to the will must yield.
Men manufacture both machine and soul,
And use what they imperfectly control
To dare a future from the taken routes.

It is a part solution, after all.
One is not necessarily discord
On earth; or damned because, half animal,
One lacks direct instinct, because one wakes
Afloat on movement that divides and breaks.
One joins the movement in a valueless world,
Choosing it, till, both hurler and the hurled,
One moves as well, always toward, toward.

A minute holds them, who have come to go:
The self-defined, astride the created will
They burst away; the towns they travel through
Are home for neither bird nor holiness,
For birds and saints complete their purposes.
At worst, one is in motion; and at best,
Reaching no absolute, in which to rest.
One is always nearer by not keeping still.


  1. Thought I heard all of Parker's recordings, but I hadn't heard How Deep is the Ocean (still don't know). Bird Lives!

  2. 1)i share your high opinion of elizabeth drew

    2)i wonder if john kay of steppenwolf would be interested in setting 'on the move' to music

  3. Too long, man. The blogosphere seems like a distant memory to me now.

    P.S. What's left of my blogging exists at I think you linked old Montag's place instead. Cheers!

    1. Lordy, fixed.

      I heard from Fellowjeff a few months ago, so glad to see you and The Goat all the time on twooter.