Monday, April 23, 2018

Called Ruin the Impossible Habit to Break

  • We met three pit bulls hiking Catoctin yesterday.
  • All three saw us before we saw him or her then waited till one of us saw him or her and when he or she saw we saw him or her he or she smiled Hello.
  • When we smiled back, each wagged faster towards us.
  • Owner of each screamed NEED ME CALL HER/HIM!
  • Nope.
  • Pit bull owners, especially rescuers, Bless.
  • Trees are dying.
  • Capitalism in one image.
  • Coexistence IV.
  • Maggie's weekly links.
  • Rest in Peace this guy, who I helped with LOTS of library stuff: a good guy, compared to 90% of other faculty, to this peon. I knew when I didn't see him last September something was up.
  • { feuilleton }'s weekly links.
  • On Ceravolo.
  • Ranking ELO's blue songs.
  • >> Deleted bleggalgaze << but for this: Thanks much, those still here.
  • The Cure album that changed his life.
  • Me and Earthgirl driving to Catoctin yesterday, Earthgirl says she picked up Powers' Overstory, likes it so far, can we talk about it. I gave it twenty more pages after showering after hike, uh-oh.
  • Elizabeth Jennings again. Good thing I work in a library.


Mark Strand

We have done what we wanted.
We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry   
of each other, and we have welcomed grief
and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

And now we are here.
The dinner is ready and we cannot eat.   
The meat sits in the white lake of its dish.   
The wine waits.
Coming to this
has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away.   
We have no heart or saving grace,
no place to go, no reason to remain.


  1. there is a sense in which i am today a practicing catholic - i sing in the choir, i repeat the prayers, i cross myself and kneel at the appointed times, i take communion

    all this is in a certain sense 'as if' - in my heart i remain a unitarian, as i have been since my perfect attendance pin for first grade sunday school in a new england town, and i have never been through the instructions and ceremonies of the RCIA

    and yet there is a sense in which i am sincere even though i continue to hold my memorialist opinion as i accept the eucharist in my hands

    no doubt this is why the devout missus charley tolerates my masquerade - and though she has not read vonnegut, she may well agree with him that 'we become what we pretend to be'

    i think i understand what english catholic elizabeth jennings means in the following poem even as i wince a bit at the last line - it bites, and yet i deserve to be nipped at a bit -

    i continue to hope that metanoia is an option, and that not all who deserve chastisement need be "damned for all time" - the creative forces of the universe may have mercy on our souls, if any,


    we may yet be able to see face to face, rather than "as in a glass, darkly"


    Clarify me, please,
    God of the galaxies,
    Make me a meteor
    Or else a metaphor

    So lively that it grows
    Beyond its likeness and
    Stands on its own, a land
    that nobody can lose.

    God give me liberty
    But not so much that I
    See you on Calvary,
    Nailed to the wood by me.

    from Extending The Territory by Elizabeth Jennings, 1985

    1. in the course of finding the text of 'clarify' i discovered that the first food and drink consumed on the moon was christian communion, celebrated by presbyterian buzz aldrin

  2. i have a few thoughts on the sense in which i accept jennings' view that jesus was "nailed to the wood by me" - the inheritance of original sin, "in adam's fall we sinned all" from one theological perspective, is an argument based on a fable - and yet, there is truth in krishna's assertion in the bhagavad gita that people have both "divine and demonic tendencies"

    robert wright, in why buddhism is true, argues from a naturalistic perspective - that our innate cognitive biases, and self-centeredness, are wired in by their advantages over our evolutionary past - but that we have the capacity to shape our perspectives and actions to be more objective and more kind - wright is advocating buddhist methods to achieve these goals - while it is true that there are pervasive campaigns to influence us, for commercial and political purposes - we are being programmed - one who is to some extent "woke" and wants to be more "woke" can choose some of the inputs provided to one's continually adapting nervous system

    grand hotel abyss, on the blogroll here, has as its most recent post

    And in each corner of my soul there’s an altar to a different god.

    Fernando Pessoa, “Time’s Passage”

    one has some control - not complete control, but some control - over which corner one directs one's steps toward - metaphorically speaking