In Keeping and Why Not

  • Happy Birthday, Thomas Sterns, just a little belated, we still go through “those certain, half-deserted streets, the muttering retreats…”
  • Born: September 26, 1888, St. Louis
  • Died: January 4, 1965, London
  • Cause of Death: Emphysema
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
Ah, yes, the man.
The hero of many a lit class, many an English survivor. Who among us did not read “The Wasteland” or at least “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock”? It occurs to me now though not then, why were we not queried on behalf of “love song”? Why indeed is it called a love song?
And about the above, how do we make it thru the parts where there is not only no ecstasy, but torment?
 In The Paris Review

2nd June 1951: American-English poet and playwright, TS Eliot (1888 – 1965). He wrote amongst many other things, ‘The Waste Land ‘ and the plays, ‘The Cocktail Party’ and ‘Murder in the Cathedral’. Original Publication: Picture Post – 5314 – Are Poets Really Necessary? – pub. 1951 (Photo by George Douglas/Picture Post/Getty Images)

Happy Birthday 2 and oh my!

I seem to be running one day behind on things, most especially on birthdays. It was Glenn Gould’s birthday yesterday, September 25. *Sigh*

  • Born: September 25, 1932, Toronto
  • Died: October 4, 1982, Toronto

He’s an all-time favorite, the best of pianists, and an all-around honorable fellow. He predicted his own death at 50 years of age, saying he would die then and of a stroke. In later years he became obsessed with checking his blood pressure. The question then becomes, did he indeed know it in advance, or did he direct it by obsessing over it? Truth is such a tricky thing at times.

Photo at top is from the Boston Globe and the one on the bottom from the NY Times.

When you watch a video you can clearly see how he uses his left hand to direct his right hand, especially when playing Bach.

Happy Birthday

To one of our fine fellows, as posted by Poetic Outlaws. And we do wish that he had chosen to remain with us, but the monster inside would just not be silent. It was not of mean spirit that he stopped his life here. When the torment cannot be withstood or silenced by alcohol or drugs or personal heavens, then the only option is suicide. Did you know that by far the depressive’s way out is a gunshot to the head? To silence the monster.

What’s Goin’ On?

Walt Whitman was born on this date in 1819.

Donna May, Story TenderWalt Whitman was BTD in 1819:

Posted by Donna May, Story Tender

After Walt Whitman there’s not much left to say. I remember reading Song of Myself in college and thinking there was nothing else. Filled to bursting with those words. Saying them over and over in my mind, memorizing without intending to. The words…the words…the words…became live inside of me, took form, became the thing they represented.

And today, the country in torment, exploding with the crazy that is our lives, our minds crazed with doubts and fears and anger and sadness and pain…today is for whatever it takes to get us through.

Today I’m listening to Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On” and reading me some Whitman, Song of Myself, “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” 

Sometimes you have to return to the old familiars when you don’t know what else to do. Sometimes you have to take comfort in old wounds, in old grief. Sometimes you just run out of words. Sometimes despair doesn’t have a name.