catelin: (Default)
( Dec. 25th, 2001 10:05 pm)
"Maybe it was you who should have had
the Prince," said the old woman.

"Yes, indeed, I should have been
the one," said the girl.

Illustration, East of the Sun & West of the Moon
Kay Nielsen

I had a package delivered today by a mail carrier I'd never seen...on a postal holiday no less. The doorbell rang and there she was. She hands me the package, says Merry Christmas, and drives away. So you wonder why I believe in magic? I believe in magic because I whispered a name into the new spring air under the light of a Storm Moon, the name of the person whose gift, whose perfect-beyond-words-wonderful gift, was delivered to me on Christmas day when the mail does not even run. It's days like this that I am more certain than ever that I really did find him up there in the stardust.
catelin: (Default)
( Dec. 15th, 2001 12:19 am)
...I struggle with enormous discrepancies: between the reality of motherhood and the image of it, between my love for my home and the need to travel, between the varied and seductive paths of the heart. The lessons of impermanence, the occasional despair and the muse, so tenuously moored, all visit their needs upon me and I dig deeply for the spiritual utilities that restore me: my love for the place, for the one man left, for my children and friends and the great green pulse of spring.

--Sally Mann, Still Time catalogue
Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center, 1988
catelin: (Default)
( Dec. 2nd, 2001 01:12 am)
A big bud of moon hangs out of the twilight,
Star-spiders spinning their thread
Hang high suspended, withouten respite
Watching us overhead.

Come then under the trees, where the leaf-cloths
Curtain us in so dark
That here we’re safe from even the ermin-moth’s
Flitting remark.

Here in this swarthy, secret tent,
Where black boughs flap the ground,
You shall draw the thorn from my discontent,
Surgeon me sound.

This rare, rich night! For in here
Under the yew-tree tent
The darkness is loveliest where I could sear
You like frankincense into scent.

Here not even the stars can spy us,
Not even the white moths write
With their little pale signs on the wall, to try us
And set us affright.

Kiss but then the dust from off my lips,
But draw the turgid pain
From my breast to your bosom, eclipse
My soul again.

Waste me not, I beg you, waste
Not the inner night:
Taste, oh taste and let me taste
The core of delight.

--D.H. Lawrence
catelin: (Default)
( Nov. 12th, 2001 11:33 am)
There seemed a smell of autumn in the air
At the bleak end of night; he shivered there
In a dank, musty dug-out where he lay,
Legs wrapped in sand-bags, lumps of chalk and clay
Spattering his face. Dry-mouthed, he thought, ‘To-day
We start the damned attack; and, Lord knows why,
Zero’s at nine; how bloody if I’m done in
Under the freedom of that morning sky!’
And then he coughed and dozed, cursing the din.

Was it the ghost of autumn in that smell
Of underground, or God’s blank heart grown kind,
That sent a happy dream to him in hell?
Where men are crushed like clods, and crawl to find
Some crater for their wretchedness; who lie
In outcast immolation, doomed to die
Far from clean things or any hope of cheer,
Cowed anger in their eyes, till darkness brims
And roars into their heads, and they can hear
Old childish talk, and tags of foolish hymns.

He sniffs the chilly air; (his dreaming starts),
He’s riding in a dusty Sussex lane
In quiet September; slowly night departs;
And he’s a living soul, absolved from pain.
Beyond the brambled fences where he goes
Are glimmering fields with harvest piled in sheaves,
And tree-tops dark against the stars grown pale;
Then, clear and shrill, a distant farm-cock crows;
And there’s a wall of mist along the vale
Where willows shake their watery-sounding leaves,
He gazes on it all, and scarce believes
That earth is telling its old peaceful tale;
He thanks the blessed world that he was born...
Then, far away, a lonely note of the horn.

They’re drawing the Big Wood! Unlatch the gate,
And set Golumpus going on the grass;
He knows the corner where it’s best to wait
And hear the crashing woodland chorus pass;
The corner where old foxes make their track
To the Long Spinney; that’s the place to be.
The bracken shakes below an ivied tree,
And then a cub looks out; and ‘Tally-o-back!’
He bawls, and swings his thong with volleying crack,
All the clean thrill of autumn in his blood,
And hunting surging through him like a flood
In joyous welcome from the untroubled past;
While the war drifts away, forgotten at last.

Now a red, sleepy sun above the rim
Of twilight stares along the quiet weald,
And the kind, simple country shines revealed
In solitudes of peace, no longer dim.
The old horse lifts his face and thanks the light,
Then stretches down his head to crop the green.
All things that he has loved are in his sight;
The places where his happiness has been
Are in his eyes, his heart, and they are good.
. . . .
Hark! there’s the horn: they’re drawing the Big Wood.

--Siegfried Sassoon, 1918
catelin: (Default)
( Nov. 5th, 2001 12:19 pm)
The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.

catelin: (Default)
( Oct. 19th, 2001 11:09 am)
Harold: What were you fighting for?
Maude: Oh, Big Issues. Liberty. Rights. Justice. Kings died and kingdoms fell. You know, I don't regret the kingdoms--I see no sense in borders and nations and patriotism--but I do miss the kings.

Maude: What kind of flower would you like to be?
Harold: I don't know. One of these, maybe.
Maude: Why do you say that?
Harold: Because they're all alike.
Maude: Oh, but they're NOT! Look. See, some are smaller; some are fatter; some grow to the left, some to the right; some even have lost some petals. All kinds of observable differences! You see, Harold, I feel that much of the world's sorrow comes from people who are *this*, yet allow themselves to be treated as *that*.

Maude: A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they're not dead, really. They're just... backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt, even! Play as well as you can. Go team! GO! Give me an L! Give me an I! Give me a V! Give me an E! L. I. V. E. LIVE! ...Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.

Psychiatrist: Tell me, Harold, how many of these, uh, "suicides" have you performed?
Harold: An accurate number would be difficult to gauge.
Psychiatrist: Well, just give me a rough estimate.
Harold: A rough estimate? I'd say... fifteen.
Psychiatrist: Fifteen?
Harold: That's a rough estimate.
Psychiatrist: Were they all done for your mother's benefit?
Harold: No, I would not say "benefit."

Maude: Dreyfus once wrote that on Devil's Island he would see the most glorious birds. Many years later in Brittany he realized they had only been seagulls. To me, they will always be glorious birds.

Harold: You sure have a way with people.
Maude: Well, they're my species!

Harold: Maude, do you pray?
Maude: Pray? No, I communicate.

Maude: Vice, virtue, it's best not to be too moral - you cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality.

Harold:So you don't use the umbrella anymore?
Maude: No. Not anymore.
Harold: No more revolts?
Maude: Oh, indeed! Every day. But I don't need a defense anymore. I embrace. Still fighting for the Big Issues but now in my small, individual way.

Maude: Harold, everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You can't let the world judge you too much.

Maude: You know, at one time, I used to break into pet shops to liberate the canaries. But I decided that was an idea way before its time. Zoos are full, prisons are overflowing... oh my, how the world still dearly loves a cage.
catelin: (Default)
( Oct. 2nd, 2001 12:02 pm)

A Eliot Weinberger

Novedad de hoy y ruina de pasado mañana, enterrada y
resucitada cada día,

convivida en calles, plazas, autobuses, taxis, cines, teatros, bares,
hoteles, palomares, catacumbas,

la ciudad enorme que cabe en un cuarto de tres metros cuadrados
inacabable como una galaxia,

la ciudad que nos sueña a todos y que todos hacemos y
deshacemos y rehacemos mientras soñamos,

la ciudad que todos soñamos y que cambia sin cesar mientras la

la ciudad que despierta cada cien años y se mira en el espejo de
una palabra y no se reconoce y otra vez se echa a dormir,

la ciudad que brota de los párpados de la mujer que duerme a mi lado y se convierte,

con sus monumentos y sus estatuas, sus historias y sus leyendas,
en un manantial hecho de muchos ojos y cada ojo refleja el mismo paisaje detenido,

antes de las escuelas y las prisiones, los alfabetos y los números, el
altar y la ley:
el río que es cuatro ríos, el huerto, el árbol, la Varona y el Varón
vestidos de viento

--volver, volver, ser otra vez arcilla, bañarse en esa luz, dormir bajo esas luminarias,
flotar sobre las aguas del tiempo como la hoja llameate del arce que
arrastra la corriente,

volver, ¿estamos dormidos o despiertos?, estamos,
nada más estamos,

amanece, es temprano...

---Octavio Paz
catelin: (Default)
( Sep. 17th, 2001 03:23 pm)
So I dream about a tall, strong man with black hair, white teeth, a pale mysterious face, dark melancholy eyes, a dignified walk and a distant smile. Something like the Count of Monte Cristo. Above all, with a soft, clear voice. I would like him to tell me about his life, which will be very sad and full of terrible, frightening adventures. I would like him to be rather proud and haughty, fond of books, and able to write or play some kind of musical instrument. We would spend every evening at home, in front of the fire in winter, in the garden in summer, with a book or a pencil, his hand resting on mine! Isn't that the way husbands are?

If I ever should marry, I shall chose a man like that, and we shall write in this same diary together. Then my beloved diary will be the recipient of two great secrets and will have two hearts to watch over. It will know two signatures, A.N. and...I would like it to be a fantastic and unknown name don't know. All the same, I shall think about it some more and look for a good name.

Anais Nin, from "Linotte"
catelin: (Default)
( Sep. 12th, 2001 08:20 pm)
A woman I do not know other than from reading her posts as the friend of friends, asked that we tell her something beautiful. Such a simple request, really. It made me feel small and petty--guilty of forgetting the one thing I have always been certain is beautiful, and terrible sometimes, but always beautiful. So, thank you, Velma, for the gentle reminder of how profoundly graceful people can be in the worst of circumstances. This is my offering. )
catelin: (Default)
( Jun. 24th, 2001 09:10 am)
Happiest of Happy Birthdays to You!


The time is right to mix sentences
with dirt and the sun
with punctuation and the rain with
verbs, and for worms to pass
through question marks, and the
stars to shine down on budding
nouns, and the dew to form on

Richard Brautigan
catelin: (Default)
( May. 7th, 2001 10:36 pm)
Finding Is Losing Something Else
Finding is losing something else.
I think about, perhaps even mourn,
what I lost to find this.

Richard Brautigan

I had lunch the other day and, as is my habit anymore without putting much thought into it, I caught small snippets of conversation from the surrounding tables. Most of the other patrons were younger. I work near a college so the cafes are full of fresh-faced earnest post-teens out to set the world (or at least their weekend date's pants) on fire. I didn't hear anything that caught my attention in particular; just the usual floating words that accompany those awkward times. Almost all of them had to do with love and desire, along with the posturing and preening that accompanies this stage in life. These puffs of heartfelt hopes and yearnings tickled my ears like whispers of songs to which I could no longer remember all the words.

I drove back to the office and as I made it into the parking lot, it struck me. I had lost my innocence. Not that it was gone altogether; I still hold onto bits and pieces of it from time to time, but I'd lost the giddiness of it. I'd lost the blind faith that it once provided me. There was a time when I would have expected this realization to be unbearable. Had someone told me when I was younger that it would come, I'd have scoffed at the cynicism of such a thought. But now...after enough years as witness and participant in some of the best and worst that a life on this planet can offer, I felt peaceful with it. The loss of innocence has not meant the loss of wonder...I am certain that I appreciate many things more deeply than before because I realize their value. More importantly, I realize their price.

I'm not sure when or how the wide-eyed young girl metamorphosed into who I am now...part mother, part warrior, part sage, part child (yes, as you grow older you remember that we are all someone's children). My heroes are different--more brave to me because of their fragility. It left me with the urge to not waste any of chronicle the poignancy of something that I haven't found the words for yet. I walked back into the office feeling like a snake that had just shed its skin.

"He's dreaming now," said Tweedledee: "and what do you think he's dreaming about?"

Alice said "Nobody can guess that."

"Why, about you!" Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. "And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be?"

"Where I am now, of course," said Alice.

"Not you!" Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. "You'd be nowhere. Why you're only a sort of thing in his dream!"

Lewis Carrol
catelin: (Default)
( Mar. 14th, 2001 04:24 pm)
Be wicked, be brave, be drunk, be reckless, be dissolute, be despotic,
be an anarchist, be a religious fanatic, be a suffragette, be anything you like, but for pity's sake be it to the top of your bent. Live-- live fully, live passionately, live disastrously au besoin.

Violet Trefusis to Vita Sackville-West, October 1918
catelin: (Default)
( Feb. 9th, 2001 01:41 pm)
In honor of the season, some of my favorite quotes from Helen Rowland:

A husband is what's left of the lover after the nerve has been extracted.

A man never knows how to say good-bye; a woman never knows when to say it.

Every man wants a woman to appeal to his better side, his nobler instincts and his higher nature- and another woman to help him forget them.

A good woman is known by what she does; a good man by what he doesn't.

It is easier to keep half a dozen lovers guessing than to keep one lover after he has stopped guessing.

When it comes to making love, a girl can always listen so much faster than a man can talk.

The honeymoon is not over until we cease to stifle our sighs and begin to stifle our yawns.

Marriage is like twirling a baton, turning hand springs or eating with chopsticks. It looks easy until you try it.

When you see what some women marry, you realize how they must hate to work for a living.

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.

And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
Dylan Thomas1914-1953


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