Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pardon Me, Poetry

Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984) was born in India and considered the leading poet on the South Asian subcontinent. He was a two-time Nobel nominee. His readings in Hindi/Urdu speaking regions drew thousands of listeners. Associated with the Communist party in his youth, Fiaz became an outspoken poet in opposition to the Pakistani government.
[snippets from the back of my book].

"The Rebels Silhouette" by Fiaz has been one of my favorite collections of poetry. I first discovered it on SASIALIT (South ASIAn LITerature), a listserve I joined in '97 and lurked around for many years, and it completely changed my view of literature and the world. Fond memories of the brilliant analysis, sharp wit, and comprehensive discussions on literature, life and art in South Asia and the diaspora (with lots of Western cross-referencing). Sadly, I just clicked over there to see if the discussions are still lively and it seems the last book listed was in 2002. Perhaps the conversation continues in a Yahoo Group or Blog somewhere out there. . .

Now this is one of the best poems of all time (in my humble moderately well read opinion). The last stanza being the one that still rocks my world. Relevant today are oppressors in our world, relevant also is the indomitable spirit of the artist, the oppressed, who manage to still find beauty a.k.a hope in the world.

A Prison Evening

Each star a rung,
night comes down the spiral
staircase of the evening.
The breeze passes by so very close
as if someone just happened to speak of love.
In the courtyard,
the trees are absorbed refugees
embroidering maps of return on the sky.
On the roof,
the moon--lovingly, generously--
is turning the stars
into a dust of sheen.
From every corner, dark-green shadows,
in ripples, come towards me.
At any moment they may break over me,
like the waves of pain each time I remember
this separation from my lover.

This thought keeps consoling me:
though tyrants may command that lamps be smashed
in rooms where lovers are destined to meet,
they cannot snuff out the moon, so today,
nor tomorrow, no tyranny will succeed,
no poison of torture make me bitter,
if just one evening in prison
can be so strangely sweet,
if just one moment anywhere on this earth.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Various & Sundry

Trying to inch in more pics -- I know my devoutdevout readers really click over for them. Currently, I'm blogging indulgently in poetry. Other thoughts, other passions.

We're nearing the end of the alphabet in our Le Petite Academy. We did "Xx" last week. Tough letter but came across some good curriculum on poison awareness so we had Xavier the Poison Control pirate visit and talk to the preschoolers about those harmful things we mustn't touch or put in our mouths. They did a worksheet on identifying them and then Nate (When it's our turn in the co-op, I plan the curriculum and he teaches) & Xavier the X took them on a little tour and they x'd out the poisonous things under our sink. In a weeks time we'll be doing "Zz" We're not sure if we'll do summer preschool yet... This pic is from the letter "Vv" -- a nice little experiment in volcano making -- not sure which is scarier, the volcano or DPJ's voracious mouth.

This is a great pic of Zoe and Des finding delight in their reflection on one of my pan lids. I love how children consistently demonstrate delight in the small things -- marveling in the minute. They were silly and giggly for 15minutes.

Zoe has begun to prefer sitting at table rather than the highchair, she's so pleased with herself, esp. now that she's figured out how not to fall off. This is a pic of her and Des at table together --in the same chair. She's not so happy about it, but I grabbed the camera to get a rare side-by-side photo of them. Hard to do these days, as ZDKJ is quite intolerant of DPJ encroaching on her space.

New Yorkers are beyond thrilled that the weather has adjusted to more Spring-like temperatures and I'm elated that I can now dress mylittlegirl in sundresses and jumpers. Here's one outfit, circa Zoe-in-embryo purchase, that my mom picked up for size 24months. It's such a classic girlie-girl outfit, which reminds me of the clothes my sisters and I were dressed in. I put this on her and caught my breath as see seemed to be one of us and all of us, in the flesh, before my eyes. I love these moments were I feel she connects with us and is the continuation of us. My brown eyed girl . . . though she trumps us all on the dimples. I LOVE HER!

I'm happy to report that potty training has commenced for DesmondPJones -- just 2-3 weeks ago (Des is almost 3.5 yrs old). We started with mornings only in "big boy underwear" which resulted, after a few days, with him, when in diapers, running to the potty anyway and struggling to get the diaper down. After a few days of this wrestling he resorted to asking us, "Am I wearing my bigboyunderwear or a diaper?" If the answer was the latter, he'd stand still and smile. So, I soon realized we'd better get more underwear (we were operating with just 4 spiderman briefs) and phase into all day, which was scary for many reason but namely because of the 1.5 hour train ride he takes nearly every day.

He's been 100% daytime since last Wednesday and forgetful me has even put him to bed without a diaper on and the bed has been dry on all occasions in the a.m. I thought that night training would be the Mt. Everest of the potty training experience (it was for my parents with me!) but so far his bladder seems to be out of commission when sleeping. Yes, there have been some accidents (this Sunday at church, most recent) those are a given, but for the most part, I am feeling very good about how natural this all seems to him and us. Happy about that. I desperately wanted to avoid willful anti-potty battles and indifference to urine all over everything.

Zoe had to get in on the underwear action -- Des appreciates a good laugh.

This is the belated formal pic of Easter dress-up due to weather being more friendly this last Sunday. Love these babes in my life!!

More Pics HERE ( various march)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pardon Me, Poetry

Chapbooks. When in old bookstores, I've always got an eye out in the poetry section for these slight little volumes. They are printed by small publication houses intent on supporting promising everyday poets.

All this makes me think back to those "little magazine" days, in the early decades of the 20th century, where the writerly community supported each other by moonlighting as editors and publishers, creating their own alternative press with little or no regard for commercial gain . Grassroots aesthetics. (e.g. Harriet Monroe [founder of Poetry in 1912] Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap [Little Review, 1914-1929)] Marianne Moore [founded Dial in 1925] H.D. and Bryher [Egoist]).

I have chosen to share a poem from a chapbook by Mary Crow titled "I have Tasted the Apple". I found it somewhere... can't remember... might have been in Philadelphia at Big Jar Books, loved that place.

say nothing for a while with a voice of
elsewhere in this
extended hereness . . .
--Judith Herzberg

Walking along the trail into the mountains
I was startled by the sudden glint of mica
in rocks, and my heart lurched back
into the here and now, faint russle of aspen,
high clean air, the light between trees
falling quilted onto sparse grasses.
My lungs gasped . . . . No, no I haven't
told you how it was: The air smelled green.
The aspens' scarred bark was a gnarled black
against mottled gray. A blue jay! The turf
springing underfoot. And. But. I'm
having trouble with my words: My motion
through stillness, a certain light: like
swimming. I moved and the world held still.
As if this place were a kind of acquarium.
Not part of the immense Rocky Mountians.
No! It was the light's shifting. As if blown.
A wind of joy. Something like a shudder.
Out there? I've stopped. Listen. You
can't hear the news. How many ranges
away -- the fighting of Kurd guerillas? A child
with attachment disorder? I pull the air
with my arms, I'm bucking. Into, out of
light? Toward

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Easter - Part III

Last bit on Easter. Sunday morning the babes were fortunate to wake to some treats from Auntie Heidi. They weren't expecting them at all. I'll admit, I'd decided not to brief them on the Easter Bunny, because we'd been actively enjoying bunnytreats since their arrival on our pharmacy's shelves, uh, since early March (they are my favorite seasonal sweet -- Peeps, Reeses peanut butter eggs, etc. etc.) But when loving Auntie's are around, no holiday ritual is overlooked!

What's this? Breakfast?

I like the metalic taste of chocolate

His and Hers

Here is a pic of Zoe's little Easter dress. She also had a little knit brown shrug sweater , which looked cutecutecute on top. I completely forgot to take photos so I snapped this one when she woke from her nap -- she'd fallen asleep on the way home from church so the look was preserved while the rest of us had already changed. UGH! Sorry mom!

The day was completely special. Church was such a gift: the music, the challenge of speaking, and the opportunity to sit and listen and worship. We went together and left together, which only happens about 2 or 3 times a year as Nathan always leaves before us (for early a.m. meetings) and comes home quite late every Sunday (after more meetings, visits, Youth events, etc.) Heidi spent the entire day with us, we unanimously love every minute spent with that glorious personage! We pulled together probably the most utilitarian holiday meal ever and, coincidentally, it was the most stress-free, enjoyable, hosting-for-the-holiday experience in our nearly 14 years of marriage (!) leaving us with lots of time to relax and chat with the friends we invited over. What a breakthrough! And the food was tasty! Crockpotted my Ham (which was actually a pork roast, novice mistake), mom's easy potato casserole, homemade rolls (made Wed and frozen), Leo brought the salad, Heidi brought the richlyrich fabulous coconut brownie almond (what was that?!) with vanilla icecream, and Lynn brought her Zen. :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Desi Candor IIIV

“Don’t sing that song ever again mom!” I had that Stevie Wonder “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” Motown tune going through my head and popping out in deep soulful sounds. I thought I sounded good so I asked him, “Why?” He replied, “Cause it’s killing me!” Hmph! My sisters all thought I was a great singer! ;)

I cozied up to Des one night on the couch to watch a little video with him. After a few minutes he shrugs me off and says, “Go to the kitchen, go do your work”.

During dinner one night he says, “I can’t take it anymore, I can’t take it anymore. Mom I can’t take another bite. I need a popsicle to cheer me up”

Des is into all kinds of vivid imaginary play, usually of the alpha male variety. Here’s a little exchange we had recently:

Des: A Heterodyne killed Zoe!
Me: Des we don’t play like that!
Des: A Heterodyne ate Zoe.
Me: Des…
Des: A Heterodyne put soap in Zoe’s eye?
Me: …

Des presented himself to me as a knight in full regalia: helmut, breastplate, (rain)boots, etc. I asked where his horse was. “My horsey got stuck in the garage,” he explained.

As we were walking by our neighborhood bakery, Des suggested we go in and get some muffins. I was surprised he wanted a muffin from a bakery, I can think of far better delicacies! So I tried to explain that I make muffins at home... Des interupted, “No you don’t. You just joke with muffins and laugh at them”.

Get me my toothbrush won’t you please. Thank you, mine Highness.

Des found a pre-marriage picture of Nate&I, which resulted in the following conversation:
Des: “Where’s Desi? Is he in mommy’s belly?”
Me: “No.”
Des: “Where is he?”
Me: “In heaven”
Des: “With God?”
Me: “Yes”
Des: Puts arm around me, “In God’s apartment? I was in God’s apartment loving Him and kissing Him with Zoe!”

This beverage you made for me is so fresh!

I’m going to put a pencil in my pocket. I’m a grown up. (
he puts it in the breast pocket of his shirt) They also have important papers. I need to get important papers that’s what grown ups do.

After putting a toy Desi&Zoe were fighting over in “time out” Des tried to rally a revolution with the following speech: “Lets try and dump that momma out! Lets try and dump that momma out with the garbage cans! Run run run for your lives!”

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Pardon Me, Poetry

My favorite maternal poem of Sylvia Plath's has always been "Morning Song". It's only recently that I've discovered the one below and once dear intense Sylvia gets through her rant on the evil world (which can sometimes be thrown into harsh relief with the birth of a child -- I felt that with DPJ), the poem becomes so lovely and soft. It is those stanzas I've included below.

Nick and the Candlestick
by Sylvia Plath

The candle
Gulps and recovers its small altitude,

Its yellows hearten.
O love, how did you get here?
O embryo

Remembering, even in sleep,
Your crossed position.
The blood blooms clean

In you, ruby.
The pain
You wake to is not yours.

Love, love,
I have hung our cave with roses.
With soft rugs—

The last of Victoriana.
Let the stars
Plummet to their dark address,

Let the mercuric
Atoms that cripple drip
Into the terrible well,

You are the one
Solid the spaces lean on, envious.
You are the baby in the barn.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pardon Me, Poetry

It's Poetry Month!

Pardon me. But I really like poetry. So hold on to your pedestrian eyeballs (or merely glance away) cause I'm going to sprinkle on heavy some poetry this month.

Beginning with Denise Levertov.

O Taste and See

The world is
not with us enough.
O taste and see

the subway poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination's tongue

grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savior, chew, swallow, transform

into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being

hungry, and plucking
the fruit.

From enotes.com:
“O Taste and See,” the title poem from Denise Levertov’s sixth collection of poems, urges readers to experience life fully and sacramentally. Reading the poem one can imagine Levertov riding a subway train in New York, where she lived at the time of the writing, looking up at the advertising signs, and reading or imagining the words “O Taste and See,” then, as she often did, making a connection between her experience and the possibilities of that phrase in order to form a constellation of perceptions.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter - Part II

It's arrived!

My mom is always on pins-n-needles when she sends a package -- and actually so is Des once he finds out one is on the way -- it can't come fast enough.

Therefore, mom, below is footage of the opening of the wonderfully generous package!

Thanks mom&dad!

Food Forays

Tonight was a night of gourmet cooking. Two very different types of dishes from two very different kinds of cooks.

Chef #1
Desmond P. Jones
3 years old
Speciality: flour tortillas, cheese, ketchup, and chocolate

Chef #2
Heather S. Jones
some years advanced
Speciality: veges, olive oil, beans, and cheese

Here are the recipes:

Chef #1
Pita with Chilled Pureed Tomatoes and Sour Cream
1 slice whole wheat pita bread
2 Tbs sour cream
2 Tbs Ketchup

From what I could tell, pita should be placed on a dinner plate. Take 2 liberal scoops of sour cream and dallop on pita. Then take ketchup and squirt in random fashion over pita and sour cream. Fold/roll and serve immediately. Makes 1 serving.

Chef #2
Castellane with Red Wine, Shallots and Zucchini
3/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup chopped shallots (about 2), divided
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 box (16oz.) Barilla Castellane pasta
2 zucchini, sliced (about 3 cups)
1/2 t. salt
3 T. chopped parsley, divided
1/3 freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat wine, broth, 1/4 cup shallots and 3 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook 15 minutes, or unitl reduced to just over 1/2 cup, stirring occasional.

While sauce is cooking, cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot.

Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium heat. Add remaining shallots; saute 1 minute. Add zuchinni; saute 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Add wine mixture and salt to hot pasta; toss. Transfer to serving platter. Gently toss zuchinni, cheese and parsley into pasta mixture. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Easter - Part I

A quick post for some video footage of our little easter egg hunt last Saturday.