Richibi’s Weblog

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Month: May, 2010

“Once and Upon” – Madeline Gleason

having got up on the wrong side of my Monday morning, I wasn’t to be moved by even poetry, but like a morning prayer I began to read this one, as I do one, even two, even many, every morning
I was enchanted, I hope you are too 
psst: compare e.e. cummings for childlike innocence and fancy, “anyone lived in a pretty how town” for instance


Once and Upon

                                                                                                                                                                             Cross at the morning
and at waking,
with a mourning for summer,
she crossed the bridge Now
over the river Gone
toward the place called New
to begin her Once Upon.

Once and Upon
my daddy long legs
walked in a web of work
for my sisters and me,
as Mother spun round
with silver knives and forks
in a shining of pans,
a wash of Mondays
and plans
for our lives ten thousand weeks.

To cross the bridge Now
over the river Gone
toward the place called New
to begin her Once Upon,
in a mourning for summer, she moved
to write her right becoming
and find her true beloved.

Snippets and tags of Gone,
criss-crossed as retold,
beggared the strumming
of fresh rhythms
that should have stirred her becoming.

Once and Upon
she ate the plum
and from a full mouth
disgorged the pit
into her hand
while Mother spun as she canned
peach and plum in season –
the land, holy Mother to
the plentiful fruit.

To cross.
But where should her steps lead
away from the river?

Through a desert she hurried,
thirsting she ran
to reach becoming,
passed three water holes
but never saw them,
so eager was she to reach
outward evidence
of her inward drawing.

Sisters of grace,
comely, sea-washed,
with blond shell hair and skin,
whirling with intermittent passion
amidst daddy long legs
and Mother awash
among the underthings,
boys shouting and running,
swaggering and dying
for the sisters’ charms.

Tops a-spin in a dying dance.
Yoo Hoo, Fatty! Buck!
Hi, Pete! Hello, old Gene!

Cross at the morning,
summer crossed with the beginning
of gold,
a sea of brown leaves swirling.

And no trees bent down
to whisper their wisdom
for her becoming.
Ah! Now! Ah! Gone! Ah! New
Ah! Once Upon!  


                         Madeline Gleason 





true happiness

in the movie Never on Sunday” Homer Thrace, an American moralist and armchair philosopher, objects to the libertine ways of the modern Greeks, Ilya especially, a whore, disconcerts him, she likes her job, so do the dockworkers, and the other women who ply her trade at the port of Piraeus, near Athens 
Homer Thrace accuses them all righteously of pursuing the Stoic and Epicurean philosophies that came out of the fall of Greece, instead of the true and noble ideals of the more upstanding Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, who believed that the greatest happiness comes from the joy of understanding  
when he tells Taki, who plays the bouzouki, that he can never be a true musician because he can’t read music, Taki, who is too old now to learn, hides in the bathroom forlornly, and says he will never play again 
Ilya, Melina Mercouri, in a star turn, tells him composers need his music to be able to write his notes down, what would composers do without him, if birds can’t read music, she asks, should they stop singing  
Taki comes out of the bathroom
so had I   







John Ruskin, on truth in art

that we have dismissed, often indeed forgotten, the great voices of our culture,
the great oracles, the dead, they’ve dared to call them, painters, composers,
poets, doesn’t make their pronouncements less true, less inspiring, proof that
they are still very much alive, and relevant 
that they are still relevant ties us to the great notion that we are from very
Homer to the present day one family, one illustrious family, which to disregard, 
or any of its great giants, would be our inestimable loss 
where would we be without their wisdom, leaves without a trunk
John Ruskin was a great influence on Marcel Proust, my own supreme poet and prophet, I needed to plumb his literary pockets for, I did not doubt, nuggets of priceless gold


Chapter 7
8 – That then which I would have the reader inquire respecting
       every work of art of undetermined merit submitted to his
       judgment, is not whether it be a work of especial grandeur,
       importance, or power; but whether it have any virtue or
       substance as a link in this chain of truth; whether it have 
       recorded or interpreted anything before unknown; whether
       it have added one single stone to our heaven pointing pyramid,
       cut away one dark bough, or levelled one rugged hillock in our
       path. This, if it be an honest work of art, it must have done, for
       no man ever yet worked honestly without giving some such help
       to his race. God appoints to every one of his creatures a separate
       mission, and if they discharge it honourably, if they acquit themselves
       like men and faithfully follow that light which is in them, withdrawing
       from it all cold and quenching influence, there will assuredly come of
       it such burning as, in its appointed mode and measure, shall shine
       before men, and be of service constant and holy. Degrees infinite
       of lustre there must always be, but the weakest among us has a
       gift, however seemingly trivial, which is peculiar to him, and which
       worthily used will be a gift also to his race for  ever: 
                ‘Fool not’, says George Herbert,
                                                                     ‘For all may have,
                             If they dare choose, a glorious life or grave’ 
                                            John Ruskin (from “Modern Painters“)