Richibi’s Weblog

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Month: September, 2013

Sonnet 128 – William Shakespeare‏

Sonnet 128

How oft when thou, my music, music play’st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway’st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap,
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips which should that harvest reap,
At the wood’s boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O’er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more bless’d than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

                                William Shakespeare

it would not be incorrect to suppose that the
“wood” of which Shakespeare speaks here
is his own and not that of the instrument,
you’ll probably even enjoy the poem more
that way, which is to say for its saucy, not
to mention, unexpected and, ahem, 
protracted allegory 
you might also note the equally raffish
use of the word “jacks”

“Ghosts” – Henrik Ibsen

of Ibsen‘s plays, Ghostsis the only
one that I can ever really tolerate, his
others being entirely always for me 
too didactic, preachy 
in this brilliant production, riveting and
unforgettable, one I feared I’d never see
again, Judi Dench is again consummate,
as Mrs Alving surely definitive, and
Kenneth Branagh, as her son, nearly as
good, from way back when he still could
enjoy, marvel, be verily enlightened
psst: Henrik Ibsen (1828 – 1906)

“A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night” – Harry Nilsson‏

when I was much younger, and still beset
by the unruly vagaries of love, finding my
way through its thorny thickets, this is
what I’d listen to as I’d fall asleep   
psst: all adagios, you’ll note, each and
        every one a lullaby
        Harry Nilsson (1941 – 1994)

“A Dog Was Crying in Wicklow Also” – Seamus Heaney‏

the death of a poet is not a happy occasion,
and yet their voices become clearer, it seems,
after their demise, as though the connection
had been stripped of any temporal, or even
corporal, merely, considerations, I talk to my
father, for instance, more directly, and indeed
intimately, than ever I did when he was alive
Seamus Heaney, 1939 – 2013, a poet, even
laureate, died August 30th, but left us with
this beautiful poem he’d written, on the
death of a friend
A Dog Was Crying in Wicklow Also
When human beings found out about death
They sent the dog to Chukwu with a message:
They wanted to be let back to the house of life.
They didn’t want to end up lost forever
Like burnt wood disappearing into smoke
Or ashes that get blown away to nothing.
Instead, they saw their souls in a flock at twilight
Cawing and headed back for the same old roosts
And the same bright airs and wing-stretchings each morning.
Death would be like a night spent in the wood:
At first light they’d be back in the house of life.
(The dog was meant to tell all this to Chukwu).
But death and human beings took second place
When he trotted off the path and started barking
At another dog in broad daylight just barking
Back at him from the far bank of a river.
And that is how the toad reached Chukwu first,
The toad who’d overheard in the beginning
What the dog was meant to tell. “Human beings,” he said
(And here the toad was trusted absolutely),
“Human beings want death to last forever.”
Then Chukwu saw the people’s souls in birds
Coming towards him like black spots off the sunset
To a place where there would be neither roosts nor trees
Nor any way back to the house of life.
And his mind reddened and darkened all at once
And nothing that the dog would tell him later
Could change that vision. Great chiefs and great loves
In obliterated light, the toad in mud,
The dog crying out all night behind the corpse house.

                                       Seamus Heaney, 1995

something creative

                                   (click on the picture should it fail)

                         “Vase of Flowers, after van Gogh” (2009)
with my suggestion neatly tucked under
his arm, of asking for it $1200.00, 
set off to sell his painting, “Vase of Flowers,
after van Gogh”, the one which has been
gracing my
 living room wall for several
years now
, a convenient place where he
could store it, maybe even indefinitely, 
while he made room for other paintings

the deep rust table, upon which rests the

white marbled vase which holds the

signature sunflowers, matches a somewhat 

lighter shade of it on my wall,
Burning Bush
it’s called, a colour I chose recently for its
associations with the miraculous, to freshen
up that particular corner  
to also see a burning bush every morning,

however metaphorically, as I start my day 



not having any idea what it might fairly cost

Apollo asked for my opinion, something
he couldn’t do by himself for being too intimately

connected, at
an opera evening the following
night at my place I asked my three opera guests,

who were sitting, of course, before the very item,

what they thought


the next day in an e-mail I wrote 
        “since we’re all, you, me, my mom, Claude

          and Yolande, whom I’ve included in these 

          deliberations, in the same position,

          stumped with regard to a price, I thought 

          I’d simply put all our uninformed opinions

          together and divide by 5 


          Claude,     2000

          Yolande,   1200 

          my mom,    700

          me,           1000,  recently upped from 800 

          you,               ?,  which is to say abstention,

                                     so that 5, to be fair, 
                                     becomes 4
                           4900 / 4 = 1225


          but I’ll accept 1200, should you honour

          my call 


          after all, it’s my wall 






perhaps“, he’d asked, “you can make a suggestion 
towards a solution …
I’ll hear from you with something creative
as is your usual style“, he’d written from his own
computer in his own idiosyncratic manner, after
the prospective buyer had been up to my place,
viewed dispassionately, I thought, the painting,
though he’d warmly admired my apartment, then
left with Apollo to, ultimately inconclusively at
that point as it turned out, talk cost
I thought I’d been accordingly creative, not
without some commensurate glee
and quivered at what might be the result of my
creation, though the work might, sadly, leave
its now impressive standing on my wall  
which I knew, however, Apollo, would never
leave deficient
nor, for that matter, would I    
I’m not ready to set a price on it if you can’t 
come up with one, the collector had told
which left Apollo in a fix, until the
serendipitous $1200.00 
this is what Richard said, he told the buyer,
who’d indeed fretted, with noteworthy
consideration, about my having
to lose the painting, unaware that
everything turns to dust, to my mind, little
by little dries up, even in one’s imagination,
if it is to be transformed into other magic
I’d countered that at the right price the
exchange would be a spur to the
burgeoning painter, ready to pursue his
muse with just a little even inspiration,
inspiration an admirer could express in,
notably, dollars  
but I’ll discount down to 900, Apollo said, 
ceding to his insecurities, since I know you 
I’ll buy it for 1000, the man said, I would’ve
payed 2000, and showed him a work they 
both deemed inferior for which he’d payed
that much 
do not, he said, underestimate yourself,
you are a talented artist
later, looking over the entire transaction,
I asked Apollo, when will you acquire more
than tremulous confidence
I’m working on it, he replied
what about now, I said, you’ll only be an 
artist when you call yourself one, own it,
do it, now
okay, he said, today I am an artist, and
raised his arms wide to the open sky,
appropriately, I thought, surrendering
himself, with giddy determination, to
inscrutable heaven