I see myself as an outsider and a lot of that is the influence of my Father and his Father. I am comfortable with who I am at this point in my life (69 years old). But I enjoyed listening to a poem called “The Old Man’s Lazy” by Peter Blue Cloud on a recent Poetry Magazine podcast.
Here’s a link to the pod cast (the poem begins around 17:38) and here’s a link to a blog post with the entire poem on it.
It’s in a new anthology, When The Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through edited by Joy Harjo. I have interlibrary loaned this book. It is the first Norton Anthology of Native Nations poems. Crazy,
“The Old Man’s Lazy” is about a Native American who confronts an Indian agent and a white neighbor about fences. The narrator of the poem (the old man?) says that the agent complains about the broken down fence. In response, the narrator puts up a small shield with hawk feathers on it. But unfortunately, the agent only sees the feathers and does not look inside himself for his hawk.
The narrator goes on to say that someday he might tell the agent that he didn’t build the broken down fence. The white man who used to live next door did.
The narrator describes the fence new as a pretty fence. Here’s the section I like a lot
a pretty fence, enclosing
that guy, and I felt lucky
to be on the outside
Later in the poem, the narrator’s children tell him he’s lucky to be living way out in the sticks.
I’m lucky to be on the outside as well.
I finished Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower yesterday. I started Kindred by her. Time to go read.
I had coffee with my illustrious colleagues, Rhonda and Jordan this morning. It was fun. Since its raining we met at Rhonda’s church under an overhang there and brought our own coffee.
I tried to listen at least as much as I gabbed. I found it amusing that after living in this town for over forty years, I am still spending time listening to people complain about Hope College. Some things don’t change that much. I had to share that with them.
Yesterday afternoon was a beautiful day here in Holland. I sat in the backyard and read. Eileen put her hammock up and finally lay and listened to the waterfall she has put in her pond this year. This was a goal of hers.
I finished McBride’s Song Yet Sung. It’s a story about a young enslaved woman on the run. Like Harriet Tubman she has suffered a head wound, but in her case this seems to have given her visions of the future (which of course are wonderfully accurate and chilling). McBride draws three dimensional characters in a well told story. I enjoyed it. I think he writes beautifully.
Now I’m madly trying to finish Butler’s Parable of the Sower. I am anxious to start some other novels but would like to finish at least this one before beginning a new one.
I’m about half way through The Singapore Grip by J. G. Farrell. It is a merciless satirical critique of colonialism largely from the point of view of the hapless white people.
Using the word “hapless” reminds me that I recently heard Jon Meacham describe himself as a “hapless Episcopalian” then mutter that this was a redundancy. I do like him.
The Farrell is a New York Review of Books Classic and that’s why i chose to read it. So far, I have found that all of the books in this series are very readable and worthwhile.
I am also about half way through reading The Complete Enderby by Burgess. It is my go to read when I want something delightful and fun.
Plus my brother (Hi Mark!) surprised me with a book in the mail which I am looking forward to checking out, Shake It Up: Great American Writing on Rock and Pop from Elvis to Jay Z edited by Jonathan Lethem and Kevin Dettmar. Thank you, Mark!
Excuse me I have to go read.