All posts by jupiterj

no date/drive this week and some po


This post will balance all the silliness in the last one. My week has quickly filled up. Yesterday turned out to be much busier than I like my Mondays. it took me forever to choose organ music for this upcoming Sunday. I sat at the bench and went through piece after piece. Finally i settled on learning two new Clerambault organ pieces. I was in the mood for Couperin, but find his organ music either too long for a prelude/postlude or not that interesting to me. The latter is especially true after familiarizing myself with his harpsichord music which i think is wonderful.

Also, yesterday Eileen and I had to prep the garage so that workers could get around to repair our silly garage door opener. Today, we are skipping our date/drive. Eileen had a doctor’s appointment. I called the garage people and they are indeed coming but they don’t know when. When they arrive I plan to wheel all the bicycles and stuff on wheels out of the garage (as per Eileen’s instructions) and move the cars.

Wednesday I have staff meeting, Thursday trio, Friday shrink appointment. So I am trying to cram some reading in between all this stuff.

The weather is beautiful right now.

So here are some poems to offset the last blog’s navel gazing.

The Ladder (excerpted since I don’t have permission to reproduce the whole thing)

by Sarah Kay

Whenever I hurt myself, my mother says
it is the universe’s way of telling me to
slow down. …

…. My mother knows how to tie knots
like a ship captain, but doesn’t know
how I got that sailor mouth.  She falls asleep
in front of the TV only until I turn it off,
shouts, I was watching that! ….

She makes tea by hand. Nettles, slippery elm,
turmeric, cinnamon—my mother is a recipe
for warm throats and belly laughs. Once,
She fell off a ladder when I was three.
She says all she was worried about was
my face as I watched her fall.

from No Matter the Wreckage

Narrative (again excerpted)

by P. J. Kavanagh

I dreamt a love-story yesterday.
Who loved who is anyone’s guess.
But it tasted of love, and I still see
The little boy in the Scripture class.

He felt he was enclosed in glass
As streams divided round his head
of pavement men as blind as grass.
He asked a tart if he was mad.

Alone, alone in his premature coffin
He foundered low and pondered long.
Badgered the priest to visit him often.
Draw him a diagram when he went wrong.

‘Patience! Patience! sang the priest.
Begged him bow and pray for grace.
Promised him the Eucharist.
So he bowed and prayed at last.

He enjoyed resignation. It lightened his head.
Filled his eyes, like moons, with light.
He felt better. He said he did.
And opened his mouth to take the bread.

How could I know why he did it?
Perhaps to be hated was better than nothing.
The priest brought his hand to his mouth, and he bit it.
That noise of bone on bone. It broke my dreaming.

Did stars of comfort rain from the blows on his head?
That he blessed the warders, I’m sure, through teeth bright red.
Night picked him like a flower. I left him dead.
Still biting the hand that fed, that fed.

from Collected Poems by P. J. Cavanagh.

Funny thing about Cavanagh. I was looking for a poet named Patrick Kavanagh. When P. J. came up on the library’s search, it indicated his first name was Patrick so I thought i was the same buy. Nope.

Patrick Kavanagh - Wikipedia

Patrick Kavanagh was an Irish poet and novelist. He lived from 1904 to 1967 and was the author of the poem I was interested in called “Epic.”

P. J. Kavanagh lived from 1931 to 2015 and was an English poet, actor, novelist, and lecturer. I do like his poems.

Poet Wallace Stevens Dies – Today in History: August 2 | Connecticut  History | a CTHumanities Project

and finally ending on a happy note: Crude Foyer by Wallace Stevens.

figuring myself out a bit and thanking my stars


In Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts, and Social Change, Maxine Greene has a chapter entitled “The Shapes of Childhood Recalled.” I haven’t finished this chapter yet but it has already helped me a great deal.

What I think she is saying is that as children we have a certain kind of a prereflective presence, a unique consciousness that connects us and allows us to create and ” and bring patterns and structures into existence.” As we grow we add more and more layers until we have lost touch with this reflectiveness. We can’t completely return to it, but we can recapture some of the primacy of this experience and percpetion.

She goes on “one of the ways of beginning the reflection that may enable us to create a narrative and to start understanding imagination in our lives is through the recovery of literary experiences that have been significant to us at various times in our lives. The reading of literature may nurture all kinds of understanding of lived structures of meaning.”

Not only that but these experiences shape who we are.

One of the puzzles of my life is where did I get the passions that I have at this point. I love my parents but they didn’t shape me that much into my life as a musician, reader, and lover of the arts. However, my direct contact with literature and ideas has been very formative for me. Could it be that by reading Ibsen, Dylan Thomas, John Berryman (just to name a few) and listening and thinking about Bach as well other connections including walking through art museums, improvising, and listening to all kinds of music, could these things have shaped a narrative that leads me to be who I am now and who I continue to become?

Is this part of the reason that my personal narrative is so embedded in literature, music, poetry, and the theater?

This makes some sense to me. Ever since reading Mortimer J. Adler’s idea that books and great ideas are in conversation with each other, I have endeavored to get into that conversation.

A bit heavy when my emotional terrain right now is (surprisingly enough to me) one of relief that Trump will not be the president of the USA for much longer. Thank goodness for that.

Also a bit heavy for Sunday afternoon.

What I want to do is read and goof off.

In the meantime, it’s good to see that Jordan is doing stuff. Listen to this!