Monday, April 15, 2013

my favorite things

The experience of watching this is, for me, almost as good as going on a picnic at the beach, falling in love, playing catch, or dancing. The section around 4:11 really slays me.
Also, the story of how this film/video project came to be is powerful and unusual. A happy accident. Why did Michael Chesterman's mother have these films? And thank goodness for Colleen.
And also, as always, for Stella.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Were I a tree

Caleb told me Robert Creeley wrote this poem for his dear friend Pen, who had passed away a few years before. He sent it in response to a piece I shared with him by Roger Ebert called I Do Not Fear Death.

This distance
between pane of glass,
eye's sight —
the far wavering green edge
of trees, sun's
reflection, light
yellow — and sky there too
light blue.

I will sit here
till breeze, ambient,
enfolds me and I
lift away. I will
sit here as sun
warms my hands, my
body eases, and sounds
grow soft and intimate
in my ears. I will sit
here and the back of the house
behind me will last
disappear. I will sit here.

"Harry's gone out for a pizza.
Mabel's home all alone.
Mother just left for Ibiza.
Give the old man a bone?

Remember when Barkis was willing?
When onions grew on the lawn?
When airplanes just cost a shilling?
Where have the good times gone?"

If one look back
or thinks to look
in that uselessly opaque direction,
little enough's ever there.

What is it one stares into,
thinks still to recover
as it all fades out—
mind's vagary?

I call to you brutally,
I remember the day we met
I remember how you sat, impatient
to get out.
"Back is no direction...
Tout passe?"
Life is the river
we've carried with us.

Sun's shadows aslant
across opening expansive
various green fields down
from door
here ajar on box tower's
third floor—
look out on
This morning.

I never met you afterward
nor seemingly knew you before.
Our lives were interfolded,
wrapped like a present.
The odors, the tastes, the surfaces
of our bodies were the map—
the mind a distraction,
trying to keep up.

I could not compare you to anything.
You were not like rhubarb
or clean sheets—or, dear as it may be,
sudden rain in the street.
All those years ago, on the beach in Dover,
with that time so ominous,
and the couple so human,
pledging their faith to one another,
now again such a time seems here—
not to fear
death or what's been so given—
to yield one's own despair.

Like sitting in back seat,
can't see what street
we're on or what the
one driving sees
or where we're going.
Waiting for what's to happen,
can't quite hear the conversation,
the big people, sitting up front.

"Death be not proud... "
Days be not done.
Air be not gone.
Head be not cowed.

Bird be not dead.
Thoughts be not fled.
Come back instead,
Heart's hopeful wedding.
Face faint in mirror.
Why does it stay there?
What's become
Of person who was here?

Physical hill still my will.
Mind's ambience alters all.

As I rode out one morning
just at break of day
a pain came upon me
As I thought one day
not to think anymore,
I thought again,
caught, and could not stop—
Were I the horse I rode,
were I the bridge I crossed,
were I a tree
unable to move,
the lake would have
no reflections,
the sweet, soft air
no sounds.
So I hear, I see,
tell still the echoing story
of all that lives in a forest,
all that surrounds me.

[Thank you Caleb for sharing this hauntingly beautiful poem.]